Posts Tagged ‘Poker-Watch’

Cash Game Report

by , Jul 29, 2007 | 8:15 am

LAS VEGAS–Funny how being in Las Vegas has put me so out of touch with all the poker news. I think there are some big tournaments going on, online poker execs in the courts, business deals shaking down, but I’ve got little to report other than poker being played. Still, it’s been kinda interesting to see who you run into at the tables around this town:

The first notable I ran into was OREL HERSHEISER, who apparently just moved here to Las Vegas and sat to my left in a 1/2 NLH game at RED ROCK — fresh after being denied selection into the baseball HALL OF FAME. I tried to play the not-knowing-who-he-is thing — “You lost a vote? Were you running for city council or congress or something?” — but he would end up busting me out when I tried to run a little STOP-N-GO. As I pushed all-in, he asked, “How much money do you have?”

“Um, I’m all-in. About $140 more,” I said, pointing to my stacks.

“No, I mean other money. Because we can make a little side-bet away from the table,” he said, upon showing me THE NUTS.

Red Rock seems to be the OFF-STRIP place to be. On my second post-WSOP outing there, I ran into GARY THOMPSON — World Series of Poker media master and tournament overlord. He was wearing comfortable jeans, loafers, and a button-down shirt while playing 2/5 NLH. With about $800 in front of him, he said he was “down a couple hundred.” But it wouldn’t take long for him to grow his stacks, and a few hours later, he had moved up to the 5/10 game and had what looked to be about $2k.

On that same day, I saw A GUY I BUSTED at the Rio. He was a good player who went with the whole BLACK HOODIE and SUNGLASSES kinda thing, while saying almost nothing and acting with stoic (but angry) CHRIS FERGUSON-like motions. He was playing 1/2 NLH and nursing about $200.

Over at THE VENETIAN in the 2/5 game, I found myself up against a WSOP Dealer — SHAI the ISRAELI GUY. He was sick when I pushed all-in and convinced him to fold his top-pair-top-kicker that would turn into TOP BOAT … only to see the guy who took down the pot from me win with KING-HIGH. A couple hours later I was playing a goofy hand with K-6 offsuit in late position, the flop came K-7-K … he checks, I bet, he raises big, I call. Turn is a 6, he pushes all-in, I call … at which point he shows his POCKET 7s. The table cheers for a FOURTH SEVEN, but it doesn’t come and I send him to the ATM.

One table over, KARINA JETT’S MOTHER was playing — beyond her typical quiet game, she was practically falling asleep at the table (at 3 AM) while nursing about $400. She may not remember this, but she won a $15 PROP BET from me once over a RULES DISPUTE. (My bad … I thought I knew stuff.)

abraham1.jpgBack at RED ROCK a couple days later, I ran into ABRAHAM, and he really deserves his own post, because he tilted the table unlike anything I had ever seen — and even managed to invoke mockery from a cute young girl who wasn’t playing. Basically imagine the worst personality and poker characteristics of ME, TIM ROGERS and EON MARSHALL all wrapped up into an obnoxious kid who graduated from high school in 2003 and is well aware that he looks like STU UNGAR. Then give him a lot of chips. (His behavior and play was so table-altering it had me interrupting TOM SCHNEIDER’S vacation in ST. THOMAS for some emergency coaching … who advised me well until I played back without paying attention to a guy to my left who had pocket kings.)

I really wanted to KILL THIS KID, or at least make him cry. And so did everyone else — especially the old (presumably) gay man who he busted by calling a $260 raise pre-flop with 2-3 suited only to flop two threes. But he can’t be all that bad, because without provoking from me, he at one point shouted, “THE HAMMER!” with glee. Hey kid, if you are reading this, what I told you at the table after you “bluffed” me with pocket-5s and then taunted (it took me a good five minutes to lay down Ace-high) still applies: “I look forward to seeing you get your education.” Punk-ass. Like seriously, you had at least two of us at the table contemplating how one might go about rolling you in the parking lot.

