Thursday, February 26, 2015

"My Dick is Bigger Than Yours....And I Only Have a Clit"

Leona, Part 2

And we pick up right where we left off in part 1 (here).  And since this is a serious poker blog, we’ll start with some poker.

I raised to $10 with Aces again, two callers, one of whom was Canada who was under-the-gun.  There were two spades on flop, I bet $15, Canada called.  I bet $25 on the turn, he called.  The river was a third spade and this time Canada bet, but only $35 so I called.  He had Ace-King of spades.  Interesting to note that he limped in preflop with that, but I lost some chips there.

In the big blind with Ace-3 of diamonds I just checked.  The flop was Ace high and two diamonds.  I bet $15 and New York called.  I bet $25 on the turn when a diamond gave me the nut flush, again New York called.  I checked the river, which paired 10’s.  I was worried about a boat.  New York bet $55.  I took some time and decided there was too good a chance that New York was either bluffing or couldn’t beat my flush.  I shrugged and called and asked him, “Do you have a boat?”  He said, “No, your flush is good,” and just mucked.

Ace-Queen in the big blind, I just checked and four of us saw a flop of Ace-Jack-Jack.  I bet $5, Leona made it $15.  I called and we were heads up.  I checked the turn, she bet $15 again, I called.  I checked/called $15 on the river, which was a Queen.  She had a weak Ace.  The dealer started to divide the pot, as we both had two pair.  Wait, what?  I had to point out that the river had given me a better two pair.

At one point, when Indiana was stumbling over his words, Leona, asked him, “Are you balls in your throat?”

After she kept going to back to how high her tax bracket was multiple times, and kept proving New York’s point that she, ahem, lacked inner-beauty, Indiana finally asked what she did for a living, and then followed that up by asking if she was a whore. Or he possibly just directly accused her of being a whore.  I didn’t hear him say it but afterwards I did hear him confess that that was the word he used.

Leona seemed semi-offended by that, but not really.  She went back to talking about her husband, who she made clear, was the income-provider in her household. Indiana immediately regretted the comment and apologized profusely.  “I shouldn’t have said that.”

Leona said, “Oh it’s ok, it’s fine….I’m not a hooker.”  Then said added, “I know you want me to be a hooker, because you want to f*** me.  I know that. But I’m not a hooker.  You couldn’t afford me if I was a hooker, you couldn’t possibly afford me because I have so much money.”

Then Leona decided they should do a shot together as a gesture of good will, since they had gotten so nasty with each other.  They did, but the nastiness between the two of them continued one and off throughout the evening.   He admitted that calling her a whore was a terrible thing to say and she said it was no big deal.  Yet, they kind of went back to it several more times.  It was weird, they kept kissing (figuratively, not literally) and making up and then battling some more. Repeat. Perhaps the alcohol had something to do with it.

At one point, a second woman joined the table.  I recognized her as an out-of-town regular.  Almost before she could take her coat off as she sat down, she heard something salacious and said, “What have I gotten myself into here?”  Canada asked her where she was from and she said, “Sacramento.”  Canada replied, “Sacramento?  OK, we’re gonna call you ‘Sac.”  We all kind of went “Woa” and clearly from the look on the face, the girl didn’t like that name.  So from then on, she was referred to by her full name, “Sacramento.”

Canada asked her if Sacramento was in Utah because he was looking for a sister-wife.  Then he said, “She’s so quiet, she doesn’t complain…she’s in.  F*** the interview process, she’s in.”

She was asked what brought her to Vegas and she said it was her dad’s birthday. 

Canada said, “Oh, is he getting it on with your mom?”  Everyone laughed (except Sacramento).  “I didn’t mean it like that.  I meant, are they having a nice, romantic evening?”  He shut up when Sacramento told him her parents were divorced.  But then she added, “I’m just here for the entertainment.”

Sacramento, despite being familiar with a lot of the dealers, kept very quiet and didn’t play many hands.  And although he had no trouble keeping everyone else straight, Indiana kept forgetting where Sacramento was from.  Even right after hearing Canada call her “Sacramento,” he’d look at her and ask, “Where are you from?”  The entire table would answer in unision, “Sacramento!”  I swear, one time, he even said to her, “Sacramento, where are you from?”

Sacramento had long, black hair.  But for some reason, Indiana decided that she reminded him of that girl from that old movie, “16 Candles.”

“Molly Ringwald?” Sacramento asked?  “She has short red hair, I have long dark hair.  How do you get Molly Ringwald?”  “Well, you seem sweet like her.”  And he would often call her “Molly” after that.

More oddly, Canada somehow connected “16 Candles” with the “American Pie” movies.  Indiana was aghast.  “No, no.  That’s completely different. Those are nasty movies. ’16 Candles’ was a nice, sweet movie.”  They argued over that for quite some time.

Remember in part 1 I said I was talking notes on my phone, not on my notebook?  Well, originally it was just poker notes but after things got crazy I started writing short hand notes about every outrageous thing I could remember being said.  And apparently I was sloppy in keeping my phone out of the watchful eye of Canada.  He must have seen some of the words I was adding to my notes—you know, like “vagina” and “penis” and “whore”.  And he said, to the table, “This guy is texting all this talk, he’s texting it.  He’s like a dirty old man, texting all this stuff.”  Shit.  I covered up my phone but it was too late.  Now, if I had been writing these notes in my notebook and he saw, he’d never have been able to read what I had written down.  I can barely read them myself the next day.

“Man, he’s texting this.  And here I thought you were a Mormon or something.”  I laughed at that, and then Sacramento piped in for one of the few times. “Mormon?  More like Costanza.”

Seriously?  This was now the second time I’d been referred to as “Costanza” at a poker table!  See here for the previous time.  From then on, I was referred to as “George” or “Costanza” the rest of the night.

At one point Leona suggested that we all do “pussy shots.”  “What’s a good pussy shot?” she asked.  And Mike Tyson spoke up for the first time. “The best pussy shot is pussy.”  That had everyone in hysterics.  Mike Tyson had earned his space at the table with that singular comment.

Leona responded to that line by saying, “We should do wet pussies.”

I’m not sure if it was then or later but Canada said, “Can you bring a tampon to this table?” And Leona replied, “Yeah, I could use a tampon. I would like a tampon.  I have my period.”  A number of us responded with “TMI” to that tidbit.

