Went to Caesars Palace again today. My own poker went much better today. Won back what I lost yesterday. I realize that that's a completely irrational and meaningless way to look at results, but I see the graph of my earnings, I see a blip down yesterday, I see an equivalent blip back up today, and it feels meaningful, as if I have set aright something in the universe that went wrong yesterday, and harmony and balance have been restored.
After playing, I watched about the last half of the Clubs and Spades brackets of the round of 32 of the NBC National Heads-Up Poker Championship. It was a lot harder to get a seat today--apparently many more seats went to friends and family members of the players, in addition to more fans having time available on a weekend to come watch. Fortunately, though, they fixed their process for filling the seats, so I had just a short wait.
What the hell is going on with Orel Hershiser? Yesterday he took down Ted Forrest, and today he casually knocks off first Alan Cunningham, then Freddy Deeb. That's just unreal.
Before the festivities started I was looking over the roster of matches, trying to guess which one would be the feature table. Then I noticed that Phil Ivey was up against Johnny Chan. Duh. I wonder how long the NBC executives had to debate about that decision--maybe 5 nanoseconds? Interestingly, it turned out to be the shortest of the eight matches.
My overall record for guessing the outcomes of the round of 64 was 19-13. I improved considerably for today's round of 32: 12-4. For the round of 16 (completed just minutes ago as I write this), I went back down to just barely better than how a chimp would do: 5-3. My guesses for the round of 8 are Ivey, Seed, Bloch, and Ferguson--an all Full Tilt Poker pro finale. Of course, given the rate at which FTP is signing new members onto its team these days, you pretty much can't swing a dead cat in a poker room without hitting a Full Tilt pro. (Interestingly, very few poker rooms have rules explicitly prohibiting players from swinging dead cats.)
Notably, I did not hear any praying from Jerry Yang (or from his family, who were just two rows directly in front of me) during his match with Phil Laak. That's probably why he lost, y'know--not enough praying this time around.
The announcer asked Mike Matusow during his match whether he had any side bets on himself. He said he did--he and Gus Hansen bet $10,000 on whether Mike could defeat Tom "durrr" Dwan. Uptick ten grand for Mikey, courtesy of Gus.
Below are a few photos from today's session, which I'll just post without further comment, since I don't really have anything meaningful to say about them. I also took six video clips, but I'm having difficulty getting them converted to a file format that is usable here. If I succeed, I'll add them in.
One funny story about the dealer shown in that last photo. Last spring I played a tournament at Caesars in the afternoon, then hit Treasure Island that evening. By coincidence, a few of the day-shift CP dealers were now off work, and had also gone to TI to play some poker, and I got sent to a table with them. It was a wild but extraordinarily fun bunch. One of them was the one shown above. I don't remember his name now, so let's call him Dealer 1. The other significant player is Dealer 2. I wasn't in the hand.
I don't recall exactly what the action was or what the board cards were, but on the turn Dealer 1 bet and Dealer 2 called, saying, "I need a king on the river." The river card was a king. Dealer 2 raised his hands over his head and yelled, "Yahtzee!" He then made a huge bet. Well, everybody at the table knows that this is a common gambit--you call for a card that really won't help you, so that the 1 out of 13 times that it happens to hit, you can bet and make your opponent really nervous. When you're on the receiving end of this show, it's not that you necessarily believe what was said, but it would feel so incredibly foolish to have an opponent tell you what card he needs to make his hand, that card comes, he bets, and you call anyway.
So Dealer 1 doesn't believe Dealer 2's ploy for a second, and insta-calls. Dealer 2 turns over the full house that the king on the river gave him, and win both a huge pot and the right to make fun of his friend's call, well, basically for the rest of their lives! I realize that it probably doesn't sound funny the way I've told it--it's one of those "you had to be there" moments. But it was one of the funniest things I've ever seen go down at a poker game.
The rest of the session was chock-full of people calling for cards, then yelling "Yahtzee!"--whether or not the card called for hit. It would have been tremendously fun, if only I had been winning instead of losing that day.
Finally got the videos to convert and play right. As I've said, my camera is old. When it came out, any video capability in what was primarily a still digital camera was still a novelty, so the frame rate and resolution are low. I hope, though, that these clips will help those who couldn't be there get a sense of what the experience was like.
Clements doubles up Raymer:
Hansen eliminates Nguyen:
Laak vs. Yang, AQ vs. AQ:
Matusow eliminates Dwan:
Raymer eliminates Clements:
Tran eliminates Cloutier: