Friday, March 16, 2007

New Haven, CT Police officer gets busted running poker club

You know I've been to dozens of home games, but not one like this one. The game was operated by a police officer who was playing on stolen drug money the FBI had planted in a motel room.

Poker Club busted in Indianapolis

Northeastside Poker Club was raided after a yearlong probe. 60 players were issued citations, including a state trooper. 3 operators were arrested. News video here.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Second bust of Austin Home game at different locale

I received a couple of phone calls and emails letting me know that another Austin Home Game was "broken up" last night. Actually, this game had been broken up once before when it was being held in an apartment complex in North Austin. At that time, uniformed officers broke up the game and they were evicted from the apartment complex. It didn't take long for the game to move locations to a quiet neighborhood of single family homes in north Austin - minutes from it's previous location.

I'm told that a 5/10 nlhe game was underway when 4 plain clothed men approached the door of the house where the operation was moved to. The game girl didn't recognize any of the men, so the game operator answered the door. The men identified themselves as police officers and the game operator allowed them entry. My understanding is that they did not have a warrant and that they were believed to be part of Austin Vice Squad.

Upon entry, they questioned all the players, the game girl, and the operator. They took down everyone's id, and then let everyone go. There were no arrests, no tickets issued, nothing was confiscated.

The police officers went on to say that they weren't sure what was going on here, but that basically, it had to stop. Apparently, neighbors had been complaining of too many cars on the street. Parking is always an issue when you run a game in a residence, especially when you run a game several times a week. This group would routinely run 2 table tournaments, which equates to 20+ cars lining the street.

A game that I have been to a few times up here in the northwest suburbs of Chicago tries to alleviate this problem by having players park at a nearby shopping center. I personally won't park there though, as I think there is a greater risk of getting towed. I am not really sure what the answer is, except maybe to pay off your neighbors. Apartment complexes afford you a bit of anonymity that you don't get when you run in a single family home, but even still players will always park closet to the apartment where the game is held, leaving residents in nearby apartments hoofing it to carry the groceries in.

Monday, March 05, 2007

All good things must come to an end

I'm on my last day of this Vegas trip, and I'm currently sitting in a small blind nlhe game at the Venetian. I have a few hours before my flight out, so here I sit, hoping to steal a stack or two before I head to catch my flight.

I have played at the Venetian, Bally's, MGM, Caesars Palace, and Harrah's this trip. I had 5 winning sessions, and 3 lossing sessions this trip. Despite losing some very large pots that would have made this trip a huge winfall, the weekend had more good times than bad. Yet it always seems that one hand will define the over all trip for me and this time was no different.

I never really have been one to post all of the gory details of a bad beat, so I won't start now. Truthfully, I try to put most beats out of my mind, but when the hand is for a few dimes, it's hard to forget it. I took a significant break and went over the hand in in my mind for hours. How could I have played it differently? The truth is, I wouldn't have played it any differently - I was a 77% favorite to win the hand on the turn with the nuts. Run it twice, and we split the hand. Some times nuts, some times peanuts.

The main reason for this trip was that my wife was invited to a free roll tourney held at Bally's this past weekend. She made it through the first 1100 players of a total field of 1600, earning the chance to go on to the final day. She outlasted another 350 players, but busted well short of the cash, as only the top 10 made the money. Still, a good effort and I believe a better one than I would have done. Blackjack is her favorite game, having paid all of her school debt with the proceeds in the past. She posted modest wins and loses, never able to put together a string of wins. She typically plays very small limits as she enjoys the social aspect of the game more so than the rush of playing for big money. I am always amazed at how much she learns about the other players when we meet up after one of her sessions. She never seems to meet a stranger. She left early today, heading home to Chicago. Lucky her. While I get to stay and play a little longer,I am heading to Denver for another trade show the rest of the week.

We went to the Price is Right Live show at Bally's. It was fun to watch, although it would have been nice to have heard " Mike K.! Come on down! You're the next contestant on the Price is Right!" But alas, neither of us got to make the trot down the aisle. Probably a good thing too as I think I might have embarrassed myself having not been able to figure out all the pricing of the products correctly. The game is interesting as they use a combination of clips from the real game show such that you have to guess the price of an 1972 or 2001 or 1998, along with current prices of items on stage.

The Venetian Poker room has become my favorite place to play now. The action is good and there sooo much more room than at my old favorite - the Bellagio. In fact, I never even set foot in the Bell this trip. Can't remember ever not playing there when in Vegas before.

The National Heads Up Championship to be aired on NBC was played at Caesars this weekend. We sat in the galley a while, but frankly, I find watching someone else playing poker rather boring. So do many others as they had a hard time keeping the gallery full during the demi-finals - that is until Shannon Elizabeth played. Wonder why that is.

Got to catch up with Hendo (AKA Asian John) while here. For those of you who know him, go buy a cup of coffee at the coffe shop at the shoppes at the V. He is doing well, and although we didn't get to hang out more than a few minutes, it was great to catch up.

Amazingly, I didn't run into anyone else this trip. I usually run into about 3 or 4 but not this trip. I know some players that were in town this week, but I never ran into anyone.

Given the current state of on-line poker, I am here to tell you that the live action seems to have no end. Every room continues to fill up - although tourneys bring the greatest draw. Even O'sheas has a dedicated poker room now instead of a couple of tables right at the door.

I ran into many new players to the game, which is a good barometer of the state of poker. Take Steve E. from Charleston, SC. This was first experience in a real casino. He and his Navy buddies came out for a fun trip and I played with him and Doug S. Steve has only played for a few months, and seems to have a pretty good grasp of the game. Of course, being relatively new to the game, they heard many new terms when they got here to Vegas. Kill, Horse, Razz, were a few that come to mind. But hey, no one knows everything, and I'd say these fellas are well on their way to becoming accomplished players. I wish them good luck as they have many years of playing ahead of them. Maybe we will cross paths again some time.

While there were some ups and downs this weekend - and even though I haven't even left yet, I'm thinking of when I can get back here again. Hopefully, sooner than later.