One of the cool things about Red Rock is that when you need to shake off a bad beat or just step away from a dipshit the table to refocus, you can go BOWL A GAME 24 hours a day — for $3 +$3.50 for shoes. That seems like positive EV.

The picture above is from a day I didn’t actually play poker … but I did walk through the poker room just for funsies after bowling, and whom should I run into but NOLAN DALLA, longtime Dallas poker expat and WSOP media guru, legendary sports handicapper, and Stu Ungar biographer. He was wearing CARGO SHORTS, a frumpled shirt, and seemed pleasantly drinky while playing 5/10 NLH with a couple old friends from POKERSTARS.

“I’m stuck $800 but having a great time!” he screamed upon embracing me with a BEAR HUG. “Isn’t this a great casino!?! Hey everybody, it’s Dan from Pokerati!”


“Oh, right …” Nolan said. “Didn’t mean to blow your cover.”

I also ran into STEVE HALL one night at Red Rock, too. He was playing PENNY VIDEO SLOTS. He had a big hit of some sort of crazy picture combinations that won him about $60.

And then to top it all off, I went to CAESAR’S PALACE with DON JONES (of Rounder Club fame), LEIGH & BRIAN from the Poker Atlas , DOCTOR STEVE, and former Absolute Poker marketing chick JEN TIDWELL to play in their 50-player-max $65 tourney. We all had 10 percent of each other, which proved irrelevant as our top player would bubble.

I was the first to bust out (of the tournament) and would take a seat playing some 2/5. Of all the poker tables in Las Vegas … what are the chances that DAN BALLENGER (aka HONG KONG SUE, father of SON OF SUE) would get seated at my table? It would take more than a full orbit before he realized he was sitting with a fellow BATFACE. He bought in for $500 and cashed out a couple hours later for a little less than that. HKS got most of those chips from me … calling a $100 bluff with second-pair-no-kicker (what was I THINKING!?!) … and then bluffing me out of a $400+ pot on the river, getting me to lay down aces. He mucked at the time, but told me as he left that he pushed all-in for his remaining $135 with an underpair. Wish I hadn’t asked, because it had me semi-tilting for a good 30 minutes or more. I know he was just trying to be nice, but still …

Then JASON from JACKIE’S (in Dallas) and “RICKY ZILEM” showed up. They were just walking through checking out the action. Fancy running into these guys here. Chris/Ricky, said, “I did what nobody does when they first land in Vegas and took a nap.”

Ah, indeed.

Small world. Good times.

RE: Not Quite a Quasi-Semi-Pseudo-Pro

by , Jul 28, 2007 | 8:38 am

LAS VEGAS–Just looking at a little more thorough analysis of all my gambly activity over the past two months — including what went down before I began formal experimentation — and it’s pretty interesting, if not accurate. The numbers below represent a total of 144 hours with something at stake … spread across 56 various sessions. Still not exactly adequate sample sizes — but the numbers do give me an idea about the tables where I may or may not want to be spending my time:

Total Amount Won or Lost / hours played

2/5 NLH +$5,819 / 74.5
NLH Tourneys +$1,550 / 15

1 to 1000 +$190 / na
1/3 NLH +$134 / 8.5
4/8 OHL +$108 / 3
Lime Tossing +$80 / 0.5
Bowling -$10 / 2
Video Poker -$190 / 2.5
Paigow -$220 / 0.5
1/2 NLH -$1,481 / 24
Blackjack -$2,169 / 13

Hourly Rate*

Lime Tossing: $160
NLH Tourneys: $103.67
2/5 NLH: $78.10
4/8 OHL: $36
1/3 NLH: $15.76
Bowling: -$5
1/2 NLH: -$61.71
Video Poker: -$76
Blackjack: -$166.85
Paigow: -$440

*hourly rate not calculated for 1-to-1000, because everyone’s gotta eat/drink

Some other interesting related stats … based on 13 sessions, a typical 2/5 sitting nets me $448 … while 1/2, based on eight sessions, costs me about $185 each time I play. (I suspect most Dallas players can confirm this is in line with my their expectations every time I show up at a game.)

