Sunday, July 29, 2018

"I Used to Read Your Blog"

Two days after playing in that Golden Nugget tournament (see here),  I returned to the Nugget for my second tournament of my trip.  But this was a different tournament.  It was a $200 buy-in with nine starting flights spread out over three days, with day 2 to take place on Sunday of that weekend.  The guarantee was $200K.

What I liked about the format was that if you made it to day 2, you’d automatically be in the money; there was no chance of having to return downtown just to bust out before the bubble broke.  It was also one of those "best stack forward" tournaments.  Players could play multiple flights, and if they bagged and tagged more than once, they'd take their biggest stack to day 2.

The question is, what happens if you do make day 2 more than once?  Do you get anything for that?  Well there are different ways to handle that situation.  The Aria WPT 500 has that set-up and if you qualify more than once, you get the minimum day 2 payment for any stack that you don't play on day 2.That seems logical. I believe I've also seen tournaments where you don't get anything for that extra stack you forfeit.  You're playing multiple flights for sole purpose of trying to get a bigger stack to play on day 2 and that's it.

But when I entered the details for this one into PokerAtlas, I noticed that the players qualifying for day 2 more than once would get a $1,500 bonus for each stack they bagged that they had to forfeit.  I didn't think all that much about it at the time.  I've entered other tournaments with similar arrangements on PokerAtlas.  And I was pretty sure I'd noticed tournaments like that at the Bike.  Just never played one with that type of "forfeited stack bonus" before.

It was only after I played in my flight (the last flight of the first day, so Thursday night), that I started thinking more about that bonus payout.  Now I never came close to having to deal with the bonus payment.  If I had made it to day 2 on my only try, I would have been happy with that.

Instead, I busted out after a few hours.  Sadly, there are no memorable hands to talk about, although I did actually win a pot with the dreaded pocket Kings. Raised preflop, two callers, lowish flop with two clubs.  I had the King of clubs.  My c-bet went uncalled.  Other than that, it was an uneventful bust  out in the ninth level.  I was crippled when I shoved my pocket 10's and a shorter stack shoved with Ace-4.  There was not just one Ace on the flop, but two.  I had to shove with King-9 in the big blind a few hands later and lost to Ace-8 (only one Ace this time).

But sometime later, thinking things over, I was reflecting on bonus payout of $1,500 for qualifying more than once.  I thought about it a lot, and it seemed to me, well, if you're going to give someone $1,500 for a stack he/she isn't going to play, well, the min-cash has to be no less than $1,500, right?  I mean, why should a non-played stack be worth more than a stack belonging to a player coming back the second day to actually play?

Suppose a player does make it to day 2 twice.  He gets $1,500 for the smaller stack and then plays the larger stack.  All that is certain is that stack he is playing is bigger than the one he forfeited, but it could still be a small stack relative to average stack.  He might have just barely qualified twice, right?  Let's say that on the first hand of day 2 he does indeed bust out.  So he gets the min-cash.  How could that be less than the $1,500 he got for the stack he didn't play?  That would be like Chico telling Groucho he gets more for not playing than playing (see here).

But realistically, I couldn't imagine them paying out a $1,500 min-cash for a $200 tournament (even I think that's too much!).  So I eagerly followed the results of this tournament to see exactly what the min-cash was.  When it was over, I saw that it was $425.  Well, on the one hand, it satisfies my own personal "double the buy-in" rule I have in my mind.  That's actually a decent payout for the min-cash.  I couldn't complain about that.

Until I compare it to the bonus payout for forfeiting a stack.  Then, it doesn't make any sense to me.  I'm basically going through this exercise to explain why, when they ran this exact same tournament a couple of weeks later, I decided not to play in it, although I had initially intended to.

This just did not seem fair to me, no matter how much I thought about it. Of course, nobody ever said life, or poker, is fair

I want to make it clear I'm not criticizing the Golden Nugget.  They certainly have the right to establish the rules any way they see fit, and this is not a new concept they just came up with it. As I said, other rooms have run the same format many times before.  But I checked with their series last year and although they ran a very similar tournament then, they did not offer the bonus payment for the second stack.  Instead, the forfeited stacks just got a minimum day 2 cash for the efforts.  The $1,500 bonus was something they added this year.

Now I of course understand the reasoning behind it….they want to encourage more entries, more people to enter multiple times even after they've qualified, not just to increase their stack but to chase that $1,500.  I mean, even if someone was the chip leader of their first day 1 flight, they have an incentive (that they wouldn't otherwise have) to re-enter another flight….$1,500 for $200 is a pretty sweet deal.  So I get that.

But, I wonder how many re-entered after already making it once and did not bag and tag again?  All those people added to the prize pool.  But any player who re-entered and made it again actually reduced the prize pool, right?  That's $1,300 taken away from the prize pool.  Of course, there are certainly no guarantees that anyone who made it once could make it a second time.

