Sunday, June 29, 2008

Vegas Pt.5

Finally got a win under my belt today. Played cash up in Binions for 6 hours tonight and took $730 out of the game. It was much needed I can assure you. After another lightning quick elimination from today's $1500 tourney I was contemplating coming home as things have just been that bad. Getting it in after 10 minutes with Kings and I still can't get a hand to hold, I really felt I was destined for brokes-ville. I've had a real kicking this week. It's so easy to lose a lot of money here either on tourneys, cash, socialising and of course gambling that it takes quite some discipline to juggle them all successfully let alone relying on your hands to hold when you do get the money in good.

My plan of getting some money together from cash games is almost over before it even began. I'd be delighted if I was even by the World Series which is a far cry from what I had planned. I'm still going to give the WSOP ME a try as things stand but it's in the balance. I need money to play poker in the future and I could do myself a lot of harm if I was to head for home a huge loser on the trip. As it stands if I don't cash in the ME that is where I'll be and this scares me. Lets hope I can at least get a safety net from cash in week two.

Finally, I have a runner on the final table of the H.O.R.S.E event in Barry Greinstein. Should he go on to win it It would be huge for me as I've backed him @ 66/1 with PP pre-tourney. Take it down Barry G.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Vegas Pt.4

Been steadying the ship the last few days after my abysmal start. Played in the RIO, the Venetian and Binions, the latter of which was the most profitable/enjoyable. I pretty much broke even over the 3 sessions which is a result I guess. I've been playing horribly in spots and making a lot of silly errors still which is most unlike me. In one hand in Binions I got in a pot with Mad Marty Wilson and rivered a gutshot only for me to call his check-raise with the nuts, much to the amazement the table. I thought I had a one-card straight and was behind to 9-10 and thus only called.

I have to improve my concentration levels. I'm taking no interest in hands other then my own and even with them I'm making mistakes. I'm actually playing some really sub-par poker at the moment. My gosh I just hope I can cut this out and start playing better.

Tomorrow I play the $1500 WSOP tournament. It's a gamble fest but I'm going to take a shot. Mansion have given me a nice incentive to play it so I think it's a sound decision. It being my first WSOP event I guess I'm kinda excited. I hope to run as deep as possible obviously but win lose or draw I shall be using this as one of probably two warm-up tourneys for the WSOP ME.

More updates tomorrow.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Vegas Pt3

No more silly stories/incidents today, things have taken too sharp a turn. Having wasted the first few days blowing money, it was time to start playing poker. I've blown a considerable amount of money gambling, something which I rarely do. I am a gambler but the first three days in Vegas I gambled with elements of compulsion and recklessness. Going in to yesterday, my mindset was all wrong for poker. I was tilted, I was tired and I was unhappy.

Played three 2/5 sessions and lost a full buy-in of 500 in each. Once in the Venetian which was very tough, I was outplayed. The other two in the RIO which was a lot softer but I was defeated before I even sat down. I lost a full buy-in forcing a gut shot on the flop in one. When I finally left I was asked for money which I had owed and forgotten about from a friend, another 500 down.

At 11pm last night I returned to the Gold Coast exhausted. My body felt so drained and I was almost in a state of depression. This is an incredibly dangerous place and the utmost discipline is needed. Something I have been lacking.

The good news is today I feel much better. I'm not going to gamble, not once. I'm going to drop down to 1/3 and start afresh. I'm not going to let results affect me, I am going to play each hand as it comes. The HORSE tournament is on and I'm going to spectate at that, somewhat ironically I gambled hard on it before I left.

I'm hoping for a change of attitude by the end of today rather than a change in luck. I hope I can achieve it.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Vegas part deux

They always get startled. Every time, without fail. I mean surely they have walked into a room before and there was someone in there. It's a hotel after all, people tend to be in rooms from time to time. So why is it that house maids always launch the door of my room open and then say "oh my god, I didn't realise there was somebody in here!"? They don't really give you a chance to alert them of your occupancy. Perhaps they should knock. Maybe its a Gold Coast thing, launching into rooms. I plan on placing a collection of shoes at the door in time for tomorrow morning's arrival is all I'll say.

Was out last night with the Blonde poker people. Had dinner in New York New York's steakhouse Gallaghers. Very impressive portions it has to be said. Most certainly a few less cows in the world after our performance last night. They give you plenty of mash too so top feed all round. Chris, Mark and Snoops got their steaks cooked the wrong side of rare, which never fails to be off-putting. Ah yeah think you spilt another drop of blood there, careful now. Well done.