Blackjack … wow, might I actually remove this long-beloved pastime from my arsenal, considering I lose roughly $217 every time I get the itch to double down?

Clearly the moral of this story is that I need to be tossing more limes.

Not Quite a Quasi-Semi-Pseudo-Pro

by , Jul 27, 2007 | 4:14 pm


LAS VEGAS–So as hinted at before, I can’t seem to leave Las Vegas. Something about this place … would like to think it’s the phalanx of hotties around every corner — none of whom seem to have rings on their fingers — but it might just be the 24-hour nature of this city. At any hour of the day night I can find a cheeseburger, a double cappuccino, a bowling alley, and/or a poker game. Really, what else do you need?

(I just really miss my bitch. And sadly she can’t read Pokerati to know how much I do.)

Anyhow, one of the things that had me thinkin’ was indeed the poker. Perhaps a bit to my surprise, I’ve done really well out here at the tables. Like cards have been a source of revenue, not a drain. Kinda new to me. Now don’t get me wrong, I have no delusions about becoming a pro. But the notion of generating a quantifiable chunk of extra income by playing Texas Hold’em has had me taking my poker play relatively seriously while out here … and thus, at the encouragement of TBR and Donkey Bomber, I decided to put $4,000 at risk to conduct a controlled not-so-scientific poker experiment in an attempt to shed some light on how I might hack it as a $2/$5 player and begin calculating a conceivable hourly wage. Though TBR tells me not to be too results-oriented, here are the results:


Boy, that was fun

by , Jul 10, 2007 | 5:45 am

My run at the WSOP main event ended six hours after it began when my short stack was put at risk while I held JJ vs. my opponent’s AQ. For the second year in a row, the player seated directly to my right gave me the confident elbow and whispered that they had mucked an ace, just as the card that sent me to the rail came whistling off the deck.

On a positive note: I played six hours of fantastic poker. I made big plays, small bluffs, and one giant laydown that saved half of my once healthy stack. I am very much a decision oriented poker player…I know that if I continue to make correct decisions at the poker table, the results will follow over the long run.

Party Time?

by , Jul 4, 2007 | 7:15 pm

LAS VEGAS–Text to Tom (who has been a gracious sounding board this WSOP on matters of game selection, bankroll management, and getting to know that leavin’ feelin’) late last night:

5:11 am — I am good at poker, bad at drinky blackjack. In for 800, cashed out for 2800.

This came after attending Z-Fest 2007 – a 4th of July barbecue hosted by the Lederer family at Steve Zolotow’s house. It also happened to be the site of the “World Series of Karaoke,” which meant getting to see Joe Reitman dance and scream while exposing/shaking/rubbing his belly, and a shitfaced Mike Matusow parading around like a drunken 7-year-old boy with balloons. Good fun. You gotta love a party that celebrates America’s birthday with great Middle Eastern food and an open bar.

From there, I was supposed to meet up with some Dallas friends to chase a few skirts engage in frotteurism at Carnaval Court. But while waiting around I played a little tiny-stakes outdoor blackjack and somehow managed to lose $497 in less than an hour. Dammit! So I went to make it back playing poker across the street at Caesar’s …



by , Jun 20, 2007 | 11:10 am

LAS VEGAS–Good morning. I’m just getting ready to go to bed. The sun’s been up for just a few hours, and it’s already over 100 degrees. But inside the Rio … about negative 64. So friggin’ cold, especially in the cash-games area, from whence I just came. They cool down the Amazon Room and surrounding hallways overnight in preparation for the onslaught of warm poker bodies that arrive each day a little before noon … and/or to sell more WSOP sweatshirts.

