Sunday, February 24, 2013

Chop Chop

Played the 2:00 pm at Showboat Saturday and got my first cash of the year.  $65 buy in, 86 runners.  We chopped at 7. 
I really never got much going over the course of seven hours.  My stack was below average basically the entire tournament, but a year's worth of "run-good" kept me alive time after time.  Relatively early on, with blinds at $1,000 / $2,000, I three-bet jammed TT and got called by 66 and AK.  Flop was A T K, the turn and river blanked, and my set held for a triple up.  Several hours later, with blinds $10,000 / $20,000, and again short-stacked with 5 big blinds and the blinds fast approaching, I jammed K3 into KQ and turned a 3.  About half an hour later, in a similar spot, I jammed A9 against AQ and flopped a 9.  Clean living.  Still later, I was again on life-support, under the gun, and forced to shove in the next two hands, I woke up with 99 and doubled up against the big blind's JT.
We hit the final table with blinds at $16,000 / $32,000.  I was sitting on $120,000 when the action folded around to me in the cut-off.  I look down at KJ and ship it.  It folds to the big blind, who has $105,000, and tanks.  Ultimately, he calls with 88 and his hand holds.  I'm down to $15,000.  Done.  Very next hand, I'm dealt QQ on the button, and shove my massive stack.  The same dude calls me again, this time with JJ, and I win the hand set-over-set.  Had I folded my KJ, I would have been sitting on $200,000.  But, that's life. . . .  One hand later, I jam A2 for $45,000, get a call, and double up.  Two hands later I ship A8 and again double up with A-high.  Just like that, I was back in the game.  In retrospect, had I not shoved KJ and doubled the following hand with QQ, I most likely would not have jammed with either of the subsequent Ace hands, and so my stack would have been about the same.
Another thirty-five minutes or so passes, and we hit the money at eight players.  We then quickly lost another, as the blinds rose to $50,000 / $100,000.  Yes, that's not a typo. $50,000 / $100,000.  Every hand took three-times a long as normal, just having the dealer counts the stacks, et cetera.  With a total of 2.1 million chips in play, it was plain stupid.   Even though we were only down to seven, it was time for a chop.  First place paid $1,600 or so.  An even chop would have been $581, but a few people still wanted to play to the end.  Sort of absurd, but what can you do?  So, we decided to each take $500, and to pool the additional $81 to give first place another $500 or so.   I ended up busting sixth, then had to sit around another 40 minutes for the game to end to get paid.  Mercifully, heads up lasted a mere hand when the button shipped pocket threes, got called by Ac 9h, and saw four clubs hit the board.  Game over.
After having zero luck at these Showboat donkfests for the better part of a year, of the last 6 I've played, I min-cashed one, bubbled another (out 8th with 7 paid), and chopped.  Always a bit more fun to walk away from the table with some cash.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Who Are The Ad Wizards That Came Up With THAT One?

Well, as predicted, this didn't take long:


Less than a year, in fact . . .
It just goes to show that non-casino companies should not run casinos.  Who thought you could build a "resort" in Atlantic City, charge $500 a night for rooms, and not comp regulars?  Really?  REALLY?  You can build the most beautiful resort in the world, but without a strong customer loyalty program (Total Rewards, MLIFE . . .) you are doomed. 
I posted this picture a month or so back -- Revel on a Saturday night:

Empty.  And this was typical.

Cosmo in Vegas has to be next.  I walked through on the way to Aria last Sunday.  It was dead.  I mean, I've never experienced a casino with such total lack of energy.  Sure, you can corner the market on the twenty-two year old douche bag crowd, and pack Marquee Day Club  (whatever the fuck that is) all weekend long, but successful casinos thrive on gamblers.  With some exceptions (of course), the twenty-something crowd comes to party, not gamble.  And no amount of cover charges or $12 drinks will keep the lights on for long.  Seems simple; but apparently not simple enough for some folks. 

