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Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Day 1. Bubbles and Sweat.

 Welcome to Satan's waiting room. Yes...I am talking about New Orleans. While I am tickled to be here, and be allowed to play in the event at Harrah's New Orleans...which, as expected is drawing exceptionally large fields of players...and which is sporting awesome structures, designed to result in good players making the final tables...it is with regret that I always seem to come away from any experience in this city wishing there was something someone could do to save this once-great city.

As I write this...the Mighty Mississippi threatens all of Louisiana with record levels of water, at 8lbs per gallon, headed its way. As I drove into town yesterday, and got off the freeway exit...the first thing I see is a black pregnant woman in a tiny jean shorts and a baby-T...running...yeah...almost in a full sprint, across the street. What the....mmm, yes...'welcome to N'awlins.'

Next thing I see...as I took a shortcut, down Tulane Avenue...was a collection of 6 folks...all sitting on the sidewalk...clearly trying to negotiate their way through a drug transaction. Would have loved to pull over just to see how that conversation ended, but I was (a) excited to get to the tournament on time and (b) excited to NOT get caught in the crossfire of some stray gunshot. So I rolled on.

You see it all in this town. And I guess some people (warped) find it appealing...suggesting that its the 'flavor of N'awlins.' Really? Flavor? I'll tell you what...I like the flavor of beef jerky...of lobster...even avocados. The flavor of poverty, crime and bad fashion choices? You can have it. 

I arrive. All my luggage remains in my car...as I have yet to secure a place to stay...but Kai Landry is roaming the city searching for temporary housing options. The best he would come up with is some local trying to fiscally rape him for a 10-day stay priced at $5000 for a condo. You heard me. The best part was the guy trying to tack on 11% 'sales tax' to the rental. No he wasn't a realtor. No he wasn't functioning as a business, which I believe is a requirement to charge a consumer 'sales tax,' the suggestion that you would be paying that 'sales tax' to the State instead of jamming it in your pocket. I explained to Kai that this guy was just a scammer. So...let this be a lesson, if some Tom, Dick or Harry from the street tries to sell you something on the street and makes an attempt to slap on 'sales tax' you should look him in the eye...and just start laughing like a hyena.

I arrived on time. I discovered that the day's tourney was a 6-handed NL tourney. Did not know that. Was both happy and slightly disappointed. While I am a space freak...I love all the extra elbow and leg room that comes with playing 6-handed. As a tight player who likes to play well-structured tourneys so I can just sit back and snipe aggressive players...these are a bit tougher for a couple of reasons.

1. You see a lot more hands per hour.
2.  You are paying the blinds a lot more frequently...meaning that if you aren't playing many hands...you run the risk of blinding out a lot faster than in a normal, 10-handed tourney.
3.  You tend to find a LOT of aggressive, internet-savvy players in 6-handed tourneys...who like to demonstrate their ability to apply pressure by doing a lot of 3-betting and even 4-betting. It really makes you re-evaluate any plans you have of either limping in early position or raising (first to act) with stuff like AJ and KQ...knowing you stand about a 72.5% chance of getting re-raised...then having to decide what to do.

Yes...these events are tricky. I don't even remember...okay wait...let me try. Table one...okay, got moved then to the 'coldest table in the history of poker' with Jan dealing...who was over-dramatizing just how cold she was by rubbing her hands and arms constantly, and was shaking the table. Annoying. Watching her rub herself...with the look of desperation on her face was like watching a dog infested with fleas trying to scratch itself for relief. 

The third table was when I got moved into the theatre...and into that little room that all of us players have taken to calling 'the meat locker' over the last 10 years...because it is always freezing in there. But going from the 'coldest table in the history of poker' to the 'meat locker' was like going from the Arctic Circle to the beaches of Rio.

I didn't stay there long. And thank God...because I had Michael Hallen at my table...also known as the 'guy who raises (loves the min raise) about 7 hands out of 10...always c-bets the flop, rarely gives up on a hand...and when he misses on the river has a habit of betting about 2 or 3 times the pot in a wild attempt to make you fold. Needless to say, he was driving me bananas. His chip stack fluctuated throughout the day from HUGE...to BIG...to normal...back to HUGE....then down. His style of play? I can't get with it. Mike would end up busting out 40th...with 33 getting paid. 

I then got moved to the main tourney room, table #4. And Michael followed me to the table. Lovely. Also at that table were 4 very aggressive players. That table was a nightmare. I don't think I have used even half as much 'mental energy' in a tourney as I did yesterday. Patience being a huge factor...I thought I used a lot of discipline yesterday, and really felt like it was going to pay off. 

Got moved again..move number 5...and the final one. At that point I was only 8 away from the money. It was another maniacal table, highlighted by this black kid, who was actually pretty likeable, all decked out in red gear...red hat, red shirt...red everything. I read an article about the colors that guys are wearing nowadays...I think this makes him a Cardinals fan. Well he was doing a lot of raising, calling re-raises, then after the flop going into these long, drawn out...made-for-TV performances that meant our table was seeing about half as many hands as everyone else. 

With 35 players left...and my stack dwindling...and with no desire to get blinded out, and with myself also having crafted a very good table image...I needed to pick up a round of blinds, badly. So when I got my favorite 'survival hand' at cutoff...the famous K9...I knew the man upstairs was trying to help me out at a critical juncture...and if I were called when I shoved $13k (at 1k/2k) I have an amazing record of 37 for 42 over a 6 year period when shoving all in with my favorite hand. So I let it rip. And was called by guess who? Yep. 'That guy.' With a pair of 3's. Not a call I hated...with two overs. I am now 37 for 43 with K9 in 'must have it' mode. He ended up making a wheel...and I was out...at 11:30pm....2 spots from the money. Yes...I was dismayed. And exhausted. Kai would end up making the money...then swiftly losing...collecting a disappointing 'min cash' before making his way to our hotel room...which we went out at dinner break and secured.

I sauntered over to a $125 SNG...deciding to try and at least go out even on the day. Things started well...snapping off a crazy Asian guy who led out 200 on a 994 flop...and with me sitting on 88...I raised him to 600. He goes all in. Whatever. I call. He has J10. Yep...J10. he didn't hit anything. Thought, "hmm...maybe I will win this SNG." I would get down to 4. It was paying 2. Had I finished 3rd, I would have won $160 in last longer money. So with blinds at 200/400 and with 2200, I move all in with AQ. Get called by the big blind holding JJ...and fail to hit my 6 outer. Out. 4th. No money. That's a wrap for Day 1. 

Then my night got hellacious. Really hellacious. I went and retrieved my car. Drove around the corner to the Pelham hotel...located conveniently two blocks north of Harrah's, and a place I stayed two years ago when I final tabled the Main Event here...my first-ever Main Event final table. I had a good experience that time. I walked into the room to find Kai lying in his boxers...on top of his bed...and could tell right away he was miserable.

The temperature read 78 degrees...though with the humidity it was  way more miserable than that. Turn on the TV...nothing but snow. Walk into the bathroom...the towel rack is halfway on/off of the wall. There is no window. Kai is claustrophobic. Jeezuz. I call the front desk and bitch. They give us a new room. New room, same problems. AC that doesn't work. TV is out...find out its throughout the entire hotel. It finally just came back on halfway through this entry. The lady tells me...when I am explaining how the AC panel reads 76, though I have tried to lower it to 68...."it works on a motion sensor" when I asked if they just leave the AC off unless the room is occupied. So what exactly does that mean? If I am laying in my bed...not moving...the AC stops? That makes no sense. 

So despite the 'command' being given to the panel to lower the temperature to an acceptable, hell....anything UNDER 70 degrees...I am staring at 75 right now. I spent the entire night on top of my bed....sweating profusely, likely losing 5 lbs while I tried to sleep. Every half hour or so I would try to find relief by turning over my pillow...seeking out that ever-elusive 'cool side of the pillow.'

I called the front desk when I could no longer even try to sleep...at 8:42am. "Maam, my TV is still not working...and I just spent the last 5 hours rolling around in a pool of sweat. I'm having a hard time wrestling with the reality of having paid $122 for this awesome experience."  

"I will send someone right away to fix the AC sir."  That was over two hours ago. No knock on the door. And oh...yeah the TV finally came back on...but now the remote doesn't work...so if I decide to watch another channel, I have to get up and manually change it. Welcome back to 1979. But program options back then were so limited that a need to change the channel was nothing like it is today.

So the good news? Its now 11:15am...another tourney starts in 45 minutes...and the casino is nice and cold. I might go in shorts and a wife beater.

There are different forms of sweating. And this doesn't even take into account the type of sweating some of us really loathe...that dude who thinks if he lurks around the table when you are in the money, feigning support, that somehow he will be in line for a handout at the end...for his 'amazing sweating skills' that propelled you to victory. Lets explore some of the 'varietals' of sweating...and those who sweat!


This...we would consider a fantastic form of sweating.

For those keen on exercise... nice long bike ride through the countryside would also produce a nice sweat, one which you could feel satisfied upon having spent your day accomplishing.

Yes...it's true...this is a 3-D animated version of a hot, sweaty crime-fighting vixen. But you still like it don't you? Don't even try to say no...we both know the real answer!

Doesn't get much better than this when it comes to sweat, does it?

After a night of dancing and drinking...you stumble upon these two hot, sweaty young ladies...who can't seem to let go of one another....we ALL hate seeing this huh? Yeah, right!


Ever seen this guy? Or for that matter BEEN this guy? Sucks, huh?

Or seen this guy...as he plays checkers on a hot, sunny day in New York City with one of his buddies who he has been playing on that same bench with for 20 years. Will he die from heat stroke on this particular day in question? It's probably about a 60/40 proposition. Familiar with those? 60/40's?


No...this is not ME! I would like to consider myself just a little more attractive than this Ginger Kid who is sporting the quasi-pornstache....but you can pretend like that IS me...because this is pretty much how I spent all last night...while trying to just get ONE decent hour of sleep!   





Okay...you get the idea. Day 1? Sucked. Lot of play. No money to show for it. Lousy-ass hotel room. Paid too much for it. Didn't get ANY sleep...and now, get to go back and start all over again. And you say you want to be a 'professional poker player' for a profession? You sure? Lets see if today goes any better. Now...please, let me get in the shower...and have at least a nice experience in there. But why...for some reason do I have a feeling its going to be more like getting peed on by a 5 year old? Well....here goes! 

Monkey

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hey Will, its Dee, finished with my chemo and radiation, planning on coming to Neww Orleans and play. Dang lost 40 lbs on that crap, dont weigh but 125, bout killed me. I sure as heck dont want to stay at your hotel,lol Got a question, tried to call Kenny Milam,have you noticed if he is there? And im bringing my broomstick with me, you have me a shot of tequila waiting pretty please?