Eek, I've not really kept up to date due to the consistent hours of work. I had my first day off in four days and all I did was sleep all day. Pretty lame. So what have I been doing since my last post? Well, I went bowling with Rod, Marty and grizzled Tom Waits soundalike Tim Vance, who has the best voice in poker, full stop.
We went over to the Gold Coast, where we ended up just playing for a few bucks, and then in every 5th and 10th frame, whoever had the lowest score, would have to buy a round of drinks. We played two games, I ended up buying three out of the four rounds. Now, I know that makes me look like the world's worst bowler, but for some reason I just really stank more that night than ever before, it was pretty embarrassing as I used to be able to regularly be averaging 140ish and here I couldn't even break 100. Not that every cocktail I ended up buying helped.
Foodwatch – The Rio really sucks for food, but the Soup and Noodle kitchen tucked away by the Brasilia room is good, as is the all you can eat sushi for $30 over by the Masquerade Tower. Other than that, of places I've been to, I recommend Noodles in the Bellagio, Cheesecake Factory in Caesar's (huge numbers of options at reasonable prices) and also the buffet at Planet Hollywood. Meanwhile, if you're looking for booze, the Gold Coast shop is cheap, plus it's open all night on Friday and Saturday, w00t!
So I played the PLO on Tuesday, lasted about five and a half hours before busting out around 200th from 759 runners. I got an early break practically all in on the turn with top set and a straight draw against the nut flush draw and full top wrap, he missed his like 20 outs (I'm only 60% on the turn!) and that boosted me up. I then missed a number of flops and found myself with about 4k in chips with the blinds 150/300. No-one was folding anything so I decided to just lump it in with the first good hand I saw. On reflection, I think I should've waited longer, but I ended up all-in with A-Q-J-9 vs A-Q-5-3 vs T-9-9-8 vs A-K-Q-5. The third of these managed a straight in a pot that meant double average chips, I'm still regretting getting it in here, I could've found a better spot.
Actually, I had been fairly disillusioned with a lot of the stuff I'd heard so far about many big players colluding in the big tournaments in their hotel rooms, people like Erick Lindgren and David Singer winning bracelets who aren't exactly the friendliest or most helpful people to the media. The guy who won the $1,500 practically sneered at the fact he used to do a job where he helped manage park planning in cities.
It's great to bump into the European and UK pros, who always greet you with a smile, but so many of their American 'big name' counterparts have seemingly bought into their faux-celebrity status, which I guess is hard not to, given we're in the most plastic and unreal city in the world. That's not to slam the Americans, there are some top guys out there like Bill Edler (left), as well as these new young bracelet winners who are wise beyond their years and equally polite.
But the bad stories of collusion, preferential treatment of certain players, the sponsorship deals for UB, the daftness of how they choose which event will be televised, hell, even simply the presence of people like Dutch Boyd and Men 'The Master' Nguyen, slowly seem to shade and cloud each day. And while it helps to bump into people on a daily basis like Henning Granstad, Jan Heitmann, Jeff Kimber, Neil Channing, the Hitsquad boys or the Winamax posse, you can kind of come to expect a friendly greeting from them.
It's when you get that little something more, which basically stopped me from feeling totally homesick in this silly fantasy town. And it all happened when Vanessa Selbst won the PLO event tonight. She had a real big boisterous rail supporting her as she played Jamie Pickering heads up, but the night before she'd knocked Tony Phillips out on the final table bubble cracking his aces with K-J-9-8 double suited after he'd re-raised for about 60% of his stack preflop. The reason she later gave was that he had position on her and she just wanted a chance to knock him out as all she cared for was the bracelet, and he was the only person she thought could stop her. Anyway, Tony came by when they were three handed and showed some real class by wishing her good luck and telling her to win it.
She eventually did win against Pickering, who began to play blind and showed so much gamble that all her friends began to cheer for him too, the atmosphere had more in common with a drunken home game than a final table, and everyone was wondering why this wasn't being televised, as opposed to yet another hold'em event. Eventually she did win, and in an interview afterwards said, she was still going back to Yale to become a human rights lawyer and that the win and poker in general would help to allow her to take a lower salary for non-profit organisations. At the same time during the interview, no-one mentioned a word about her being the first woman since Katja Thater to win a mixed gender event, and I feel bad even mentioning that in this blog. For once though, it just didn't seem a big deal to anyone. It was just nice to hear someone talk about a bigger picture than only the poker, it doesn't happen very often.
A great find in the world's morality car-wash.
Song of the day – Mannish Boy by Muddy Waters. Because the blues rocks.