Tuesday, May 31, 2016

A Trip Down Memory Lane

I’ve mentioned numerous times that my good friends LM & Woody nudged me into starting the blog.  Maybe it was more of a push than a nudge.  They both love Vegas but they don’t play poker—or gamble at all, for the most part.  But I would come back from each trip with stories about my trip and they really enjoyed them.  They felt others would enjoy them as well, and the blog was born.

But in all honesty, this goes back much further.  I’ve known LM for a much longer time than I’ve known Woody.  We actually used to work together (it seems like a different lifetime).  Initially, she was the one who would hear my stories up my return from Vegas, over lunch breaks at work.  And I was always surprised that whenever I told a new story that somehow tied into one of my older stories, she almost always remembered the original story.

I kept going to Vegas (this is still long before I took up poker) and eventually LM met Woody.  Soon I met Woody and we all became pals.  It wasn’t long before Woody started quoting back to me—or asking me about—things he’d heard from LM (from me) about Vegas.  I must admit I was surprised to realize that a good part of their relationship seemed to revolve around my Vegas stories.  For awhile there, every time I’d see the two of them, Woody would bring up some new bit of Rob/Vegas trivia he’d picked up from LM.  And if he hadn’t picked up anything new, he’d ask me about something we’d already discussed.  He liked to relive my old stories.

Soon I was just telling my Vegas stories to the both of them together.  Or emailing my stories to them (and maybe another friend or two).  In which case, the next time I’d see them, Woody would invariably bring them up to discuss.

As I’ve mentioned, a lot of my earliest blog posts were just edited emails I sent my friends.  Even today, I might email them a quick version of a story that I will eventually flesh out and turn into a blog post. 

Woody has an incredible memory for Rob/Vegas trivia, and even now, he will recall something out of the blue from my blog, or even from the early days when he was getting this info second hand from LM.  He sometimes remembers details from my Vegas visits that I’ve forgotten.

Anyway, as you know, I decided, rather at the last minute, to make a quick visit to Vegas last month to coincide with their own trip there.  When I gave them the news, Woody emailed me back with an incredible list of stuff he remembered from the old, old days.  This is all stuff he heard from LM when they started dating!  I was rather floored that he had all this trivia at his fingertips, and I responded with amplifications and a few minor corrections.

Woody loved my response—so much so that he suggested I run the whole exchange as a blog post, believing that my readers would find all this stuff as interesting as he does. 

Well, we’re about to find out.  Here is that exchange (with a few minor edits for names and a detail or two I don’t want to make public).  Recall that in my pre-poker days, I used to visit Vegas usually three times a year with my pal Norm (whose comments you see on a post from time to time).  To save space, I’ll just put my response immediately under each of Woody’s remembrances, rather than entering them twice.

You should be able to follow by the font changes, the next brief paragraph is Woody’s opening, and that is the font for his “remembrances.”    In some cases, I’ve added extra information directly for my readers in a third font.  And please let me know if you would like me to amplify on anything here that pricks your interest, perhaps I can do some posts specifically on some of these old, old details.  Here’s Woody…..

I recall 19 years ago when I met LM that I would bring up the topic of Vegas from time to time.  Mostly what LM knew about Vegas was what Rob had told her about Vegas:

1.  Rob's favorite casino was The Orleans.

True, for a long time.  It had cheap blackjack and craps, and was one of the first places to start dealing Pai Gow.

2.  The hottest cocktail waitress outfits were at The Orleans and at the Mandalay Bay.

Orleans, definitely true.  Remained true until they changed them just a couple of years ago.  But for Mandalay Bay, probably exaggerated.  I had only been there maybe once or twice before I went there and noticed the really sexy outfits worn by some really hot girls.  I don't remember the design, I am thinking they were slit to show a lot of leg.  But the next time I went in there, a few years later, they were completely changed, and no longer sexy.  So it was really only the one time.  The other outfits I remember was the first time I went to Red Rock, the outfits were good (again I think a lot of leg, but also cleavage).  Again, next time I went in, they had changed them and they weren't at all exciting.

3.  Rob and his friend Norm would share rooms at 4 Queens, Barbary Coast, Imperial Palace, Maxim, the Rio.

Imperial Palace and Maxim for sure.  Also, we stayed a lot at Bourbon Street (next to Maxim).  The Rio, we stayed in only once, same thing with Barbary Coast (tho it was our favorite casino on the Strip for a long time).  We never stayed at 4 Queens--although I still remember my parents stayed there the very first time they went to Vegas (and never did again).  When we stayed downtown, we would stay at Union Plaza because Norm's dad had an "in" there and could get us a room for cheap. 

