Friday, September 23, 2005

10 days of poker, sun and fun

In about 3 hours I'll be headed to McCarran. I never look forward to a day of air travel and airports. As convenient as air travel is, it still can be frustrating. Here is hoping that most of the day can be spent sleeping. Are we there yet?
If all goes well, I'll be posting from Aruba. Linda will have a lap top and the Wyndham is supposed to have wireless.
While I am away, take a few minutes to read
You may just learn something.
I particularly like this excerpt;
"Be a courteous loser. Watch the old-timers. They have taken so many bad beats and been on the receiving end of some good luck, that it doesn’t faze most of them either way anymore."
Yeah, my ass!!
I understand that the Aruba event is for serious money and prestige, but I hope that most of the players temper the intensity with the fact that the setting is something like paradise. For the players and dealers, this is a "working vacation". I hope the vacation aspect is not lost.........

It's time for some changes of latitude and changes of attitude. . . . .

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Ohhhh, the humidity..........

My boss handed me this chip today. Pretty cool chip and even cooler that he thought of me when he saw it. These would make an awesome home poker chip set.

For a change of pace, it looks like I'm headed to somewhere HOTTER than Las Vegas. It has been really pleasant here lately. Today as I headed for work, a few drops of rain hit my windshield. Shortly after I entered the casino thunder shook the place and the clouds opened. It takes some pretty loud thunder/rain to be heard over the clicking of chips/blaring music/clanking slot machines.
My first assignment of the day was to open a $2-4 limit HE table. I sat dead with 4 players who didn't want to play that short handed. After a few minutes a 5th appeared. Several players grudgingly said that they would play with 5. The lady in the 1 seat was reluctant to play with only 5 players, but on the first hand she hit quad 6s for a$93 bonus. Maybe the next time she won't mind playing short handed.
Due to the previously mentioned thunder storm, the humidity was high (at least for LV) and the cards felt like they had glue poured on them. Getting them off of the deck one at a time was a challenge. I wonder how sticky the cards will be in Aruba since the humidity will be significantly higher there. I can recall my parents sprinkling baby powder on the cards/table back in Maryland. It really helped with sticky cards. I can see it now when I sprinkle the Aruba tournament tables with baby powder.............

The friendly repair man visited this morning. He said that the only thing he could see was that the return rate was 56 which aparently is not within acceptable parameters. Don't ask me what a return rate is because I haven't a clue. He changed a few splitters within the apartment complex and everything seems fine. He didn't even mention the $$$ that the help desk said I may be liable for. Thank you Mr. Friendly Repairman.

My normal work week is now in the rear view mirror and I am finally starting to get excited about the trip. If you happen to be in Aruba over the next week or so, please make it a point to introduce yourself.

Updated: 6:56 PM PDT on September 20, 2005
Observed At: Las Vegas, Nevada
Elevation: 2178 ft / 664 m
77 °F / 25 °C
Mostly Cloudy

Updated: 10:00 PM AST on September 20, 2005
Observed At: Aruba, Aruba
Elevation: 108 ft / 33 m
86 °F / 30 °C
Mostly Cloudy
Heat Index:
99 °F / 37 °C

Monday, September 19, 2005

Blue Chips are "Unlucky"

One of our players subscribes to this philosophy. He is an incredible toker as well as a very nice person. I guess those two qualities tend to go hand-in-hand. In any case, he will give the dealer ALL of the blue chips that are in any pot that he wins. In my case, I have resisted the temptation to load the pot with blue chips whenever he is in the game. I have even gone so far as to NOT make his small blind correct before dealing. Obviously, he is going to post the $2 blind with a $5 chip since he has NO blues in his stack. If I make the blind correct before dealing, he will throw the $3 change to me. (My standard procedure is to change it up, before dealing, if a player posts the small blind with red instead of two blues. Most dealers don't do this either out of convenience, laziness or both. I like the blinds to look like the correct blinds.) I put the same number of blues in every NL pot. Enough singles to facilitate the rake as well as a few to facilitate toking if the player so chooses. Two nights ago I watched in semi-horror as one dealer pushed "George" a pot that contained at least 20 blues. Like clockwork, he sorted the blues and pushed them to the dealer. I turned and walked away shaking my head. It was more than a little embarrassing. Shame has left the building..........

On Saturday I dealt to a guy who was a dealer from Harrah's New Orleans. He said that Harrah's basically paid for him to relocate here. He said he had a house(or what was left of a house) in NO and that he would have to go back to meet with the adjusters, but he didn't think that he would ever live there again. Enough is enough I guess..........

