Monday, October 23, 2006

Niagara Railbird Report - Canadian Open - Fallsview Casino - Day 2

Who else but a poker geek would drive down to Fallsview after work (admittedly I had nothing to do) just to watch a bunch of guys play down to the money in a poker tournament? That's right, nobody. Oh well. I'm talking about the WPT Canadian Open which featured a whole bunch of 'name' players for a small buyin (yeah, 2500 is small i guess).

These included:
Gavin Smith
Daniel Negreanu
Joe Sebok
Farzad Bonyadi
Isabelle Mercier
Nam Le
David Williams
"The Grinder" Mizrachi
JC Tran
Eli Elezra
Humberto Brenes

So, quite a few high limit players for such a small event... oh well. Of course I didnt realize the event was running until today, and they already busted most of the names but I said screw it and headed down to railbird because, well, i had nothing better to do.

I walk into the room, saddle up to the "rail" which is well placed for spectating, look for a player I can identify and the only ones I know the names of are "Shampoo" and Vince "Hollywood" (I dont know his last name) from my first Degree Poker tournament. Meh. Of course, then I look at the spectators and notice I'm standing right beside Humberto "Spanish for Chark" Brenes. I didn't bother the dude but he was railing Hollywood's table so I assume he had a runner still in the tournament.

I stuck around to watch them play down to 27, saw Joe Sebok in the hall registering for the next event, and generally railed the chipleader's table for an hour or two. He's got a WSOP Bracelet and Ring sitting on top of his chipstack... dudes name is Scott Clements who won an Omaha Hi/Lo bracelet at this past series keeping Phil Hellmuth out of his 10th bracelet. He was playing a big stack relatively well from what I saw, and is clearly a decent player. He leads going into Day 3 tomorrow.

I'll probably head back to Fallsview on Wednesday afternoon/evening for the start of the big one. I wish I was rolled to play the cash games there but its all mid-high for the most part. Something about the tv pro's coming to town has everyone gamboooling high.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Saturday Night Live Poker At Seneca Niagara Casino

You heard me! I actually got to play some live B&M poker. Scary enough it was Harry that suggested we go play some cards, and believe it or not Matt was allowed out of the house to play too. So, around 9:30 on Saturday night we headed over the border to Seneca Niagara in order to play some poker.

I was just planning on playing 'for fun' so I put us all on the limit lists (3/6, 5/10) and 1/2 no limit as the limit games can be slow to bust people compared to 1/2 as those two are generally happier playing limit.

About Seneca's Poker Room

Upon arrival at the place of my first casino poker experiences, I'm shocked to see how they have increased the size of the poker room.

They must have doubled the tables to 30+ and had a 'high' section where those with more colorful chips can play and they can run donkaments. The poker room is separated from the smoky hell of the main casino, has no casino sounds, just shuffling and riffling of chips. Sweet sweet poker sounds.

The Games

Seneca was also running $60 sit-n-go's constantly through the night... that's perdy cool to see regular tournaments, even though I hate tournaments I know a lot of people love them. Our Canadian side casinos don't run these at all except tuesdays and of course the WPT that's on this week.

I called all three local casinos, here's the games they were spreading on Saturday evening:

Casino Niagara:
1/2nl, 2/5nl, 5/5nl, 2/4 limit. Bad players, (mostly) bad dealers, awful awful floor staff. Plus loud as hell... meh.

2/5nl, 5/5nl, 5/10nl, 10/20nl, 25/50nl, and 100/200 limit. HAH! 100/200. Musta had some tournament player action here because thats way way higher than the normal 10/20 that runs there. I chock it all up to the WPT event this week (mini event started Sunday, big event starts middle this week sometime (10k buyin)). These limits are all way higher than I play, though I'd love to be rolled for it. Fallsview's lists are always way, way, way overbooked and they seem in no hurry to expand the poker room. Meh, if i was rolled for mid/high limits i'da been there.

Wow, what a list.
1/2nl, 2/5nl, 5/10nl, 2/4 limit, 3/6 limit 1/2 kill, 5/10 limit, 3/6 crazy pineapple, 3/6 omaha/8, 15/30 limit, 7stud 1/2 i think it was. Seriously thats a good number of games, though nothing seriously high limit that i could see.

