Sunday, August 1, 2010

Movin on UP

If you're reading this here, I'm not sure how you got here. Click this link for the new PablosPlace blog...professional style. This site has been retired.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

2010 World Series of Poker Main Event - Reflection part 2

The last post that I tossed up had a more whinny tone to it than I would have liked. It had a ton of stuff that just really bugged me about the WSOP. But overall, it was an experience that I’m NEVER going to forget.

This was my 2nd time seeing the action at the WSOP, with the first being last year for about an hour. My venture got me on TV briefly in hand where Joe Hachem eliminated Surinder Sunar by hitting a straight with J-9 vs. Sunar’s AQ. I saw Hellmuth get eliminated and Ivey become a tournament chip leader while sitting at the featured table. But I was overwhelmed with “Fan-Da-Monium” and couldn’t believe the sights, the sounds, and the reality. This was the World Series of Poker after all.

After my trip for the $50k players championship, the novelty and newness had really worn off quite a bit. I was now used to running into players that I’d recognize only from TV, and this trip, I was more interested in reuniting with friends that I’d made throughout my last stay and even before that. It was a different experience as people recognized me this time around. I wasn’t the new kid on the block anymore, and I wanted to take in the entire experience.

The Main Event of the World Series of Poker is still a magical affair. I would be lying if I said that I didn’t have butterflies when Day 1a started off with Greg Raymer hoisting his arms in the air and saying “this is what we’re all playing for. Lets shuffle up and deal.” Obviously Raymer was alluding to the bracelet he’d won in this event in 2004, but for me, this was unique. I’d seen Jack Effel take the mic now several times before, but I’d never seen the buzz that was the start of the Main Event. It’s hard to describe the butterflies of Day 1a. You have no idea how big the field is going to be, where anyone is sitting, or who really stands a chance at winning the thing. Kind of like opening day for Major League baseball, the score is tied before the first pitch is thrown, and everyone goes into the season thinking “maybe this year, my team will be a world champion.” And truth be told, regardless if you’re there because you’re a former champion (there were a lot), or you’re there because you’re a playboy model or a porn star, or an actor, an NBA superstar, or a pro poker player that no one has ever heard of before, I think that everyone takes a seat with 30,000 chips, and says “I could be that person on the stage next year. I think that I might actually have a shot at this November 9 thing.”

After watching the first 2 days of play at the main event, I really felt like I belonged in the field. I saw so many ridiculous plays, so many ridiculous beats, and I saw the ability of knowing when to fold hands in marginal situations. Greg Raymer himself taught me a $10k lesson when he shipped in Kd-Qd on a Kc-Td-5d board and ran into an amateur holding pocket T’s. Of course he didn’t lay down his middle set, and Raymer would not improve on his top pair with a flush draw. He was crippled after only 30 minute or so, and would be eliminated before the end of the first level getting 8-8 in against A-A, and his World Series was over. The main lesson, there’s not really a need to gamble when you’re that deep. Having a lot of chips is great, but this is a marathon…not a sprint. Day 1 meant almost nothing. In fact, in the 4 levels of play that they did go through, you could have folded EVERY SINGLE HAND, and began day 2 with about 20 Big Blinds. Mixing it up on Day 1a worked well for some, but was a sad story for the likes of Mike Mattusow (who spent his day at the ESPN Featured table, only to see it end before the last break of the night – ESPN didn’t film the rest of the table either which I found quite humorous), Chino Rheem, Jimmy Fricke, and Victor Ramdin. All of them saw the rail on the first day.

I did enjoy watching Ray Romano play as well. The cameras loved him, and he in return played up to them. Wearing his “Men of Certain Age” ball cap, Ray played rather well, mixing it up quite a bit. Eventually, he’d get short and go bust, but “It took a straight flush to eliminate me from the main event this year” he’d say, and he was right. Ray got it in with nothing but a pair and a dream on a flop that produced straight, flush, and straight flush draws for his opponent. And his day was done.

I also enjoyed watching Tiffany Michelle and Maria Ho mix it up at various tables. The girls would ask me on a number of occasions how the other one was doing, and I’d oblige by going between the two tables from time to time to provide basic updates on chip counts. Chris Moneymaker ran up a stack as well giving hope to the fact that the man who started the poker boom might actually have a deep run in him. He finished the day with more than 100k in chips, but his Main wasn’t meant to be in the end again either. Miraculously, David Allen-Greer would survive the day, albeit short stacked, and he would succumb on Day 2. But Day 1a was a pretty special event, if for nothing else it was filled with a lot of wonder of what could be. Unlike the other day 1’s, this was simply special.

Day 1b started in much the same way, with much the same field size, but much more action early. I saw a player within about 15 minutes ship in Ah-Qh on a Kh-Td-5h board, and get snap called by KK. The set held, and the guy was eliminated in just 15 minutes of play. He would say “well, at least I have my $10,000 seat cushion.” Referring to the Everest Poker leave behind that was nothing more than a cheap advertising ploy. The cushions were terrible, and Andy Bloch would say a few days later, “I’d be embarrassed to have my logo on these,” eventually getting one of the vacant dealer chairs to sit upon instead. Annette Obrestad would provide some smiles as she took her seat at the ESPN secondary table. She seemingly wanted to play every pot, losing virtually half her stack in the first level. She’d battle back to get to over 20k. I witnessed her ship in 99 on a Ten high board, and a guy would tank-call with JJ. She accused him of slow rolling her, and then the dealer proceeded to place a 9 on the turn to double her. She wasn’t intimidated by her table, but she did seem to play too fast, which really led to her exit late in the day. I would catch up with her later in the series and chat about her WSOP. She was disappointed in her results, but was really focused on the Bellagio WPT event that she’d played earlier in the day. It was all about looking forward. Playfully, she spotted Phil Galfond and asked to sweat a hand of his. Action had been raised and then called at his table when it went to Phil in the Big Blind. Phil opened his hole cards so that Annette could see them, and Annette groaned as it wasn’t a playable hand, and Galfond tossed them into the muck. But day 1b was the most uneventful of the day 1’s. Gavin Smith played at the ESPN Featured table, and that place was locked down for the ESPN cameras. I heard that Jamie Gold played day 1b, but I never found him. After he busted, he’d sweat his mom who was also in action on the day, before she would go broke as well.

