Sunday, July 8, 2012

AVP Tournament: Meet, Greet, Exit Quickly

I’m going to go into a little more detail on the All Vegas Poker Meet & Greet Tournament  that took place Saturday, June 23.  Now I already did a post about some of the stuff that took place (see here), but that post was more about the bloggers and the ass-grabbing  that went on that night.  This post will be more from an AVP  perspective and may actually have some poker content.
So while I was just chillin’ out, sitting behind grrouchie at the 2/5 game at the Mirage that he was no doubt making a fool of himself at, someone comes away from that game and says hello to me by name.  I said hi back while trying to figure out exactly who it was.  He saw the confusion on my face and told me he was Benton Blakeman, the resident pro at AVP. Of course I had met Benton at the AVP Meet & Greet that took place last October.  What’s funny is at that time, I recognized him just from his pic on Twitter.  This time I wasn’t so sure it was him.  Why not?  Well, when I expressed my surprise he told me he had recently dropped 40 pounds.  It made a difference and boy, does he look good.  Amazing.  We chatted briefly (mostly about his diet/exercise regime) and then he returned to take more money from the fish.
I started recognizing and saying hello to other prominent AVP’ers like Jon Friedberg, who runs AVP, Las Vegas Michael, and Alaskagal. Jon and Michael were mentioned in the post I did about the last AVP meet, which can be found here.  But I don’t believe I’ve ever mentioned Alaskagal before.  I’m not sure I should apologize for that, or if it’s something she’s grateful for.  Alaskagal is very well known in the Vegas poker community, as both a player and a dealer, and is truly one of the warmest, friendliest and nicest people you’ll ever meet.  I’ve had the pleasure of both playing poker along side her (if you do, make sure you get position on her) and being dealt to her one of the various rooms around town she has worked.
On this day, she was busy handing out nametags, the lack of which is something I did complain about in my Omaha post referenced above.  Once we had nametags, I started looking around for names I would recognize from AVP.  That’s how Kingsmen  figured out who I was and that I was a lot older than he expected me to be based on the blog.  And also how Lindy99 met all the other bloggers he followed (myself not included).
And thus I recognized the name “twriter”  and I introduced myself to him.  Chuck actually prefers playing low limit to NL, as I used to, so I always followed his posts intently when I first joined AVP.  Recently I had been following his decision making process as he tried to figure out whether or not to drive down from the Bay Area to attend the meet and also where to stay.  So we had a nice chat about that and he told me about a terrible road closure that added a few hours on to his commute, near the stateline between Nevada and California.
I know there were others I met and/or chatted with, but unfortunately, I didn’t write down the names fast enough to keep up with my aging memory.  I apologize to anyone I missed.
I did overhear two women I didn’t recognize talking about the nametags.  As one put the name tag on her shirt, the other one said to her, “Now they have another reason to look at your boobs.”
 Pizza was served before the tournament, a very nice touch.  I dare you to find a poker player who doesn’t like pizza, especially if it’s free.  Finally they started announcing that everyone should head to their table, so I looked for mine.  Table 8 was right over there, near the pizza.  Only one problem.  There was a cash game going on at it!  Hey come on, I may not be a great tournament player, but I hadn’t busted out quite that fast!
I saw Las Vegas Michael and explained this to him.  Conveniently, he had someone else’s tournament registration slip in his hand and took mine and give me the one he was holding.  It had someone else’s name on it, but I took her assigned seat.  The mix-up was probably due to the Mirage allowing early registration for the tournament, I had registered days before.  And I could see that I was only the third person to sign up for it at that time.  Apparently after I signed up they figured out that table 8 would be a cash game, not a tournament table.
So off I went to my new table assignment, the forgotten, ugly step-child of tables, Table 22.  The Mirage had added a bunch of table for this tournament, and this one was stuck in the corner, barely still in the poker room.  Seriously, it was closer to the bar in the sports book than the poker room.  We really couldn’t hear the announcements, and seat 10 was up against the wall, only accessible if the person in seat 9 got out of his seat. It was clearly the single worst table in the room.  And the irony was I got sent there essentially as “punishment” for registering so early.  No good dead goes unpunished, as they say.  Note: Las Vegas Michael was “sentenced” to play there in seat 10, but convinced them that since as one of the hosts of the tournament, he had to keep getting up from his seat, another table/seat would be more appropriate for him.
One weird thing about the location.  For a few minutes there I was overhearing a cocktail waitress in the sports book talking to a couple of customers about some unpleasant fellow.  I didn’t hear the whole thing or get any context for this at all, but I distinctly heard the waitress say to the patrons (who I couldn’t see—have no idea if they were male, female or some of each), “I’m sure his parents are proud of him, a walking penis.”  Note she may have referred to this fellow as a “human penis”—not sure which it was.
At least there were plenty of familiar faces at table 22.  In one seat I recognized “Pat”, a gentleman I had played a lot of 2/4 limit poker with last year at BSC.  For a while there, he and his girlfriend, a very attractive blonde, were at BSC almost as much as I was.  But I hadn’t seen them much lately, I assumed I might have missed them now that I’m playing NL there.  But when I had a chance to talk to him, it turned out that they now preferred playing 2/4 at other card rooms in town, or were playing 3/6 right there at the Mirage.   
Then there was a face I recognized from Twitter.  I had followed cardiac_poker  on AVP for awhile and knew he was in town, and he looked just like his Twitter pic.  In fact I was pretty sure he was at Bally's earlier in the week when I was playing with Lightning but circumstances prevented me from saying hello then.  This time I did introduce myself, having seen his tweets that he was indeed playing in this tournament. 