The Dealers

Seneca was always better from a dealer point of view than our Casino Niagara and Fallsview casinos. That's not to say all our dealers are worse on the Canadian side, there are a few bright spots, but most of them are less than good. It has something to do with the fact that dealers in the Canadian casinos rotate their dealers into the poker room and out of it on schedule so dealers can be raking craps one day and pitching hold'em the next. Plus dealers in the Canadian casinos dont keep tips. That sucks for motivation to do your job well. The dealers are Seneca Niagara were professional, excellent. They know their work and can deal all the games as evidenced by a 7stud, omaha8 game running and the dealers having them in their normal lineups. Totally pro and they earned their tips.

My Games

As stated before, I went to the casino with Matt and Harry in order to have some fun with them. On arrival I was seated in a 1/2nl game with the understanding we were to try and get together for some 3/6 fun. Around 45 minutes into an uneventful 1/2 session I was called for 3/6 with a 1/2 kill. This was my first kill-game but had the general gist down.

What's a Kill Game?

A kill game means the poker game is played at a certain limit, in this case 3/6. If a certain qualifier is met (the pot becoming $60 in this case) the next hand is played with an increase in betting structure of 1/2 more, or rounded off to $5/$10 in the case of this game. A full kill would have been $6/$12.

Shortly after sitting, I hear Matt and Harry's names called from the podium for the 3/6 game, but they don't show. WTF? I switch out of no limit, which is definately my best game, and come to play limit with these guys and they didnt come over! So, i hunted them down at a 1/2nl game where both bought in, got stuck, and refused to change tables. Those f'ers! Thankfully my game was sweet with one older east indian gentleman who played every hand to the river it seemed and reloaded twice. Kill pot? No matter. I hit some good hands, played standard tight-aggressive and came out $143 winner.

Unfortunately, Harry and Matt both lost a bit of cash, nothing too bad though.

I bought the traditional McD's milkshakes on the way home, with Harry requesting a double quarter pounder with cheese. Sorta gross, but thats the way he rolls when half-drunk on cheap casino beer i spose.

Hopefully Harry and Matt will want to go back to Seneca once in a while. I still love live poker and would like to play more now that my weekend mornings don't require getting up early.

And finally, breaking news. Matt's not 40 yet, and it wasn't his birthday. He is getting married in a few days though -- that i'm definitely sure about as I'll be attending.

Friday, October 20, 2006

A little birdie whispered in my ear...

(That little birdie was Harry, thank's dude.)

Anyways, I can't let this occasion pass without a tribute to my good friend Matty on the occasion of his 40th birthday.

A little background. Matthew B. was born 14,600 days ago on October the 20th, 1966 to two happy parents. He had a full head of hair at birth which was unexplicably spiky but became his trademark. That trait followed him through his adult life.

Matt was introduced to golf early by his father in a closed-door session, as was usual. He became proficient, getting his handicap as low as 2 -- he was gooood.

He worked in his father's business, wearing a suit daily and becoming known for his preppy style of dress out of the office (see: sweatervest). He also developed into one hell of a sabres fan, posting long, detailed reports daily on his favorite hockey team.

Matt is truly one of the nicest guys I know, and I know as he crosses over the hill of life into his golden years he will continue to be a worthy golf opponent even as his grasp on his fine muscle movements (see: putting yips) and bladder control leave him in the coming years.

So, with all sincerity I can possibly muster on this fine, fine occasion...

Here's to you Matty B! I hope you can keep trying to play the back tees for a few more years.

Monday, October 16, 2006

This Weekend In... Work

Well, I ended up working most of the weekend. Saturday golf was out due to wetness/cold. I spent the majority of the day working away on my computer on my various projects. At one point, Matt signed on and I asked him to play some poker against me (whatever game he chooses) but he wouldn't. I can't blame him, i'm GOOOOOOD.

Anyhoo, Sunday morning I planned to get out of bed for golf, but when 7:30am rolled around on my alarm clock, I said screw it. I don't regret not playing early morning golf Sunday as it was cold, but the afternoon warmed up so I sort of regret not making it there for at least 9.