On a similar note, I wonder how Steve Wynn feels now about his Beach Club at Encore?  It was an unusual sight last July to walk through the lobby at Wynn and see security trying to move the numerous half-dressed drunken assholes who were laying on the floor after a freak afternoon storm emptied the pool next door.  Likewise, in the long run, how will The Pool work out for Harrah's AC?  Sure, it's apparently one of the hottest clubs in the area.  But I laugh every time I hear some young punk whining about how he's down $80 at the black jack tables.  And, on top of it all, these kids are destroying Harrah's Waterfront Tower.  These use to be premium rooms on par with Borgata.  Now, they are basically trashed.  Harrah's charges these kids (yes, I'm turning 40 in a week or so, and I reserve the right to refer to them as kids) full rates ($400 or $450 a night) for rooms; but Sunday morning, the elevators are full of hungover punks carrying sleeping bags and air mattresses, as they are packing 5 or 6 people into one room.  It's gotten to the point that Harrah's is actually booking them on certain floors of the Tower, apparently attempting to preserve the rest for non-asshats.

[On a side note, the Beach Club at Encore is PACKED with talent.  Smoke show after smoke show; the kind of scene that both makes you happy to be alive and, yet, frustrated as shit to be so damn old, all at the same time.  The Pool at Harrah's, on the other hand, is full of chicks from Long Island and Jersey who give meaning to the phrase "10 pounds of sausage stuffed into a 5 pound sack"]

Anyway, apparently over the past 5 minutes of typing, my "told you so" regarding Revel turned into another old man rant, so I'll cut this short.

In closing, I'll be curious to see if Revel starts operating like a real casino when it emerges from the courts. 

Tuesday, February 19, 2013


In the office on a cold, rainy, Tuesday in D.C.  Spent the entire day yesterday traveling back from Vegas.  Short holiday weekend trips are fun, but they take a toll (it will likely take me all week to recover . . .).
The trip was too short; still, it was a nice change of scenery, and it was great to leave the east coast winter for the 70-degree desert.  Unfortunately, I didn't have time to meet up with any local bloggers this trip.  Hopefully, next time . . .
While Saturday was spent getting kicked in the teeth in both the Aria Daily and the cash games at Bally's, I spent Sunday making a run for another 1000 bonus tier points.  I grinded bonus poker most of the day -- 10-handed and 100-handed, $5 a rip.  It was hard keeping track of my progress, as I was casino-hopping, from PH to Paris to Flamingo to Harrah's.  Ultimately, I ended up with 1,200 or so credits, which got me the extra 1000.  So, it's mid-February, and I'm sitting on 7,450 tier credits.  I can't imagine Caesars continues with this bonus structure next year.  It's just too easy to make Diamond now (despite raising the threshold to 15,000 yearly).
During my week-long stay at PH last August, I played mainly triple-bonus, and hit quads 16 times.  It was like PH was giving away money.  The VP was a virtual ATM.  This trip, no such luck.  I waited, and waited and waited to flop a monster on the 100 hander.  It finally happened at Paris late afternoon, when I was dealt four to the royal.  Statistically, one should hit the one-outer twice over the hundred hands.  Of course, its common to hit those one outers 7 or 8 times if you get the better side of variance.  This time, however, variance kicked me in the neck (the theme of the trip), and I blanked on all 100 hands:

On the bright side, I beat the crap at the sportsbook this trip - an 8 and 1 tear at college basketball and hockey.  A run made all the sweeter given that I have not watched so much as a single NCAA or NHL game all year.  I've given up on betting sports based on what I know, or think I know, about sports.  Rather, each morning I spend 30 minutes or so before I leave the room "researching" games on sites like covers.com . . . looking at the consensus, the line moves and where gaps exist between the public and the so-called team experts.  This generally results in betting a lot of dogs, and making a lot of "uncomfortable" plays.  Yet, it seems to work.  At least it produces far better results than I could pull based on my sports knowledge. 
All-in-all, it was another fun trip.  Had a great dinner at Koi Saturday night.  Sunday, I passed on Striphouse and, instead, went to Ruths Chris at Harrah's (while I generally try to avoid chains when I'm in Vegas, I had placed action on the UNDER in the NBA allstar game at Harrah's, and didn't feel like having to walk back to cash the ticket . . .).  I really liked the vibe there.  Nice modern bar area, great food, and a fantastic view of the Strip at night.  Would definitely head back again. 
And, finally, small things have really begun to piss me off during these jaunts.  Why must tourists take pictures in front of EVERYTHING?  Why must people stop walking to stare at some jackass painted gold and pretending to be a robot?  Why must people try and hold a live snake?  Why must some jackass stop and get his picture taken being fake-arrested by two fake-blond fake cops?  I mean, how small are the towns these people are from?  I can't stand the pedestrian traffic on the strip...  This trip, I was increasingly infuriated by the multiple people who commented on the freshness of the "Why lie -- I need money to buy beer" signs.  Really?  You find this amusing?  Have you walked more than 30 feet with your eyes open?  Perhaps it was original the first time, ten years ago - now it's just lazy (on the bright side, at least there seem to be less pornslappers lately).  I mean, seriously . . . how do you locals deal with this?
Well, I'll be returning with a small crew looking for trouble next month for conference tournament week -- four days at Aria.  After that, I'll be on a self-imposed Vegas hiatus until the WSOP.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Fuck You, Poker!

