Thursday, September 27, 2007

Chad Brown finds success even when failing (cactus i.v.)

Chad Brown is a failure.

Don't think so?

Look at his win record. Sure, the actor — not the football player — turned poker professional has won millions of dollars playing poker and visits some of the most beautiful (and not so nice) places in the world. But in the end, Brown loses more tournaments than he wins.

And, for him, it's perfect.

"I probably cash about 20 percent of the time," Brown said in a recent interview. "Most pros cash about 10 to 15 percent of the time, which means 85 to 90 percent of the time, they are not cashing. So it means you are failing.

"To them it feels like failing. If you know you're playing well and playing your best, even when you don't cash you can't look at that as a failure. You have to look at it like you succeeded."

The former soap opera and game show star was at the Borgata Spa & Casino last week playing in the Borgata Poker Open in Atlantic City, N.J. However, he spent most of his time talking to fans, promoting his new book Act to Win in Texas Hold 'Em (which will be reviewed in next week's poker column) and visiting with his father who was down from New York.

There wasn't much poker going on, but that happens on the tournament trail. Many times tournament weeks are spent sightseeing rather than playing cards, especially if you are bounced on the first day. The key is learning how to deal with these down times.

There is no worse feeling in the poker world than knowing you have an opponent trapped. You set him up perfectly and he only has a five percent chance to win, a situation you will always choose.

And, then, the suck out. The two-outer hits and you're left taking the lonely walk of shame out of the poker room with the other guy counting your chips.

"If you lose confidence and don't believe in yourself, you don't have a lot of confidence in your ability, whether it's a poker player on the tournament trail or an actor, it's not for you," Brown said. "You have to have thick skin to handle the bad times."

Brown learned this lesson when he was just a teenager playing poker with his father in Italian caf├ęs in New York City. His father taught him about accepting poker for what it is and not letting the game get the better of him.

He would point out good players who, once on tilt, would give away their money.

This advice helped Brown even when becoming an actor. He trained hard and studied with top coaches, but it didn't guarantee him roles.

In fact, much like poker, acting is a career where people are failing more often than not.

"Acting and poker are actually similar," he said. "Both of these jobs set you up to fail. As an actor, if I go on 10 auditions, I am going to get one out of 10, if I am really good."

Brown hasn't won any Oscars for his roles, but he has come close to it in the poker realm. He won Bluff Magazine's 2006 Player of the Year award. Bluff Magazine's award separates the best players because it only considers the tops tournaments in its criteria.

Players earn points based on tournaments where the buy-ins are $5,000 or higher and there are at least 100 entries.

Brown wasn't even focusing on this award to start 2006, but after six months of playing just tournaments where the buy-in was $10,000, he was at top of the list. That's when he began taking it seriously.

"It wasn't until last year's Borgata (Poker Open in Sept.) that I realized I have a good chance," Brown said. "As a former actor, it would be synonymous with winning the Academy Award because to win it you're not lucky, you're actually competing against world-class actors who are your competition and you beat them out. This is something that is with you the rest of your life, no matter what."

So much for failing.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

USPC Results Updates (events 7 & 8)

Event #7 Entries 231
$300 No Limit Hold 'Em (Seniors Only)
1. Paul Kitsos (Manhasset, NY) $24,047
2. Nicholas "Doc" Partneope (Colonia, NJ) $11,088
3. Michael Carson (Las Vegas, NV) $5,890
4. Peter Nurko (Robbinsville, NJ) $4,158
5. Hudson Bethard (Brookhaven, Penn.) $3,188
6. Arnold Halpern (Secaucus, NJ)$2,425
7. Bruce Baratfield (Churchville, Md) $1,732
8. Philip Farley (Yonkers, NY) $1,387
9. Albert Lambert (Port Jervis, NY)$1,109
10. Boris Alec (Bayside, NY)$900
11. Frank Costa (Mercerville, NJ)$900
12. Carl Bleeker (Warren, NJ) $900
13. James Griffith (Richond, Va)$900
14. Gerald Klick (N. Canton, OH)$900
15. Alan Colon (Oceanside, NY)$900
16. Raymond Tortorgi (Preston, Conn.) $900
17. Donald Mercer (Sneads Ferry, NC)$900
18. Christopher Allen Debock (Tampa, Flor.) $900
19. David Rotches (King of Prussia, Penn.) $694
20. Rockey Morgan (Matthews, NC) $694
21. John Locato (Belle Haven, Va) $694
22. Peter Romano (Frankford, DC) $694
23. Lawrence Grassadonio (Manalapan, NJ) $694
24. Thomas Beccari (Sussex, NJ) $694
25. Frank Esposito (W. Keansburg, NJ) $694
26. Thomas Shadrach (Charleston, WV) $694
27. Anthony Focarino (Monrow Twp., NJ) $694