Day 1c was probably my favorite of the Day 1’s as it had more friends playing in it, and also some pro’s that I really wanted to watch. Joe Cada did the honors of “Shuffle up and Deal” and began his title defense playing great poker. It was almost like it was “Champions Day” as Johnny Chan, Scotty Nguyen, Carlos Mortensen, Huck Seed, and Jerry Yang would join the Main Event champ in action. And later, at the secondary featured table, Phil Hellmuth made one of his “entrances.” I won’t write about it, because it was a joke, only to say that Annie Duke was also in the Amazon Room, and had tweeted that she wouldn’t “have a very good view of Phil coming in.” As it turned out, from where she was sitting there were so many people in the way, she really couldn’t see him that well, to which I said to her “isn’t that a run-good?” Lee Childs played in the Amazon room, right in front of one of the outside featured tables where Carlos Mortensen was creating one of his chip towers. I was able to chat with him throughout his play and his dad Bill, who was registered for day 1d. I also wandered over to the Pavillion Room to watch Alex Outhred go on a huge heater, chipping over 100k really early. And Tom Dwan was also in play, although clearly disinterested as he’d had a prop bet to see if he could play the largest percentage of pots on day 1. It cost him virtually 2/3 of his stack.

Other pro’s to watch on Day 1c included David Williams (who started the day on fire), Patrik Antonius, Daniel Negreanu, and Isabelle Mercier. I made it over to the Pavillion room to watch Huck Seed go broke. He only had about 400 chips when I got there, and he got them in preflop from the Big Blind with 2 callers. A c-bet from the middle position guy chased one player and Huck Tabled A-T, which was painfully behind his opponent’s AJ, and Huck was gone in the first 30 minutes of play.

The end of day 1c was really devastating though. Lee Childs had really grinded all day long, hovering between 10 and 20 Big Blinds. He just couldn’t seem to really get it going, and in the last 10 minutes or so of the day, shoved about 12 big blinds with 5-5, and found two callers with bigger pairs. No 5 meant that Lee would hit the rail at the end of the day. I’d shake hands with him as he’d exit, and then headed over to Tom Dwan’s table. I got there to see him get it all in with top 2 pair, only to watch his opponent river a straight to KO Dwan. Upset at the falling stars, I went next door to the Pavillion and found Alex Outhred’s seat empty. I asked the guy next to him what happened, and he said “I busted him. He shipped top pair and I called with a flop set.” So in 10 minutes, I had 3 people that I was really interested go broke. It was a tough ending.

This has become a really long post, so I’m going to stop for now and break this up into a little bit of a series. I’ll probably blog some more tomorrow on the rest of the stuff, because there are plenty of other fantastic stories from the play.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

My first reflection fromt the 2010 WSOP Main Event

I’m still in Las Vegas as I write this post. On the 8th floor of the Jockey Club, with my family in the living room, and enjoying the tail end of our vacation, I decided to put some notes down about my trip to Vegas. We’re almost through with our hotel stay, and as I sit here in our bedroom, and look out at the Bellagio Water show on my right, I’m still a little bit in awe from what I saw while I was here in Vegas.

I’ve never been so awed, so exhausted, and so enthralled with any trip I’ve ever taken. I’ve never longed for home more, and never wanted to leave where I’m at the same time, quite as much as on this stay. It was long, grueling hours coupled with a lot of work, and a sense of wonderment as day after day, hand after hand was dealt, and bust out after bust out took place. I sweated pro’s like Phil Ivey, Andy Bloch, Daniel Negreanu, Huck Seed, and so many more that it would be impossible to name them all in a single post. There were 7,319 players at the Main Event of the World Series of Poker, and I feel like I was able to capture a little something special for them all.

It’s hard to put into words what the experience was like for a fan of the game such as me. I love watching poker, which I think was evidenced by the fact that after the days at the WSOP were done, I had headed over to the Venetian Deepstacks event to rail on Lee Childs, who would end up finishing 3rd in the $1k buy in event. 6 hours of railing Lee was actually relatively few considering the 8+ hours per day that I was spending inside the Amazon and Pavillion Rooms at the Rio Convention Center.

Each day was extremely unique, and perhaps my one lament was not blogging about it during the course of events, but I simply had no more energy to do it. Each day, I completed my day after play had commenced for no fewer than 4 levels of play (a 2 hour levels, with either 20 minute breaks or a 90 minute dinner break in between). They were very long days, spent wandering the entire time from table to table, snapping photographs, counting chip stacks, and sending updates via twitter about the play that I’d seen. I met so many faces that I didn’t realize that I’d known, mostly from Media row. Matt Waldron, AlCantHang, Dan M of Pokerati, Dr. Pauly (Tao of Poker), MerchDawg, BJ Nemeth, WriterJen, Jess Wellman, and on and on and on. I felt like a pseudo celebrity when I came back to Vegas for my 2nd WSOP go around, as I was more of a veteran, welcomed back by those that were sad to see me go from the $50k Players Championship. I received so many positive and uplifting emails, facebook messages, and twitter replies, each happy about the coverage, the updates, and the photo’s and recaps that I was bringing to the people wanting WSOP information.

