Thursday, February 19, 2015

Get Ur Freak On

Above: The Bradenton Area Convention Center is the venue for the Manatee Regional bridge tournament.

Tuesday and Wednesday, I played in a Regional Tournament with Sandy McCay. Remember when players used to complain about computer-dealt hands? You don't hear that much anymore. I guess they've learned that they really are random and not specially selected deals. I held the following freak Wednesday afternoon:
-- J 9 8 7 3 2 8 Q J 10 8 6 2.

I was first to act. No bid shows this hand, so I passed as did left-hand opponent. Partner opened 1 Pass to me. I guess you could make a large club raise, but I bid 1 . LHO doubled and partner redoubled showing three-card support! Wow!

RHO bid 2, and I tried 4. The object here is to get to play the contract, and 3 might have been better. Your thoughts?

LHO bid 4 and partner doubled. Passing is out of the question, so would you show your clubs now or simply bid 5. I think 5 could be right, but that alerts the opponents of the double fit (and possibly their double fit). I bid 5, LHO doubled and it passed out. Here are all four hands:

I ruffed the opening spade lead, took the heart finesse and wrapped up 13 tricks for a score of plus 850 and 23 out of 25 matchpoints. I was slightly surprised to find out that we didn't have more company, actually, but I was happy with the result.

Above: Crowd shot of the players on Wednesday.

Above: The Convention Center was a nice place to play. Good lighting, lots of room, plenty of fish, etc.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

What the heck is a kennel club?

Above: This sign greets visitors to the Palm Beach Kennel Club.

World Series of Poker Circuit events (called WSOPC) work like a traveling circus. They put down their gear in a city for two weeks, then move on to the next venue. I recently played at the Tunica MS stop. They had come their from Durant OK, and Atlantic City NJ and San Diego CA before that. I've noticed that when they left Tunica, they moved on to something called Palm Beach Kennel Club. Now what the heck does that mean?

Now that I live most of the year in Florida, I've found out that dog track racing is a huge sport here. What, old people have nothing else to do after retirement? Ha. Yes, the kennel club is actually a dog track (I think all greyhounds) with a poker room.

Wednesday, I got up at the ungodly hour of 8:00 a.m. and drove to West Palm Beach FL to play in one of the WSOPC events (this one). I wasn't very lucky. Example: It folded to me in the small blind and I raised three times (900) with A K and the big blind called. The flop was three low cards. I made a C-bet of 1250 and BB called. The turn was a blank and I checked and BB bet. Arrgh, so I gave up.

Later a player to my right made a big overbet (he had a short stack), and I moved in with 10 10 (I was short, too). He called and turned over J 10, yes, I had him dominated! After the board ran out J-9-8-7-x, both had a straight. And so it went -- enough of that.

I didn't do anything (there were 196 runners, and I busted out somewhere in the middle), but I did enjoy playing there, and seeing what a kennel club actually is. Here are some images:

Above: The poker room is down this hallway and to the left. The tournament, however, was up a level.

Above: Handlers lead some of the dogs. Notice the dog who is second from the left. What is he doing? Click to enlarge if you like.

Above: Staffers work on the dog track.

Above: This image shows some of the booths that betting junkies dog-racing fans use to track and place their bets.

Photos taken with my point-and-shoot.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Is it too early to get excited?

I went to the WSOP web site today and noticed they have the full schedule of events posted (see here) for this year's series. Previously they had a teaser notice showing some of the changes such as 5000 starting chips in $1000 buy-in events. This is a good change because 3000 doesn't give you any room for error.

They've added new events, too. There is a Colossus NL Hold 'em Tournament with a $565 buy-in and a guaranteed $5 million prize pool. That was a wow, but what really caught my eye was a Super Senior Event for geezers players like me who are at least age 65 -- can you spell s-u-h-w-e-e-t?

I'm getting excited and it's four months away. Is something wrong with me? Am I truly a degenerate?

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Lammer jammer mamma

Above: When you play in satellites, they pay you with tournament buy-in chips called lammers (see below for Wiki definition).

The WSOPC hasn't gone well. I played the first few days with nothing to show for it. In one, I made a big mistake and didn't recover. Another I had two bad beats: I lost with K K to K 10, all-in pre-flop when the board ran out with four diamonds. I built my stack back up, then called a guy's all-in on the flop of 4-3-3 when he had 2 2 and I had A A. A 2 on the river was the two-outer he needed. When you're running bad, you're running bad. I took a couple of days off to regroup.

When I was in Las Vegas last summer, I talked to a guy who told me he won all his entry fees (he played the Senior Event and the Main Event) by playing the one-table satellites there. I've always avoided them thinking they were a crap shoot -- low starting chips and fast levels. He swore no, they were beatable, but (paradoxically) you have to play ultra-tight. That didn't make sense to me, so I expressed my skepticism, but he continued to tell me the same thing. This was a guy I played with, talked to, and liked. He wasn't some nut, so I had to a least consider what he was saying.

After I took two days off here, I decided to try them as an experiment. The Tunica Horseshoe event is offering three kinds: $75 buy-in with 1500 starting chips and 10-minute levels, $125 buy-in with 2000 starting chips (pays $1125) and 15-minute levels, and $200 buy-in with 3000 chips and 15-minute levels (pays $1850).

Tuesday, I played in three of the $125 type and chopped one of them, so came out ahead for the day. What I discovered is that you do have more play than you would suspect, and playing tight is right. If you have one misstep, however, you are in trouble. You don't have enough chips to withstand that unless you were lucky enough to double up early.

Wednesday, I played in one of the $200s. When there were two of us left, we each had 15K chips, so agreed to an even chop. Chops are common when two- or three-handed. Even the bad players know that anything can happen when short-handed, so they are willing to minimize the risk by chopping. That was a $925 profit, so, hey, I think I might like these things.

You are paid with lammers and cash, but mostly lammers. You can sell them to anyone entering a tournament, so they are essentially the same as cash (see photo above).

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In a casino setting, lammers are also used to indicate which variant is being used, whose turn it is to pay the blind etc.., and lammers are also a name for "chips" awarded in satellite tournaments as buy-in chips to larger tournaments.

Poker equipment - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Image taken with my cell phone. I brought my camera, but left my cable (to connect to my laptop) in FL, so using phone.