Then things really got odd.  She got into a big hand with New York.  New York won and busted her.  Don’t worry, she didn’t leave, she re-bought.  Anyway, I don’t recall the size of the pot, but it was decent-sized, and New York tipped the female dealer $2.  That seemed sufficient to me, it wasn’t a monster pot by any means.  And frankly, you see a guy like New York, who obviously is a grinder, you’re surprised when he gives anything more than a buck.

But Leona didn’t think it was enough.  “That’s all you’re gonna give her?  I would give her ten bucks.”  New York responded, “Well good for you,” but made no effort to tip the dealer any more.

I was thinking that ten bucks was way more than that pot deserved.  It wasn’t even a five-dollar tip pot as far as I could tell.  But then honestly, I hope to one day win a pot big enough where I even consider giving the dealer $10!

Leona didn’t let it go.  “Give her more money!”  New York was thru talking to her at the moment, so he said nothing.  So in addition to the $100 she took out to buy more chips with, she took out a five and several ones from her wallet and passed it over to the dealer.  “Here, this is for the tip that he didn’t give you.”  The dealer refused to take it and slid the bills back to Leona. “No, I can’t accept that, thank you.”  This led to about a five minute scene of the two of them pushing the bills back and forth between them, Leona insisting that she should take it because New York didn’t tip her enough, and the dealer insisting she couldn’t accept it. “No, no, I can’t take it.” Sacramento, in seat 9, was sitting between the two of them, so at one point Leona passed the bills to her and told her to give it to the dealer.  Sacramento stacked the bills over by the dealer but the dealer wouldn’t take them.  Towards the end of this, a floorman came by to do a fill.  By now everyone at the table (except for New York, who was completely silent) was telling the dealer to take the money.  Finally the floorman chimed in and told her to take the money, and very reluctantly, she did.

There was a hand where Canada was confused about why he won the pot (too distracted by Leona, I guess).  He asked, “Was there a Jack on the board?”  Told there was, he said, “Oh I just got jacked off and didn’t know it.  Who do I pay?  That’s $20 right?”

At one point, after Indiana and Leona had quieted down after their latest tiff, Canada said to Indiana, “You are the funnest guy I’ve played with since I’ve been in Vegas.”  And Sacramento, suddenly woke up and delivered this gem.  “Do you play with a lot of guys?”  That got everyone laughing, and when he stopped laughing, Canada said, “Sacramento comes alive with the line of the night.”

Then Leona won a big hand or two.  True to her word, she tipped generously--$10 a pot.  But Leona suddenly refused to stack her chips.  She just left them in a mess in front of her.  New York whispered to the dealer to ask her to stack her chips.  The dealer did so very, very gently.  Clearly he didn’t want to piss her off in case she won another pot and was still inclined to tip generously.  “Not to be a jerk, but could you sort of neaten up your chips?”  She agreed and made a 10-second effort to move around her chips but didn’t really do anything.

When the next dealer came in, the shift manager came by and told the dealer to have Leona stack her chips.  I dunno if she (the shift manager) did that on her own or if New York had perhaps had gone to her to complain.  But by this time Leona must have figured out that it was New York who was asking to have her chips stacked and was not about to do anything he wanted.  She said to him, “What’s the big deal?  What do you care?” I have to admit, this is so basic and so necessary that it pissed me off.  I didn’t say anything, but I decided that, if she made a bet while I still had cards, when the action was on me I would say, “I need to know how much she is playing, so can you please have her stack her chips.”  You know, just hold up the game for five minutes.  I mean….I would have done this even if there was no chance I would call the bet.  In fact, if I knew I wasn’t going to call, it would have been better.  Just wait to get a count, and then fold to her $10 bet.  Yeah, I knew she would have been really pissed at that, but she deserved it.  But for the past hour I had been completely card dead, and that didn’t really change and thus I never had the opportunity.

Towards the end another new player came to the table, heard some of the laughing and bickering as he sat down and asked what he was getting into, just as Sacramento had earlier.  Indiana told him, “Oh it’s wild. We’ve been putting our equipment on the table to compare.”

Leona then interjected, “My dick is bigger than yours.”  She was talking to Indiana.

Indiana seemed genuinely stunned.  “I was talking about our tax brackets and our vehicles, not that.”

Leona repeated, “Well, my dick is bigger than yours.”

Indiana was not laughing, and he basically told her that was a terrible thing to say.

Leona said, “You wanna call the floor? My dick is bigger than yours…and I only have a clit.”

Indiana indicated that this was out of line.

“My dick is bigger than yours even tho I don’t have one. It’s not my problem my dick is bigger than yours…you can’t get mad about that.”

Indiana again said that was out of line.

Leona said, “What’s the big deal? It’s like saying, that girl’s boobs are bigger than mine.”

With that, she pointed to Sacramento, who was a bit embarrassed.  How can I delicately put this?  Sacramento is built more like Keira Knightley than Kate Upton.  She immediately used her arms to cover up her chest and said, “It’s not true.”

Then she added, “How did I get in this?  I was just sitting here.”

Indiana said that it wasn’t like that. And Leona replied, “It is definitely like that.”  Indiana repeated, “It’s nothing like that.”

Leona asked why not.

“Because she doesn’t have a penis?”  Yes, he said it as a question, not a statement.

Leona said, “Well, we have boobs.  And I have boobs.”

Indiana just shook his head.

Leona said one more time, “It’s not my fault my dick’s bigger than yours.”

The table actually got somewhat quiet after that. 

Last bit of poker. I limped in with Ace-5 of diamonds.  There were a bunch of us seeing the flop, which was Jack-2-3.  The two smaller cards were both diamonds, so I had all kinds of draws.  Leona bet $25, which seemed like an overbet, and I called, we were heads up.  A big diamond on the turn gave me the flush, and I checked hoping to check raise.  Sure enough, she bet $50 and I made it $100.  She called.  I just checked the river, because it paired the three.  She bet $20, which was weird.  I couldn’t get the thought out of my head that the small bet was her attempt to entice me into raising again and that she had a boat. Since it wasn’t blocking bet (I had already checked), what could it mean?  Distracted by all the crazy conversation that was going on around me, I just called.   She showed Ace-2.  And she seemed upset with me. “I had that from the beginning.  And you called.”  I know I should say nothing under those circumstances but since we’d already discussed her vagina—and I had heard her brag about how big her dick was, too—I reminded her that I had a big draw on the flop.

I stayed about a half hour longer than I ordinarily would have just to see if I could get more material.  I was up over $200 at one point but then down some of that.  I lost some chips calling a fairly big raise from New York with pocket Queens. I folded to his big flop bet when an Ace hit.