I don't even pretend to understand it, but sometime between 8-10AM tomorrow a repairman is scheduled to visit my humble abode. My high speed cable internet stared flaking out about 5 days ago. It comes and goes with no rhyme or reason. I can't even revert to dial-up since I don't have a home phone. I finally called customer service. Tier 1 support had me jump through all the hoops at least twice before he gave up and escalated the issue to Tier 2. It took tier 2 about 2 minutes to tell me it was a problem with the wiring--not in the modem/computer or in the lines outside the house, but somewhere IN the house. He stressed that there "may" be service charge depending on what they find. Like I said, I don't understand it at all. The cable to the TV works fine and if my computer connects to the internet intermittently, why would it decide to pop off-line from time to time. I would think that if the cable was bad, it would be bad all the time. Maybe there is a chip munk (if we even HAVE chipmunks in LV) jiggling the wires?? Just goes to show you how illiterate I am when it comes to technology(and wildlife). Hell, I don't even understand how a CORDED phone works, let alone a cell phone. I do know that when I want to be online, I want to be online, so whatever the cost, I can't live without internet.

Aruba looms closer and closer and I can't seem to get too excited about it.....yet. One day at a time I guess. I still have to work tomorrow afternoon, then full speed ahead with the packing and preparation.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Tick Tock Tick Tock

The time keeps flying by and I will be leaving for Aruba in 8 short days. Keeping in mind that I have to work 5 of those 8 days, I know I should be packing, unpacking, buying appropriate dealer clothes, packing, gathering up the passport & some cash, unpacking, repacking. My big suitcase still is not entirely unpacked from the poker cruise in February. At least I finally requested time off for the trip. One thing at a time.......

I left the house early yesterday morning headed for the Las Vegas Convention Center and the Global Gaming Expo with the "Free" pass, a $75 value, tucked safely in my pocket. The pass was compliments of Gaming Partners International(GPI). GPI is made up of what once was Borgonne et Grassette and Paulson Gaming. Knowing that parking at the LVCC was $5 and considering that I had never been on the Las Vegas Monorail, I decided to park at the Flamingo and take the monorail. With the walk from the Flamingo parking garage and then the walk from the Nextel station to the convention center entrance, I would have done just as well to have parked at the Hilton and walked over...

**phone just rang. someone wanting to borrow money. That is one of the things I dislike about Las Vegas. Although this person has always paid me back, and promptly at that, I can't justify feeding HIS habit when I have addicitions and habits of my own to feed. I'm getting better at saying NO. Flat out NO. I did tell him that I would buy him dinner if he was that desperate, but I wouldn't give him money to play poker.**

to the convention center. In any case, I didn't read the fine print on the coupon. The fine print states that in order to receive the free admission, you must register online by Aug 29. Well shit! What's the difference? I was not alone and there was a gaggle of us in the same boat but the "nice lady" wasn't budging. I guess I really didn't need to see the slot machines of the future and where my money would eventually be going bad enough to pay $75 for the preview. I trekked it back to the monorail station and the Flamingo. As far as I could tell not one wheel, nut or bolt fell off of the monorail while I was aboard. Maybe they have finally worked out the kinks.....

I dug into my bag of casino mailings and noticed that I had some free play and free food at the Hard Rock so I pointed the Buick in that direction. The free play was a bust. The food was good, as usual. I then hit the Let it Ride table. I finally hit a flush and was able to escape with a $55 profit. Last Wednesday I profited $100 at the same table. Hmmmm, maybe I should just stick to Let it Ride

I have not put any cash in a slot maching for 15 days. A small victory, but I take them where I can find them...........