Let me first start by talking about PokerNews. I liked everyone of the PokerNews guys that I came into contact with. They worked their tails off, and they produced a really decent product at the end. It was CLOSE to up to date, at least, as close as could be reasonably expected given their methods. But I think that there were so many ways to improve upon the things that they did. PokerNews effectively hired a bunch of bloggers to retell the story of the WSOP. The trouble was, they retold hand stories, but often forgot to tell the score of a story. Chip counts are a vital element of the story telling, and they did a pretty poor job of that throughout the course of events. I liked their stories, and I liked their overall coverage, but when it came to their updates, I think that there were plenty of areas for improvement.

Another thing that bothered me was that PokerNews was the exclusive media outlet for hand updates, and other sources were prevented on doing hand-for-hand updates. PokerNews was sponsored by PokerStars, so their coverage for PokerStars pro’s, and PokerStars sponsored players was exceptionally biased. The reality is, the entity that reports on the World Series of Poker should be 100% free of sponsors influence, and the reports should simply be reports of the action taking place. It bothered me a great deal to look at the chip counts that they were releasing throughout the day, and see the “PokerStars Team Pro” etc. etc., and not a team pro of any other outlet. I found that really wrong. I didn’t mind the PokerStars commercial at the beginning of each and every video nearly as much, but in the reporting, it did irk me a great deal.

I think that enough people were fed up with the coverage, or the lack there of, that a lot of people flooded to my twitter feed to see what was going on during play. In fact, during the playdown from 10 players to the November 9, I received no less than 50 new followers during my hand-for-hand updates via twitter. I was shocked that PokerNews wasn’t doing it, and didn’t realize that they weren’t until during one of the breaks I checked their info against mine.

Another lament that I had was the decrease in availability to the players and the tables as the time wore on. When the number of players began to decrease, so did the access that I had to the tables. It began with the bubble play, and the media was restricted from going from table to table so that tournament officials could clearly see the action of play. I didn’t mind that so much. I mean, at the completion of each hand, the 80 or so tables that were left would have their dealer stand up as their hand was complete, so that the tournament directors could accurately see where the bustouts were coming from, so they could figure out who finished in what position. It lasted only 6 hands, which took a little more than an hour to complete. And once it did, the flurry of bustouts was mind numbing. So many people were holding onto chips in the hopes that they’d simply min-cash. Once the bubble burst, all bets were off and it was a frantic race to the payout line. Players had endured 4 days of bad beats, an uncounted number of hands, and they were done with this tournament. And in about the first 15 minutes, we lost almost 50 players. “All in and a call” rang out everywhere throughout the Amazon room, and people left their seats, escorted by a line of dealers that rushed to the table to provide the players with a card that indicated what place they busted in, and what their payout was.

As the next couple of days went one, and the number of tables grew fewer and fewer, access on the floor was limited only to the ESPN cameras, and to PokerNews staff for updates. It was very frustrating to go from having free reign throughout the tournament, to all of the sudden reduced to being a spectator, hoping to catch a glimpse of the board and trying to tell what the players cards were at showdown. It made it virtually impossible to report, and I grew frustrated a great number of times. But in the end, it was still a unique experience that I’m blessed that I had the opportunity to partake in.

Overall, I’m still in a state of awe at the experience that just passed. Having had the opportunity to converse with each member of the November 9, and get to know them a little more personally, as well as witness first hand their path to get to where they are, I feel invested a little bit in each of them. To talk with legends Johnny Chan, Scotty Nguyen, and Chris Moneymaker on a variety of different topics. To have followed the progress and be involved in discussions with Scott Clements, Eric Baldwin, and Michael Mizrachi as they got up from their tables and spoke with players on their rail. Overhearing and sometimes being a part of those discussion made me feel like I was a part of the tournament, an important part, vital to the success of how poker is conveyed, and ultimately to the increase of the popularity of the sport.

I hope that everyone watches the 2010 WSOP as it airs on ESPN. I plan on seeing every episode, multiple times, and watching it as a keepsake of my time spent in Las Vegas. I’ll have more reflections later, when I’m not hanging out with the family…but I definitely needed to get those things down and out. The next couple of updates will focus more on the good things that I saw, and the positive stories that emerged. There were many, and they each deserve a post to be frank.

Friday, July 2, 2010

It's Seven-Deuce Day

A holy day among poker least....those that frequent the home game at Pablosplace. Team7Deuce is ready to go for the annual tradition of playing on Seven-Deuce Day, otherwise known as July 2nd to the common folk.

Every year, the members of Team7Deuce don their Team-Shirts and play a little poker to commemorate Seven-Deuce Day, and today will mark our 3rd annual event at the Bicycle Casino in Bell Gardens. If you're interested in joining us, here's the tournament info:

Game - No Limit Hold'em
Buy-In: $30 + $10 = $40 total, No Add-Ons, No Re-Buys.
Start with $4000 tournament chips.
Number of players averages around 150 to 200
Total Prize Pool: Should be in the range of $4,500 to $6,000
Starts - 2010/07/02 - 12:00 PM (PST), but late entry accepted for the first 45 minutes.
The Bicycle Casino
7301 Eastern Avenue
Bell Gardens, CA 90201

You can follow me on twitter (@coolwhipflea) for all of the updates from the casino as I'll be providing as much as I can while playing. I'm not certain exactly how many of our group is going down this year, but I think that we're in the neighborhood of 10 players today. Wish us all luck, as we take the Bicycle Casino by storm...again! GO TEAM7DEUCE!!!

