Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Why we play

I think this is a well written commercial that sums it up rather nicely.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Vegas Baby!

March 2nd - March 5th. Staying at Harrah's. Hope to see you there!

Home Game Host Retorts about Bust

Game Host speaks out about the Austin Home Game Bust mentioned in an earlier post and also posted over at Pokerati and Mookie99.

I had a rather long conversation with the Host who had much to say about what has been posted regarding this bust. The game Host tells me that many of the things posted about the circumstances of the game and it's demise are seriously misinformed. Below is the Hosts rebuttal version regarding the incident and to the various claims that were posted.

He believes that the game's compromise was caused by a Rival tournament director (hereafter referred to as the Rival). Apparently this story starts months before the Austin PD ever knocked on the door.

There used to be a monthly tournament held at the Marriot in south Austin hosted by Let's Poker.com. The tournament was originally called the Barton Creek tournament, but as it became more and more popular, they moved it to the Marriot to accomodate more players. I played in this tournament a few times taking 2nd one month. After several successful months of running, the tournament grew to the size of 200+ players and was paid a visit by Austin PD who were obligated to investigate following a complaint they had received. The officers showing up was a bit unsettling, but the tournament continued unabated and no one was ticketed or arrested. However, following the visit, the tournament was suspended indefinitely pending the results of the investigation. Consequently, the hotel opted to turn away the tournament regardless of the outcome of the investigation. At about the same time, theRIVAL had decided to try running his own tournaments and the first one was cancelled as it coincided with the hotel's decision to walk away from holding any poker tournaments.

Fast forward. I am unsure where the Rival first started his tournaments, I had heard at the Omni downtown, but that is unconfirmed as I never played in any of them. I do know after several months, the RIVAL was holding his tournament at the Holiday Inn at 183 and Mopac. It was when he invited the HOST to come play in his tournament (and hopefully tap into his player pool) that things started to fester. The Rival explained to the Host that the tournament was self-dealt (fashioned after the old Barton Creek Tournament). The Host suggested the Rival provide dedicated dealers to make the tournament more legit. The Rival said he didn't know any. The Host tells me that this is when he first provided the Rival 5 dealers for the tournament a few months ago. When the Host showed up to this first dedicated dealer touranment, he discovered that the Rival was using the hotel's round banquet tables for the tournament (much like the old Barton Creek tournament did). The Host told the Rival he needed to get true poker tables to make the most use of dedicated dealers. The next month, the Rival did just that and provided oval poker tables for the tournament and had even asked if he could borrow one from the Host should he need one.

The Host then went on to say that the Rival was skimming the prize pool to the tune of several thousand dollars. The tournament buy in was $100. Unlimited rebuys for the first hour were also $100, and an add-on during the break was also $100. The Host suggests that a conservative figure for the tournament prize pool was $10,000. (50 $100 buyins = $5000, 25 rebuys=$2500, 25 add-ons=$2500.) The pay out was usually around $8,000. The Host says the Rival told him he paid ~$350 to the hotel for the room rental and the hotel would make additional income off of bar/food sales. As you can see, there was some serious skimming going on. The Host believes that the total money collected was proably closer to $12,000, considering the typical number of rebuys/add-ons he noted at each of the tournaments he attended.

The Host noted that players were complaining of the high RAKE of the Rival's tournament and that the Rival didn't disclose the number of rebuys and add-ons (a classic move to hide how much is taken off the top). The Host felt he could provide a much better tournament, ensuring that more money actually made it to the prize pool, provide competent dealers, better chips/cards, and a much better blind structure. After all the Host had significant experience in running tournaments and cash games since he had been doing it since September '04. With his large player pool and tons of experience, should be simple, right?

Thus the stage was set. The Host arranged to do have the tournament at the Holiday Inn. The Rival apparently didn't like this, or at least that is what it seems as you will soon see. Everything was set...until....the hotel called the Host to inform him they had been contacted by the TABC concerning a poker tournament that they had heard was being held and that they would be there to investigate. The TABC went on to state that if the tournament is in any way illegal, the TABC would revoke their liquor license on the spot. The hotel caved and the tournament was cancelled.