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Poker Room Promotions

As far as poker room promotions go, I believe that the Palms offers some of the best in the industry. In addition to earning $1/hr towards food or movie tickets, we are currently running three simultaneously. First of all we offer bonuses for any 4 of a kind or straight flush. In order to qualify, there must be $10 in called bets in limit and $20 worth of called bets in no limit. For 4 of a kind, you must have a pocket pair and for the straight flushes both hole cards must play. These bonuses reset at $50 and cap at $599. I understand that a poker jackpot of $600+ requires IRS paperwork. Of course everyone who wins less than $599 reports it, but at least the casino doesn't have to bother with paperwork on their end. The second, long running promotion is Diamonds are Forever. Any diamond flush from midnight Saturday night through midnight Thursday night earns players an entry. Monday through Friday mornings there are drawings from among the previous day's entries. Five names are drawn and each person wins $200. You don't have to be present at 9:00 AM to win but the money must be claimed, in person, within 24 hours. Lastly, beginning this past Sunday, we are offering money every time a team scores a touchdown or field goal during the ESPN Sunday game and during Monday Night Football. Prize money for each score ranges from $100-$500. There are 10 guaranteed drawings. If there are more than 10 scores, there are more than 10 drawings. If there are less than 10 scores, additional drawings are conducted every 30 minutes after the game until 10 prizes have been awarded. A table number and seat number are drawn. If you are in that particular seat, you win. It's as simple as that.
I believe that these are all pretty strong promotions. Having said that, there is always room for improvement. In chatting with the poker room manager yesterday, he challanged me to propose a promotion. What better way to get ideas than to ask you, the poker players of the world?
Some properties offer little or nothing for poker players. The Station Casinos offer a huge bad beat jackpot. Excalibur offers wheel spins for quads or better and for having AA cracked. Bellagio hands out a limited number of buffet comps. Wynn is more liberal with their free food than, say, Bellagio. Imperial Palace tosses hats into the pot on occasion. FreeRoll tourneys are popular in some poker rooms. I recently saw an advertisement that touted $599 cold hard cash for 126 hours of poker played in one months time. I personally think that winning with 2-7 deserves some type of reward even if it doesn't reinforce ideal strategy. The possibilities are literally endless.
So, let me hear your idea of the PERFECT poker room promotion.(replacing live dealers with machines so that no one feels the need to toke is NOT the kind of promotion that I am looking for!) What type of promotion would compel you to choose one room over another? Who knows, your idea just may turn into the next promotion offered in the Palms Poker Room.
Thanks, in advance, for your thoughts.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Where are you from and what do you do?

These are common questions that I frequently ask players who sit in my game. I have come to realize recently that these questions are not always just small talk. Sometimes it is simply a friendly way of trying to help a new player relax a little. Other times I want this information for my own purposes. If you choose to never cough up a buck or two for my toke box, I just may ask this question so that I can arm myself with some information. I may want this information so that I can avoid endeavors that put bread on YOUR table. YES, the fact that someone is playing in a poker game has a direct impact on maintaining the poker industry as a whole. For that reason, an ass in a seat is an ass in a seat and that ass in a seat has some benefit to the health of the poker industry. (Pun may or may not be intended) On the other hand, no one that I know would continue to deal poker if not for the generosity of the majority of players. You certainly have the liberty to choose where you spend your money, and so do I. Don't expect me to patronize extablishments/endeavors that enrich you if you can't throw me a bone once in awhile.
For what it's worth....................

The biggest $4-8 Limit HE pot I ever pushed

At least I think it is the largest. I don't think I would have forgotten a larger one, but anything is possible.
I pushed into the game as the players were jovially telling me to "get him outta here". Him being the previous dealer. I told them to be careful what they asked for......
About the second or third hand I dealt all hell broke loose. I don't even remember who started the raising, but pre-flop $112 dollars went in. Eight way action at $14 a pop. (Our blinds in the $4-8 games are only $1&$2 and we allow a bet and three raises so $14 is a cap). The flop came down 464. $4-$8-$12 cap it at $16. We are now down to 6 players and $96 went in on the flop. The turn brings a 5. For some strange reason, this street didn't get capped, but $8-raise to $16-re-raise to $24. One player dropped out so we now have 5 way action and $120 went in on the turn. For the life of me I can't remember the river card. It had not bearing in any case.....There was a $8 bet with only three callers. Four players went to show down and only $32 went in on the river. The 4 hands that got shown down were: A4, 78, 55 and 66. Pocket sixes, pay the man. Scant the $3 house rake and the $1 high hand rake I pushed $356 in a $4-8 game.
As a side note, after I pushed and pushed and pushed again there was a sizable pile of chips in front of Mr. 66. The table was squaking about the pot size. Mr. 66 asked me how much was in the pot. I stated $360. He stacked for a little bit and took a walk. When he came back to his seat and finished stacking and counting he stated, Murph, I guess you were right. (I later learned that during his walk he told the floor person on the high side about the hand, but quoted a different total for the pot) I asked him why I would lie to him about the pot size???? not knowing at that time that he didn't believe me. I'll either tell you how much was there or tell you that I don't know. I'm not likely to quote you a made up total........Go figure.