Anyhow, late last night, Pauly was up bouncing around the Amazon Room in his off-time and Otis had just re-arrived back in town. I had work to do, of course, but the three of us had yet to find time to geek out all pokerbloggy since arriving at the 2007 WSOP, so it was time to make time … and off to the Hooker bar we went. Inspiring and refreshing, to say the least, as we traded poker-blog war stories, tales of SEO, and reminisces about the “good ole days” of 2006.

We must have been appearing to have too much fun, because a few drinks into it all, we were joined by a traveling WSOP circuit dealer, Brian “the Rookie” Wilson, Otis’ friend Mark, and Jim McManus, who was a little down on his game.

“I make way more from writing these days than I do playing poker, that’s for sure,” he said. Funny how just a year ago this exact same sentence might have a completely different meaning.

As the night whittled on, Pauly left us to go whip up a poignant recap of yesterday’s crazy yet meaningful action, as Otis, Mark and I returned to the Amazon Room to play poker. You can always count on a few drunks to sit down at the dwindling WSOP cash tables at about 4 in the morning to keep the chips flying, and last night that was us. Not surprisingly, the three of us would rebuy several times playing $2/$5 NLH, and within a couple hours, collectively we were stuck nearly $2,500, at which point I switched to coffee.

Linda the Dallas dealer had my table for a while — it was great to see her for the first time of the Series. “Just like back home,” she said, smirking as she shipped a pot I lost to the other end of the table.

Mark would end up busting out for a final time, while Otis and I stuck around to grind our way back towards even. I was getting there, too, until I flopped an open-ended straight draw and a flush draw. The turn gave me the nut straight and a straight-flush draw. I was bummed when my opponent and I couldn’t get it all-in at that point, but I guess I was lucky, because while I caught my flush on the river, the other guy caught quads, and I was not in a position to raise his bet. Don’t even get me started about the possible collusion we witnessed between a plump American black lady and a skinny British white guy who were playing together unbeknown to the rest of us, until they cashed out together and gave each other a hug and a kiss at the cage.

I was heavily involved in their last hand. The British guy and I had built a pot to more than $600 when I missed my 17 gajillion outs on the river. He put me all-in for my last $72, and though mathematically I was supposed to call, I couldn’t bring myself to do it with just third pair, knowing if I lost, I was definitely not going to rebuy again. (Because I had no more 100s on me.) The black lady seated to my right belligerently encouraged me to call, and then called clock on me. I eventually mucked, and was pleased when the skinny white dude mucked his cards, presumably telling me that I made the correct play.

That’s when they both cashed out in celebration. And then as he exited the room, the not-so-chappy Brit came up behind me and whispered, “You couldn’t beat pocket 6s?” What an asshole, because yes, I could. So what, he’s trying to put me on tilt even after he has left the table with my money?

I did my best to remain unfazed, and sure enough I began to climb back out of the hole. As the wee hours became morning and almost tournament time, Otis and I were at adjacent tables motioning to each other where we stood in terms of getting unstuck. I was in for $700, he was in for $1,200. And both of us were playing our asses off more sober than before. With my fancy little bankroll graph in the back of my mind, I finally took control of my short-handed, reduced-rake table — with a solid read on the Euro to my right and ability to bluff the gay cowboy to my left with ease. Perhaps the only mistake I made here was getting up from a table I could beat, but it was so late, so early … I was exhausted, and for the first time in more than five hours, I was up.