Event #8 Entries 81
$300 Ladies No Limit Hold 'Em
1. Tamara Cox Nales (Pelham, NC) $9,720
2. Grace Ruffino (Little Egg Harbor, NJ) $5,589
3. Stephanie Burchell (Aliquippa, Penn.) $2,916
4. Phuong Quong Hong (Frederick, Md) $1,701
5. Jennifer Cason (Streetsboro, OH) $1,336
6. Leanne Rosenblatt (Bridgewater, NJ) $1,093
7. Patricia Smolko (Lafayette, NJ) $850
8. Roslyn Quarto (Edison, NJ) $607
9. Elizabeth Huddleston (Morganton, NC) $488

Monday, September 24, 2007

USPC Results Update: Events 3-6

Event #3
$300 Omaha High/Low 8 or better

1. Charles Boncich, Massapequa, NY $21.498
2. Robert Ettore, Berlin, NJ $11,280
3. Joseph Worrell, Brigantine, NJ $5.640
4. David Meunier, Montion, NB $3,384
5. Charles Staubs, Galloway, NJ $2.538
6. Sam Valore, Mt. Laurel, NJ $1,974
7. Stephen Ladowsky, Toronto, ON $1,410
8. Walter Twardus, Newark, Del. $1,128
9. Larry St. Jean, Salisbury, Mass. $960
10. Brian Berg, Short Hills NJ $733
11. Mihn Duong, Galloway, NJ $733
12. Augustin Mendez, Bronx, NY $733
13. Brian Kruyd, Boonton, NJ $733
14. Frank Fedi, Sag Harbor, NY $733
15. James Carrier, Bowie, Md. $733
16. Jaime Kaigh, Voorhees, NJ $733
17. Jeffrey Wilhelm, Camp Hil, Penn. $733
18. Kenneth Bruno, Atlantis, Flor. $733

Event #4
$300 Limit Hold 'Em

1. Nicholas "Doc" Partenope, Colonia, NJ $20,346
2. Paul Henry, Jr., Charleston, WV $10,680
3. Ray Lin, New York, NY $5,430
4. Dennis Capriglione, Belleville, NJ $3,204
5. Nick Caltabiano, Fulton, NY $2,403
6. Erik Gault, Alexandria, Va. $1,869
7. Carmen Addamo, Waldwick, NJ $1,335
8. Celest Tzilos, Livonia, Mich. $1,068
9. Louis Marmo, Wingdale, NY $909
10. Robert Podeca, Cape May Court House, NJ $694
11. Allen Morris, Pahrump, Nev. $694
12. Michael Seger, Cherry Hill, NJ $694
13. Thomas Savitsky, Randolph, NJ $694
14. John Theofunopoulos, New York, NY $694
15. Edward Sweet, Shoreham, NY $694
16. Khoa Nguyen, Galloway, NJ $694
17. Hung Kyu Kim, Willow Grove, Penn. $694
18. Allyson Leonard, Bloomfield, NJ $694

