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Monday, January 2, 2012

Hello 2012. Hello L.A. Let's Go!!!

My day started with 4 hours of sleep. Pounded a bottle of Champagne on my own cuz Squirrel was afraid to take more than a wee sip, fretting for Carley's well-being. I guess that's okay, but I think Carley could have handled one glass of celebratory bubbly.

Arrived at GPT. Enjoyed the giggle that always comes from experiencing TSA at that airport. NINE agents to handle a trickle of passengers. Talk about a waste of government funds. But I got through without any hassles. First flight was on your standard birdcage...but luckily I was seated next to the thinnest girl on the plane. Ship it!

On my next leg out of Dallas, on a plane so full they were offering vouchers to give up their seat, I scored an exit row seat...and it was the roomiest emergency row I'd seen in a while. And seated next to me, again, a very thin girl. Running good! Watched movies the whole flight...and arrived to sunny, 75-degree LA with nary a cloud in the sky. Even the shuttle that I reserved for 4pm, which would mean a 2-hour wait, showed up early! So $55 later, and a shuttle ride with Wisconsin Badger fans and a driver who knew every single word of every single country song playing on the radio...and decided to serenade all of us for the entire 74 minute journey, I was in my hotel room at the Comfort Inn and Suites...which is a 3 minute walk from the Bicycle Club Casino in lovely Bell Gardens, California.

My room is very roomy. I have a king size. There is a refrigerator and microwave and the A/C works. Batting 1.000 so far. I took a two hour nap....after unpacking, then walked over for the 5pm tourney.

This casino is very large. And spread out. The staff all seems very friendly and eager to please. Things are a little disheveled and disorganized, but it's their first go at this, and I think, especially after talking to a few of the guys who work at The Bike and not for the WSOP, that they will get most of them ironed out. It's a really nice, spacious tourney room, for sure. Juice and soda is free...drinks cost. But aren't ridiculously expensive like in Chicago.

You have to get a Bike players card, as the Caesers WSOP card won't work. This also requires you to have your picture taken. Beware! And when I arrived there was a line going down the hall and out the door into the parking lot for the 5pm. But when I looked they only had 2 people registering players and by the time I got to the front of the line there was 4 and the line was moving pretty quick. So I think they reacted to that pretty fast. As for the dealers, you have about half circuit dealers and half in-house dealers. Most of them are pretty good. There are a few that could afford to stop the chit chat and focus on getting hands out...but it could be worse, they could totally suck AND be rude, right?

But you're really going to start noticing how important speed is if you play the 5pm tourney. In a very unusual wrinkle...they give you 15,000 starting chips...which is great...and the structure is fine....but here is where it gets whacky. The first 4 levels are 30 minutes long. Fine. Okay. But then...huh? After you return from break...the levels go to 20 minutes! Weird right? I asked one of the regular WSOP floor guys (and not in a whiny complaining way, just as a curiosity) what the rationale was for that move. He told me it was an in-house mandated structure, and that like me...he found it a bit odd. I don't really get it, at all. At Venetian, they changed up their 7pm nightly...where they do 20 minute levels the first 4 levels, then go to 30 after that. Now that makes sense. But hey...I know what it is now, and don't HAVE to play it if I don't want to, right?

The tourney they run at 8pm is really kind of a punch in the face...and don't see myself playing it much. $150 buy in...of which $25 is yeah, you are paying 20% juice on that well as the 5pm tourney...ouch! But in the 8pm, you only get 6k in chips...and the blinds start out at 20 minutes...then go down to only 15 minutes! In the 5pm...with the blinds at 20 minutes..we were only seeing about 5-7 hands a level. That kind of blows.

For the first nooner yesterday, which I arrived late for, but which is a double day entry event...I will play Day 1b today at noon, they got a little over 340. They expect much more today. That structure is just fine...a WSOP structure...and plenty of chips.