Buy-in(s): $700 (3)
Cash out: $979
Net: +$279

I Love / Gonz Hates LA

by , Apr 27, 2007 | 11:49 am

LOS ANGELES–I just got back from The Bike … my first venture into a California poker room. Played some Little-Big Game … $2/$3 NLH…

Buy-in: $100
Cash out: $965

Tore that shee-it up! But I had to leave because it was no-limit after all, meaning it was only a matter of time before I might give a hefty portion back. And, I wanted to play in the $300 Stars & Stripes LIVE tourney. (Scroll down for coverage of yours truly.) There were 177 people competing for a first-place payout of about $20k. I finished 41st — 23 shy of the money, but not too bad, considering my tournament play has been shee-it in a bad way for the past couple years. Besides, with my near-bubble performance, I was just emulating Tom.

So anyhow, yes, The Bike. I found it quite pleasing — and I haven’t even begun to tell you about the food. Sadly, I will not be returning to The Bike on this trip … because while I was fighting to stay ahead of the blinds, Gonz (who was presumably on tilt from a bad-beat jackpot hand that got counterfeited on the river) was picking a fight with a member of the floor staff and eventually getting ejected from the casino. Good times!

The Lines Don’t Lie

by , Mar 23, 2007 | 4:44 am

I’ve been much better about keeping track of my bankroll this year, thanks to — even though, thus far, it hasn’t been a winning year. Kinda interesting.

Just tonight/last night … I had a pretty good session (ended up +$485 in $.50/$1 NLH) … though half of that came from the last hand of the night, where Fawcett flopped a mini-monster … which he played a little weakly trying to trap me … which fueled my bluff-draw, and in the end let me hit the nuts with a gutshot. Cool. Even cooler was getting Fawcett to push all-in once I got there. Anyhow … have a looksie at my current bankroll graph:


Read into it whatever you want. And while these are important figures for me to keep track of, here’s what I think is the more telling graph:

Either you know something or you don’t — there is no in-between when it comes to knowing. And I think this map of my average earnings per session reveals something I hadn’t come to hard-and-provable grips with … and that is that I am pretty much just a break-even player. Semi-bitter pill to swallow, but hey, there’s no room in winning poker for delusions. Here is some other relevant computer-generated analysis of my 2007 play, as logged by Pokercharts. Kinda funny:


Text-by-Text Tourney Coverage

by , Dec 12, 2006 | 10:30 am

LAS VEGAS–Let’s be honest, I haven’t done shit tournament-wise throughout the entirety of 2006 … can’t remember the last time I cashed, and like seriously, what-da-fug’s a final table? And yet, somehow, the $300+40 “main event” of the Ultimate Poker Challenge at Binion’s on Sunday (not to be confused with Saturday’s $600+60 UPC Main Event, which was down to its final table of seven on the nearby TV stage) was my first tournament with a backer. CardPlayer wasn’t there to cover any of it, nor were any bloggers. But plenty of cowboys in town for the National Finals Rodeo were milling about. I noticed only one recognizable pro, and maybe two guys I think I’ve seen in Dallas before or maybe somewhere else and one player who apparently knew me, but anyhow, for multiple reasons I really wanted to do well. Here’s how it all shook down that gloriously brisk poker day, as relayed via the magic of digital telegram:

Dan M (12/10/06 3:15 pm): Ready to roll!

Como (12/10/06 3:27 pm): Sweet keep me updated!

Dan M (12/10/06 3:30 pm): Skinny asian kId Just mistook me 4 Carlos morteNson. Told him No Autographs right now.
[ed. note: not completely true]

Como (12/10/06 3:34 pm): Lol that’s worth the entry fee, its a freeroll now!

Jen (12/10/06 3:56 pm): Play well and good luck. luv u

Dan M (12/10/06 5:35 pm): Slightly below average at break. Shawo rice is only pro i have seen. [sic.]

Como (12/10/06 5:38 pm): Cool keep it up!

Dan M (12/10/06 6:56 pm): Slightly above average stack. 80 left. Level 6. Best hands have been 44 Aq aq ak.
[correction: 67 were left at this point]

Como (12/10/06 6:57 pm): Sweet how many pay?
[ed. note: 10 — about $10k for 1st, $500 for 10th]

TBR (12/10/06 7:23 pm): How many started?