After introducing myself to cardiac_poker, I heard someone call my name.  The voice was coming from the other side of the table, and I immediately recognized Clem2754.  “Clem” is one of the more prolific posters at AVP.  And I had met Clem—and played with him—before.  Sometime last year, he and Alaskagal were playing one night, she saw me and called me over to say hi and introduce Clem to me.  I ended up joining their table.  Having played with Clem, I was not all that thrilled to be at his table.  Nothing personal, he’s certainly a nice guy.  But if he played tournaments anything like he played cash, nary a pot would go by that wouldn’t be raised pre-flop.
We talked cross table a bit and he said he had seen me at another poker room a few nites earlier and tried to get my attention to say hello—and invite me into his game—but apparently I didn’t hear him.
Then a very familiar, friendly face showed up to take the seat directly to my left.  It was Donna, of the Pink Ladies Poker Tour Donna and I have been pals since we played many hours together at a Deepstack tournament last year.  We bonded over a rather amusing hand she had.  She went all in with pocket Aces, and by the turn she had a full house.  The clown she was up against (who had her covered) had called with a pretty weak hand and had managed to river a flush.  It took him awhile to figure out that his flush was no good; Donna had the boat.
“You got lucky!” he actually said to her.  Ahem, she had Aces from the beginning, made a boat on the turn and she got lucky because he caught his flush on the river?  We shared a good laugh over that one.
Anyway, I’ve run into Donna many times since.  One thing she told me more recently that I didn’t know was that she played in the October AVP meet (I didn’t see her, not sure if that might have been before I met her) and was the bubble (i.e,, she was the last person to bust out before the next person to bust out got paid).  Ugh.  And oh yes, I did see Donna a few days after this at the Ladies Event where I was ordered to look at and take a picture of breasts. But she is not one of the women in that picture.
But she did give me an excellent “woman said” story.  She said she tweeted this so I guess there’s no reason not to repeat it here.  (As you can tell, due to the nature of this post, I’ve abandoned my usual practice of using fake names here).  Anyway, her tweet was apparently referencing the way male poker players sometimes treat female players.  So as best I can remember her description of the tweet, it said, “I do have balls.  God put them on my chest so they don’t sweat.”
During this part of the tournament, Donna was getting frustrated that her raises weren’t getting any respect from the male players at the tournament—not the first woman I’ve heard make that complaint.  She kept calling it a “testosterone table.”  And she repeatedly told me that she wasn’t raising with air, but they called her anyway—and then sucked out on her.
But what about me, I hear you asking?  How did I do in the tournament?  Are we ever gonna get some actual poker content here or not?  Yes, finally, I will talk about the poker.  I only hope that genomeboy is still reading.
Unfortunately, there’s precious little to report and none of it is good.  As with every other tournament I played on this trip, I was totally card dead.  I did fine at cash games, actually seeing some playable cards on occasion.  But during tournaments?  Not so much.  And I’m pretty sure my cards at this particular event were the worst of the trip.
I did win a few chips with pre-flop raises on AK and 10/10.  On the former, a King hit and my flop bet was uncalled.  On the 10’s, I missed my set but my continuation bet was uncalled.  Other than that, I was getting really, really good at mucking my cards.  Now if 9-5 and 9-4 offsuit were playable hands, I would have been the chip leader at the table, as those were the two hands I saw the most.  But with the aggressive nature of many of the players at the table, there was no place for me to try anything fancy with garbage.  I had to lay low on the early levels, not squander many chips, and hope for the cards to change for me.
At one point, Clem shouts to me from the other side of the table, “It’s ok to play a hand, Rob.”  Believe me, I wanted to, but the cards just wouldn’t let me.
Finally I played a hand.  And who was I up against?  Clem!  Short-stacked (approximately $5K, I’d say), he shoved.  I had him covered, perhaps by twice of what he had.  I had AK hearts.  First decent hand I’d seen in probably an hour and it’s already a shove to me!  Figuring with his stack he might be shoving light, figuring if I lost a race I’d still have a decent if short stack to play with, and figuring I hadn’t seen two face cards in the same hand for what seemed like an eternity, I decided to call.  But since there were still people to act behind me, some with a lot more chips than me, I decided to shove myself to isolate Clem and go heads up.
My notes don’t reflect this, but I seem to recall there was indeed another all-in, someone shorter stacked than Clem.  So I was still only risking Clem’s stack.  Anyway, regardless, he had pocket 9’s, and I think if the shorter-stack existed, he had a smaller pocket pair.  Of course the flop had a 9, so the King on the river didn’t help me out, and Clem took a lot of my chips and I was now short-stacked.  ((EDITED TO ADD: Clem has offered the following correction.  A shorter stack ($2800?) shoved first, followed by Clem ($5500).  I still had over 5K after losing but that was pretty short stacked.  The first shover had pocket 7's.))
Pretty much from there I was in shove-or-fold mode, and I lasted to the 1st break because I didn’t get anything to shove with.  I was really good at folding by now.  After the break, the break where in I was sexually abused (and I’m not complaining), we played just a few more hands when the table was broken.  I was only at the new table for three or four hands when my tournament run came to an end.
Desperately short stacked, some guy with a huge chip stack made a standard pre-flop raise.  I had no read on him whatsoever, but I could see he had a boatload of chips.  I look down at K/J clubs and figured this as a good a hand as I was likely to get before being totally blinded out.  I shove.  Big stack calls, nobody else does.
I show my hand, and he shows….3/4 hearts!  Really?  Really?  OK, I don’t remember enough of the details to know if it was a good call on his part, probably was since he had already raised and I didn’t have a huge stack.  And raising in the first place with that hand?  Well, I guess when you have more chips than you know what to with, it makes sense.
I liked my chances.  I wanted to see high cards, preferably black ones.  But instead I see a four on the flop, nothing else that did either one of us any good, and I was done.
I played a little cash afterwards, did lousy but fortunately I don’t remember any hands.  So it was time to move on, as described in the earlier post discussing this event.
Despite the rather short run, I had a blast, and as always Jon and the rest of AVP do a great job putting these things on.  Thanks guys.
And most of all, thanks for not including anything rhyming with Showmaha in this tournament.