4.  Rob ate brownies at the Golden Nugget (best brownies ever).

Definitely true.  They were served at the buffet and it was our favorite buffet (not just because of the brownies).  We always joked that one time we would skip over all the entrees and everything else and just eat nothing but the brownies.  But we never did that.

5.  Rob played Pai Gow poker in Vegas.

Yeah....when the blackjack and the craps got too expensive for us, we started playing Pai Gow a whole lot.

6.  Norm and Rob talked about "the first bet" on blackjack.

Yep.  It rarely paid off for me, but Norm scored with it quite a bit. [Hmm...perhaps I should explain the “first bet fund” sometime?]

7.  Tammy knew Rob's drink preference at the Barbary Coast (Tammy had given Rob a big boobie hug at one point).

Tammy was awesome.  Served Woody a beer once.  She grabbed me from behind to greet me one trip—that was the first I'd seen her and she startled me something crazy.  But I don't think it was "boobie" hug.  I was sitting in a chair, and if her boobs hit anything, it was the back of my chair.  [Tammy was the world’s greatest cocktail waitress.]

8.  Palace Station casino was frequented.

Yes, it was in our rotation of places we'd make a point to hit at least once a trip.  Had cheap games.

9.  Search for the $2.00 tables on the strip.

Always and when that got harder to find, that's when Pai Gow came along.

10. Norm got remembered by somebody on every trip to Vegas.

Not quite every trip but a startling amount of the time.  I've also run into people I know from L.A. there, not nearly as often tho.  But here's something I don't think I ever told LM.  My very first trip to Vegas, Danny and I went to Tahoe right after that (long drive).  In a Tahoe casino I ran into one of my co-workers from my current employer--an outside salesman named Harold Hill.  That was kind of weird.

11. A hooker approached Norm and Rob in front of the old MGM and said, "don't you even want a blowjob?"

It was probably closer to Barbary Coast and/or the Flamingo.  Norm does the best imitation of her saying, "Not even a blowjob?"  She had first asked us if we wanted a date, then mentioned the BJ.  After we got away from her, one of us looked to the other and said, "Oh, a blowjob, why didn't she say that in the first place?  I thought she meant dinner and a movie."  [That story has already been told on the blog, back in the early days of it, here.]

12. Norm and Rob would eat at The Vineyard restaurant.

YES!  On Maryland Parkway.  A traditional stop, we loved the place.  Then one time we went in there and it had gone completely downhill.  Now long gone.  [The Vineyard was a great Italian restaurant in the Boulevard Mall.]

13. Rob took "a shine" to some dealer at Tropagala casino.

Yes, Anastasia.  She ended marrying a guy she’d known for a long time.

14. Rob would go to Vegas in a Toyota Supra.

Indeed.  The first time I took it there, I made it to Vegas in 3-1/2 hours.  The highlight was when a freaking Corvette actually got out of my way!.  But the next time I took it there, I got a speeding ticket .  I was probably going 90+ but the cop only said I was going like 75.  I never drove crazy like that again.

15. Rob preferred to park his car in the parking structure at the Imperial Palace.

Well, not sure "preferred" is the right word, but when we stayed there or went there to play, we definitely did.

16. Rob and Norm loved the buffets at The Orleans.

Hmm....I think that was more of a Danny thing.  I'm sure Norm and I ate there but it never was competitive with Golden Nugget.  Danny and Danielle loved it.  I probably ate there with him more than Norm.  I also ate there with my blogging buddy Lightning (and his brother) more recently.

17. Rob and Norm ate hot dogs and pizza at Nathan’s.

And I still do!

18. Norm’s drink choice was ALWAYS Diet Pepsi "easy ice".

Back then, yes.  More recently, he started ordering it with NO ICE. He says ice gives him a headache.  More recently, he has given up soda altogether.  I am surprised that Pepsico is still in business.

19. Terrible Mike's was a "required stop", every trip to Vegas.

Well, not every trip, but we did eat there quite a bit.  There was one at Gold Coast too, we'd eat at either one.  [Terrible Mike’s was a hamburger joint, similar to Fuddruckers, but better.  They had to close it when they put a food court at the Orleans with a Fudds, because it would have been a direct competitor with them.]