Event #5
$300 No-Limit Hold 'Em

1. Bruce Baillie, Ford City, Penn. $43,680
2. Jacob Neff Philadelphia, Penn. $21,840
3. Jimmie Mitchell, Philadelphia, Penn. $11,388
4. Russell Merrill, Amherst, Va. $9,360
5. John Borger, Kunkletown, Penn. $7,020
6. Gilbert Sacks, Wynnewood, Penn. $5,460
7. Nakada Takayuki, Bergernfield, NJ $3,900
8. Joseph Cappello, New Rochelle, NY $3,120
9. Michael Purcher, Mt. Sinai, NY $2,496
10. Dennis Zannoni, Bordentown, NJ $2,028
11. Andre Kokolakis, Atlantic City, NJ, $2,028
12. Pablo Paez, West Palm Beach, Fla. $2,028
13. Sam Hays Dillard, Washington, DC $2,028
14. Terakawa Tatsuya, New York, NY $2,028
15. Russell Cornwall, Harrisburg, Va. $2,028
16. Julius Gonzales, Perth Amboy, NJ $2,028
17. Artan Ibrahimi, Philadelphia, Penn. $2,028
18. Brian Wright, Bradley Beach, NJ $2,028
19. Dean Schultz, Stow, Ohio, $1,560
20. Stephen Hricik, Greensburg, Penn. $1,560
21. Brendan Callahan, St. Leonard, Md. $1,560
22. Edgar Oates, Jr., Catonsville, Md. $1,560
23. Donald Higgins, Pen Argyl, Penn. $1,560
24. Andrew Levine, Cambridge, Mass. $1,560
25. Robert Cerminara, Mt. Laurel, NJ $1,560
26. Salvatore Gamba, Little Egg Harbor, NJ $1,560
27. Brian Wolfe, Raleigh, NC, $1,560
28. John Matewey, New York, NY $1,092
29. Joshua Taub, Mt. Sinai, NY $1,092
30. Peter Draney, Rockaway, NY $1,092
31. Cirovic Zlatko, Wayne, NJ, $1,092
32. Kirk Orzel, Allentown, Penn. $1,092
33. Brad Passione, Gibsonia, Penn. $1,092
34. Dong Seo, College Point, NY $1,092
35. Nicholas "Doc" Partenope, Colonia, NJ $1,092
36(tie). Daren Weaver, Linden, Penn. $858
36(tie). Nathel Fontana, Potomac, Md. $858
38. Brian Mayes, Harrisburg, Va. $624
39. Nicholas Caltabiano, Fulton, NY $624
40. Paul Rodrigues, Hillsborough, NJ $624
41. Celeste Tzilos, Livonia, Mich. $624
42. Daniel Kepich, Holicong, Penn. $624
43. Richard Pyne, Tunersville, NJ $624
44. William Hardy, Charlestown, WV $624
45. Jeremy Perrin, Greensboro, NC $624

Event #6
$500 No Limit Hold 'Em
1. Eliano Masquita, Long Branch, NJ $56,214
2. Gregory Spurdis, Staten Island, NY $25,920
3. Suketu Valdya, Germantown, MD $13,770
4. Radhames Vargas, New York, NY $9,720
5. James Victory, Burke, Va. $7,290
6. Louis Raba, Absecon, NJ $5,670
7. David Inselberg, Long Beach, NY $4,050
8. Gordon Eng, Cliffside, NJ $3,240
9. Samuel Adorno, Newark, NJ $2,592
10. Scott Siegel, Deerfield Beach, Fla. $2,106
11. Kurt Lichtman, New York, NY$2,106
12. Jimmie Mitchell, Philadelphia, Penn. $2,106
13. Robert Purvear, Winston Salem, NC $2,106
14. Mickael Morgouskey, Brooklyn, NY $2,106
15. Daniel McGinty, Bethlehem, Penn. $2,106
16. James Lunley Jr., Harmony, Penn. $2,106
17. Bobby Trinh, Arlington, Va. $2,106
18 (tie). Kevin Kaikko, Princeton, NJ $2,106
18 (tie). Francisco Regalado, Miami , Fla. $1,620
18 (tie). Andrew Egan, Hockessin, Del. $1,620
21. Charless Lott Jr., Churchton, Md. $1,620
22. Peter Sodano, Lindden, NJ $1,620
23. Lee Peter Hynigsok, Herdon, Va. $1,620
24. Mauricio DaSilva, West Long Branch, NJ $1,620
25. Michael Salamina, Bethpage, NY $1,620
26. Vincent DeVita, Bayville, NJ $1,620
27. Paul Hill, Lindley, NY $1,620

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Sands to Light Up the Sky

The Sands implosion is set for Oct. 18. Here is the article from The Press of Atlantic City.

Donald Wittkowski
ATLANTIC CITY - The Sands Casino Hotel will come crashing down on Oct. 18 in a spectacular implosion that will light up the nighttime sky and give the Boardwalk some Las Vegas-style pyrotechnical pizzazz.

A six-minute fireworks display will build excitement before a series of controlled explosions rip through the 21-story hotel tower at 9:30 p.m. and bring it down in a giant cloud of dust and debris.

The Sands was in business for 26 years, but its dramatic demolition will reduce it to rubble in mere seconds. The old gaming hall, which closed for good on Nov. 11, is being razed to make way for a new $1.5 billion megaresort by Las Vegas-based Pinnacle Entertainment Inc.

Pinnacle will borrow from some of the splashy, fireworks-laden implosions of recent years on the Las Vegas Strip to create a grand sendoff all but certain to draw large crowds to the beach and Boardwalk.