It was onto the Voodoo Lounge then which was incredible if not nauseating. You catch a glass lift in which you can see the whole of Vegas as you're shot into the air. Phenomenal view but theres still something creepy about being 50 flights up, looking over the edge to what would be certain death. Met more poker peeps there such as fellow blogger Graham f-badger Clarkson. We all then watched Dana drink some head-sized glass of orange stuff for her birthday in uber quick time. A short while after she was complaining of headaches and a tummy bug. Must have been something she ate.

On then to Spearman Rhino which I didn't enjoy quite frankly. The price of admission and drinks is pure madness. Screwed at every opportunity, especially if that's what you're after. I have no doubt I am in the minority but strip clubs freak me out. Some girl jumping on you blind-sided and saying give me $200 doesn't seem all that cute. All this while you over-hear form discussions between the regular punters as if they were weighing up the runners in the 9.15 at Shelbourne Park. Taxi!

Where would the tourists be without them? Taxis are vital for getting about Vegas in this heat. Because OMFG the heat. They do have to be considered a rake though and I'm feeling a bit like Gordon spending 1000's a week on taxis. I've met one cabbie a few times who does the Gold Coast runs who has been most helpful. Took me to an electrical specialist to get my laptop plug adapter, he even came in with me to help pick it out. Also took me to a cheap supermarket and all the while telling me about the best shows, eats etc.

Playing my first piece of poker action tonight. Going to venture down to the Bellagio for a few hours of 2/5 action. Should be interesting to see has the standard improved/dis-improved with the WSOP rolled into town. If the standard is the same as last November I shouldn't have a problem winning in the game.

Will update tomorrow on how I got on.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Vegas Pt1

I've arrived in Vegas safe and sound. It was a long day travelling especially considering I played the Jackpot the night before leaving. I'm still glad I went in for a spin though as all the regs were in and I got a lot of well wishes which was pleasent. People seemed genuinely excited and hopeful of my adventure which was nice. I assumed I would sleep on the plane but was incapable which left me quite tired by the time I arrived in LA. The woman next to me seemed all set for a chat for the entire journey but as the feeling was far from mutual I ended up being quite short and probably rude with her. One word answers ftw. Had the usual crappy airplane food. The pretzels are pretty much the highlight of the journey as the meals are border-line eatable. The journey was 11 hours total before I arrived in LA.

Travelling through Los Angeles airport I was greeted by two seperate Americans who seemed eager to help me out and direct me to my connecting flight. Both told me I was a "good guy", both shook my hand yet both then asked me for money for their respective charities. Welcome to the USA. The airport itself was jam-packed with Chinese people. The surfer dudes were nowhere to be found and who would have thought that the only lasting memory I would have of LA was flushdraws and gutshots.

I gobbled down a McDonalds in the airport, the first I have eaten since my previous visit to LAX airport. I now remember why I haven't eaten it since. Such crap. The flight to Las Vegas is always a more enjoyable one than the first. Mainly because its tens times quicker but also because you get a good view of Los Angeles/the desert/Las Vegas en route. One woman fainted at the back of the plane just before the flight landed. She was treated quickly, carefully and confidentially by the United Airlines crew who screamed down the intercom. "Medical assistance needed immediately at the back of the plane". One Irish and 111 Chinese faces staring down the back of the plane at the woman in distress. Lovely.

Landed in Vegas and arrived in the amusement/theme park that is Las Vegas airport. It was quicker to find a slot club membership than a baggage re-claim. I had to get a tram in order to collect my bags. Naturally while waiting for the luas thingy I played some jungle rumble slots. Welcome to Vegas.

The baggage re-claim was particularly entertaining. Unbeknownstome my bag had actually passed by me around 15 times before I decided to turn over the "bag that looked like my bag upside down" bag which turned out to in fact be my bag. Elsewhere a small Chinese man who looked a bit like Kenny Ho was having trouble with the carousel. To be frank, I think he could have positioned his head better while he observed the passing bags. Staring straight ahead is -EV as by the time your eyes realise that it is your bag, the bag has gone someway left. Alas his strategy was found out when he was left clutching the wheels (easily the most ungrabbable part) of his case as it went further and further left dragging the other bags, the people to his left and himself along with it.

Got to the Gold Coast fine, $14 in a taxi incl tip. At check-in I tried the oul $20 "please upgrade my room" tip as the woman checked me in. This is where you squeeze $20 into your passport (which you need to produce upon check-in for i.d. purposes) and ask for a complimentary upgrade. It has a surprisingly high success rate and I have not lost faith. If they can't help you out they give you the $20 back so I shall be gambling again in the RIO in 10 days time.