Not much pokering this weekend. Played a few hands of 100NL on Full Tilt, couple of $25 Pot Limit Omaha (now THAT's an easy game to slaughter donks at, folks). Just having fun... for now poker's just fun for me and i'm not serious this month at all though i'm by no means throwing money away. There's lots of work to do with my offline businesses and they need to come first since Frist pulled the plug on the tank.

Kudos to PokerStars for staying in business with US players, though how many fish will swim from party over there will be interesting.

Last night I check my email and Party has gifted me a $125 bonus requiring 7x hands or 25x playthrough in the casino. The fact that I have no interest in playing 1200 hands on party anytime in the next 7 days meant I'm taking this to the casino. Went to blackjack, playing $5 a hand ran it up to $180 and down to nothing. Casino games are rigged.

Actually, Party's blackjack dealer had quite a few totally bullshit draws in blackjack. That game is totally rigged and you're an idiot if you think party's not trying to make up the shortfall of losing the US player base (thankfully I was playing with their money). I've also heard they're raking uncalled bets in no limit cash games. Theives.

Party, you were shitty to your playerbase when you had them -- bad karma comes around, biatch.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Protect Thine Bankroll

Well, it's official, I cashed out of Party yesterday. I sort of feel sick about it, but Strassa2 over at 2+2 posted a good article by Barrons on how Party might come up short cash-wise so I didnt want to get the short end of that stick. Besides, there are still quite a few sites accepting US players.

In the end, I moved the cash to Neteller and put $1k in Full Tilt which as you can see is a fine sponsor of this here Poker Blog. They've got a pretty cool 50% up to $500 reload bonus going on so its all good. Played 200 hands or so last night just one-tabling while I worked on other things and made a profit which is cool. Plus i worked off a whopping $6 of my bonus... hehe. I also have rakeback at Full Tilt so that helps too!

Anyways, I didnt play much last week thus the lack of posts. I've been rather depressed about online poker since the USA pulled the plug on the fish tank, and yeah I know not all the water is drained out yet but still... ugh. Hopefully the suckers find their way to Full Tilt and we can loosen them up a bit. I definately gravitate to Semi-LAG play on the site due to the tightass players but I sort of like that so its all good.

Anyways, this month I havent played many hands as I mentioned, but I'm up like $350ish so far. Have been working on some other business related things to keep the income floating.. hopefully they work out.

Shout outs to Matty who setup a sick new Buffalo Sabres Blog to follow his favorite NHL team. I'm no hockey fanatic though so you wont see many hockey updates on this here weblog, sorry y'all.

Thats it, have a good one.

Monday, October 02, 2006

The Party Is Over - *sigh*

Well, PartyPoker announced that the new US Legislation will effectively force them to shut out all US players when its made law by GWB. Wow, that's a bad beat for poker. The monsterous amount of money that trickles up the chain from the recreational player who plays and loses a few hundred or couple K to the better players and even casino players is ludicrous and has been pushing the whole poker world for a few years now.

What this also means is the World Series is about to get a hell of a lot smaller again, since there won't be cheap satellites online for US players.

Shed a tear for all the US kids at college who pay tuition with what they fleece out of folks like Harry who play for fun. Shed a tear for Dikshit sitting on his golden throne in PartyGaming HQ who can no longer afford to screw over his players because he'll just go find more americans. Shed a tear for the Toastman here whose preferred recreational pasttime just got a hell of a lot harder to win at.

Thankfully I'm not american in one way, I can still play online poker. Unfortunately, its debatable at this point whether there will be good games to play online. Might have to make the transition to casinos to find the deep ponds if the fearmongerers on the message boards are right... UGH. 30 hands an hour is a bad beat.

As for how my weekend went, not too bad. Saturday golf went 36-41 for 77 (gross), Sunday was 43-41 for 84 (gross again). Just didn't have it Sunday at all... no excuses. It was fun though. I'm just happy we're still playing golf.

Here's to hoping the poker boom survives this loss, I'd hate to have to figure out something productive to do with my spare time.