So now I was one hand away from the final hand for me, UTG+1.  I got pocket Queens again.  Canada had straddled so I made it $15.  Three players called.  I don’t remember the board, but my Queens were an overpair.  I bet $50 and one guy called.  It was a guy from Australia, who had replaced the guy from Brazil.  All I can tell you is the board got scarier and scarier as the cards fell and I checked both the turn and the river, and I didn’t mind when Aussie didn’t bet.  I showed my Queens and he mucked.  I was pretty happy about that win, it put me up exactly $200.  I folded one more garbage hand and then called it a night. 

Canada said, “Leaving so soon?”  I said yeah, it was past my bedtime (my standard line).  Then I said, “Plus, no one’s said anything funny for like 20-minutes.”

Getting paid $200 for a two-part blog post was a good night indeed.  Leona had indicated that she liked this poker room, and as I said, I saw her playing there a few nights later.  So there’s a decent chance I’ll run into again and perhaps be able to figure out whether her nasty streak was just an act or if it comes naturally to her.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

"You Don't Get Laid Much, Do You?"

Leona, Part 1

 Ah, the “woman said.”  That’s the most frequent label on this here blog (I would have  thought “dreaded pocket Kings” was the leader, but I’ve actually heard more outrageous things out of the mouths of the fairer sex than I’ve had horrific stories about the dreaded hand to tell—who knew?).  Ladies saying outrageous things, usually at the poker table.  Usually they’re just “one-offs”….one or two strange comments I hear from a woman.  But sometimes I run into a woman who gives me an entire (two-part) post worth of “woman saids.”  And earlier this month, I met “Leona” and the session with her gifted me with a shitload of “woman saids.”

Leona—and if you guessed that I named her after Leona Helmsley, you wouldn’t be wrong—specialized in both the off-color and the nasty.  In the case of a couple previous women I’ve blogged about who had behaved similarly at the poker table—you know, like Natalee (see here) and Didi (see here)—I was always pretty sure the nastiness was just part of the act, employed to throw the other players, especially the male players, off their game.   In the case of Leona, I’m not sure the nastiness was an act.  I actually think there’s an excellent chance this nasty side of her might be her true persona.  But I can’t state that with 100% certainty.

But it will take me awhile to get to Leona, first I have to set the stage, and maybe even talk about some poker.  When I first got to the table on this particular Monday night in Vegas, there was a familiar face occupying the seat directly to my right.  I recognized him as someone I had played with before in the same room.  And I recalled that he was a bit of maniac the time I played with but also a very friendly, nice guy.  In the course of our conversation I learned he dealt at another poker room in town, and in fact, a month or so later, I played where he works and was dealt to by him.  As it happens, I’ve written posts about both those sessions without needing to mention him, so there’s no point in giving you the links (you wouldn’t click on them anyway).  Let’s just call him “MD” (for maniac dealer) for this post.

He remembered me and we said hello to each other.  The main reason I mention him at all is that, because of him, I did my notes differently this nite.  Every now and then, if I feel there is an increased likelihood of a player asking me (or bugging me) about my note-taking during a session, I will abandon my usual hand-written notes and use my cell phone to take them.  My memory of MD was that he was so friendly that he might make an issue of it, so I decided to use my phone and keep a running e-mail to myself.   I know I should always do it this way, and hopefully one day I will.

MD raised to $20 (after a bunch of limpers), I called on the button with Ace-Queen.  Four of us saw the Ace-high flop.  No c-bet from MD, it checked to me and I bet $50. No one called.

I raised to $10 UTG with Ace-King of diamonds.  Four of us saw a flop of Ace-8-3, one diamond.  A guy made a $30 donk bet, it folded to me and I called.  Second diamond on turn, he shoved for $72 and I called.  The river was a King.  He had Ace-3 for a flopped two pair and I obviously sucked out on him.  Heh heh.

I raised to $8 with Queen-10 of clubs (right Coach, I not only played the evil hand, I raised with it).  Four of us saw the flop, which was Queen-Jack-10.  I bet $15 on the flop, one guy called.  The turn was a blank and I bet $25 and he called.  Hmmm. Another blank on the river.  I bet out $25 again.  It was a blocking bet, I was definitely worried about a straight.  The guy raised to $75.  Ugh.  Is it easy to fold two pair?  I guess I should have, but I couldn’t find a fold.  I called and he had King-9 for the flopped straight.  The evil hand indeed.

With pocket Aces I raised to $10 and had two callers.  I bet $25 on a low flop and the guy who had Ace-3 in the earlier hand shoved for less than twice my bet.  Of course I called.  I sucked out again when the river paired a deuce, giving me a better two pair than he flopped.  He left after that and that’s when “Canada” came to the table and the craziness got started.

I was in seat 4 and in seat 5 there was a guy from Indiana who was in town for the concrete convention.  Yeah that’s what he said.  A Canadian eventually took seat 2 and then moved next to me in seat 3 when MD left without saying a word.  I was surprised he didn’t say good-bye since he was friendly with everyone, including the dealers.  He did have “an accident.”  He managed to spill his adult beverage right on his crotch.  He announced, “Oh, it looks like I pissed myself.”  He left soon after that.  When Canada (as he was referred to at the table the entire nite) wanted to take that spot, I recommended that he slide his chair over instead of taking MD’s old chair because, “then it will look like you pissed yourself.”  He agreed.

Almost immediately, Canada got into it with Seat 8, who had apparently been acting like a jerk before I sat down.  Canada shoved on the river (possibly the first or second hand he had been dealt) and Seat 8 kind of gave a speech before acting.  He accused Canada of having a tell. He said something like, “Oh you think you have a big hand?  I can tell you have a big hand because of your carotid artery.  It’s pulsating.”  Instead of ignoring it, Canada answered in kind of a nasty tone I thought. He was challenging him to call I guess.  Seat 8 was speculating that Canada had a flush, but despite Canada’s “tell,” he was sure his flush was bigger than Canada’s flush.  Finally he called and asked Canada, “How big is your flush?”  But Canada didn’t have a flush.  He had a full house.  Seat 8 took off without showing his hand, with no chips to cash out.

I was worried that Canada was a nasty guy, but he was not at all.  Once the other guy left, and Canada was stacking his chips, he was friendly and joking about his carotid artery being a tell, and saying he had to work on that.