Speaking of which I ventured over to that very Casino last night. It was as I expected it to be. Over-crowded, over commercialised and in general over the top. I doubt I will be in there much other than the Main Event, not my scene at all. Bumped into Jen and the rest of the Blonde crew over there. It's Dana's birthday tonight and they're all going out so I'll be making an appearance at that.

Back at the Gold Coast now typing this up. I must say I am very happy with this hotel. I was kind of expecting it to be a dump but it's far from it. Very comfortable little spot, dare I say superior to the RIO which is about three times the price. It has a cheap shop/off-licence and plenty of restaurants serving stuff-that-I-recognise-so-I'll-be-able-to-eat-it food. There is however a considerable amount of old people and it is hard not to notice that the entertainment hall (which seems to have a Butlins type theme where singing/waving your hands from side side to side is encouraged) is located right apposite the bingo hall.

Not much else to report, had to catch up on some sleep when I arrived obv so haven't been up to much. Played a bit of craps/slots for the last hour or so which was fun. Lost on slots, won on craps. Looking forward to blowing most of my money in such games this trip. Only kidding, all things in moderation etc etc.

More trip reporting laterz.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Vegas Bound

In around 10 hours time I shall be in the skies en route to Las Vegas. After all the messing of being in and then being out, I am now in again. I've decided to take a shot. I am teaming up with Ladbrokes for the World Series and the package that they provide. Its probably the best package available as you get 10 days accommodation in the RIO as well as the much acclaimed Laddies hospitality. I have been told the RIO isn't the best hotel but I like the idea of staying where the WSOP is on. I'm not sure why it has a bad rep to be honest, it seems nice from the research I've looked at on the web.

I have decided to fund the WSOP out of my own money. It is a gamble no doubt but I believe it is one I have to take. I would not be able to sit through the WSOP this July and not be a part of it. The word destiny is a bit dramatic but I do think I was due to take a shot this year. Win lose or draw playing this tourney is an integral part of becoming a more complete poker player. I may not have such an opportunity again to just drop everything and jet off to the US with a fist full of dollars so take it I shall.

I had originally agreed a deal with 5starpool and a syndicate of boardsies. The offer meant a lot and re-stored a lot of my faith in boards. There are some good people on there after all. I am a little disappointed in myself in how I treated these people. I did agree to the syndicate originally and then backed out later. I should have thought out the offer more at the time, I rushed into a yes when in reality I was pretty uncomfortable with the proposal. I do not like the responsibility of playing for other people not least a syndicate of 40 people some of which I have never even spoken to. I had to back out and I am just sorry I didn't take time with my decision initially. Thank you again to those that got involved, this gesture meant a lot to me.

So I'm Vegas bound and very excited. It's my second trip having travelled over in November last for a week. The soaring heat should make for a big difference from my last trip as will the duration spending some three weeks in crazy town. I am looking forward to getting there and relaxing for the first few days. this is why I am going relatively early. I want to be able to acclimatise a little rather than just arriving straight into the action. My accommodation plans have changed a few times but I've finalised them now. I'm in the Gold Coast from 22nd June till the 2nd July and then the RIO thereafter. It seems that all the Irish are out of town when I arrive with Valor in New York and John, Chubs, Rory and Donal in Cali which is a bummer. The Blonde Poker crew will be there though so not all is lost.

As regards my expectations for the trip, I really don't know to be honest. My game is not 100% at the moment and I know it. The amount of errors in bet sizing I've made in the last month or so is astonishing. I just need to relax more and think before I act. My confidence is fine as i have no doubt that I can still play 100% in the Main Event should I iron out my game a little between here and then. I'm going to be playing around three warm up events in the form of Venetian/Bellagio $500 comps so hopefully I can put in some good performances there. i will try and keep this blog updated to detail how i got on in each. I've noticed I've said I about 1000 times so far this post which is rather disgusting. Hopefully my Vegas posts are more about the banter of whats going on rather than talking about myself.

I'm not sure if anyone actually likes planes. I am not looking forward to the flight purely because of the boredom factor. Being stuck in a claustrophobic seat for 10 hours is hardly going to be riveting. I'm hoping I can just sleep through it. I have to get a much more enjoyable one thereafter from Los Angelas to Las Vegas. Its only about 50 mins and is ironically a much more comfortable plane than the Aer Lingus one. Then its the short cab ride from McCarran to my hotel room in the Gold Coast. Viva Las Vegas.