  1. I think that's an excellent read on your part Rob, that all poker players like free pizza... ;)

    1. Coach, it took me years and years of extensive, scientific study at many, many, many poker tables to reach that conclusion, and I'm fairly confident in it's accuracy.

    2. Absolutely. We used to have free pizza at our league tournaments. I can't remember for sure when it stopped, but likely when the bar opened up a grill. I was really disappointed during the quarterly on Friday when the grill was closed to boot. I had planned on buying a pizza.

    3. I believe they have pizza delivery almost anywhere in the world, Herb. :)

  2. Yeah -- and a big thank you for your trying to shame me for grabbing some of the pizza!

    I hate being card dead. I was like this for much of this past trip to Las Vegas. Then last week I got on Black Chip Poker and (in "Showmaha")got straight flushes in back to back hands. Go figure.

    1. Yeah, too bad those straight flushes didn't happen live, preferably in a casino with high hand bonuses. Oh well.

  3. Rob, for the life of me I can't understand where you find these women?!! Women who talk about having "balls" etc. I think in all my years on earth, I have NEVER had a woman tell me that she had "balls". You seem to hear something like that on every trip to Vegas! I think I read your blog just to hear about the girls talking dirty. Please keep listening, and keep up the good work. This stuff never happens in my life. (Only yours!)

    1. To some degree, some of these comments from the Ladies are due to the nature of Poker. Because poker is such a male-dominated game, the women who play it have to be a little bit--well, more ballsy--than your average female.

      Keep in mind Donna made that comment on twitter when I was nowhere around. I was just glad she repeated it to me when we found ourselves playing right next to each other that nite.

    2. I saw ... and I believe. Rob must cast a spell over women ... lol.