John Rogers

"There's something about implosions that people are just fascinated with, even if you're not into construction or demolition. It's fascinating to watch a building come down," Kim Townsend, chief executive officer of Pinnacle's Atlantic City operations, said during an interview Thursday in which she publicly revealed the Oct. 18 implosion date for the first time.
While old gaming halls are blown up on a semi-regular basis in Las Vegas, this will be the first casino implosion in Atlantic City. The resort town has not had an implosion since a handful of posh old Boardwalk hotels were cleared out in the 1970s to make room for the new generation of casinos - among them, the Sands.

The gaming hall opened on Aug. 13, 1980, as the Brighton Hotel & Casino, switching to the iconic Sands name of Las Vegas fame the following year after a change in ownership. The Sands hit its stride in the 1980s and early '90s by catering to high rollers and bringing big-name entertainers such as Frank Sinatra to its legendary Copa Room.

However, the tiny and antiquated casino became a relic. It failed to keep pace with the upscale amenities offered by the trend-setting Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa and a new wave of flashy expansion projects by its Boardwalk rivals.

Pinnacle will redevelop the Sands site for a new casino tentatively scheduled to open in 2011 or 2012. The complex is expected to include about 2,000 hotel rooms and 500,000 square feet of space for retail stores and restaurants in a mall-like setting. There will be another 250,000 to 400,000 square feet of space for the casino, conventions, an entertainment arena, a ballroom and a spa.

The old Sands, meanwhile, is already starting to resemble a bombed-out building. Contractors are reducing the superstructure to what essentially will be an empty concrete and steel shell for the implosion. The casino floor is long gone, the facade is being ripped apart and piles of demolition debris are being carted off by large dump trucks.

Pinnacle has decided to stage the implosion on a Thursday night to try to minimize disruptions, Townsend said. During the day, the surrounding area will be secured to prevent crowds from getting dangerously close. After the building is imploded, contractors will use the overnight hours to begin cleaning up debris in hopes of getting the city back to normal in time for morning rush hour.

"We thank the city of Atlantic City and New Jersey state officials for their support and cooperation in ensuring the success, excitement and safety of this landmark event," Daniel R. Lee, Pinnacle's chairman and CEO, said in a statement.

Pinnacle has been working with the city's police and fire departments and the New Jersey Department of Labor on safeguards to protect adjacent landmarks from damage. Across the street from the Sands along Indiana Avenue are the historic Brighton Park fountain and the stately red-brick tower of the Claridge Casino Hotel, originally an elegant hotel dating to the 1920s.

Townsend said the Claridge is about 120 feet away from the Sands, giving Pinnacle's demolition contractors more than enough room to carry out the implosion without danger to the Claridge tower.

"These buildings come down sometimes within eight inches of each other in New York City," Townsend said of much more challenging implosions. "The Claridge is, quite frankly, far away and out of the range of any concerns."

R.E. Pierson Construction Co. is serving as general contractor for the Sands' demolition. Controlled Demolition Inc. will place the explosives and be responsible for the implosion. CDI previously imploded the Stardust, Aladdin, Dunes and Sands casinos in Las Vegas.

Fireworks by Grucci, billed as "America's first family of fireworks," will stage the pyrotechnics preceding the Sands' implosion. Grucci created the elaborate fireworks displays that accompanied the grand openings and special events at Steve Wynn's Las Vegas casinos.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

United States Poker Championship at the Taj Mahal

The Taj Mahal and Borgata have dueling tournaments right now. The Taj has the USPC (United States Poker Championship) while the Borgata has its Poker Open, a World Poker Tour event. The Borgata's poker room was jam-packed and was leary about heading over to the Taj. However, it was nice to see the Taj Mahal filled to capacity especially considering it's Omaha Hi/Lo today.

This is the third day of the USPC. Here are the results from the first two days of the tournament.

Event #1 Seven-card stud $300+$50
145 entries

1. Paul Katinas (Worcester, Mass.) $17,402
2. Michael Semo III (Pleasant Hill, Del.) $8,700
3. Ricardo Festejo (Egg Harbor Township, NJ) $4,350
4. Carmelo Cozzocrea (Carmel, NY) $2,610
5. Christopher Debock (Tampa, Flor.) $,2175
6. Daniel Mogavero (Las Vegas, Nev.) $1,740
7. Stephen DelVecchio Jr. (Baltimore, Md.) $1,305
8. Dale Phillips (Naples, Flor.) $870
9. Gerald Myers (Galloway, NJ) $609
10. "Detriot" Al Green (Weston, Flor.) $609
11. Charles Russello (Scranton, Penn.) $609
12. Lois Bovit (Boynton Beach, Flor.) $609
13. Muriel Schwartz (Mays Landing, NJ) $478
14. Burt Zabotinsky (Elmwood Park, NJ) $478
15. Steve Orros (Woodside, NY) $478
16. David Brown (Voorhees, NJ) $478