If I ran any worse today, I'd probably be dead.

It started at the Aria daily tournament.  I was completely card dead.  I won one hand the first 4 levels.  That's two hours, folks.  Then I got some cards, and promptly left the building...

Blinds were $200/$400/$25.  Two limpers and the action arrives to me in the small blind.  AK.  I'm sitting on around $8,000 and raise to $1,300.  Both limpers have around $4,000 chips.  Both call.

Flop is A25 rainbow.  I lead for $2,200.  Both ship it.  I call the small amount on top.  Both limpers have AQ.  Turn is a Queen.  Down to around $4,000 chips.

Later that same level cutoff limps and I pop to $1,200 from the small blind with QQ.  Cutoff has me covered, and calls.

Flop is 973.  I bet $1,500.  Cutoff shoves.  I call.  He tables A3.  Huh?  Turn blanks, river is an Ace.  Really?  Donzo.

After dinner, I decide to play cash at Ballys.  I buy in for $200.  I'm surrounded by 9 of the worst poker players I've ever shared a table with.  Three hours later, I'm broke...

Once again, I spent an hour card dead.  And no sense trying to make moves against this table full of monkeys.  So I sit.  And I patiently fold.  Then, finally, I get some good cards.  And I lose all my money in 15 minutes.

First hand -AK from the button.  I open to $10.  Small blind comes along.  Flop is A45 (two spades).  He checks, I bet $12, and he flats.  Turn blanks and I bet $27.  He flats.   River is a king.  He shoves his last $35.  I call with top two - no match for his flopped wheel.  Ouch.  Ok.  Shit happens.

Several hands later, two people limp and I raise to $12 with AQ.  Both call.  Fop is 4 Q 8 (two clubs).  Dude donk bets $10.  Other villain calls.  I raise to $35.  Donker folds. Mother villain RE-RAISES $100 on top.  Huh?  He flats $10, and then repops my raise?  My read is that he flopped a set - 88's or 44's.  He initially called $10 to try and build a pot, but when I raised, he figured he had me on the hook, and didn't want to mess with the flush draw.  I fold.  He shows QQ.  Not the set I put him on, particularly after he tried to limp preflop.  But, whatever. It's all the same.

Several hands later, it's my turn with pocket QQ.  One limper.  I pop to $10 from middle position.  It folds to limper, who calls.  Of course.  Flop is 7 2 8 rainbow.  I bet $15.  He calls.  Turn is a 3.  I bet $32.  He raises, putting me all in for my last $45 or so.  I call.  He flips 73.  Really?  Fuck. You.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013