Well, seat 7 had been open for awhile and now we had two open seats.  Two players, a man and a woman, took the open seats at exactly the same time, giving the impression they were a couple.  The guy who took seat 8 was a big black guy who other players immediately thought resembled Mike Tyson.  He was built like him, to be sure. For the rest of the evening, he was referred to by everyone at the table as "Mike Tyson" so of course that's what I'll call him here. The woman was 30-ish and appeared to have no made no effort to dress up for the occasion.  She wore a cap that seemed like a cross between a baseball cap and a French Foreign Legion cap.  It was big, it had a big bill that really covered a lot of her face.  Her hair, which seemed to be blonde, was seemingly long and apparently tucked up into her cap.  It was really hard to see much of her face, but what you could see was at least on the cute side.

She was wearing pants, and on top she had a rather plain t-shirt with a v-neck that wasn’t at all low cut, and was quite loose, so not giving away much about her figure. (Note: I actually saw her—but did not play with her—back in the room several nights later.  This time she was wearing a much, much tighter top that revealed that she had much bigger boobs than I assumed from this night.  I know, I know, you’re all shocked that I would even notice such a thing.  It truly was a miracle.)  When she sat down though, she did kind of reach into her shirt for a second, and I wasn’t sure if she was adjusting her bra strap, trying to give us all a quick flash, or if she pulled her cell phone out of her bra.

I only go on so much about her appearance because it’s important to the story.  The girl kept telling us how pretty she was, how she was prettier than everyone else at the table.  Since she was the only female there at this point, this wasn’t a very hard thing to be.  I have to tell you, I was not offended by this comment.

Canada was interested in where everyone was from.  So after he found out the guy to my left was from Indiana, he was called “Indiana” the rest of the night.  The woman who had just sat down informed us she was from Florida and was referred to as “Florida” the rest of the night.  But in this post she will be called “Leona.”  Originally I thought Leona was visiting from Florida but I eventually figured out that she meant she was from Florida originally but now lives in Vegas, with her husband, who was nowhere in sight.  She claimed he wasn’t in the casino this night.

This surprised Indiana and Canada, the two most chatty players at the table (along with Leona) who had assumed that Leona and Mike Tyson were a couple.  She kept insisting that they were not a couple and had never laid eyes on each other until they happened to arrive at the table at the same time.  Mike Tyson said nothing.  Seriously, until one awesome line that I will get to in part 2, he sat in total silence the entire evening. He definitely didn't chew anyone ear's off.

Another player was seat 6, “Brazil,” so named because he said he was from—you guessed it—Brazil.  He didn’t say very much.  At one point, Leona mentioned that Brazil has some very beautiful women, and then used to hands to pantomime an hour glass figure for emphasis.  He confirmed that he was there with his wife and his kids and Canada said, “I’ll bet your wife is super-hot.”  Brazil didn’t respond to that.

“Jamaica” in seat 1 didn’t say much either.  He had to rebuy at one point but he left with a ton of chips.  I am sorry to say I don’t recall how he got those chips, but glad to report he didn’t get any from me. 

And when Canada slid over from seat 2 to seat 3, a guy with a New York Mets baseball cap took seat 2.  I believe he confirmed he was from New York originally so he became “New York.”  He didn’t say much, especially to Leona, but he did mention to Canada that he had come from a really great 2/5 game at the Venetian and claimed that 2/5 was his normal game.   As he bought in a couple of times to our game, he would take out a huge wad of $100 bills with a rubber band around them.  At one point, when he lost a decent size pot and someone questioned his play, he said, “Do you think this money means anything to me?”  Wow really?  Must be nice to have so much money that $300 (which was what he re-bought for every time he busted) means nothing to you.

Initially, they called me “Local” because they assumed I was a local from the fact that all the dealers knew me.  When I finally corrected them they started referring to me as “L.A.” until they found a different name for me, which I’ll get to in the second part of this saga.

The talk at the table was non-stop and it was mostly Indiana, Canada, and Florida, I mean Leona.  The two guys had already been bonding when Leona showed up and starting chatting even more non-stop than the two guys had been.

Leona liked to brag.  One of the first things she bragged about  (aside from her being so pretty) was how well off she was.  I’m not sure if anything prompted this, but early on she threw it in our faces that she was in a “higher tax bracket” than all of us were in.  She also mentioned owning multiple cars—a Mercedes, a fancy SVU, and possibly a third car.  Every now and again, for no reason that I could determine, she would go back and throw the “higher tax bracket” line at us.

At one point she was asked, if she was so rich, why was she playing 1/2 instead of a bigger game.  She said, “I’m just here to have fun, I’m not here to make money.”

The comment about her being prettier than the rest of us was in the context of how she could get away with stuff that we couldn’t (perhaps like the bragging about her wealth).  She said something like, “I’m not even trying to be pretty today and I’m prettier than all of you.”  Again, she was talking to all guys so it wasn’t much of a brag.  I don’t think any of us at the table wanted to be considered prettier than her.  But a couple of times when she said that, she’d sorta grab at her t-shirt and say, “I’m didn’t even dress up to look good, I just threw these clothes on, and I’m prettier than you.”  The “you” sometimes might have been all of us, but she was in particular sparring with Indiana.  The two of them mixed it up the most.  No reason for it that I could see. Indiana was a perfectly nice fellow if you ask me.

In the context of how pretty she was, she told us that she was 40 years old.  Actually she could have been—if for no other reason than the big hat covered so much of her face we couldn’t get a good look at her.  Then later she admitted that she “just said that” and was really (early 30’s).  By this time I was getting the idea this woman was going to excellent blogging fodder.

Early on, for no reason that I could discern, she said to Indiana, “I have a vagina.  You don’t have a vagina. You’d be better off if you had a vagina.”  That left Indiana speechless. 

But after she said this, she was about to say something else, and she put her hands together in front of her mouth and was about to pantomime something.  Before she could say anything more, Canada piped in with, “Oh, you’re saying he has a big cock?”  This was the only time all night Leona appeared to get embarrassed.  She shook her head to deny that that was where she was going and actually buried her head in her hands for a few seconds. She never completed her thought.

At one point, when Leona was preoccupied with players on her side of the table, Canada asked New York, Indiana and me, “I can’t tell.  Is she cute?”  New York replied, “Well, she’s ok on the outside but she’s really ugly on the inside.”

And that was before this happened.  New York had a fairly aggressive style, he raised often and his raises were usually large.  At one point, after he made a pretty big raise Leona shouted at him from across the room, “You don’t get laid much, do you?”  New York was not amused but said nothing.

Then, when Leona ran out of chips, she got up to go to the ATM. After she was gone, New York said to us, “Did you see that? When she turned around she purposely lifted her shirt above her butt so we could all see her butt.” Sadly, I didn’t see that because other players blocked my view.  So sorry, I can’t report on the quality of her ass.