Event #2 Seven-card stud H/L 8 or better $300+$50
166 Entries

1. Sanford "Sandy" Oxman (Lakewood, NJ) $19,920
2. Frances Bryson (Columbia, Md.) $9,960
3. Jeffrey Richman (Mt. Laurel, NJ) $4,980
4. Jaime Kaigh (Voorhees, NJ) $2,988
5. David Lipschutz (Brooklyn, NJ) $2,490
6. Chris Reslock (Atlantic City, NJ) $1,992
7. Ryan Chau (Galloway, NJ) $1,494
8. Farzad "Freddie" Rowhani (Gaithersburg, Md.) $996
9. Michael May (Sutherland, Va.) $697
10. Ahmad Gharahi (College Park, Md.) $697
11. David Griffith (Rye, NY) $697
12. Charles Catozzolo (Somers Point, NJ) $697
13. Walter Twardus (Newark, Del.) $548
14. Yuebin Guo (Brooklyn, NY)$548
15. Steve Solomon (Randallstown, Md.) $548
16. Michael DeVeronica (Hollywood, Fl.) $548

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Playing the Draw, Pt. 3 (Poker Phil)

The hand in question again, my friend was holding a Jc-6c with a 10c-Qc-Ks board as a short stack in a MTT. The question posed involved the plan of attack when you have a good drawing hand but haven't made your hand yet. As a short stack, what do you do in this situation? Granted there are numerous ways to play every hand, and numerous outcomes to every hand, but what do you feel is the best way to play in this situation? I stated that I loved the all-in move here and now I'll reveal what happened in the hand.

Our protagonist moved all-in on the flop and was unsure about how good his move was. He asked me how I felt about it, and I told him that I, personally, loved it. However, the outcome he endured wasn't what we had hoped. The table folded around to his all-in save for the steaming guy who limped in. After losing some of his chips, he called the all in with A-Qo. The true odds of the hand had him as a 50.5% to 48.9% favorite even though he was behind in the hand. Unfortunately his draw failed as the turn and river when rag-K and he was knocked out of the MTT. However, even though the outcome was poor, the move was still a good - and here's why.

In a tournament, this move works because of the increase of blinds and antes as the tournament progresses throughout the night. Unlike a cash game, where your blinds never increase and you can effectively nurse a stack for as long as you see fit, you have a far shorter time span with which you can nurse a short stack. Having only 10xBB before the hand and having called from the button, that leaves him with 9xBB and gives him one orbit around the table with 1,350 if he chooses to fold here. That creates a situation where the next time you push you'll have less chips and quite possibly a smaller percentage to win the hand. Hands like A-J suited become attractive for a push, but actually get called by hands like A-Qo or 8-8 and have less of a percentage to win from the preflop than our hand above has to win from the flop. Also, the pot size is considerably smaller as well as the maximum you can play for with a single all-in caller is 2,925 if you are not involved in the blinds. Here, the all-in push created a pot of 4,200. That's a greater percentage to win a pot that's 33% larger. Of course with a preflop all-in with 1,350, you'll probably draw more callers, but that actually brings your odds down even further.

So when you get short stacked, and you're going to be forced to make a move eventually, this is probably the best reasonable chance you'd have to get as much return as possible for your investment as well as the largest probability to win the hand that you'll find at this point in the tournament.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Playing the Draw, Pt. 2 (Poker Phil)


One of the most overused phrases on a poker table is "Well, I've got outs." Of course this is usually said after an all-in showing where you realize that you're behind, bu not quite drawing dead. However, now I want to discuss the potential of playing that draw, and getting paid off on it.

Remember my last scenario. The first choice is to check the flop and give everyone a free turn card. The thought process here is that the odds of you having the best hand at the time are slim, and that a free card when you are short-stacked is a good idea in most cases. Or is it? By giving the table a free card, you are doing two things. You're giving everyone else a chance at improving what may already be a made hand. Secondly, you're taking away your percentages by nearly 50% if your card doesn't hit the turn. Now, if you are thinking of making a move, there's even less of a chance a bet will work on the river, and a greater chance that it will bring about the end of your tournament if someone should call you. Then again, if you can't make your hand on the turn, you can get out for cheap and still be alive, although your position is only going to get worse.