20. Norm would dip his French fries in ranch dressing.

Nope.  I don't recall Norm ever dipping his Fries in ranch dressing.  I don't think he even likes ranch dressing.  I know he sometimes dips them in mayonnaise (AFEAM!)  The person who liked to dip his fries in ranch dressing was, I believe Danny’s boss. [This really doesn’t have anything to do with Vegas, and guess what….Woody was right and I was wrong.  I confirmed with Norm that he DID like to dip his fries in ranch dressing, and I had forgotten this.  Amazing that Woody & LM remembered this and I didn’t.  I was right about the mayo tho.  And btw, “AFEAM” stands for “Another F***ing E-mail About Mayonnaise,” and that is an inside joke. Oh, and by the way, “Danny” is another friend from LA I used to spend time in Vegas with, before he went insane.]

21. On occasion, Norm and Rob would go to the Palomino Club downtown.

In the early days of our trips, it was pretty much a required stop.  Especially after we discovered "Angela."  Norm and I both agreed that Angela had the best female body we'd ever seen, a true freak of nature.  We would actually call the club when we'd get to town to find out when she was working so we'd be sure to catch her.  Once she disappeared, and more and more of the girls had fake tits (and started to get annoying hustling for tips), we stopped going.  [The story of Angela was told in the first year of the blog, here.]

Well, there you have it.  Hope you found this entertaining.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

I Guess This is Why They Call it "Lady Luck"

Yesterday I traveled to Ventura to play poker at Player’s Casino.  I was seated immediately at the 2/3 game, and bought in for the usual $300, the max. The place was rather dead, which didn’t surprise me.  Memorial Day Weekend in Southern California, a lot of people go out of town.  And let’s face it, a lot of people who might normally be there to play poker may have gone to Vegas to play poker there instead.

Still there were three full tables of the game and we were never short-handed.  I recognized a few of the players, but the one that stuck out was the lady who I mentioned the last time I played there (see here).  She had that odd playing style, sometimes very aggro, a real LAG.  I knew I had to keep an eye on her.  As it happens, she never had a big stack, and played her wild game a smaller percentage of the time than two weeks ago.  But she still liked to make the occasional big bet, the big three-bet, the odd shove.  Just not as frequently.

The very first hand I was in, I was in the cut-off with King-Jack of diamonds.  A few players had limped, and I decided to limp as well.  The lady was in the big blind and I wanted to see what her level of crazy she was playing this week.  It was a marginal hand, and not really knowing many of the other players, I didn’t want to raise so early.  Sure enough, the lady made it $18, one of the limpers called so I came along.

There were two low-ish diamonds on the flop (the other card was low too) and she led out for $20.  I called.  The turn was a blank and this time she bet $15.  That was such an odd bet.  I felt like raising but was worried that she would re-raise—that was certainly in her repertoire.  I figured that since she was giving me excellent odds to chase my flush, I may as well take advantage and just call.  The river was indeed a diamond and I had the second nuts.  She checked.  I bet $25 and she folded.

Nice to win the very first hand.  I was hoping it was good omen.

I lost a few bucks chasing but was still a bit in the black when I raised to $15 in late position with King-10 of hearts.  Only the guy next to me called.  From one hand I’d seen that day, and from my recollection, he was a bit of an aggro.  So I didn’t c-bet when I whiffed the flop.  But he checked.  I was still sensing something so I kept checking and he kept checking back.  Nothing hit and my King-high was good (he said he had overs but obviously below a King).  Ok, I’ll take even though I would have ended it sooner with a c-bet on the flop.

Then came the most interesting hand of the session.  I looked down at my first pocket pair of the day, two Queens.  A tight player who hadn’t played more than two hands since I’d been there raised to $12.  I just called.  The guy behind me called and then the young Asian fellow at the table made it $35.  He had been up and down, losing his stack recently and only re-buying in for $100.  But he had hit some lucky hands both before and after busting and re-buying, and had demonstrated some interesting play.  He had three-bet pre a few times with Ace-rag type hands—and in the cases I’d seen, hit them big.  Just before this hand, he had three-bet with Ace-4 off and taken a pot with two pair against a much stronger Ace.  When his stack was below $100 he seemed to shove (sometimes a three-bet shove) fairly light.