So at one point she and Indiana were heads up in a hand.  Indiana bet and she said, “I think we have the same hand.  Do we have the same penis?”  That was the first time she hinted that she might have a penis, but it wouldn’t be the last.

Indiana or Canada made a comment about her panties.  I guess it was something like, “Don’t get your panties in a bunch” or maybe “Don’t pee in your panties.”  She responded, “Who wears panties?”

Later in the evening, she completely changed her position on who had a vagina.  After a few hands in a row where it folded to the blinds and they chopped, she said, “No one wants to play?  We all have vaginas here.  Then, she said to Indiana, “You have a vagina and I don’t.”  Indiana was once again speechless so I said to her, “Really?”  She answered, “Well, I have a literal vagina and he has a figurative vagina.  Literally, I have a vagina, and figuratively I don’t.  Literally he doesn’t have a vagina but figuratively, he does.”

And that’s where I’ll leave part 1. Trust me, part 2 gets weirder, nastier, and raunchier. And you can find it right here.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Changes To The WSOP & More On The State of Poker Today

Well, my last post got quite reaction (see here).  All credit to Dominick for his time and his thoughts.  His take on what’s wrong with poker these days is getting plenty of positive and some negative feedback, and I’m just thrilled with the response.  It would be an exaggeration to say the post has gone “viral” but it I did set a record for pageviews on Friday (by over 50%) and I want to thank everyone who linked to it or tweeted about it. 

In the post, I basically gave Dominick the floor and didn’t inject my own opinion (with one notable exception, which I’ll get to in a moment).  This was not a debate or even two guys just spitballing.  The floor belonged to Dom and I didn’t want to get in the way.  You folks see my idiot opinions all the time, this was devoted to an insider’s eyeview.   I do have a few thoughts of my own to add to the discussion this time.

For more reaction than just in my own comments section, you can go to Dom’s FB page (which I believe is open to the public) here.   Also Poker Grump linked to it and basically said he agreed with everything Dominick said.  Then, just was I was starting to write this, I see that Grange has done a longer post commenting on what Dom said, and you should all check it out here.

Grange makes a couple of really good points.  One (also mentioned by Dom) is that it is absurd that poker players are sitting at the tables watching movies and paying scant attention to poker.  Now, to be fair, in the past I’ve actually seen players read books at the table, also not paying attention to the game.  We need to get rid of that.  It doesn’t help the game, and frankly, it’s damn rude.  However, here’s something I don’t get.  A lot of the players doing this are the locals who are presumably making money playing poker.  How?  Isn’t paying attention to the game one of the key things we’re all taught when we open our first poker book?  Learn how the how players play, to the best of your ability.  Who are the nits, who are the calling stations, who are the maniacs.  Who will only bet when they have the nuts?  Who will bluff at every opportunity?  Who c-bets every flop if they raise pre and who only bets the flop if it hits them or has a big pocket pair?  That information is crucial to being a successful poker player and I don’t see how you can learn that watching 50 Shades of Grey on your iPad. 

But that leads into the other point.  I guess the people who are watching movies and/or listening to music with noise-cancelling headphones aren’t making money from winning poker, they are playing the promotions game.  And that was a point that both Dominick and Grange made—promotions that encourage people to just sit in a poker room, buy into a game, and hardly ever play a hand just so they can accumulate hours to get some compensation for playing a lot of hours in a room are not helping. Maybe they’ll wake up with Aces and Kings and make a raise once in a while.  Otherwise, they just fold.  But they’re accumulating hours.

One of the things Dominick mentioned briefly in our talk but didn’t make it into my post was that TI had a promotion sometime back where people would get money for playing X number of hours in a room for Y period of time.  Just flat out got cash for playing.  Promos like that, or freerolls where entry is earned for a certain number of hours played encourage locals to come into a room and play like nits (maybe they are nits anyway, whatever). In the short run, it may increase traffic into a poker room.  In the long run, I think it’s not good for the room and bad for poker in general. 

The biggest, busiest rooms in Vegas can get away with not having promos because of their stature and also their client base—the people who stay in their hotels.  But smaller rooms are probably always going to have promos and promo drops.  Nothing wrong with that.  I think though that the kind of promos matters, as alluded to above.  The promos should encourage players to play poker.  High hand bonuses do just that.  You need to put money into the pot and play to hit quads or a straight flush.  The cash drawings I talk about at MGM also encourage play.  People play more suited cards than they might otherwise play to try to make a flush (I’m guilty of that as well).  And they chase flushes more because of that promo.  And they call rivers with weak flushes (or flushes where a full house is very likely) because of the promo.  Good for the game—although if you get your set or your straight run down by a flush that was only made because someone wanted a drawing ticket, you might not agree that one time. 

Another point of debate is whether or ESPN is good or bad for the game.  I can’t really comment on that….by the time I got into poker, ESPN was already heavily concentrating on NLH and that is the game that got me interested in poker.  I personally am not into the non-hold’em games.  But who knows, if I was watching when they heavily covered Stud or HORSE (or whatever), maybe I’d be dying to play in those mixed games that spring up in Vegas on occasion and that I almost always avoid.

But I love that the discussion has started and maybe this discussion will lead to some useful insight and helpful changes.

Dom mentioned the big change in this year’s WSOP, so let’s talk about the biggest deal in poker every year.  I like the change to pay more players in each of the bracelet events (15% instead of 10%).  More players getting paid I think will encourage more players playing—this year and the future.  I already did a post suggested that the min cash be higher than it is (here), but honestly, I don’t see how you can do that and add 50% more players to the payouts.  I’m ok with that for the WSOP.  I think with the price of the buy-ins and the aura of the Series, paying more people is probably better than giving the min cashers more money.  I’d still like to see what I suggested for smaller regular tournaments ($100 or more buy in).

The other big news for the WSOP this year is “The Colossus.”  You’ve probably all heard of this by now.  Four starting flights, $5MM guarantee, $565 buy-in.  It’s kind of irresistible and I expect I’ll be playing it.  A much better value than the Casino Employees Event I played in last year (see here).  Will probably have the most entrants in the history of live poker.  The starting stack if only $5K and the levels on the first day are only 40 minutes (60 on Day 2 and beyond) but still, it seems like a reasonable value and should be fun.

As I am in the processing of entering the details of the WSOP for PokerAtlas, I did notice something else a little different from the last year.  The starting stacks for each event are generally bigger.  In the past, the starting stack was usually 3X the buy-in.  A $1K event had a $3K starting stack.  Now it is usually five times.  So those $1K events start you with $5K in chips.  However, I did discover something important that I want to make everyone aware of that I don’t believe has been pointed out (or perhaps I just missed it).