Making a smallish bet here is also probably the worst thing you can do. You're inviting callers into a pot that will exceed your stack size after the calling is done. This means that marginal hands with minimal drawing potential may call you from any position if you choose to push on the river. Let's say you bet 400 into the pot, that's a little more than half the pot. If you get even just one caller, that will bring the pot size up to 1550 and your stack size will only be 950. Your next bet, an all-in, will only be about 60% of the pot. That's not a good number to be throwing in a pot, especially if you're on a draw. The arguement is that you'll still have chips if you miss. With the blinds at $75-$150, a betting strategy that leaves you with 6xBB as a worst case scenario, is only going to get multiple callers to your all-in to attempt to take you down, aside from the fact that the hand you pick to move with will effectively choose you, instead of the other way around.

There's another option here: the all-in. This is a move I like a lot here. I understand that you haven't made your hand yet, and possibly not at all, but here is a situation where the table has shown great weakness. One of the limpers, as I said in the last post, had been beat out of a decent sized pot but still has a good-sized chip stack. He could either be gun shy at the moment, or he could be playing anything hoping to catch. Here's the beauty of the move - you've got more information than you need on the entire table after this flop. Let's look at the hands.

The first hand, and most dangerous hand, is obviously A-J. This makes the nut straight and leaves you drawing dead to a club. but is A-J out there? It's possible that one of the blinds is slowplaying the hand, but it stands that from the blind, a raise might want to come out to thin the herd a little, especially the other blind. In fact, the same can be said of any of those positions. The limpers were early, and one having just taken a beat on a pot. We're I playing at this table, I would have believed that someone in those positions would have raised with A-J.

Here's the beauty of it -- at worst, you're a 60%-40% dog in hand and that's ONLY if someone on the table limped in with 10-10, Q-Q, K-K and flopped a set. With the board limping and checking around, and then checking around again I think it's safe to assume that neither of those three hands are out there. Any pair at all, and you're actually a FAVORITE to win at this point in the hand, albeit only a slight favorite. Let me clarify one thing. When I say "win" I mean you're getting a piece of the pot. There are a number of hands, such as K-J, where you're a dog to win, but a favorite to not lose. If someone calls your all in with K-J then you are roughly a 36% dog to win with a 20% chance to tie...that's a 56% chance to get some of the pot. If someone calls with A-K/Q then you are 50% to win and all other combinations actually improve your chances to win the hand outright as long as the caller doesn't hold a J. The only exception to this, is if for some reason, the caller has Kc-Xc or Ac-Xc. A suited king of clubs or ace of clubs makes you a 5:1 underdog in the hand, however you have to again think if that hand is out there? It's possible, but again it's highly unlikely and the all-in here is a percentage bet, anyway.

Any called hand can reasonably be deduced as existing, leaves you as a favorite to win the hand from the flop. However there's something else to add to the picture; what if everyone folds? If everyone folds then you get the 750 in the pot and increase your chip stack to 2100. You've just increased your stack size by 40% in the hand. Of course, if someone calls than you're looking at more than a double up.

However what if two or more people call? The beauty of making a move on a nut straight draw with flush outs from the flop, is that it doesn't matter how many hands are out there....your odds NEVER decrease as long as the hand I mentioned above are not there. In fact, your chances of winning actually go UP with the fewer number of outs that are seen. If two people call, one playing K-7o and one playing A-Q with neither having a club then you actually gain a percentage point on your outs. You are 50% against the A-Q heads up, but 52% if a second hand playing K-7o exists. Now these percentage movements are minor at best, but they still increase your odds. And while your odds are getting slightly better, the pot may be three or four times larger as well.

So with multiple callers you get more of a return on your investment and a better chance to have it pay off. What's not to love about that, especially when you're the short stack on the table and time is running out. Make the all-in move, and roll the dice now since the dice are going to lean ever so slightly in your favor. Youv'e got a table showing weakness, and the best draw you can possible have without having directly gotten a piece of the flop. Next time, the results of this hand, the thoughts on the outcome, and etiquette on a poker table.

The Showboat Tournament and its rumors

I never got over to the Showboat today, but decided to play cards at Harrah's. However, I did hear how the big tourney at the Showboat went and I got a good laugh out of it.

Apparently, Paulie (Walnuts) from Harrah's got down to the final table. He comes to Harrah's looking stunned. He's in a state of disbelief, glassy-eyed, as though he can't believe what is going on. It could have been the drugs. It was probably a combination of things.

Anyway, he gets knocked out of the tounrey and wins about $2,000 for eighth place. Then, the rest of the table decides to chop the rest of the money for $10,000 a piece. Paul was pissed. It was awesome.