Dan M (12/10/06 7:26 pm): 96 Started. 60 left. I have 3/4 avg. Stack. Damn hammer.

Dan M (12/10/06 8:16 pm): Super cold deck. Then a j. flop a j. tt calls. t on turn=super short stack.

Como (12/10/06 8:18 pm): Yuck! Keep grinding !

Dan M (12/10/06 8:21 pm): M=4. Push 89s. called by AK. 35Th ish place. Sorry Como. You suck at Picking horses.

Como (12/10/06 8:25 pm): Na sounds like you played good all you can do. plus its pretty cool someone thought you were carlos but you should have signed an autograph that would have been

RE: 60 Minutes

by , Sep 17, 2006 | 10:25 pm

LAKE TAHOE, NV–Am off to eat and drink with a bunch of dealers. So much I forgot to tell you all about. Be sure to check out PokerBlog to read my live-blogging of the 60 Minutes episode and the end of the WSOP Circuit main event. Maybe later I can tell you about my glorious $2/$3 action (with mixed results), my 15 minutes of blackjack, my great-then-terrible tournament play.

Oh, and I “hired” Gonz and have a new life. I hope the government doesn’t ruin it. More later.

That’s it … I’m done playing crappy cards

by , Aug 29, 2006 | 12:07 pm

So I decided to kick it old school last night. I went to “JR’s” for a cash game. Things had changed in the many months since I had played there — the game is no longer 1/2/5 … it’s back to 1/2 again. But with lots of straddling and re-straddling. More than half the faces at the table were the same, as if they hadn’t left for the better part of a year.

I bought in for $200, and on my very first hand, I got the hammer. Sweet! I made a small raise and got a couple callers. I flopped 2nd pair and bet it out … and got a caller. (Dude was likely on a flush draw, so I probably didn’t want to see a 4th heart.) A third seven came out on the turn, and life was looking really good. Awesome. Check-check. The fourth heart did come on the river, giving me a 2-high flush. My opponent in the hand came out betting $50 … and bummer, I had to fold. But yea, I got to do it face-up.

But that didn’t do much for me. Why? Because the other guy had flopped a straight-flush — good enough for a high hand jackpot, and good enough to beat me. Everyone was looking at his cards … and I got no credit for playing shit. I mean yeesh … the hand still worked out OK, because I didn’t lose much. But I could’ve just as well had aces in this case, and it woulda been the same. Damn.

From there I proceeded to play pretty good poker. But the killer came when it was getting very pre-flop raisy, and I decided I was going to spend some money to see a flop with 7-10 offsuit in late position. Somebody made it $25 to go, and I called. So did three others. So with $125 already in the pot, I was pretty delighted to see a flop of 7-8-10 (two diamonds). I had to be afraid of a set, but it was clear the first to act (the same guy who had flopped the straight-flush against me) had nothing when he checked. Next in line was Nic the Straddler … who was very talky talky as he checked. OK, he wouldn’t have checked a set, so after some fake consternation, I moved all-in (for $280) … sure to use the exact same gestures I used when getting caught bluffing about an hour earlier.

First guy folded, and Nic sized up our stacks, and relatively quickly called, saying, “I’ve got the nuts.” Indeed he did. J-9 offsuit. Crap.

Being the nice guy he is, he offered to run it twice, but I declined … thinking if I’m gonna get lucky and win it, I’m gonna get lucky and win it. No way I could do that twice, so why gamble for a split? (I’m not sure, but I think this is the right non-double-play play. Any thoughts on the matter?)

Anyhow, I got no help and went home.

Just like old times.

Buy-in(s): $400 (2)
Cash out: $0
Net: -$400

Highlight: Friendly Asians.