Monday, June 14, 2010

A missed opportunity

What can I say. I finished short. I got my money in good. I came out behind. Poker's like that sometimes.

I finished in 7th place in the $2,000 WSOP Package Finale put on by the Twitter Poker Tour. The way it happened was pretty brutal. 2 hands really did it. I'd chipped up to one of the chip leaders, knocking out Lee Childs along the way. Then things unraveled for me when I shipped AJ on a J-T-x board with 2 hearts, and "4get 2 4bet me" called with a straight and flush draw. He held the KQhh, and rivered the Qc. It left me short, with an M of around 4.

Then I shipped KK preflop and found a caller in TT, and the KK lost. A Ten on the flop basically ended my night, though I'd technincally go out on the next hand with AQ < K5. I was definitely hurt. I don't anticipate having another opportunity at the series, unless by some miracle, a backer comes along and takes faith in me. That possibility seems remote at best. I'll just chalk it all up to, it just wasn't in the cards for me to play at the WSOP this year.

I do have to say a bit of congrats to 4get, who used my chips wisely. He crushed everyone else on the table en route to winning the $2k package, and will be playing in a $1k event shortly. I'll meet up with him in Vegas and cover his play, as well as the other events in action at the Rio. I'm looking forward to that, and hopeful that he runs deep in the event...perhaps even ships the bracelet. It'd be a great story, and I'd be tremendously proud.

In the end, I'd have to say that I'm happy with at least having got someone into the series. That alone was a success story. It took 10 weeks of promoting the WSOP Satty's, and at the end, we met our guarantee. I'm happy we did the events, and I'm happy that its over with too.

Tonight, I watched Lee Childs win his way into the main event through Full Tilt, as he shipped a $200+16 Double shootout. I couldn't help by find myself thinking, I could do this. I could be the one. And I think that someday, it will be. I want my chance at a bracelet. And I think that I'll get there one day. I'm still young enough to not have to worry much about the timing. But I intend on grinding online, in hopes of continuing to build my roll to the point of being able to afford to do it on my own. I believe in myself as a player, and I believe that one day, I'll get there.

It was a lot of fun watching Lee play though too. It was awesome as Traci also got into it. The two of us were gathered around my computer screen, with the TV turned down, and watching every all in...high fiving when Lee hit his hand. It was kind of surreal. I wish Lee all the best in his WSOP tourneys as well, and I firmly believe that he's going to win one soon.

That's it for now....just had to get this all out. Kind of a ramble. Sorry for that. More later. Cheers, P

Monday, June 7, 2010

The Twitter Poker Tour - Robbed by PokerStars

On Sunday, launched their version of the original, Twitter Poker Tour. They stole the idea, and branded it for PokerStars along with introducing some big guarantees ($25,000 in annual prizes). Their buy in was a measly $1 + .10, and their tourney churned out more than 2,000 participants. Their @pokerstars twitter dude was posting messages with tournament updates throughout their 7 hour event, and fellow tweeps on Twitter were hash-tagging the #tpoker label, creating quite a twitter buzz about the event.

I have mixed feelings about this. #tpoker obviously saw what the Twitter Poker Tour was doing, and thought about doing it themselves. PokerStars obviously copied the TPT as they copied our once a week schedule, our leaderboard concept, and used their own money to fuel their prize packages, and also began the same way that we had with twitter updates throughout the course of the event. While it was successful for PokerStars, I don’t know what this will mean of the TPT.

2 years ago when the TPT began, I found it on PokerStars as that was the only site that I played online poker on back then. At the time, the TPT revolved between Full Tilt and PokerStars, bouncing between the two sites, with 1 week at Stars, and the next week on Tilt. I made my first $50 deposit on an online poker site to Full Tilt for the sole reason of competing in the TPT on a weekly basis with the hopes of winning a leaderboard contest.

About a year ago, we made the decision to switch our games exclusively to 1 site in order to help grow the events and the league. We thought that by focusing on 1 site, and not dividing our games between 2 platforms would help to increase participation. I think it has, as in the good ole days, you’d get 3 tables, and now we have 5 or 6 regularaly. But the increase in participation hasn’t been as large as I thought that it should be.

In an effort to bring something new to the league, we started of the TPT Live show. Originally it was an idea to coincide with the Bad Beat on Cancer Charity tournament that we were running in November. That event drew a record number of participants for us, and was a tremendous success, raising thousands for the Prevent Cancer Foundation and cancer research and prevention. Guest Andrew Feldman, Andy Bloch, Jason Rosenkrantz, and Prevent Cancer’s Jan Maher joined us for the show, and more than a dozen pro’s helped us make it our best event ever.

Because we saw an uptick in numbers with the show, we kept it. But we never came close the 2000+ players that PokerStars hit on Sunday. I think much of the reason goes to the advertising that PokerStars did for their tournament series, and their guarantee that they decided to offer. I expect much of that to be an overlay.

I’m more than a little upset that they stole the concept. But I’m VERY upset that they stole the concept after we’d come to them a year ago with the opportunity and received ZERO response. We gave PokerStars every opportunity to brand the Twitter Poker Tour, advertise it, and include something with a value added, but they apparently saw none.

Carbon Poker expressed some interest as well, but frankly we had too many problems with their user interface, and their cash uploading/deposit system was just simply too complex for our group. So we elected to go with Full Tilt because they came to us with a Sunday Brawl ticket as a prize, whereas PokerStars offered ZIP, ZILCH, ZERO, NADA----ABOSLUTELY NOTHING. They expressed no interest in us or our idea, and they weren’t willing to stand behind the idea. A year later, they’re making it work, and they’re doing it on their own.

This part got me royally pissed off.

