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