Rough Night in Vegas

by , Aug 5, 2006 | 12:17 pm

This has little to do with poker or the WSOP, but surely some players and/or other pokery people were affected by it … late last night a man climbed to the top of the backdrop of the MGM lion (using restoration scaffolding) and threatened to jump. He was probably 50 feet up … hardly high enough to assure death, but guaranteed to painfully break many bones.

Not sure if it had to do with a gambling loss or problems with a girlfriend (perhaps a combination of both?), but a lady was seen crying and screaming up to him from the sidewalk outside the Tropicana before being ushered away by police. At the same time, they began backing up crowds shouting, “Jump!” (Is it even funny that the loudest screams were coming from people outside New York, New York?)


Why I Am (Still) Not a Very Good Player

by , Aug 4, 2006 | 6:03 am

LAS VEGAS–Three weeks or so ago, I found myself going bust in a $2/$5 NL game at the WSOP, and it all hinged on a single hand. I had called a small raise with 8-9s and the flop came 9-9-10. As the hand progressed, I began duking it out with the big stack at the table … and ultimately, even after putting more than $250 in the pot, I woulda/coulda/shoulda been able to get away — thereby saving $320 in my stack. (And leaving me $20 up for the session.) I did not do that, however, and sure enough … he had flopped a boat with 9-10s. Of course he did.

A “very good” player knows how to flop trips and get away from them.


More Bad Beats-cum-Violent Desires

by , Jul 22, 2006 | 3:19 am

LAS VEGAS–Playing good poker is so friggin’ hard. This time the subject of my ire was a totally affable a-hole who happened to be the big stacks. I was playing so well today. And that meant laying down big hands, effectively value-betting others. For all the good cards I was getting, action was hard to come by, because there were so many other small stacks on the table, and the big stack was obviously good enough to recognize my abilities and steer clear of them. Plus he was distracted by all the Vegas hotties walking by our table en route to one of the MGM’s clubs, and he didn’t want to miss an opportunity to catcall.

So I was patient and patient, and said little as he kept making “-ish” jokes every other hand. (Dude, as if that wasn’t so my schtick in 2005ish.) Then, with a stack of about $360 (on a single buy-in of $200), I finally got my opportunity. The big stack had just gotten significantly bigger a few hands earlier and was playing looser and trying to push people around. I had pocket kings in early position in a straddled pot. The big-stack had straddled, then his buddy min-raised his straddle, and the guy to my right called. I bumped it to $25 … with a certain bravado that screamed “strong means weak!” Five callers, which was fine by me … though I woulda liked a re-raise there, I now faced some pretty easy decisions based on the texture of the flop.

6-4-3 rainbow.

I liked.


Back on Track?

by , Jul 21, 2006 | 6:46 am

LAS VEGAS–So after starting off my trip pretty well, I hit the skids big-time. I also finally tried my hand at blackjack. (Not good.) So to prevent myself from spending six weeks out at the WSOP working for “free,” I did what a handful of down-on-their-luck pros have to do … dropped my stakes and reverted to straight-forward poker.

Even at the MGM’s $1/$2 NL it wasn’t looking good. Lost a chunk of my first stack when double scare cards came on the turn and river. I’m pretty sure the dude had nothing, but I couldn’t call. (I had flopped top pair with QJs, and two aces came. My opponent was Asian.) Then a couple hands later, I went bust with pocket queens … I was way ahead when the money went in, but way behind on the turn, and even more behind by the river.

But it was interesting … because playing “lower” stakes made that sort of happenstance far less bothersome. I simply rebought, and played my game. Or I should say Gonz’s game, because I actually folded trouble hands pre-flop. My second (and pre-decided last) buy-in got down to like $55 … but at $1/$2, I was able to wait and wait until I found pocket kings. From there, the poker was easy.

Buy-in(s): $360 (2)
Cash out: $655
Net: +$295

Highlight: realizing that I was clearly better than half the table, at least two of whom had no clue how much dead money they really were. “We’re just trading chips back and forth really … hey, you got a lot of them now … hey, where you going?”