My guess is that Paul was acting his usual jerkface self and the rest of the table waited for him to get bounced to chop the money. That's great.

UPDATE: According to someone who was in the tournament, it was just bad luck for Paul. He just happened to be the guy that got beat before the chopped was finalized. It was fun anyway.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

New Column Up, Updates

I have a new poker column up over It's about bluffing and how I make such a cute liar. Check it out at cactus i.v.

I'll post Poker Phil's second part of Playing the Draw on Sunday.

The WPT is going strong this week. Even if you aren't a good poker player, but love watching it television, you can head over to the Borgata and check out some of the more popular players. Many are easy to talk to and accessible. I guess it all depends on the beats they get.

I'm on vacation this week from my real job and I am going to head over there to check out what's going on. I think I'll also head over to the Showboat today. I'm curious how the tournament did and whether they will make this a recurring thing.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Playing the draw, Part 1


Someone I discuss poker hands with frequently posed a question to me: When is a draw enough of a draw to truly move on it? I didn’t fully understand what he was getting at until he placed this situation before me.

He was playing from the button in a seven-table tournament with $75-$150 blinds. He’s fairly short stacked at the table with $1,500 in front of him. The tournament is down to five tables and he’s starting to feel the crunch. He peels back Jc-6c from the button. Two early limpers then a handful of folds leading up to him at the button. He calls and the blinds complete to the flop. The flop comes 10c-Qc-Ks. With a straight draw and flush draw, the table checks around to him.

He ends the scenario with him on the button and the table checking around to him. There is $750 in the pot and $1,350 in front of hi. He then asks 'What I would do?'

Now, thinking on it I have the benefit of taking all the time I want without fear of a clock called on me, or the blinds increasing on me later on. Having my move already in mind I checked my math a little more meticulously and came to the conclusion that my initial thoughts were indeed the best. Before he asks me to give him my answer he sets up the scenario on the table a little more.

He tells me nothing about the blinds, but that the first limper has a big stack and was playing extremely loose (as was the whole table for the most part). The second limper had been two hands removed from being cracked on a big hand. The second caller had about $4,000 left after taking the beat before the hand was dealt. Also, he hadn’t been on the table for more than an orbit so he had little to no read on the players save for what he saw that orbit, which was a lot of loose play.

So, now I ask you, what would you do? Think about the situation and all the possibilities and in my next entry I’ll give you insight into what I thought about the situation, his thoughts, as well as a different way at looking at the whole picture.

Borgata Staying Up Late

The Borgata has decided to join some of the other casinos around town in getting a late-night poker tournament, which will start Sept. 23.

The tourneys will run Sunday-Thursday and have a $60+$15 buy-in. Players receive $10,000 in starting chips and levels are 20 minutes each. Blinds start art $25-$50 and antes begin on the fourth level.

The Taj scoops alot of players from many different rooms and gets decent late-night action to extend their business with its Midnight Madness tournaments. So, how does the Borgata compete? It gets a better blind structure and makes it a little more expensive.

I'm not surprised. This is the Borgata. Whoever is in charge of this poker room may not be a visionary, but takes what works and tweaks it to make it better.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Leave the Chop Behind (Poker Phil)

This is a report from AC Poker Happenings' correspondent, Poker Phil. (I got nothing better to call him). He's been at the Borgata WPT all week.


Week One of the Borgata Open has ended with six events in the books. There were four No-Limit Hold 'Em (NLHE) events with buy-ins ranging from $500-$1500, one Ladies NLHE Event, and one Limit Hold 'Em (LHE) Event.

So far in the early weeks there’s been nothing spectacular and few pros have made their way for the opening events. There has, however, been a trend forming early on during this series of tournament events - chopping.

I’ve never been one for chopping. I play in the event to first make the money, but then once that goal has been reached I play for keeps. I have the confidence in my ability to feel that any time I’m in a position to potentially win a tournament, I will most likely do so. So far, that’s paid off. Either I finish top fix or not in the money at all, and that’s the way I prefer it. I’m just not about building a chip stack only to sit down with a number of other players and agree to split it all up, friendly like.

However there’s more to it. I can understand the last three or four offer a chop to each other. Normally at that point there’s a clear cut chip leader with more than half the chips in play, and three others fighting it out for second place. When this happens, normally the chip leader offers to take 85-90% of the first place money (normally dependant on how many of the chips in play he actually has) and the remaining players take an even chop of the remaining money.