It's never too early to start thinking about baseball.  Of all professional sports, baseball remains my favorite.  Football is great - don't get me wrong.  But in my opinion, there is nothing better than sitting field level on a sunny Sunday afternoon, drinking a cold beer, enjoying some fresh air, and watching a ballgame.  The year the Nats first moved to D.C., I hit my personal best for live attendance -- 68 games (I split a Nationals' season ticket package with some folks, and also caught a bunch of O's and Mets games that season . . . I've yet to eclipse 35 live games any season since . . . and, last season, I barely reached 10 . . .).
Of course, as a Mets fan, I've got low expectations for 2013.  There is no chance of October baseball, particularly with the Nats and Braves in the NL East.  But hell, even if you threw the Mets in a division with the Astros, Marlins, Twins and Rockies, I'd put the Mets chances for a pennant at slim to slimmer.  I mean, you sort of need an outfield to win games. Yet, I like what Sandy Alderson is doing.  It will take some time for the Omar Minaya stench to dissipate; but Sandy has the team moving in the right direction.  I'll sacrifice 2013/2014 to rebuild.  With Niese, Harvey and Wheeler set to anchor the rotation, and Travis d'Arnaurd behind the plate, I can see a brighter future.  Hell, I think I'd rather be a Mets fan than a Yankees fan at this very moment [as an interesting aside, I was listening to Brian Cashman on MLB radio on the drive to work a week or so ago.  He was declaring that the image of the Yankees as a deep pocket, free-spending, organization was pure misperception.  The example he gave to support his story -- when Albert Pujols was an the market, the Yankees did not even get involved in the fray.  Um.  Yeah.  I mean, what  great measure of discipline and fiscal restraint to not try and land Pujols . . . especially with Mark Teixeira already commanding a mint at first base.  Fuck you, Yankees].
So, with anticipation of the season brewing, I just booked a baseball excursion for the Mets West Coast road trip in August -- 5 days in Santa Monica during the three-game series at Chavez Ravine, and three days in San Diego for the weekend series at Petco Park.  I've been to Mets games at both stadiums before, but I'm definitely looking forward to going back for more.  Dodger Stadium is sort of a piece of crap . . . I mean, physically, the stadium alone . . .  It somehow reminds me of a West Coast Shea Stadium.  Old.  Concrete.  Tattered.  Yet, there's something magical about the place - pearched hilltop . . . palm trees past the outfield.  First pitch in the evening sun, even though my east coast internal clock is telling me it's 10:10pm . . .  I can't help but hear Vince Scully in my head calling a game when I sit there. 
Baseball aside, it's hard to beat Southern Cal in August.  June gloom is in the rear view mirror, and days are generally sunny and mid-seventies - perfect for the beach.  I plan to hit up some surf and get some hiking in during the days, along with poker at Commerce and perhaps some of the other LA rooms. 
Opening day can't come soon enough.   

Saturday, February 9, 2013

It Feels Like 2002 All Over Again

Another weekend in the office.  That's two in a row.  Fourteen straight days of work; and the streak will hit twenty by next Friday.  I'm no longer conditioned for this.  But I use to be...
From 2000 to 2010, I spent ten years grinding away at one of the biggest firms in the country -- 1000-plus lawyers . . . 20-plus offices.  A network of assholes spanning the globe.  I was use to working weeks on end without a day off.  I even racked up a handful of over-nighters (badges of honor for young associates) during that span -- working 30 to 34 hours straight, usually to meet some fake "deadline" imposed by a client accustom to treating its counsel for what they sort of are -- just another service industry employee - like a plumber or an electrician, only with seven years of higher education and an unjustifiable super-sized ego. 
Those days are (fortunately) gone.  I work for a small firm now (albeit doing the same work, for many of the same clients, as I did before).  I actually like the people I work with.  Indeed, it's been over a year since I've come into the office and wanted to punch someone in the neck.  I haven't pulled an all-nighter in years (I'm not even sure I'm physically capable of it any more).  And, I've rarely worked weekends over the past year.  So, while this current streak feels like somewhat of a burden, I should prolly just suck it up and do my job.
As a result of all this work, however, I have not hit a poker table in nearly three weeks. And, I've only played 3 hours of cash year to date.  This needs to change. 
Therefore, Friday evening, the minute this streak ends, I'm off to Vegas for the holiday weekend.  Cocktails on the 8:35 direct from DCA.  Using miles for the flights, three nights comped at the PH, and rolling into town with winning futures tickets in my pocket - Tigers AL Champs and Ravens AFC Champs.  Nothing like freerolling a trip to The Strip.  Hope to run into some of you there!       

Thursday, February 7, 2013

It Feels Like Pre-Black Friday All Over Again

As a Maryland resident, after Black Friday, it became nearly impossible to fund any type of on-line poker account.  Even sites like Sportsbook.com no longer accepted deposits from Maryland.  Accordingly, I had been out of on-line action for quite some time.
However, recently, thanks to Poker Meister's (https://lowstakeshands.blogspot.com/) suggestion, I've been playing a bit of online poker again on Seals With Clubs (https://sealswithclubs.eu/aff.php?aff=187).  It utilizes "bitcoins" rather than cash money (if anyone is interested in joining, I believe Poker Meister has a link on his page, and perhaps he gets some "sign-up" credit if you register from there . . .).
Anyway, it's fantastic to have the frustration of Internet poker back in my life.  Thus far, I've been playing only the hourly free-rolls on the site, trying to build up enough chips to transition to cash.  The most recent tournament I played, I quickly went from the 1,500 starting stack to 5,600.  Then I woke up with AA.  A limper, a raise to $250, and Pete re-raises to $750.  Limper calls, and original raiser three bets to $2,300.  I shove.  Limper goes all in for a few hundred more, and raiser calls.  Here are the hands:
Raiser:  KK
Pete:     AA
Genius: 7(h)4(h)
Flop:  6(h) J(h) 2(h). 
Um.  Cool. Well, the side pot is still in play.
Turn:  9
River:  K.
Online poker is SOOOOOOO fucken rigged!!!! 

