Yesterday I had to forgo Thursday afternoon poker to have a very uncomfortable business meeting to deal with a variety of internal issues in my practice. I am doing quite a good job keeping with my theme of how these Thursday afternoons feel. Poker was also out of the question since I had volunteered to do some community service for a middle school at 5pm. 90 kids needed sports physical exams and I swear it felt like clowns coming out of a Mazda Miata. The kids were, however, quite entertaining and I did enjoy myself. I tried to keep the chuckles to myself but at one point I laughed out loud when I asked a child why he was on a certain medication and he replied "I have no idea and I really don't care sir."
There were a few hours between my pukey meeting and my stint at the school so I thought it would be a good time to go register for the Detox series.
I have been to the Hard Rock poker room several times before and have never lost. Usually it is when I have friends from out of town who are more interested at sight seeing the clientele. The few times I went I found the room to be empty but always a game available and with very weak players. The last time I was there with my friends my wife accompanied me and I wound up having an issue at the table with some meat head. My wife is a very attractive woman which is usually a bonus until she starts to get attention from others. This particular day it was a 250+ pound muscle head in seat #3 who began flirting with her not knowing I was her husband. The comments did not subside when he found out she was married to me. Generally I run hot and cold and go from very quiet and laid back to ballistic and irrational. If a fight broke out there was no way I was winning unless I used some sort of a weapon. That night I really didn't have a chance to even verbally light into this guy as I had two other friends at the table who quickly jumped down his throat. As words flew around the table I noticed he was getting more and more emotional. I decided to keep quiet and let my friends continue bantering with him while I watched his roid rage tilt his already bad game to super bad. While all this was going on I went out of my way to play pots with him and was able to near bust him over a 30 minute period. I have to say it was very satisfying. Eventually my wife asked security to remove him. There was a lot of dilly-dallying with the Hard Rock staff and eventually we all left.
When I went to the Hard Rock casino yesterday it was like a different world. It was fairly empty and quiet. There were no hordes of scantily dressed women. There was no crowd that I needed to thread my way through. I was able to walk 20 feet without getting a mixed drink or a beer spilled on me. I have never been there on a Thursday afternoon and it was eerily sedate.
As I walked around the circular casino I looked for the poker room. There were no obvious signs directing you there. The hallway in which you find it had a sign for every other venue but the poker room. Is it any real wonder why they are closing this room down and moving it after the Detox series ends? Seriously, how do you spend $10 million dollars on something and not advertise the crap out of it. Caesar's has the same issue. They have this beautiful room, tucked away in no mans land where no casual player can see it and the only ones looking for it are the more serious players. Well guess what, if there are no fish in the pond then who is going to go fishing?!? William "Poker Monkey" Souther happily posted about the firing of Jim Pedullah who ran the Caesar's room. I am guessing he was fired because the room is failing. My feeling is as long as it is in BFE no one that they get to fill this position is gonna turn it around. I guess I'm mostly surprised about these failures since I learned from my hotel management friends back in my UNLV days that these casinos rarely do anything accidentally. It is not accidental that there are no clocks or windows in casinos and so it is easy to lose track of time. It is not accidental that when you are on line for a buffet you are parallelled by a line of video poker machines. Casinos are organized in such a way to maximize the profit from gaming. There is no question in my mind that this is a main reason why casinos like the Venetian and MGM have busy successful rooms. They are smack in the middle of the action drawing large numbers of casuals who want to try their chances at this cool game they have seen on TV and played occasionally at home with their buddies. Although I understand that poker is a meager source of revenue compared to house games I would think the Hard Rock would take it more seriously after investing such a large amount of money.
As usual the poker room was dead when I arrived. Registration for the series was in the back of the room. There was a giant employee staff meeting with Mr. Matt Savage looking very directorish walking around several poker tables filled with employees. It was a cool looking scene and I wanted to take a picture but I did not. I would be an awful reporter since I am really not good at being intrusive with a camera.
Although I have been playing poker for a few years now I am just getting my feet wet in the public arena of who's who in poker. I have been doing research on Matt Savage and have been happy to learn more about his history of running quality tournaments, especially since the Hard Rock has quite the opposite reputation. Truly I have been spoiled at the Venetian, who do an exceptional job. Although the guy behind the registration counter at the Hard Rock was very nice he got me a little concerned about what the upcoming quality might be.
I signed up for three events each costing $350, $350 and $550 respectively. He charged me $1050. I could have easily payed this to him and walked away but I made sure to correct him. After we squared the cost away I counted out 13 - $100 dollar bills and placed them on the counter. He quickly scooped them up and placed them in the drawer without a recount. Finally I was a little irked at the tournament receipts. Maybe its me, but flimsy credit card like receipt paper as opposed to a firmer higher quality card stock not only looked cheap but seemed easier to lose or ruin.
I'm not going to seriously complain quite yet, especially since I qualified for a player appreciation tournament free-roll at the end of the series ( for entering three events). I was however concerned that on my receipts I was entrant #1. Yes I am one of those guys who hates to be late and gets to the airport earlier than most normal people...but today at 1pm starts the first event and I did not expect to be the first person to sign up.
They are running 24-25 tables 10 handed and since they are splitting the guaranteed events into two starting days there is a potential for a 500 player field and possibly more if they get enough folks for an alternate list. They sounded hopeful in terms of turnout. I also have to stop and think about what kind of competition I will be facing in this field of players. On one hand I imagine that the lower buy-ins will attract more casual players that I might have an edge over, on the other hand I wonder who other than more serious poker players are going to know about this tournament to enter.
At any rate I am very excited about this series and hope to get deep in at least one of these events. I am feeling more confident again in my game and emotionally will be in a good place where I can focus and be patient.
Here are a few things that I would like to remind myself before playing in these events:
1. Don't forget to eat.
2. Do my best to remain patient and avoid coin flips and risking large amounts of my stack when I have a reasonable M.
3. Do a better job classifying people post-flop as ones who will call me to the river VS ones who will fold with marginal hands.
4. Remind myself again that AJ sucks when the pot has been raised
5. Throwing away a winning hand is less of a mistake than calling large amounts of chips with a losing hand.
6. Keep bad luck and bad choices in the past and maintain my confidence, focusing on appropriate decisions, as I move to the future.
7. Never give up, even with 1 big blind left.
Wish me luck. I will be updating my status mainly on facebook but might post a few on twitter. If you are interested in becoming a facebook friend of mine please send me an email to docdominic@Hotmail.com with your facebook username and I will send you a friend request.
I hope everyone has a great weekend.