Sometimes if the stacks are close, they’ll pool the last four spots together, and work a percentage chop based on position working somewhere along the lines of 15%/20%/30%/35%. Actually, any chop can be worked out to whatever percentages are agreed upon. So far with four final tables in the books, there have been three chops involving the entire final table. That’s nine ways…

I just don’t really agree with this thought process. If that was the case, why even bother playing down to a final table?

Just work out a chop beforehand and set that up. Spread the places more evenly instead of frontloading the most money for a payout. I have never chopped a tournament at any level, and I sure wouldn’t chop it nine ways at the final table. I didn’t play for 14 hours the day before to effectively tie with eight other players. Sure the money wouldn’t be even, but I didn’t “beat” any of them. I’m already guaranteed to make money, and I’m always confident in my ability to outplay any opponent that’s put before me. That’s one of the misconceptions about playing against pros. Sure, they are professional poker players. But that only means they do it for a living. It’s how they get paid. There’s a number of people that consistently play winning poker. The difference is that they have lives that require expenses and can never devote the time and energy it takes to play poker for a living.

When I play poker, it’s a leisurely night out. Sure, I know that chances are I’m going to walk away with more than I walked in with, but to what degree? Sometimes I make close to $1000 off a simple $250 buy-in at a casino cash game. Sometimes I’m making $150 in a small house game at a friends house. However, there are some nights where I come away a fractional winner, or even a small loser. The difference is that when I win, that money is generally spent right away for things like bills, rent, gas, food, and other assorted life necessities. I’m sure that once I get well ahead of the game I’ll be able to start working on a bankroll and move up in cash game limits and tournament buy-ins, but until that time I’m happy where I am.

That being said, any extra money is a good thing, and since I’m guaranteed to walk away with more than I started with after I make the money, I want to walk away with as much as possible. Now I’m not a total fool. If I’m an anemic stack at the final table well to the point where I might see three or four more hands before being forced all-in and someone offers me a chop; I’m taking it if it’s the right number. Otherwise, I’m going to let the cards play and if I should win that hand, all bets are off. I’m in until I have all the chips, or none left at all.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Gaming Revenue Down Again

I think Atlantic City is learning that it can't be a thriving resort town based on gambling alone. You look at Vegas and it's more than just gambling. You can go there and see great shows, enjoy the nightlife and never worry about gambling away a penny. You can go with any types of people including those who don't gamble and they will still have fun.

Atlantic City has a problem in that sense. If you don't gamble, there is usually not much of a point.

Gaming revenue has declined in Atlantic City for the fifth straight month. Part of the problem is the new slow parlors that have opened in the region from New York to Pennsylvania. I've been to them and I don't care for them. I dislike them actually, but for people who don't mind punching buttons, the places aren't that bad.

In addition, the casino smoking ban has effected the revenue, but I don't mind this so much. I hated all the smoke and love walking through breathe-easy casino floors.

In August, revenue dipped 5.9 percent to $465.2 million. Slot revenue declined 11 percent to $323.5 million, while table game winnings were up 8.2 percent to $141.7 million, according to figures released Monday by the casino commission, according to The Press of Atlantic City.
Of the individual casinos, Trump Marina Hotel Casino had the biggest revenue decline at 13.9 percent, followed by Tropicana Casino and Resort at 13 percent. Revenue also tumbled by double-digit margins at Resorts and at Showboat Casino Hotel.
Caesars Atlantic City was the only casino to reap a double-digit increase in revenue, up 10.8 percent. Harrah's revenue rose 7.1 percent and the Taj Mahal had a 2.4 percent increase to round out the casinos that were higher in August.

Trop sucks by the way. I'm not surprised. The casinos that are doing the renovations and upgrading its hotels are the ones that are doing better.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Tournament Weekend

This weekend is going to be full of tournament action. The Borgata has its Poker Open, which began on the 5th and is running throughout most of the month.

The Hilton has the New Jersey State Poker Championships going off this weekend.

I've never been a fan of playing in tournaments. I hate the idea of sitting in a game for hours and to walk away with nothing, but that doesn't mean i don't like the tournaments. I love tournaments.

The side games became extra juicy and great to play in. My favorite tournament is the WSOP at Harrahs. That week alone I am always poised to make a ton of money. The problem with many players in the side games is that they don't know how to go from using their tournament skills to the cash-game skills, which I don't have a problem with.

I have the same problem, but I am a cash-game player first. So, I'll sit in the tournament, pick off bluffs and your weak draws. As a matter of fact, talking about this makes me want to hit the Borgata right now.

Where are the fishies?
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