It looked like he had around $150ish left after the bet $35, give or take. But his chips were arranged oddly so it wasn’t clear.  I had a bit more than the $300 I’d started with.  When the original raiser folded, I decided to re-raise. I felt my Queens were way ahead of his three-betting range.  I thought he very likely had an Ace but the other card was lower than a Queen and thus it wouldn’t be a coin-flip, I’d be a big favorite.  I also thought there was a pretty decent chance if a tight player like me pulled the call/re-raise move, he’d fold a crappy Ace.

There was still a player behind me.  I was a bit worried about him.  His stack was closer to the Asian’s than mine.  I decided to put another $100 on top of the $12 already out there.  I figured he’d either fold or shove, not call, and I was fine either way.  The player between us got out of the way and the Asian immediately announced “all-in.”  I snap called.  He said, “Is it Aces vs. Kings?” Gulp.  He showed me two Kings and I was certainly dreading them.  I just shoved another stack out in front of me, expecting to be down a fair amount after the hand played out.  I got unlucky there, I thought, but based on my read of this guy, I was ahead of more than half the hands he could have there.  Oh well.

The flop was all low, and rainbow….no one was catching a flush.  I saw a face card come out on the turn, but it was a Jack.  I found myself thinking, why couldn’t that be a Queen?  Of course, it could have been a King too, leaving me drawing dead.  I was resigned to the worst and then….well, wouldn’t you know, an absolutely beautiful lady hit the river.  Everyone groaned or whatever it is you do when you see that.  The guy took it pretty well. He muttered something under his breath but otherwise was a good sport.  I gave my apology.  “Sorry….not sorry.”  And as I was stacking my chips, I said, “It was worse because it was on the river, right?  Wouldn’t have been quite so bad if it had been on the flop?”  He didn’t really agree with this assessment.  OK, whatever. 

I few of the other players said things like, “That’s awful,”  “You hate to see that,” or “That’s sick.”  Really?  I found it rather inspirational, myself.  That Queen on the river was the best looking lady I’d seen in a long, long time.  And she wasn’t even naked.

When I finished stacking, I had about $510 in front of me.  The pot must have been $360-$370 or so.  I’m sure that’s the biggest I’ve dragged (in a cash game, of course), since I left Vegas at the beginning of the year.

Later I was in the big blind with Queen-Jack off and saw the flop for free. Only three of us were alive and it came King-Queen-10.  No betting on the flop and I called $17 on the turn, it was heads up.  It checked around on the river, another blank.  He had pocket 6’s and my Queens were good.

I raised to $18 after a couple of limpers with Ace-Queen suited; no one called.  Very next hand, I raised to $12 with Ace-King off, and had two callers.  The flop was 10-6-2, rainbow.  I led out with a $20 c-bet.  The next player made it $60 and the third player called.  I got the hell out of there.  There was more betting on the turn and they got it all in.  Turned out it was set over-set, 10’s vs 6’s (the 10’s just called the flop bet).  Actually the board paired on the river and the guy with the 6’s lost boat-over-boat.  Tough way to lose your stack.

I raised with Queen-Jack of spades and had a couple of callers.  The flop wasn’t bad—Ace-King-10.  There were two of some other suit.  I bet, an older gentleman, a seeming nit, min-raised.  I came over the top, he shoved, I snapped and of course he showed Queen-Jack too.  His was unsuited but he didn’t have the flush draw.  Beats losing, right?

Eventually my $200 profit had worked its way down to closer to $100.  It was getting late—I was interested in getting home in time to see the basketball game (Warriors-Thunder, game 6, what a freaking game!).  So when I posted my big blind this time, I felt it was likely my last orbit.  I had still been fairly card dead most of the day, save that one incredible suck-out that went my way.  The only other pairs I’d started with were 10’s twice, both times calling raises with them, both times folding to decent-sized bets on flops that had an Ace.  The only Ace-King, Ace-Queen hands I had I’ve already described.  The Queen-Jack where I flopped Broadway was the only suited connector I had above 5-4. 

Anyway, the big blind hand was garbage and then in the small blind, I finally saw another pocket pair.  Two Jacks.  That same Asian fellow, under-the-gun, had limped in.  After rebuying when I felted him, he had been quite a bit quieter than before.  Might have been that this was his last buy-in, or maybe he was just not getting cards he liked.  He had about $200 or so, which is what he’d bought in for after he started liking Kings as much as I do.

It folded to me and I made it $15.  The big blind folded and the Asian fellow called.  The flop was Queen-Jack-2, two hearts.  I bet $25 and he called.  The turn was a blank.  This time I put out $50.  He tanked.  But eventually called.  A low heart hit the river, and I was not happy at the scare card.  My naturally tendency there is to check.  I thought about overcoming it.