I'd like to push a bigger pot tomorrow because it was a fun hand to deal, but I doubt that I'll break that personal record for a long, long time.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

I've been thinking............

that I may be able to offer my spare bedroom, on a short term basis, to a casino worker from the Gulf Coast who wants to come to Las Vegas to seek employment. This person must have a gaming licence from their jurisdiction. Opening my home to a complete stranger is more than a little scary. If the person has a gaming license, at least I'll know that they weren't previously an axe murderer or common thief. Petty in light of the situation? Maybe....but so be it.
If you know of someone who meets this criteria AND you can personally recommend them, please contact me.


Brian returned to his neighborhood to find that his home was literally untouched by the storm. Not a roof shingle missing......his daughter's swingset still sitting in the back yard.............
How & why Katrina spared him we will never know.

I am now 8 days into slot sobriety.

Yesterday I visited the new Hilton Poker Room. I arrived about 1:45 and they had a single $3-6 limit game in progress. I visited with a player that I knew for a few minutes and then took a walk around the casino. I knew that I had a ton of comps available, so I stuck my players card in a slot machine and was shocked to see that instead of having over $700 in comps available, I now had the choice of taking that amount in comps OR cash. Guess which one I picked?? I can't imagine that this was the smartest marketing move. Because I (and countless others) had hundred of dollars in comps available, I visited the Hilton about once a week to eat for "free" and inevitably I pumped money into the machines or onto the tables. In one fell swoop I cashed out for cold, hard cash and now have no reason to drive across town once a week for "free" grub. Don't get me wrong, I am NOT complaining. I just don't see the wisdom in allowing players to take that money and walk out the door. Granted, many people probably just rammed that money back into a machine, but not me....... I have self control. (I can hear a few of you laughing their asses off at that statement)
Anywhoo, I wandered back to the poker room and took a free "poker lesson" for a few minutes. Several of those who also took the lesson started a second $3-6 limit game. To say that the game was soft would be a huge understatement. As an example, one of the students called me all the way down with 9-2 off. no pair, no flush draw, no straight draw, no nothing but a 9 high. Amazing, but that is poker as it is now played in many places by many people. I left there booking three wins in row.
The win streak came to a long, painful end today when I jumped into a $4-8 game at the Palms. It only took 1.75 hours for me to win my first pot. 8 hours later I had flopped exactly ONE set. One time around hour number 5 I came within $4 of getting even. If only I hadn't toked $4 on that pot I could have called it even and packed it in. LOL. That was as close as I got to even and the next 3 hours were a train wreck as I watched my chips get dispersed around the table. Entertainment costs $$. I guess I'll tell myself that I was sufficiently entertained.

Where did my weekend go? Wait, don't answer that---it was spent sitting at a poker table. Not a bad way to spend two days off. I'll be back in the poker wars tomorrow, just in a different seat. Please say hello if you find yourself playing at the Palms.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Some good news amid all the bad news.

I have finally confirmed that two of my friends who live on the Gulf Coast are alive. Brian lives just north of Lake Ponchatrain and Will lives in Pensacola.
I spoke with Brian yesterday. He and his immediate family evacuated to Jackson, MS. They are fine, but still without electricity. He hopes to get back to his home soon to see how extensive the damage is. His brother-in-law stayed put in Pascagoula and as of yesterday they had not heard from him.

Please keep everyone impacted by the hurricane in your thoughts in the days, weeks and months ahead as they try to put their lives back together.

Brian, you ready to move to the desert yet??

My month of slot mania has come to an end. August ended on high note as I eeked out small wins at MGM, Palms and Bellagio. Last night I played poker with Linda at Bellagio. She was "out to play" for about an hour but she then got picked up to deal. I booked a small win in the $4-8 limit game. That coupled with the small win in $4-8 limit last Saturday night left me 2 for 2 playing live poker in August. Hard to believe that I only played poker twice this month since I played the damn machines nearly every day. My goal for this month is NO SLOTS. Wish me luck.

*There was one little dealer annoyance from last night. Well maybe two little dealer annoyances. The first was the dealer who thought that tapping his toke before pocketing it passed for "thank you". Newsflash. Tap Tap does not equal Thank You. The second was the dealer who brought in each and every bet one at a time by picking it up and depositing it into the pot. If there were 8 players, she repeated this motion 8 times. She did all this with her right hand. Painfully slow.*

Please give what you can to help relieve the suffering along the Gulf Coast. I personally have issues with the Red Cross. I won't go into the details. BUT at this point I think that they are probably the best option.

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