Saturday, December 19, 2009

The immutable laws of poker, #1

It always takes longer to climb out of a hole than to dig into one.

Guess the casino, #361





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Answer: Orleans

Friday, December 18, 2009

Poker gems, #336

Steve Zolotow, in Card Player magazine column, December 16, 2009 (vol. 22, #25), p. 78.


That is why I always tell young players to finish college and get a degree. There are a lot of mediocre doctors, lawyers, stockbrokers, and accountants who grind out a comfortable living. There are no mediocre poker players who do.

Guess the casino, #360





To reveal the hidden answer, use your mouse to highlight the space immediately after the word "Answer" below.




Answer: Hard Rock

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Weird books

No poker content here. I'm stuck at home sick. Web surfing. Came across this, and it's too good not to share: list of 101 weird books. Go see. I won't even tell you my personal favorites so that you can discover your own.

Guess the casino, #359





To reveal the hidden answer, use your mouse to highlight the space immediately after the word "Answer" below.




Answer: Circus Circus

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Mookie tonight

Since I can't go out feeling as I do, I'm going to stay home and play the Mookie tonight on Full Tilt Poker, 7:00 p.m. PST. Password and other details can be found here. I have it on good authority that Cardgrrl will be playing, too. Anybody care to join us?

I'm not dead

I just wish I were.

I'm on day three of the sickest I've been since moving to town 3 1/2 years ago: nose a snot factory, coughing, every cell aches, fever peaked at 101.3 last night.

I can't blame it on the WPBT weekend, like others who are posting from their deathbeds, as I didn't stay up unusually late, and had not a single drop of booze. Not sure what has afflicted me. It's not acting quite like typical influenza, but it's also obviously not just a cold either. Not that a precise diagnosis would do me any good.

So I'm just staying home, feeling pitifully sorry for myself, watching Netflix movies, napping fitfully when I can. Maybe somebody will come along and give me a good clunk on the head to put me out of my misery.


Guess the casino, #358





To reveal the hidden answer, use your mouse to highlight the space immediately after the word "Answer" below.




Answer: Treasure Island

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Guess the casino, #357






To reveal the hidden answer, use your mouse to highlight the space immediately after the word "Answer" below.




Answer: Riviera

Monday, December 14, 2009

Guess the casino, #356





To reveal the hidden answer, use your mouse to highlight the space immediately after the word "Answer" below.




Answer: Riviera

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Poker gems, #335

Mike Caro, in Poker Player newspaper column, December 21, 2009, p. 3.


Disasters surround us in poker--especially no-limit. You're going to experience some, and if you're not prepared to handle that agony with grace, you shouldn't play.

Why not to match stacks



Yesterday during the poker bloggers' tournament there was an all-in and call between two players who both had among the bigger stacks at the table. The dealer proceeded to count down the winner's chips, then count the loser's.

In the middle of this action, a player not involved suggested that it would be faster if the dealer just matched the stacks up against each other. The dealer politely declined to do so, but didn't explain himself.

This is a situation that comes up frequently, and surely there are many players--in fact, I would guess the great majority--who wonder exactly the same thing, but don't bother asking. So let me explain this little insider trade secret.

There are actually two reasons (well, I know of two; if there are others, please enlighten me in the comments) why matching stacks is not a good idea. First, once in a while in the process of doing so the stacks get jostled somehow and collapse, getting all intermingled, and it then becomes impossible to know how much each player had. It's a huge disaster, inevitably resulting in heated arguments, multiple conflicting opinions, the floor being called, security tapes reviewed, and the entire game grinding to a protracted halt while it gets sorted out. Nobody ends up happy. The correct procedure is for the dealer to count the winner's stack, then count out the same number of chips from the loser's stack, all the while keeping both sets of chips well away from each other, so that in the event of stacks toppling over, there is no danger of them getting mixed up.

Second, in some casinos they have in play chips that are many years old right alongside new ones. Chips gradually grind down from rubbing and bumping against each other, and they get thinner over the years. It then becomes very easy for a stack of, say, 20 chips that are mostly older, thinner ones to be the same height as a stack of 19 chips that consists mostly of new, full-thickness ones. Local casinos that come to mind where this is a real and ongoing problem include Caesars Palace, Imperial Palace, and the Golden Nugget. (For the same reason, you want to be careful when cashing out your chips in such rooms, because you can often easily fit 21 chips into one slot in the rack, and if the cashier isn't alert to the potential problem, you thereby shortchange yourself the value of one chip.)

When you're at a poker table where the dealers settle an all-in situation by matching stacks, you can be pretty sure it's a poker room in which management doesn't much care about the details of getting things right, and that attitude has been passed on to the dealers. Rooms that employ better-trained dealers and monitor them closely for correct procedures will not allow this time-saving but sloppy shortcut to be used.

So there you have it--one of the tiny mysteries of poker operations revealed.

Christmas at the Palazzo

Today I had one of those mornings when I was wide awake after sleeping only two or three hours, and couldn't get back to sleep no matter what I did. So I decided to try another early Sunday morning at the Venetian, the last attempt having been highly successful. This time I got hit with the deck and repeatedly got paid by opponents who didn't believe I could have it every time, made my money fast, and was ready to head home after less than three hours.

But the poker bloggers are here this weekend and still going strong--or, in some cases, not quite so strong, but going anyway. I knew that they had arranged for a private box at the Legasse Stadium at the Palazzo, so I decided to wander over and say a quick hello/goodbye while my fellow degenerates watched some football (something in which I have less than zero interest, if that's possible).

On the walk over, I encountered some impressive holiday decorations. I had received an email notice about the grand unveiling of this multi-part display, but had then quickly forgotten about it until I passed through the atrium between the Venetian and the Palazzo--at which point it's impossible not to notice what they've done.

The first thing that will inevitably catch your eye is what must be the world's largest Christmas wreath, except that it's splayed out vaguely like a snake instead of tucked into a neat ring. I went all around, trying to shoot it from as many angles as possible for you. I think you will want to click on the pictures to see them in full size:

















In a couple of those pictures you might notice a red rectangle on the ground level. On closer inspection, this turns out to be billions (well, it seems so) of cranberries floating in shallow water:







Next you will pass two polar bears almost entirely covered in white poinsettias, as if ready for the Rose Parade:











Finally, there is another giant wreath thing in the main lobby of the hotel. With this one, you can't take an escalator to the second floor for a different perspective, but you can go down to the sports book level (an escalator ride down) and look up at it from below, as the last photo shows (though the sun coming through the skylight unfortunately washed out the picture too much):









They are really strikingly lovely decorations, unlike any I've seen in 48 years of encountering merchants' Christmas displays. If you're in the area, they're well worth a little detour to visit in person.

Dennis Phillips is smarter than I thought




From an interview with Dennis Phillips in All In magazine, December, 2009, p. 96:

What's your favorite "bad" Hold'Em hand?

My favorite bad Hold'Em hand has to be 2-4 offsuit because I took a
six-figure pot with that hand in a cash game less than a year ago. One guy
slow-played aces before the flop and this other guy who was on the button had
pocket deuces. I was in the big blind, and the flop came 4-4-2. Two of us
flopped boats, but I had the bigger one, and the guy who had aces didn't believe
either one of us. That's what they call a cooler.

No, sir. That's what they call S.O.P. Deuce-four cracking aces and besting a smaller full house is just what it does, day in and day out. But I'm delighted to have you in the Deuce-Four family despite that little slip-up!

Guess the casino, #355





To reveal the hidden answer, use your mouse to highlight the space immediately after the word "Answer" below.




Answer: Monte Carlo