In the past, the starting blinds were usually 25/25.  Now those same events start the blinds at  25/50.  So they are not increasing the starting stacks by 80 big blinds as you might think.  They are actually reducing the starting stacks by 20 big blinds!  You know how it is…when they give you something on side, they take away something on the other side.  Anyway, instead of starting with 120 big blinds, you now only start with 100.  This is on most “normal” events—obviously for some events it’s completely different.  But I think everyone needs to realize that up front.

OK, that’s all for now.  I actually interrupted the post I’m working on now because I realized I couldn’t finish it before I wanted to get a new post up.  So I figured this would be a good follow up to my previous post.  Hopefully I can get that other post completed in time for Tuesday evening.

In the meantime, I’m probably gonna watch some of the Academy Award show tonight, because Neil Patrick Harris is hosting.  And let’s face it, although he has a solid show biz career and getting to host his first Oscars is quite an honor, his biggest claim to fame will always be that he starred in one of my blog posts (see here).  That’s bigger than the Oscars, right?  So I want to see if, even if he is the world’s cheapest tipper, he can do a good job handing out awards.  Hmm…maybe he will only give the winners half an Oscar?

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Dominick Muzio And the State of Poker Today

This is going to be a totally different kind of blog post.  

I recently had a long chat with Dominick Muzio.  Dominick is a dealer/floor/shift supervisor at the Treasure Island poker room.  He was a regular contributor to the AVP forums (Dmuz75)  which was where I first “met” him.  An assignment I had for Ante Up brought us together.  A very short profile of Dominick will appear in a future issue.  But he had a lot more to say than could fit into a short profile for Ante Up.  And he was eager to have his thoughts about the current state of poker shared publically.  He is not shy about voicing his opinion, as you know if you follow him on Twitter (here) or Facebook (here), which I recommend you do.

Dominick has been dealing in Vegas since 2009, first at Harrah’s then at TI.  Before that he used to visit Vegas frequently from Florida, first to play blackjack, then poker.  He’s been playing poker in brick and mortar venues since the late 1990’s.

We spoke while he was running the room at the TI on a late weekday afternoon.  The 2PM tournament was finishing up, and there was a cash game (1/2) going too, and Dominick was happy that all the players in that cash game were tourists, not a single local.

R: So, what’s wrong with the state of poker today?

D:  Why poker sucks right now?

R: Yeah, why poker sucks.

D:  OK, there’s three things that killed poker.  Number 1:  Math killed poker.  I have actually seen people make calls because it’s mathematically correct where everything in the world is telling them they’re beat.  There’s four hearts on the board, and a guy throws in $40 into a pot that has 350 bucks in it and the guy’s like, “Well, I’m getting 8 to 1 odds.”  It doesn’t matter. You lose.  That’s an extreme case but nobody plays with feel anymore.  Everything is math.  Look, I understand you need to know the math.  You’re talking to an old blackjack guy.  You need to know the math.  The problem is that when you throw feel out the window, you become a robot, and that’s what caused the steady decline.  All these math kids that figured out online, with their HUD trackers and all this and that,  now they had to play live once internet poker died, they don’t know how to react to people. They can’t talk to people.  They can’t pick up on tells.  Tells are still huge, nobody realizes that any more.  It’s not the typical, “oh I saw his neck pop….”

You know what I look for?  I look for the guy who fiddles with his thumbs when he’s playing with his chips.  I look for the guy that immediately grabs his cards when an Ace hits the board.  Those are still golden.  And you can still use those.  But nobody’s using that anymore.  It’s, “he has a timing tell.”  Really, why?  Because on PokerStars you only had 30 seconds to act?  There’s no such thing as timing tells live.  I’m sorry.  Maybe….the only timing tell I can tell you about live is that when you’re down to the final table and a guy looks at his cards and instantly shoves it all in, it’s usually Ace-King or Ace-Queen.  He has no idea how to get value.  If he looks and he hems and haws for an hour and a half and then goes all in, Aces every single time.  That’s really it for the timing tells. So the math killed it.

Number 2, the people killed it.  The local players killed it  What they complain about drives me absolutely batty.  Like rake.  You don’t realize what a good deal you’re getting when you get to play poker in a casino.   You have no idea what a good deal it is.  I’m gonna sit down at that table, I got a guy dealing my cards, I got a beautiful woman bringing me drinks for free. I don’t have to worry about, is this guy cheating. I don’t have to worry about, did this guy put enough money in the pot.  I don’t have to worry about any of that.  And for that privilege, you’re gonna take maybe $8 an hour from me. And, if I hit a certain hand, you’re gonna give me money back?  It’s the best deal in a casino.  Try that at a blackjack table.   They don’t realize it.  What they want to focus on is “Oh my god, the rake is so high, they’re taking $5 out of every pot.”  When was the last time you played at a poker table where, at the end of the day, all the money was gone because it went down the rake box?  Never happens.  And it never is going to happen.  Now, back in the  old limit days—when I started I started off playing 3/6, 4/6, 8/16, sometimes 10/20—yeah, the rake was high, cuz there was a static amount of bets you can get, you can’t get it all in, at least very rarely you can.  So, if I’m looking to make $22/hour, or three big bets, four big bets, and you’re taking one of those bets, yeah, it’s gonna eat into my bottom line.  But when I’m playing at a game where there’s, right now $1,400 on the table (as he looked over the game going at TI at the moment), I’m gonna complain you took $4 out of it?  No way, sir.  Because at least two of those guys when they go bust are going to reach back into their pocket.

Local players need to realize that the casino is your partner.  You have your own business?  They always say that.  “I’m a businessman, I have to control my costs.”  You’re absolutely right. Why don’t you go run the game at your house, see how much it costs you, when you have to buy beer for your friends, pizzas when they get hungry, and the one guy shorts the pot $10 when he palms two chips or whatever it is.  You don’t realize what a value you’re getting.  They want to make money off the casino, not the other players.  Your goal when you walk in here to play poker is not to make money from Treasure Island, it’s to make money off the other 8 guys.   

R: Yeah, because there’s no game in here where you make money off the casino.