Yeah, he had tanked on the turn.  But I remembered all the times—particularly the post here—where I had misread a player taking his time, thinking it was almost a fold when it was really almost a raise.  Was this guy capable of raising me on the turn with a flush draw, thinking I might fold a one pair hand to him?  Yes, he was. 

So if I bet and he raised, would I have the discipline to fold my set?  Well, likely not.  Hard to fold a set of Jacks, especially to someone who was certainly capable of bluffing or betting a worse hand than mine.  I figured if he had hit it, a check would cost me less money, so I ended up checking. 

I was somewhat expecting him to bet, I was just hoping it was something I could comfortably call.  But he instead flipped over his hand. King-Queen, no hearts. I showed my Jacks, and he dutifully said, “nice hand.”  As I dragged in the pot, I said to him, “I thought maybe you were on the flush draw.  It would have only been fair if you rivered me back.”  He sorta-laughed. 

By then I realized he wanted to get to the showdown cheap.  If I had bet $100 on the river, he’d probably have folded.  But if I had bet $50 again, it would probably have been too cheap for him to fold.  Oh well. I’m not losing sleep over that.

Second to last hand, I got another pocket pair.  It was 3’s.  I had to call $15 to see the flop, which was Queen-4-4.  I was done with the hand.  But here’s something I’ve observed, maybe it’s just my mind tricking me.  But have you ever noticed, whenever you have a small pocket pair, and the board comes out paired, more often than not the board pair is just one off from yours?  I mean, you have two 5’s and there are two 6’s or two 4’s on the board, something like that?  Or is that just me?

I racked up and was up $202.  I wished everyone luck, as I often do when I leave, and then nodded to the Asian.  I guess I said, “sorry,” and he said, “Hey it’s ok…that’s poker.”  Good sport!  I’ve seen plenty of guys who don’t take it so well.  I said back to him, “Well, next time, you’ll get me.”  I sure hope I’m wrong about that.

My best session, believe it or not, since the first few days of the year (from my Christmas trip).  I dunno how well I played, but it was sure nice to be on the right end of the luck curve for once.  I was due, right?

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Busy Week

This is not a “real” blog post.  It’s a blog post to explain why I have no blog post for you.

As the title indicates, it’s been a busy week for your humble scribe.

Let’s start with this past Saturday.  I didn’t play poker.  Instead I saw my friends, LM & Woody.  And then, during the day, we walked into a Verizon store and I ended up with a new phone.  So did Woody.  It was totally unexpected.  LM just wanted to ask a question and so I figured I would check about getting a new phone.  I wasn’t quite “due” for one yet but frankly I was seriously unhappy with the phone I’ve had for nearly two years (you can see here for the story of how I got it).  In fact, the phone I was using was actually the second LG G3 I had, as the first died about year into my two-year contract.  The replacement had a different set of problems.

Anyway, much to my surprise the folks at Verizon were much more accommodating than they had been two years ago and they made me an offer I couldn’t refuse, so I decided to get a new phone right then and there.  It’s the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge.  Woody got the same phone.

Well you know how it is when you get a new phone.  We spent hours in the Verizon store getting things set up.  Part of the problem for me was that I had no idea I’d be getting a new phone that day so I was quite unprepared.  When we were done, there was of course the process of setting things up and learning Samsung all over again after being used to LG for a couple of years.

This took a considerable amount of time not only Saturday night but on Sunday as well.  It was actually a miracle I was able to find time on Sunday to write the post I got up then.  But the phone took away any time I had to get started on another post on Sunday, which was my original plan.

Then came the work week.  And I have been swamped at work of late.  Both jobs hitting me hard this week.

The big summer series are all set to start in Vegas right about now.  That’s a busy time of year for me, as I have to enter all the info on all the tournaments for every series into the PokerAtlas data base. That’s a lot of tournaments, folks. Now in a perfect world I would have gotten all this entered a long time ago.  But as you all know, we don’t live in anything close to a perfect world. 

Since all of these events pretty much start at the same time, it would be nice to have the all the info I needed to enter them at least 2-3 months early so I would have time to enter them one-by-one, without any deadline pressure.  Sounds reasonable, right?