Because of the TABC letter, not only was the Host's tournament cancelled, but so was any future touranments held by the Rival. The Host then tells me that Wednesday February 7th, the Rival called the Host and commenced to speak to him in a threatening manner, telling him that "You are fucking done!" The Host said he told the Rival if he couldn't speak to him with some respect he would hang up....which he did.

On Sunday the 11th, the Host game was raided by APD. APD confiscated all of the gaming materials - tables, chips, cards, prize pool, a laptop, and a desktop. No tickets were written or arrests made.

We then hear over on Mookie 99, that a letter from the HOA was sent to the neighborhood where the Host held his game at his home. The Host believes this letter was written by the Rival as a way of knocking him off. A careful analysis of the letter would suggest that it is not something that someone from a HOA would write. Think about it.

1. IF the HOA received a complaint, why wouldn't they contact the home owner instead of putting out a flyer in the neighborhood which gave the address of the house?

2. Why ask other neighbors to call the police/DA instead of contacting them directly?

3. Attach a flyer that was never printed by the Host? (The Host would EMAIL the supposed flyer to known players. He says he never used flyers....Flyers bring undesirables....like robbers and the police.

4. Does this sound like a "concerned neighbor" or an angry Rival?

Other items that are in dispute.

Estranged Wife factor: The Host has been divorced for 15 years, is not currently married and is still friends with his ex who by the way is unemployed and was never employed by APD.

Garage Fire: The Host did not ever have a garage fire. He did however have a vehicle fire. The Austin Fire Department said while inconclusive, they did not believe the fire was started by Arson. Rather, the Host had a stereo recently installed with an amplifier in the trunk - which apparently is where the fire started. AFD believes the installation was faulty.

"I'm taking everyone with me": This is the furthest from the truth. The Host denies ever saying such a thing.

Dealer hiding in closet: One of the dealers was dealing at a table upstairs when the police came in. He thought the game was being robbed and went to hide in a closet. Apparently, when he heard it was the police, he came out.

The Host states that he was told by another player that the Rival was seen with a copy of both the HOA letter and the game schedule on Thursday February 8th. Things that make you go, HMMMM.

The Host states thata player that was playing at another game held on that same Sunday Night Feburary 11th, heard the Rival announce "The Host's game is getting busted right now." Apparently knowing by osmosis, since it was before anyone at the Host's game had informed anyone outside that they were being raided.

According to the Host, the police told him he can get his computers back in a month or two, as for the tables and other equip, he would have to take that up with the County Attorney. They left telling him to not start up again, or they would be back.

Until the Texas Legislature wakes up and realizes that poker isn't going to go away, this kind of underhanded ratting out of games will surely continue. Makes you wonder if the two games which were raided by APD in two separate apartment complexes in north Austin last November/December were caused by the same kind of "complaint".
As for this poker player, I've packed up my wagon and taken it north where I can play poker legally!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Dancing with the Queen of Hearts

Just in time for Valentine's Day.
Help! She didn't know what to do. They've been going out for months. They get along so well. He is smart, resourceful, driven. Could he be the one? I don't know. He worries me. Some times he answer his phone. He won't call me when he is suppose to. When I go over to his place, he is always distracted. He spends all of his time playing poker. What should she do?
Write to Ellie. She will have the answer.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Please buy my house

January turned out to be an ugly month for me in poker. I was only able to log 6 live sessions in a busy month of travel. But it appears to be my good fortune that the number of times I played was low since I ended up 0 for 6 in the month The good news is that the average loss was small enough that one good win will overcome the string of loses. Of course, that is what all gamblers tell themselves’, isn’t it?

After so many loses though, I have put myself on the rail temporarily while I try and figure out what the hell the problem is. I know I have leaks in my game, doesn’t everyone to some degree? Of course, some of my leaks are deliberate and can occasionally let me stumble into some monster hands….well, rather, monster pots. A little bit of gamble with a mediocre hand in the right position and it can turn into a juggernaut of a hand….but I digress. Right now, there is something that is killing my game, and it isn’t my known leaks.