D: Exactly. Why does the poker room have to give you stuff?  You’re gonna get $2/hour in comps, we’re only taking $4 & $1, which is pretty standard, and on top of that, we don’t have any real problem with giving you top shelf liquor.  Every now and then we’ll go, “Hey guys, let’s cool it with the Jaegerbombs cuz it cost us a fortune.”  But if you come in here and say, “Hey, I want an Absolut Vodka,” you’re gonna get it.  You know, you’ll pay $12 at the bar for that.   We don’t give you any problems for that and it’s like nothing…they see us as the enemy and we’re not.  We’re their partner.  And we’re actually a silent partner.  If you sit down at this table and make $1,800 in two hands, great.  We want five bucks. That’s basically what it is.  We’ll give you all the tools except the buy-in.

Number 3, was ESPN.  The only game that exists right now is No Limit Hold’em.  Nobody knows any other game.  Anyone who says they know another game, they’re full of shit.  I’ve played HORSE games in this town and I’ve watched how people play and I go, “You have no idea what you’re doing. You cannot possibly be three-betting with a 9 in the door in Stud 8/b and think you’re good,” but I see it all the time. ESPN, up until around 2006 was great.   They showed HORSE, they showed Stud.  What do they show now?  Hold’em, hold’em, hold’em.  Oh, there’s a HORSE tournament? Right, we’re only showing the final table, and it switches to hold’em at that point.  So now you’ve gotta stream Stud online or Razz online and it’s like sticking a fork in your eye because there’s no commentary.   No Limit hold’em is made to make people go broke.  It never should have been a cash game.  It should have always been a tournament game. What happened is that all the tourists came to town 5-6 years ago with $5,000 in their pocket thinking they were gonna be the next Daniel Negreanu and they all went broke.  And they went, “Oh shit, I can’t get this money back.”  

And what’s hurting it even worse is—you’ve played online—if I went broke out here, which happened a couple of times—don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying I’m a great poker player, there were times when I came out with a bankroll and it was gone by the time I left—I knew I could go back home, log on for five bucks and play until I ran that thing up to $10,000 again, which I did a number of times.  And just come right out to Vegas.  Can’t do that anymore.  You don’t have 8-table capability. You gotta play at one table.  So the money’s not coming back in to the game anymore. I love what the WSOP is doing this year, where they’re paying the top 15%.  Best move they could ever make. I’ve been screaming about that for five years out here.    

Look at this, we had 22 players today, we paid three spots. Why? That doesn’t make any sense to me.  We should be paying at least four, maybe five. You know why?  The people, all they want to do is cash.  They want to go home and say, “I cashed in a tournament,” they don’t care how much it is.  They chop every time anyway. It used to be the tournaments were just there to start the games, we’d run a tournament at 9AM then everyone plays cash games.  Not anymore.  The tournament’s over, they’re all out the door.  Only two of those guys in the cash game were in my tournament today.  And the only reason they played the tournament was they were looking for a cash game and I didn’t have one. So everything’s changed as far as why you do what you do in a poker room.  And the poker rooms haven’t caught up to it. Which is amazing to me.

R: It’s interesting what you said about not paying enough players, obviously you can’t control that yet here.

D: Well I can scream about it.  Nobody listens to me.

R: I actually did a blog post about that, well not quite that.  Cuz I played at the Aria for like 7 hours and I cashed, but I didn’t even get double my buy-in. I got like $50.  I paid $125 and walked out with $175 after 7-1/2 hours (that blog post is here). I said, “that’s wrong.”   Ok, pay more players, I agree. But you don’t have to make it so top-heavy.  To me, if you’re gonna pay at least $100 to play in a tournament, and you cash, you should get at least double your buy-in back.

D: I don’t disagree with you.  It also think it depends on the size of the tournament. 

R: I said at least $100.  The Aria’s $125 it should be $250.

D: You’re right, they should give you $250.  But if you remember back in the early days of the Deepstacks at the Venetian, you could cash and lose money.  The first Deepstacks they ran was like a $350 buy-in and the min-cash was like $270.  Between the tournament prize pools and the tournament drops, these poker room managers believe it’s coming out of their pockets.  They freak out.  “We can’t pay 7 people in a tournament.”  Why not?  Because you know what?  Those seven people who cashed at the 7 O’clock, they’re coming back for the 10 O’clock, cuz they had a friggin’ ball. They sat here for 3-1/2 hours, they drank, and they walked out with money.  They’ll be back.

R: Yeah, and they’ve got the money they can buy into the next tournament.

D: Sure.  Three guys I just paid—well, we ended up paying four, cuz they agree to pay the bubble—all three of those guys said to me, “When’s the next tournament, 7PM?  I’ll be back.” They’re thrilled, because they actually played poker and won money.  Not only that, when they go home, they’ll tell their friends, “Hey, you going to Vegas? You gotta play the Treasure Island poker room, they have a $1,000 guarantee, 65 bucks I walked out with $450,” or whatever it was. That’s a big deal to them.

R:  Right and then, of course, they know, if they played in a cash game, they could lose that in a couple of hours—

D: In the first hand.  I freaking did it.

R: And then you buy in again and you lose two buy-ins. That’s the plus side of tournaments.

D: Right, I always tell people I once had a $3,500 cheeseburger at the MGM.  When they still had a 5/10 game, I had bought in for $1,500, I ran it up to almost $5,000, I ordered a cheeseburger, and within 10 minutes of it getting there, I was broke.  I ran into bad hand after bad hand. Nobody wants that.  I didn’t want it, either.  You know, $3,500 was a lot of money to me back then but I had it, I had a bankroll.  A guy comes in from Kenosha with $500 that’s all he’s got for the weekend, he doesn’t want to lose $200 in here.  But he can play five tournaments, he’s getting his moneys worth. And I get it, we don’t make money on tournaments. It’s a losing proposition, always has been. But it gets your name around, and maybe you’ll have people come back. 

R: Yeah, and then maybe some of them will play cash.

D: Yeah, some of them will.  Look, the guy that wins $500 and bought in for $65, he might say, “I’ll give it a shot for $120, I’m playing with house money. I bought in for $65, I walked out with $350, do I want to go out there and lose it in 15 minutes in a dollar slot machine?  Maybe I’ll try this.  But when you don’t give them their money back or when you make it harder for them to get their money back, you lose them, cuz they get frustrated.  How many times have you played 7, 8 tournaments in a row and said screw this, I’m never playing again.  And we live where there’s poker.  Imagine the guy coming from Texas where they don’t have poker, comes out here plays 4,5,6 tournaments in a row and doesn’t get anything back for it?  He ain’t coming back.

R: I know a room like this loses money on the tournaments, or doesn’t make money, but Venetian, Aria, they must make money?