The 5pm tourney attracted 519 players. I started like shit. Had a guy on my left I just could not seem to beat. Then finally got a nice double up when I beat his nut flush with a straight flush....flopping open ended and rivering the straight flush. Then doubled up again to get into contention. But I lost a couple hands then lost an all in race with AQs vs. KK when I was suddenly down to 10 BB's. So bonked out of that around 240th.

Met up with the guy running the SNG's and traded a few good ideas that I thought might help them during the week. He was real open to my ideas...and even incorporated a few of them on the fly. Then we got a $120 SNG started. With a $25 last longer...and I got a heads up for $100 with this guy who, well, he's one of 'those guys' we all pretty much can't stand. The $25 last longer 'wasn't enough' for him. Mr. Bigshot. Stupid shades you'd see on a guy driving a corvette. The tucked in shirt when it shouldn't be tucked in...but he still works out once in awhile, so he thinks he's buff enough to pull it off. Gray hair, about 55 years old...big nose. Annoying. So yeah, I wanted to beat him.

I doubled up on the first hand I played. Turning two pair against a guy with top pair...who went broke. Won a few more pots. Was kicking ass. One winner of $1100 and $325 in the last longer total. This would be a good way to start my trip, and head into tomorrow (today) with a surplus in my bankroll. So what happens instead, is that I end up getting beat by the leg humper. Yeah...we know that guy. First, he wouldn't stop chatting me up. Older guy, of some foreign ethnicity...European of some sort. Couldn't understand him half the time. He was 'guy who WONT fold AJ ever' guy. He demonstrated this not once, or twice, or three times...but FOUR. And never lost.

I raise to 300 with AK. He calls. Two others call. Flop comes A-10-3 rainbow. I check, almost positive he is going to bet (since I saw him grabbing his chips prematurely) and indeed, he does. He bets 800. The others fold. I raise him to 2200. He goes all in. Duh, I call. AJ. River? Fucking jack. Sigh. Leaves me now with 1400. I slowly build that back up to 5200. Then a bigger stack raises, a short stack goes all in, and I look at KK. I over shove....and guess who wakes up with AJd and shoves all in behind me for 6500? Yep. First guy folds.

Im obviously ahead of everyone preflop. Stupid old guy with AJ turns a flush and I'm out. Lovely. Leave the casino. See Andrea Lawson outside in the 'smoking chamber.' Andrea is a poker nomad...she lives in Cleveland, but always pops up in the weirdest places. And there she was. We chatted for awhile. She is, I some guy with a 3-letter name from some country in Europe but who lives in she is in LA.

I worked on my 11th Annual NFL Playoff Pool this morning...its one that I do randomly...kind of a pain in the ass, especially since I am playing poker all week. But lucky for me, my partner in all things NOT poker, 'Banger' is going to help me out and enter everyone's picks into the spreadsheet for me this week. $50 to play...interested? Email me at and I will send you an invite.

I woke up at 7am this morning...which I guess is really 9pm due to the time change. But I was asleep by 10pm last we will call that a really good way to start the trip. That and it gave me a chance to do pools, blog to you guys, and get caught up on everything else. And still, its only 10am right now, and I have 2 hours to whatever!!! What a luxury!!! I was woken up this morning by something I suspect I will spend a lot of time watching once May arrives and beyond....Sponge Bob Square Pants!!!!

What the hell is going on!?? I just turned on the Price is Right. First of all, Drew Carey is SO boring! Bob Barker he is NOT! But hold the phone...this lady is up here playing the game...and she is joined on stage by Snoop Dog? For real. Celebrity Price is Right? And yes...Drew just uttered the phrase..."When we come back...we will spin the whizzz-eeel." Stop it.

75,508 hits. That how many of you 'stopped by' to check out my blog last year. That's pretty amazing. Thanks to everyone for giving a damn! Hell, I suppose at least 10,000 of those visits were from 'haters' right? Thanks to you jerkoffs too!
Okay, I think I will actually go downstairs and use the gym before today's tourney. Hope you all have a wonderful day of watching college football bowl games!!!


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