And the rules were clearly stated up front.  In fact, since I was one of the very first to see the structure sheet (so I could enter the tournament into PokerAtlas), I knew about this bonus payout pretty much before anyone. No excuse for me not knowing what I was in for.

I don't regret playing it, and at the end of the day I would have been happy to have made it to day 2 and gotten that $425 min-cash.  The Golden Nugget puts on an excellent series each year and I'll be eager to play in their events next year.

But I'm not likely to play in an event like this again (anywhere), just because the bonus payment irks me.  Now I am open to changing my mind.  Perhaps you, my readers, can persuade me that this bonus payment is a good idea.  Thoughts?

Anyway, there were a few other things about the tournament that were noteworthy.  One was a classic "woman said."  Our table was near a bunch of electronics for one of the tournament clocks.  Some player noticed there was a bank of portable USB ports just sitting on table there.  He went over and said, "Are these for charging phones?"  The female dealer at our table said, "No….I don't think so…"  The guy said, "Do you think it will blow up my phone?"  And she said, "I don't know."  The guy said, "Well I'm gonna try it."  And so she said, "Yeah, just stick it in there."  She realized how that sounded, had a sheepish look on her face and said, "I better watch what I say."  So I said to her, "I didn't hear that at all," and laughed, and she laughed back.  Anyway, the guy apparently got his phone charged without it blowing up.

Then there was a player at our table who looked familiar to me but I couldn't quite place him.  Finally at one point he shouted over to me, "I used to read your blog."  Hmm….how am I supposed to take that?  I wanted to say, "Well why don't you any more, has it gotten boring?"  I didn't of course.  By the way, I think you could call that a left-handed compliment.  I just nodded and said, "Oh you recognize me?"  He said yeah, he used to see me all the time at the Saturday Binion's tournament I used to love.  Oh well, that explains why he looked familiar to me.  Then he said, "You introduced me to The Trooper."  Well, sir, I'm glad your time reading my blog wasn't a total loss to you, then.  I tweeted to Trooper what happened and said he owed me a commission. 

But to be fair to this guy, he's not the only person who used to read my blog, apparently.  At least going by the reaction (or lack thereof) to my latest couple of posts, particularly the last one.  That really surprised me.  I mean a story about playing poker with a stripper who was really a hooker, and my buddy texting her about a possible private dance? How could I go wrong?  But apparently I'm losing my audience for such salaciousness.  I mean with "naked" and "stripper" in the title, and the "hooker" label, I was at least expecting a lot of hits from search engine traffic.  But it didn't happen.  Hmmm…I wonder if the search engines have shadow banned me because of my political take on the whole straw thing?  Ya think?

Or maybe I've just lost it.  I gotta tell you, that last post was probably my best story coming out of my recent Vegas trip.  If that was a bust, maybe it's time to retire?



Lastly, I recognized one of my favorite dealers who retired a few years ago.  He was working the series.  He actually came to our table and the two of us had a grand old time catching up.  He was always one of the friendliest, funniest dealers around.  He would joke through his downs keeping us entertained.  Until they forced him to use his real name, his employee badge said his name was "Tip."  You know, as a reminder that he worked for tips.

His favorite joke was, the first time at each table somebody tipped him, he'd take the chip and say, :"Thank you very much.  I want you know to know that this tip is going straight to charity……she's a stripper at the Rhino."

That joke never got old.

26 comments:

  1. I'm still reading and enjoying everyone Rob. I've just been out of the scene for a bit with a lot going on. I haven't played at all since I got back from the WSOP five weeks ago. Keep 'em going.

    DP

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    1. Thanks very much, Dave. It's great hearing from you. I'm glad you were feeling well enough to to Vegas for the series. How are you doing? What events did you play?

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    2. Doing great. Got the thumbs up to start working out again around the 1st of June. Played mostly cash because I was still worried about stamina but did play one of the daily Rio events. Plus I much prefer cash. I haven't played a tournament since WSOP two years ago.
      That said, I'm coming out of retimrement to play MegaMillions at the Bike Saturday. My wife and daughter are going to a baby shower for the mom of a classmate so I'm on my own.

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    3. Oops, forgot to also mention. For the MM, multiple day 2 stacks get $3200.

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    4. Yeah I looked into it and saw that about the extra stacks....Crazy!

      Great to hear you are doing so well. Good luck at the Bike, take it down!!!!

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  2. The $1500 day 2 multi-qualify payout would possibly generate more second-try entries which would help with the GN mgt justification to go with that feature? My guess that is not the real reasoning but oh well...

    Yes, there might have been something offputting in your previous post. It had only 4 comments as you mentioned above and that was a pair of obvious pervs each posting twice.