I spent 24 hours thinking about it, and decided this robbery could be a good thing for us. I intend to re-approach Full Tilt Poker and let them know about the opportunity to one-up PokerStars and their underhanded league. With the TPT Live show, and a devoted player base to the Twitter Poker Tour, and the involvement of so many of the pro’s that are willing to play with us on a regular basis, I think that Full Tilt should take a serious look at helping us advertise the TPT, and offering a guarantee to help fuel new deposits and new signups on their site. With connections that I’ve made at the WSOP, and through our connections at the TPT, I think that there is merit in our league and in the idea. But more importantly, with Full Tilt’s chief competitor already having their own Twitter Poker League, I think that it will be very important for Full Tilt to develop a similar league to get behind in order to compete.

I don’t intend to play in any PokerStars events…really ever. They’ve really turned me off with this move. With the money that I currently have, I’ll probably transfer it to a friend for a Full Tilt Transfer and be done with their site for good. I’m that angry with it. But for now, I’m hopeful that Full Tilt will begin to take the TPT more seriously, seeing how successful the PokerStars version was. It could be a very profitable and viable means for increasing their revenues if they put some effort into it.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Back from 5 days at the WSOP

Wow. Have to sum it up in a word. Wow. Just wow.

I got back this morning from Las Vegas, having driven straight home after Michael Mizrachi took down Event #2, the $50k buy in Players Championship. It was an amazing final table with more emotion than I can put into words. Maybe 300 people were there to witness the eventual win by the Grinder, and probably 290 of them erupted into jubliation with each pot he won, including an unreal double up after he'd dropped to about 4m chips. He shipped Ac-7c and Vladimir Schmelev called with Ad-Jd. The flop came out K high with 2 clubs and the crowd was going nuts, SCREAMING for a club. The turn made a broadway straight for Schmelev, and the river was the 5c. The place went berzerk and Michael ended up tilting Schmelev with that win. Vladimir couldn't do anything after that, and he ended up throwing hand after hand after hand into the much, and just spewing his chips over to Grinder, until he shipped it all in with Q7, and Grinder called with Q5. When the 5 hit the turn, it was sheer pandamonium. I can't even begin to describe the feeling in the room, and the sheer joy that everyone what experiencing. All the pro's like Chino Rheem, JC Tran, Mike Mattusow, and brothers Eric and Robert Mizrachi, that we're there to rail their boy....the just screamed like crazy, and hugged their guy. It was great. The 4 on the river sealed the deal and Grinder won the championship.

There were too many things that struck me during my stay. I don't know that I can write about it all. I was really taken aback at the humility that Mizrachi showed with his win. He was so gracious, and both he and Robert were engaging and humble throughout the course of the event, which was my complete opposite of my expectation going in. I had assumed that these would be real arrogant and gaudy guys. I couldn't have been more wrong. They, along with every player there, stopped to talk to every fan, sign every autograph, take every picture, and chat with the people that were clearly annoying. But it didn't matter. They were engaging, and it was so joyful to watch Barry Greenstein, and Andy Bloch, and Greg Raymer, and Howard Lederer stop and take pictures and sign peoples WSOP Hats with sharpies. Everytime, it made me smile, because I know what it means fot those autograph seekers, and the pictures are priceless for the fans. I was taken aback for certain.

These people are just people. They are great at what they do, and they are little boys having fun playing a game for a living. The prop bets and the banter between the guys was just as enjoyable as standing behind them at the table, and watching them squeeze two hole cards (and seeing what they had) and then watching how they played it. It was a surreal experience.

I was really happy to come home to Traci and the kids, even though when I picked up the kids from school, 3 out of the 4 of them asked me to go on a play date with one of their friends. But hey, they're getting older and they want to be social with their friends, and I can apprecaite that. I also can say no, and take them out to ice cream afterward, and feel like a good dad after being without them for 5 days.

My stay poker-wise wasn't long enough. I was actually yearning to go back to the Rio for today's final tables but I was equally excited to be home with my family, in my own bed, and have a shower that has hot water. I've posted a TON of pics from my trip on my facebook page ( and I have a few more articles of recap on the Twitter Poker Tour site and interviews that I did with some of the players from the final table of the Casino Employees event. I'm proud of those.

June will be a busy month with the kids having a TON of school stuff going on, graduations, and my anniversary on the 20th. So its the main event in July, and I'm thrilled to go back.

I am also thankful for all of the new followers that I received on twitter. I was overwhelmed with people that were thanking me for the updates that I was sending out. And don't fret, my updates will be back for the Main Event, and I'll be there for every day of it. That's it for now. Gonna crash, and I'll reflect later. Cheers, P

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Shipping out to the World Series of Poker

Tomorrow I'm leaving to cover Event #2 of the 2010 World Series of Poker, the $40,000 Buy-In Players Championship. I couldn't be more giddy. I've been beside myself with glee the last week or so about it as it's come close and closer to taking place. I can't wait to shake hands with the players, conduct interviews with them, and meet the other members of the poker media. This event will be a big one too, as it's one of the 3 events to be televised on ESPN. So all of the crews will be there covering the mele that will ensue.

For me, it simply is a place that I feel like I belong to. Last year, when we went to Las Vegas for Robert's bachelor party, we made a stop at the Main Event, which was busting players like crazy right after the money bubble had burst. I can't even begin to describe how awesome of a sensation it really was, walking down the corridor of the hallways leading to the conference center. The walls and ceilings hung banners and signs of the World Series of Poker. The booths of PokerRoad, and PokerNews, and all the other poker outlets were there. And just outside of the Amazon Room, we ran into Men "The Master" Ngyuen, who was chatting it up with someone. It felt like I belonged.