But I am at the mercy of the poker rooms running these events.  Some got me the info timely—even early.  But this year, a few rooms were late with their info.  Some were very late.  Some were very, very late.  Now, it doesn’t matter how early they announce their schedules.  I can’t really enter the tournaments until I have the structure sheets—or at least all the info that one would normally find on a structure sheet.

I am not going to call out any poker rooms for being less than prompt in getting me their info.  That would be impolite.  It would be bad form.  It would be unprofessional.  And if you dare to guess which rooms I am referring to, I will steadfastly refuse to confirm or deny.  But let’s just say that with minutes to go before the summer—poker wise—officially starts in Vegas, I was still working on getting everything listed before any series in fact is underway.  Actually, I’m writing this on Tuesday night, and I certainly hope to be finished by the time this is posted.  Crossing my fingers. 

As a result of this backlog, I am putting in more hours than usual trying to beat the deadline.  This leaves less time for writing blog posts. 

Another reason this is a busy time for me is that this is the time of year that Ante Up moves up its deadline a week so they can go on hiatus for the (partial) summer.  So instead of the deadline being next Friday (6/3) as it should be, it is this very Friday.  That means I have to spend a couple of evenings this week writing my column instead of working on the blog.


I tell you, I’m going to be a happy camper when the weekend finally gets here.  I might even find some time for some poker.  Hopefully that will give me something to blog about it.

Speaking of which…..well, my less frequent Vegas trips have left me a bit short on blogging material.  So I guess I’m going to have to keep digging into my archived notes to find things to blather about. This is probably less than ideal, but what else can I do?  I don’t want the blog to go dormant.

By the way…another thing taking up some of my time is watching the NBA playoffs.  The NBA is my favorite sport and I’m taking a few hours a night to watch the games.  OK, not really that into the Cleveland-Toronto series, but I’m totally into the Warriors-Thunder.  And honestly—who the hell saw that coming?

Anyway, since I don’t have my usual 100K word blog post for you are, I’ll leave you with a couple of links to some interesting reading.

The first is a post by my friend Kat Martin. Kat and I go back to the glory days of the AVP forums and you no doubt have seem his comments here on some of my posts, usually offering great insight into poker and my game and trying his damnedest to steer me in the right direction.

Anyway, he wrote a contrarian piece explaining why, as a cash game grinder, he hates WSOP time in Vegas.  You have to read it for his reasons why, agree or disagree.  As with most of Kat’s work, it is both insightful and extremely funny.  Here’s the link to it.  Read it and enjoy.

The other piece is from Poker News and discusses the changes they’ve made in the big Colossus event at the WSOP, which is next week.  It discusses the new structure (almost a turbo structure) and is absolutely required reading for anyone planning to play in the event, or contemplating it.  I actually talked about the structures getting a little less player friendly last year, but this year it has accelerated. The article explains this in great detail and suggest how to best deal with it if you decide to play.  That link is here.  Even if you have no intention of playing in the event, I think you'll find it quite interesting.

I feel this is not quite the blog post my loyal readers deserve, so I will pad this with a few pics I’ve come across that I suspect at least some of my readers will find stimulating.

Now I gotta get back to work.

(Edited to add:  It's Friday night, 5/27, and I just sent off my column.  All the tournament series are complete, subject to last minute changes or corrections.  I can now breathe!)

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Vegas Poker Scene - June Ante Up Column

Here's my newest column for Ante Up.  The link for it on the Ante Up website is here.   Remember, my contribution is embedded in the entire West Coast report.  So below is just my Vegas report.  The magazine should be in your local poker room soon.

=  =  =  =  =  =  =

The Wynn Summer Classic runs June 2-July 19. The staple of the series is a $400 event that starts at noon most weekdays during the series. This tournament has a $50K guarantee. Some days feature a $550 event with a $100K guarantee. Both are one-day tournaments.
There are several multi-starting flight events. The first starts June 15 with four starting flights. It has a $1,100 buy-in and $500K guarantee. A three-starting flight, $600 tournament starts July 5 and offers a $250K guarantee.
The $1,600 championship has two starting days beginning July 16 and will finish with Day 3 on July 19. The guarantee is $750K.
The $600 seniors event starts at 11 a.m. June 13 and offers a $100K guarantee. It will be completed the next day.
Pot-limit Omaha players get their chance on June 12 with a $400, one-day tournament offering a $25K guarantee.
There’s also a $400 Survivor on June 3. About 7 percent of the field will get $5K each and the total guarantee is $50K.