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    1. Well since you were the only real commenter (I don't count), are you calling your self a perv?

      Regarding the bonus payout, I would love to know how many people entered a second time after qualifying and how many of those earned the bonus. I would just love to know if the bonus payment added or subtracted from the prize pool.

      It seems like they are targeting the well-heeled grinders at the (possible) expense of the recs.

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    2. Ha ha you caught me on that previous post! I seem to think the math resulted in shorting the rec players.

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  3. I read every single one of your posts, but only comment when I feel like I have something to contribute. I should comment more frequently though just to express my appreciation. I don't blog as regularly as you, but I've definitely posted stories and thought it would get a big reaction and then...crickets.

    The thing that originally drew me to your blog was your enthusiasm and love for Vegas, the BSC (and my excitement when I figured out that it was MGM), and the kind of shiny newness of your evolving knowledge and strategy in no limit hold-em. The woman said and stripper/hooker posts were interesting enough, but the most compelling stories to me were about the poker and the characters around the table. I love a story with a good antagonist, some jerk that I'm hoping you or somebody else at the table will felt or otherwise put in his place.

    I also enjoyed stories that revealed how you were close with the poker room staff at different places around town or how you had made friends with so many other poker players and grinders you met through your trips. It made the readers feel like, "Hey, I know (digitally) this guy that is a big deal and an insider in the Vegas poker scene."

    Anyway that's my two cents about what I love about your writing and my plea for you to continue even if less frequently due to less frequent trips.

    Jeff

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    1. Jeff, I really appreciate your insight and input. To the extent that you liked my enthusiasm for Vegas, well that's a problem right there isn't it? I've documented how hard they have tried and even succeeded in diminishing my love of the place.

      Also I know that some of the content is dependent on what happens to me at the poker table, and that I don't have much control over other than become a better player (tho not sure stories of me crushing tournaments and cash games non-stop would necessarily be great reading. I'd sure like to see, though.

      But I also want to point out that when I started the blog I was not working in the poker biz and never anticipated doing so,

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  4. Since I don't get to Vegas much these days, I really enjoy reading your Vegas stories (since I have none of my own). Keep it going!

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  5. Rob, I always enjoy your the tournament summaries when you cash. I think the Trooper and other vlogs have shifted the blog readers to vlog viewers.

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    1. Thanks, Ace. Yes it's true, blogging, which is fairly new in the over all scheme of things, is now kind of dated. Technology is just changing too damn fast. And video is sexier than the written word (not to imply that Trooper is sexy).

      So what will replace vlogging??? It probably only has a few years left before the next big thing.

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    2. nah, people hate vlogs as opposed to blogs. u can listen to fox news while u read this blog or mine. but if u are watching the troopers blog, good luck trying to listen to him and Tucker carlson at the same time.

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    3. I wish it were true, and yes, there are some people who prefer the written word to video....but we are in the minority.

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  6. maybe the reason theyre paying $1500 if u dont play and $425 if u min cash is theyre not really taking the $1500 out of the prize pool like theyre supposed to and pocketing it instead? got to investigate it further.

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    1. Not quite sure what you are saying, Tony, but I'm sure there's nothing shady going on. The NV Gaming Authority sees to that. The $1500 goes to the player who qualified a second time, that's certain.

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  7. Rob, Loyal reader here. Only comment when I have something to contribute, but enjoy every one of them. Question, could someone have possibly just sat and never played a hand on Day 1 and squeak into Day 2, then forfeit just to get the $1500? Sure sounds like an angle shoot waiting to happen.

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    1. Thanks very much.

      There's no way you could fold your way to the money. The blinds and antes increasing would see to that. I believe most of the first flights lasted around 8 hours....that would put the blinds at 1K/5K/10K. Starting stack was 15K and it would be gone long before then!

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    2. That plan would require getting dealt AA in your BB with no preflop raise action. Of you could deviate the plan to include fold all hands except AA and when you get AA shove all-in. Looks good to me....

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    3. Hmmm.....maybe it IS doable!

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    1. Thanks, Phil! (May I call you Phil?)

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  9. You had a great writing style early on and actually are throwing around far too many personal opinions these days. Get back to observing and sharing experiences. You do not like the $1500 and you admit that you do not understand it or the impact to the prize pool or the guarantee. So are you just old and pissy? or do you feel it is somehow making your life a little more miserable? I am a well heeled grinder and I want to enter nine times and I bag seven stacks taking down 9K for my 1800 investment and now I make a deep run with my biggest stack and win another 20K...your right, your chance of getting lucky is dwindling away. Good luck. More Slut Parade, less whining.

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    1. LOL....thanks for the commments, Dianne.

      I'd respond further but it would just be giving my personal opinions and we wouldn't want a blogger to do that on his own personal blog!

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