Upon entering the room, Joe Hachem got tangled up in a hand, busting Surrinder Sunar when Joe's J-9 made a straight, and we watched it happen. We watch Joe and Peter Eastgate tangle a few times at the secondary feature table. At the main featured table, we watched Phil Ivey mix it up in a few pots. Then we surveyed the rest of the room, bumping into the likes of Kenny Tran, Lou Diamond Phillips, Mike Sexton, and eventually Phil Hellmuth, whom we watch get busted as he had the third best hand with his Aces.

When we left the event, I knew I'd be back. I have a feeling that there is great purpose for me in Las Vegas this summer, though I haven't really clearly Identified exactly what that is yet. For now, I'll be covering the events as a Media Member, watching the players mixing it up, and conducting player interviews. I hope to socialize, network, work, and learn. I plan on doing a lot of listening, and absorbing as much of it as I can.

I wish that I could attend more of the events. June is going to be a difficult month to make that happen, as the kids bridge in Girl Scouts on June 12th, along with my sister-in-law's graduation from UCSD on the same day. Then my kids graduate from grade school on the 17th, and my wedding anniversary is on the 20th. I'm sure that there will be more things on the home front, but for now, I know that I'll be in Las Vegas for the next 5 days, and I'm really looking forward to it.

I hope that some of my freinds run deep in some events, and win a couple of braceletts. I'll be sure to be there for the final table when that does happen, and it wouldn't shock me as I have some many people that I've befriended since getting plugged into the game. All in all, I'm really looking forward to the entire experience.

I'll be writing a ton of news articles for Poker World Daily this summer, and a ton more for Poker Table Ratings. Maybe, with the extra cash from the events, I'll be able to win a seat, and not have to just cover the events from a media perspective. Fingers crossed.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010


I made it. 63,647 later, I hit Iron Man. Predominantly at the $10 NL Rush tables, and for an average of 2.5 hours per day, I made the mark. My bankroll hates me. My wife misses me. My children have probably found another dude to call dad. But hell, I made Iron Man. Cool status.

Now that I've done it, I'm not sure what the hell I'm going to do with the bonus medals just yet. But one thing is for certain, I'm going to step WAAAAAAAAY back in the volume that I've been playing. Had it not been for winning more than $700 in tournament play, I would have had my bankroll completely squished, as I was down nearly $600 in cash games over the trek. But I'm very pleased with myself for having completed the volume, and accomplished something that I had never done before.

I intend on enjoying the month of June with Iron Man status and having players at the same table as me in my S&G's and tournaments note that little chip next to my Avatar. Goodbye May online poker. Hello World Series of Poker, and hello June. I'm looking forward to increasing my bankroll by a lot now.

Monday, May 24, 2010

The Home Stretch

I've got 2 1/2 days to go before I qualify for Iron Man status and I can't wait for this thing to be over. I know for certain that I won't be doing this again.

I've played an insane number of hands (it will be nearly 70,000 hands by the time that I'm done), and I've had a terrible downswing from it all. I really have no desire to try and finish this thing up, but I really want to complete the couple of days for the simple aspect of having completed it, and finishing what I started. But I will be very happy to have all of this behind me.

The biggest problem that I've faced is the sheer volume of hands that I've had to put in. Its too much for me. Roughly 2,500 hands per day on average, and many more losing sessions than winning ones. 2 hours of 4 tabling Rush poker at a time is grueling, and I really now understand the term Grind. I think in many respects, its changed me as a player, and I'm not certain if that's for the better or not.

I do intend to continue playing at a much smaller volume in the coming months, but I want to again focus on multi-table S&G's and MTT's where I find much more fun. Cause really, that's what poker is about. But I am also curious to see what obtaining the Iron Man chip will do for my table image when I start to play tournaments in the month of June. I don't know what kind of impact that it will have, if any at all. But I'll be content for a period of 30 days to see that mark next to my avatar.

I'll provide a graph for the entire session when I'm all through to see the horridness that has been the abyss of my journey through all of these hands. But I'm happy that the end is near, and am excited to take a little breather from playing poker for a while.

Meanwhile, Friday approaches and I'll be heading to Las Vegas for the World Series of Poker. I'll put up a new blog on that one tomorrow.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

A big online win

Last night at the home game, Tim got the best of me heads up to take first place and the money. He began the heads up with the chip lead, which he gathered after just catching fire in 3 handed play. I evened the stacks out, even taking a slight chip lead at one point. But I went completely card dead, and Tim got the best of the match. In the end, I shipped my last 130 w/ A7 and Tim snapped AIPF with 99. No ace on the board gave Tim the win.

I've been running much better of late online, playing a ton of hands. My cash poker game hasn't been fantastic, but I've seen a positive uptick in the bankroll, so I'll take it. I'm just 4 days away from completing Iron Man status on Full Tilt, and I'm excited about that one.

But my biggest news of the poker week was a win in a $5 MTT. Check this one out:

I played really solid, doubling up early and then in level 4 finding another double that gave me the chip lead in the tournament. I maintained the top 5 chip count until about the bubble when I slipped out of the top 10. At the final table, I was 7th of 9 in chips, and I got a big boost when I shipped 88 UTG, and found a caller from MP w/ AQss. I won the race by flopping an 8 and turning another, so quads put me in the top 4 again, and then I played well, eliminating a few players along the way to the chip lead and the eventual win. Very happy about this one.