Meanwhile, the $250K Signature Weekend was completed April 24. James Agate of Las Vegas took home the $45K first-place prize. Eugene Tito of Los Angeles received $39K for second and Nicolas Egarhos of Apollo Beach, Fla., claimed $37K for third. There were nearly 600 entrants and a prize pool of almost $313K.
ARIA: The Aria Classic runs June 2-July 6. The highlight will be the return of the WPT500. The event will be completed before the WSOP main event gets under way.
After seven regular Day 1s beginning June 27 that start at 10 a.m., there will be two turbo Day 1s on July 4, one at 10 a.m. and one at 5 p.m.
In past years, the last few Day 1 flights have had overflow turnouts, so it’s recommended that players enter the earliest starting flight possible.
Everyone who survives Day 1 will be in the money. Day 2 resumes at 1 p.m. on July 5, with the final table being streamed on July 6. This huge event has a $1 million guarantee.
Before the WPT500 gets started, most days feature a $375 tournament at 11 a.m. Evenings will feature a $240 event at 7. The evening tournament will continue when the WPT500 starts as well.
On June 10, there’s a $450 PLO event at 11 a.m., and on June 25 a PLO/8 tournament will run at the same time. 
A $450 Omaha/8 event runs June 18. The $450 seniors tournament is June 16 at 10 a.m. while the women have their day on July 6 with a $375 event at 11 a.m.
BELLAGIO: The Bellagio Cup is July 13-19. A $1,090 super-satellite for entry into the main event kicks things off at noon on July 13. The next day, the $10,400 tournament gets started. It will run five days, finishing on July 18. Players may enter as late as 3:30 p.m. on Day 3. Turbo super-satellites for $1,100 run at 8 a.m. on July 14-16.
The other event during this series is a three-day $2,140 Seniors Summer Championship that begins on July 17.
HOLLYWOOD POKER OPEN: The season-ending championship event returns to the M Resort on June 23-26. The $2,500 main event has two starting flights beginning at 11 a.m. on June 23. The tournament plays three days. Satellites with a $235 buy-in run June 23-24. A $555 seniors championship will be June 25. Once again, 2003 WSOP main-event champion Chris Moneymaker is the event’s ambassador.
TREASURE ISLAND: The mid-Strip room has been running a Get Paid to Play promotion. Players who play 60 hours during the week get $599 cash. It’s $450 for 50 hours, $325 for 40 hours, $225 for 30 hours, $125 for 20 hours and $50 for 10 hours of live play.
Additionally, a $1K freeroll runs Sundays for the top 10 point-finishers each week. Points are earned for high hands, hours played and for playing in live games after tournaments.
The main cash game is $1-$3 NLHE with a $100 minimum, $500 maximum buy-in.
They also offer a $2-$5 game with a $200 min and no max. The $3-$6 limit game has a $60 min and has a maximum rake of $3. Players in all cash games get $2 an hour in comps.
High hands are $200 for straight flushes and $599 for royals. There’s a mini-bad-beat jackpot for aces full of 10s beaten by quads or better. The losing hand receives $1K, the winning hand gets $500 and all players who were dealt in the hand at the table receive $50.
The room runs four tournaments a day. At 11 a. m. and 7 p.m., it’s a $65 buy-in for 8K chips. At 2 p.m. and 10 p.m., it’s $75 for 12K chips. The 2 p.m. has a $500 guarantee and the 10 p.m. guarantees $1K.
The $65 version is Saturday nights (Sunday mornings) at 1 a.m. All tournaments have 20-minute levels.
There are two weekly tournament leaderboards. Points are reward for dollars won in each tournament. The top prize for the daytime leaderboard (the 11 a.m. and 2 p.m) is $250. For the two evening tournaments, it’s $500. Both leaderboards pay 10 places.
SOUTH POINT HOTEL AND CASINO: If you’re close to qualifying, there’s still time to get your 100 hours of play for the $155K June Freeroll. Qualifying ends May 31. First place pays $35K and the tournament pays 60 spots.
An interesting feature has been added to this event. If the tournament is played down to one player, instead of there being a chop, which has grown popular these days, the winner will get another $5K as a Last Man Standing bonus.
GOLDEN NUGGET: The Grand Series runs May 31-July 3, including multiple seniors events during Seniors Week, featuring a $10K buy-in Seniors Super High Roller on June 26 presented by Oklahoma Johnny Hale.

CLOSING: The poker room at downtown’s Plaza Casino closed. The room had five electronic tables.