More waffle then.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Character Building

Is how Nicky Power described my Waterford Open experience last weekend. I like Nicky a lot. Hes a quality poker player but more importantly he's one of life's nice guys, a real gem of a fella. I only chatted to him briefly over the weekend but the few words he spoke made a lot of sense to me and I'm grateful for people like him in Irish poker as there seems to be 25 idiots for every solid guy.

We were discussing my untimely exit from the Waterford ME in which I lost my whole stack with aces just as it appeared I might be on for a big hurrah. I finished up in 20th which I suppose constitutes as a success as only one week ago I felt my game was all over the place (as Keith quickly pointed out yesterday) but when you get nothing from a tourney it generally always feels lousy. An hour prior to my exit there were 25 left and I had double the average. I perhaps arrogantly believed at that point that I should be winning or at least final-tabling. I guess I can take comfort in that I most certainly didn't fold my way to elimination and my exit could well have spring boarded me to a win on another day had the cards fell right.

I have been quick to praise Big Slick in the past on the Poker Ireland site for their tournaments but I must say this year's Open was no doubt inferior to previous installments. The Majestic was not an improvement on the Woodlands, in fact i would consider it subordinate in comparison. The turnout was way down from the 275 reached last time which was also a pity. Even the chips and tables seemed to be of a lesser quality than previous efforts. Finally I missed Neil Kelly's running commentary throughout the tournament. This is what made Waterford unique in the past. Hearing all the key hands, the chip counts and all the general banter over the speakers made for great entertainment. In fact the only joke I heard Neil crack last weekend was about getting the residents to buy the non-residents drinks in the bar. I'm pretty sure the mic was acting up which was probably the reason for this but again it's kinda disappointing when things change from what has been the norm before. I like Big Slick and hope they recognise this for future events as it would be a real shame to see their (somewhat exclusively imo) standards drop.

So with Waterford behind me I guess I have played my last poker tournament before Vegas. I fly out Sunday morning on the DUB-LA-LAS route in what should be the most intriguing few weeks of my poker adventures to date.

I hope to update my blog regularly while out there (every day if I get the chance) as I'm sure there will be plenty of tales to tell along the way. I'll make one more pre-Vegas post before I depart so until then:

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Losing with remarkable consistency

Very tough times indeed lately. In fact, the past 10 days have been my worst spell in poker since I started playing. I am getting killed both online and live. It seems like every time I log in I am losing money and the results of late would confirm as much. My ladbrokes account is merely one month old yet already i am beginning to re-think about the site. After an all too promising start I have lost about $5000 on the 2/4 tables over the past two weeks. During this time I have encountered some crushing beats (especially on the river-I'm not one for superstition but it is frightening how many pots I have lost on the river alone) and some real coolers. Despite this, I have been losing consistently over about 10,000 hands so something has to be up. My play has deteriorated too and its time to re-evaluate. The site is tough, that there is no doubt. Maybe I was getting an easy ride on Everest with their soft games saving my bacon. Maybe I am just running bad or maybe my game has slipped and I'm playing badly. Unfortunately I think the latter is prevailing.

Live play has been just as bad. I played the 3-day €1000 Sporting Emporium May festival ME and was first man out after 5 hands. To be honest I think my play in the hand was fine. I have no problem putting my stack in after one hand if I think its the correct thing to do and looking back I have no regrets. What I do regret however was playing cash afterwards. The nl game is tough at the best of times and for me is a game I should not even be considering unless I am feeling 100% confident in both my form and my play. On Friday last I was not confident in either so looking back i think it was awful game selection on my part. I found the game tough and I was uncomfortable. The game plays so big and even though I bought in for €800 I think I was the second shortest stack on the table. John O Shea was very mouthy and was trying to needle and unnerve the weaker players in the game (a group to which I was a part of). The conditions were treacherous yet I played on. In less than an hour I had lost €1000 and left with my tail between my legs. These are hits I am not used to and is the reason i should not be jumping into such games just yet. I did leave the game early which was the correct thing to do but my head has not been right since. I have played live 3 time since then all of which were losing sessions. I am down approx €3500 live in the past 2 weeks.

I am off to Bolton in the morning for the UK Open darts. I have been looking forward to this holiday since before my exams and it cannot come sooner. I get to relax and have some fun for the next 4 days and not think once about poker. A break might be just what I need. When I return next week I will drop down to 1/2 online and be playing solely in the smaller jackpot games for the next while. I need to get my game in gear before Vegas because as it stands I feel like i am very much stuck in neutral.