D: They do it right. They found the formula. First of all you gotta remember this, Venetian and Aria both have sponsorship deals.  There’s underwriting going on.  That was Kathy Raymond’s idea and it was brilliant (note: Kathy Raymond is the manager of the Venetian poker room).  I don’t know why nobody ever thought of that. Their Deepstacks are underwritten by other companies.  When you go the Venetian to play the Deepstacks, there’s always logos on the felt, they paid money for that.  That was genius. The casinos themselves realized that the guys going to play poker, their wives gotta do something and they’re probably playing the slot machines. I’ve brought that up to casino marketers at Harrah’s and they look at me like I just farted in their grandmother’s face.  “It’s not true.” What do you mean it’s not true? A guy comes in plays for three hours, his wife’s gotta do something. So we didn’t make any money on this guy but his wife just lost $300.  “Well, we’d rather have both of them lose $300.”  Alright then, I guess it’s a perfect world.  

Let’s take TI for example, we charge $15 per person for the tournament, I think the house gets $12, the dealers get $3. So you bought into my tournament.  You’re a good player and you actually made it to the final table. You played for three hours.  You had three drinks.  Those drinks cost me $2 to $5 depending on what you order.  Let’s say you’re just having beer.  That’s $2.50. So half of what you just paid went to my alcohol cost. I have three dealers, one floorman, a waitress who’s charged against the room….where did I make any money? We just lost money. That’s what locals don’t understand. They say, “I’ve been here for six hours and all you’re gonna give me is a $12 comp?”   Yeah, you also had 19 Budweisers. And you stiffed the waitress every time too.

R: What could be done to improve things?

D: They need to find a way to get into bed with another way of promoting a different style of game. It can’t be No Limit anymore. It can’t be Pot Limit Omaha, cuz that’s just as stupid as NLH.  PLO is not even a game anymore.  I used to play it years ago and I loved it.  Now I can’t stand it.  PLO is now, how much money can we get in the middle of the table before any other cards come out.  Limit hold’em, Stud, 8 or better, anything, we need to find a way to promote those and make people want to play them, make them fun.  They’re not fun right now.  People say, “there’s no community cards.” Yeah, people don’t understand why that’s not a good thing.

We have to find away to make people realize it has to be a social game. You have to allow certain things.  In other words, if I ran this room, which I don’t, it’d be, “phones off the table.” And I do it to when I’m playing.  This is ridiculous. Because nobody talks anymore.  And that’s why they don’t have fun.  Or, you can have your phone on the table, but you can’t be watching a movie. Sunglasses, get rid of those, they’re stupid.  You look like an idiot. I tried it once, first of all, I’m color blind, I couldn’t see the damn cards. And I looked in the mirror and I’m like, “I’m not Ray Charles, why am I wearing sunglasses inside and it’s four in the afternoon?”  Promote the social aspect of it. 

We need online poker back. It exposed people to the game. That is completely out of our control and I don’t know if it’s ever coming back.  If it does, it’s not gonna be the same, because now you have casinos involved and once they get involved, that’s the end.  Whenever a corporation takes something over, just watch out.

I’d like to see more press given to the circuit events. It doesn’t always have to be the World Series of Poker. I get it, it’s the biggest one out there. I would love to see every circuit event act as feeder into the WSOP, almost like the playoffs in basketball. There’s 20 stops on the WSOP circuit this year, and the top 5 players are going to go to the WSOP and play in this event.  Why Harrah’s never did this when they have seven casinos on the strip….why isn’t every Harrah’s casino running satellites for the Rio?  Why does everything have to be at the Rio? I know why, because I worked there, the World Series of Poker is a separate entity, they make their own money. But if they had any common sense, it’d be like, they have three flights to the main event, day 1 is at Planet Hollywood, day 2 is at Caesars, day 3 is at Harrah’s, and then day 4 we go to the Rio.  The excitement that that would build would be ridiculous. Logistically it would be a nightmare, I get it, but there’s definitely ways you could do it.

I remember working at Harrah’s and we would have our meetings and it would be, “Well, we have $100K in our reserve what should we do?”  And I’d say, “Give away seats to the main event.”  “Well, we can’t do that.” “Why not, we’re Harrah’s, we own the damn thing.”  And they’d have a thousand reasons. “Well, it interferes with their marketing,” and so on.  Dumbest thing I ever heard in my life. Club Fortune gave away a seat to the World Series.  They didn’t call it that, they called it a $10K tournament seat, but do the math.  And they’re on Boulder Highway. If they could do it, we could do it. 

I’ve been in business, I’ve been in sales.  When you have tools, use them.  The biggest fight I had in this room was when Chris left, everyone was like, whatever we have in our jackpot reserve, let’s make sure we don’t give it away. I said why not?  What are we holding on to it for? We have two choices.  We can give it away now, and hope it draws people in, or we can give it away in a few months when they close us. If all your promotions equal $10K a month, you should have $20K in your reserve, no more.  It’s stupid to have $50-$60 thousand, you’re not giving enough away.  

People will tell you what they want, you just have to listen. You have to listen to the right ones.  We had local guys come in here after Chris left and offer their services as a prop. “You pay me $10 an hour, I’ll play here every day.”  Really?  So you can fold for 8 hours a day and make more money than I do? Nah, that’s not gonna happen.  It’s like, any excuse to be in the game without actually having to put their money at risk. I hope people listen.  It’s not dying, it’s just really spread out right now.  The WSOP is doing gangbusters every year. It’s bigger every year, it’s not dying. The problem is there’s a lot more competition, there’s poker all over the country now. We can turn it around, everyone just needs to think like me.  We’d all be better off if everyone just thought like me.

R: I feel the same way, if only everyone thought like me.

D: I get upset and I rant online because I really love the game, I really love what it used to be and I watched it be destroyed, and the people destroying don’t realize they’re doing it.  They blame everyone else.

Dominick had more to say (he’s not a shy person)—I could have continued and made this a two or three parter—but I hope I have given you the key things he wanted to get across. Also note, it was easiest for me to just quote him back to you, and this way, I think it comes out in his own voice.  Of course it doesn't come out polished like a written speech would, but this way, it's Dominick, as he speaks.  Maybe I should have just uploaded the audio recording?  I want to thank him so much for giving me his time and sharing his insights, and for helping me out on my Ante Up assignment.  Thank you, sir.


Note: I have a pic of Dominick that will appear in the Ante Up piece.  So, since he works at TI, where they have the famous Gilley’s Saloon, I thought I’d run a pic of some of the Gilley’s girls.  Just because they work in the same place as Dominick.  No other reason.