I also wanted to throw a plug in for the World Team Poker event that I went to last Tuesday. It was a great event in which I attended as a media member, and got to interview the likes of Doyle Brunson, Phil Hellmuth, Howard Lederer, Jen Harman, Johnny Chan, Jeffrey Lissandro, and Tony G. The last one was cool as I was able to conduct a 1 on 1 asking Tony about the June 1st deadline with the implementation of the UIGEA. It was a cool experience. Later in the evening, I bumped into Joe Beevers and was able to shake hands with him, and thank him for his support of the Bad Beat on Cancer tournaments and playing with us. Also got to shake hands with Maria Ho. But the highlight for me was meeting the Godfather himself. Not much else that you can say about Doyle Brunson other than he's an incredible guy. I feel really fortunate to have had the opportunity, and he was really gracious with his time.

So today, I'm off to Magic Mountain with the family. It's Emma's birthday on Thursday, and for her party we're letting her bring a friend to an amusement park. The other kids brought 1 to Disneyland, where we have season passes. But Emma had to pick a place to go that made it ridiculously expensive for us to go to. Sigh. Thanks to Jack though, who works at the Mountain, and was able to score us 4 free tickets. Otherwise, we'd have definitely needed to do something else.

Finally, on Friday I leave for the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas. Can't wait to get plugged into the events, and I'm really looking forward to event #2, the $40k Players Championship. Should be a blast. I'll write a little bit more on that in a blog by itself later in the week. That's it for now. - P

Monday, May 17, 2010

Home Sweet Home

I missed the Friday night home game for the first time in as many home games as I can remember, but the game went on anyway. Rumor has it that Andrew took it down. I however was letting loose my inner girl scout (I believe that every dad with 4 daughters has one), and camping with my oldest girl's troop. It was fun (for the kids) and I so glad that I'm now home. I enjoy the comfort of my bed, my couch, and my recliner. It's awesome to sit down, watch ESPN from the comfort of my living room, and play online poker.

I got back on Sunday afternoon, exhausted, and it showed in my play. I dropped 4 buy-ins at $10 NLHE pretty quick, and then proceeded to finish 3rd in the WSOP $40 qualifier, my 6th failed attempt in 6 opportunities to finish 1st and advance to the $200+16 event. Overall, I still think that I've made money on the satellites, thanks in large part to finishing 2nd in this twice. But I really want a win. We're in week 8 of 10, so I've got 3 more shots at getting into this thing. I really want this package, but am having my doubts that I can make it in.

If I don't ship it, I'm hoping that Lee Childs (acumen53), Mike (4get 2 4bet me), Tracy (astro_pup) or Geoff (cprpoker) win it, in that order. I think that these would be the players best suited to represent the TPT for a bracelet. I plan on going out to Vegas to sweat whoever it is that represents the group, and I hope that they make a deep run. I think it'll be great for the group.

I'm also contemplating running a bounty on me on all of the Satellites this week, but I'm not going to be able to participate in Tuesday nights event because I'll be in Vegas. I'm still undecided, and if I don't take it down tonight, I may do it. More on that later.

I leave for Las Vegas tomorrow to cover the media event for World Team Poker. I'm excited to have the oppotunity to interview the likes of Doyle Brunson, Phil Hellmuth, and Annie Duke, as well as get the opportunity to network with Howard Lederer, Mike Matusow, Erik Siedel, and Allen Cunningham, among all the other top tier pro's that are expected to be there. I'm hopeful that I'll get some decent sound bytes, and that I'll be able to chat about the TPT with the Full Tilt Pro's, possibly talking them into playing with us on a Thursday night, and joining us on the TPT Live. It'd be a really great thing.

Thats it for now. I may post some photos from my trip to Vegas here, but likely will just upload them to the TPT Site.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Does ANYONE want to win $2,000???

I'm just now starting to feel better after having been slaughtered by the flu bug for the last few days. 48 hours straight of being either between my bed or the toilet hasn't exactly been fun, so needless to say, I'm happy that thats over.

I was intending to write a little about the Friday night game where Jack and Traci ended up heads up again at the home game for the second consecutive week. Last week, it was Traci emerging with the vitory with her flopped two pair bettering Jacks pair of aces. But this week, Jack came in with about a 2.5 to 1 chip advantage that he'd extend quickly, and then ushered the knockout blow for the win. Congrats to Jack on a good win.

I have to rant a little bit about the Twitter Poker Tour's World Series of Poker Satellites, and how they aren't attracting much attention. Frankly, I don't get it. I would've assumed that this would be something that the TPT community would rally around, and play religiously, vyeing for an opportunity to win $2,000. I mean, for someone that regularly frequents the $5 buy in events, you would think that a $2k hit would be a good one.

So we set up these super satellites to the main event in June, and we run them daily with Monday and Thursday a $2+1 Rebuy event, Tuesday and Friday a $5+1 (2R+1A) event, and Wednesday and Saturday a $10+1 Double Stack event. The winner of each event is GUARANTEED (which means that if the event happens, then the TPT will GUARANTEE that we get a prize paid, regardless of how much money is in the pot) a seat to the Sunday $40+4 Double Stack Event Step 2 event. That alone is pretty cool. I finished runner up in 2 of those weeks, and the spill over money for the runner ups ran to $248...not so shabby.

Finally, if you win the $40+4 event, you get entry into a $200+16 event in June where the winner is GUARANTEED $2,000. Yup TWO THOUSAND BIG ONES. Ideally, the winner is going to represent the TPT at the 2010 WSOP at one of the $1,000 buy in events, of which there are 6 of them, and use the other $1k for traveling expenditures and lodging and such. But really, they are free to use it as they choose.

Here's the problem that I have....we're having a difficult time getting people to register for the freaking events. In fact, last Friday, I was the only one registered and the event canceled because you need at least 2 to play. How in the world is there not at least ONE OTHER PLAYER ON THE PLANET that is interested in playing for TWO THOUSAND DOLLARS on a $5 buy in??? I JUST DON'T GET IT.