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Pete's IRS Rant for 2013

DISCLAIMER:  This Blog is for Entertainment Purposes, Only.  The accounts contained herein may or may not be semi-fictitious or based only loosely in facts and/or events which in reality occurred or did not occur.  References to real and/or imaginary persons may or may not be accurate.  In fact, no person named Pete P. Peters may actually even exist.
* * *  
This weekend I'm planning to suck it up and prepare my taxes for 2012.  I use to go to H&R Block - The Tax Professionals.  The process would involve waiting around for an hour or more, only to have some jackass read questions to me from a computer program and then type my responses into the software.  It was readily apparent that I could cut-out the "tax professional" and type all by my big-boy self.  Thusly, I've done my own taxes the past 5 or 6 years (with the help of one of those on-line services).  The process involves filling in a bunch of boxes, making some educated guesses, ignoring silly notions like "first-in/first-out" when tabulating investment gains and estimating things like "wash trades."  So far, so good -- I've yet to be audited, let alone fined, disbarred or jailed.
However, I've got a bad feeling about this year.  I was the lucky recipient of multiple W-2G's courtesy of the casinos in 2012.  Yes, I was a big winner.  Except, of course, for all my gambling losses . . .
I just pulled up my Harrah's Win/Loss Statement for 2012.  It was a new record.  I mean, I'm not gonna be giving handjobs on the street corner in South East D.C. to pay the bills . . . It's still only a 4-digit number.  But the number in ($      ) was bigger than I had expected.  Also, this is the first year I can't say that I made more off the casinos than I lost in them, as, for the first time, my degenerate losses were greater than my investment gains on LVS/MPEL/MGM (I played LVS a bit too aggressively last year, and doubled down too soon after the stock retreated from it's fifty-two week high of $62 . . . only to fall back into the $30's).
Well, given all this, I'm sure as hell not paying taxes on my W-2G "winnings."  According to the IRS, I can deduct gambling losses to the extent of winnings.  Of course, proving up your losses may not be all that easy, depending on how much of a prick the IRS chooses to be.  The Harrah's Win/Loss Statement states, in no uncertain terms, that it is "not intended to be used for tax purposes."  Moreover, according to "Topic 419 - Gambling Income and Losses,"  of the IRS guidelines:

"The following rules apply to casual gamblers . . . 
* * *    
It is important to keep an accurate diary or similar record of your gambling winnings and losses. To deduct your losses, you must be able to provide receipts, tickets, statements or other records that show the amount of both your winnings and losses."
Um.  Yeah.  Of course.  Whenever I'm degening VP and slots whilst pounding adult beverage, I always carry with me my donk-diary, wherein I keep meticulous records of every session of Ms. Kitty, The Hangover, and Mr. Cashman (I also score baseball games and keep an accurate tally of my carb-count while slamming beers at the bar . . .). 
Anyway, notwithstanding potential issues of proof, I intend to claim my losses.  And I intend to support such losses with my Win/Loss Statement.  And I fully expect my auditless streak to expire.  Which, in turn, will prolly lead to a shit-storm relating to my trading records.  Which in turn will lead to more interaction with some semi-retarded government worker than I can reasonably, or should reasonably be expected to, tolerate.
In closing, it's my humble opinion that the 35% of my wages paid to the government every year more than satisfies any social obligation I may have to my fellow citizens.  The 35% I pay on my investments (yes, most of my trades result in short term gains/losses) is overkill.  I mean, I choose to risk my money in the market, and if I am successful, the government essentially "doubles down" and takes MORE of my money; and if I am not successful, I get to deduct $3,000 a year from whatever subsequent gains I may have?  Fuck - I mean, I'm still deducting my MGM Mirage losses from 2008!!! Yet, I don't complain.  All I ask is that I not be further hassled by the IRS in the process.