After a bit of soul searching, data crunching, and analytical view of my stats for the last couple of months, the problem has become blatantly clear to me.

I need you to buy my house.

Well, that actually isn’t the problem. But it would help fix the problem. The problem is: I’m playing with scared money. Since I am currently paying two mortgages while I wait on my house in Texas to sell, you might make a logical conclusion that my cash flow is a bit strapped at the moment. Factor in that I haven’t booked a winning session in a while, and you have the recipe for my problem.

All of this is true, and while it is certainly a valid argument I have to tell you, that isn’t why my play of late has been with “scared money”. No the reason is because my money is currently in Wells Fargo. Wells Fargo does not operate in Illinois. They are in Wisconsin and Iowa, but not Illinois. And while I can access it at any ATM (for a fee), I am now limited to my daily ATM withdraw limit. I intend to sever all ties with Wells Fargo and move my money to a bank I can use locally, but I haven’t done that yet, and frankly, it is killing my game.

Guess what happens to you when you come to the game with $400 in your pocket with no ability to get more and the average stack on the table is over $500?

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Austin Home Game Raided

Sunday February 2nd, 2007.* It was a 3 table $40 buy-in tournament held at a private home in north Austin. The tournament started at 6pm and there were 3 full tables. At about 6:30 a loud knock was heard at the door. One of the tournament players said, “That sounds like a knock of a cop.” Sure enough, the house was soon filled with 10-12 uniformed Austin Police Officers.

Eye witnesses say that they did not draw their weapons. An anonymous witness tells me that they took everyone’s picture, identified them, questioned them, and then made them leave. My witness heard another player ask one of the officers, “What is going to happen now?” The officer told him that they may be charged with class “C” misdemeanor gambling and receive a ticket. Asked if anything else, and the officer told him no. One officer mentioned that they were there because a neighbor had complained. But then another officer was asking a lot of questions like, “What is the rake?” and “Where is the dealer named “XXX”. This would lead you to believe that even if this was started over a complaint of a neighbor, the police knew more than they were telling. When the witness left the premises, it was noted that there was a paddy wagon type of police vehicle outside and it was believed they were going to confiscate all of the poker related equipment. No arrests were noted, or tickets at the time of the raid or at least by the time this particular witness left the scene.

This comes somewhat on the heels of a couple of home games in Austin being “broken up” for lack of a better term. A small 1/2 NLHE game held in north Austin was robbed in November. The host called the police and when they arrived, they basically confiscated all of the poker equipment. Two other games which were played in two different north Austin apartment complexes were ‘visited” by uniformed Austin Police Officers in October/November, broken up, and evicted from their respective apartment complexes. The games presumably moved to different locations. Pokerati reports a game in Houston being raided only days ago. And of course several games were raided in the Dallas area over the last couple of months.

Is there a state wide crackdown on poker games going on?
*Correction: Sunday February 11th, 2007

Saturday, February 10, 2007

He won it fair and square

The Children's Oncology Services were the benefactors of a recent charity poker tournament in Chicago. The winner received an all expense paid trip and $10,000 buyin seat to the Foxwoods Poker Classic Tournament in April. The event was organized by the Majestic Star Casino and held at a local arts center. What a stroke of good fortune for the winner! Since he is banded from stepping foot into a casino in Illinois. Read HERE.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Hershey's to sponsor WSOP this year

Hershey's the most recognized name in America for chocolate bars has partnered up with Harrah's to sponsor the WSOP in 2007. Apparently, Hershey will be printing WSOP labels for their chocolate bars and giving away 2 seats this year to the main event. Go HERE to read more.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

PokerTek gets slapped with Law suit

Lawfuel.com reports that a suit has been filed against Pokertek Inc. , the manufacturer of automated poker tables. The suit claims that Pokertek, Inc. failed to compensate Tellis (a Texas software company) for developing the software for their table.