Regularly we're having to pony up (and by we...I say it loosely as its coming out of Geoff's pocket from the TPT Expenditures, and not mine) money week after week for people not showing up so that we can meet the guarantee. It was expected, and it was budgeted for. But really, I am shocked at the lack of participation from the TPT group as a whole, and frankly UBER disapointed that there aren't more players participating in this event. I don't know what the real reasons are, but I would hope its simply that they don't realize how much money that is really on the line.

I'll play in some of the events to make contributions to the prize pool when I've already won my seat to the next step....just part of my giving back to the group. But I think it's an awesome thing that the TPT is doing for the group, and it makes me REALLY glad that we didn't aim for a $12k package to the Main Event, like Geoff and I had talked about earlier. We would've had to guarantee SO MUCH MORE. I'm glad that we went the route that we did considering the lack of participation.

I guess that I'm really dissapointed and totally surprised at the numbers. I really thought that this would be a way to increase our player base by reaching out to a broader number of people. There's still 3 and a half weeks to go, so there's still time, but really, I don't know how many people have failed to get the message at this point. I hope some more will actually join in and help us play. Who knows, maybe a sudden influx of players will show up randomly over the next couple weeks to help us guarantee 2 seats, and I'll eat some crow. But as for now, I'm kinda pissed about it.

Anyway, I'm currently on day 12 of seeking Iron Man Status, and I'm 12 for 12 on days of 200 Points or more. 13 more days, and I'll meet my goal. I'll be interupted this weekend with a Girl Scout getaway that I'm going on with my daughters. They're heading on a boating excursion to Castaic Lake, and I'm along for the ride for an "Adult Volunteer" so that they have the proper Adult-to-Child ratio in order to go in the first place. It's another weekend of little sleep and putting up with little girls, all so that my kids can have a joyous experience. The things that we do for our kids.

Thats it for now. More later. And if you haven't felt compelled to win $2,000 yet, check it out on the TPT Site already. Jeebus.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Remember Pablosplace?

When I first started Pablosplace, it was to be a blog recapping the Friday Night games here at my house. The group is my closest friends, regularly convening at my place to throw cards and splash chips, drop "that's what SHE said" as many times as possible, and laugh until our sides hurt. It's a $5 buy in, and a great way to spend the evening.

The site spilled over into a few other areas for me, talking about my online gaming as I began to play more online, and also about the Twitter Poker Tour, and finally about my working with charity events for the Bad Beat on Cancer. Basically, its been my poker life, which now consists of much more than just the Friday night game. But I've just simply neglected to write about my personal stuff over the last 5 months at all. Either I'm writing about poker for the TPT, or for Poker Table Ratings, or a new site that Geoff and I created (Poker World Daily), or I'm not writing at all. It's grown slightly tedious, and I just haven't wanted to do it....till this afternoon.

I realized that a blog is simply an outlet. A way to express my day, and what's going on in life. I don't really need this site to measure up to any one's standards other than my own. If you want to stop by and read, please feel free to do so. But I'm not really of the opinion that this will be the next Pokerati or anything like that. I just want to sit down here from time to time, and post about stuff that I want to chat about. So, ending my 5 month silence, I write a little bit about life.

Health has been a major driving force in my life, along with unemployment. Its been a great time for the last few months, being at home with Traci and being able to take her to the doctors appointments, pick up the kids from school without the need to have someone else help us out. And all the time, Traci's health is steadily improving. I'm thankful for her and my kids daily. They bring great joy to my life. I probably don't tell them that enough, but they really do.

With so much time being spent at home, I play a lot of online poker. This month, I've made it a goal of mine to reach Iron Man Status on Full Tilt Poker. Basically, you need to hit 200 FTP's per day for 25 days in the month of May to get to it, and so far, I'm 5 for 5. I've been 4-tabling the $.05/.10 NLHE Rush tables, and after about 2 hours, I usually have about 2200 hands or so, and thats enough to get me the necessary points to reach my goal. I'll be excited to see what my rakeback checks are going to be for the month of May. Should be fun.

I'm somewhat satisfied, and somewhat irked at where the TPT is at. I would have assumed that the WSOP satellites would help the site grow. I'd like to see more players. Currently, it doesn't make anyone any money. It continues to be a lot of fun putting together the TPT Live show every Thursday Night, and it really gives me something to look forward to. I am thrilled to have had the guests that we've had, especially Lee Childs for the 2 times that he joined us, and Andy Bloch for the 2 times that he joined us. These are guys that I respect a great deal, and I feel privileged for having had the opportunity to chat with them. I'm humbled by the time that they've taken in joining us. I also want to thank Rafe Furst for joining us for the BBoC event this past February. The bracelet winner spent the duration of that show with us en Route to taking first place in the $5 buy in event. But it's also been cool to interview Andrew Feldman of ESPN, Joe Navarro, and Randy Kasper of PPI, and most recently, Alex Outhred. Its kind of weird to think that this is something that has some real value to others, as its something I do simply because I enjoy doing it. I hope that this continues, and that the guests that we get stay consistent.

For me, I'd like to grow the TPT still. Having just 40 people per week is pretty lousy to me, and I'd love to double that number consistently, but more than that, have in excess of 100 players on a regular basis. I don't know why this isn't reasonable, and I'm not really sure how to get that done. But it's definitely a goal of mine.

That's all for now. I'll write a little bit more over then next few days as the mood strikes. Don't be too surprised if the majority of it is talking about how my online days went. It'll probably revolve between that, and my excitement over the upcoming World Series of Poker. I'm really excited about going this year.