29 July 2006

WSOP Main Event

"Head to CC's blog on PokerWorks for the latest on the World Series, baby." (Scotty Nguyen)

20 July 2006

CC Celebrates One Year

CC is the big 1-year old! Head to my new site for Quest of a Closet Poker Player for the year in review.

17 July 2006

New Link for Quest of a Closet Poker Player

Head to my new site for Quest of a Closet Poker Player. CC's alive and kicking!

12 July 2006

The Secret News Revealed

I hinted at some new news for CC's Quest of a Closet Poker Player, and here it is: I'm moving to PokerWorks. Linda told me not to put the new URL, but i will put it online soon. I'll be posting there from now on, so this will be the last post on blogspot. It will take a couple days probably to get everything up and running (links, archives, etc). Hopefully, this will all be wrapped up in the next couple days.

11 July 2006

Flurry of Activity

I thought this schematic might be helpful to understand the layout of ballroom being used for the World Series. Remember that this is a collection of rooms similar to other Vegas hotels (hotels in general, but due to the high number of conventions, Las Vegas is particularly adept at this). The ballrooms are connected, able to be opened into one large room which is currently housing the World Series of Poker. The walkways are in black. None of these areas are labeled or identified, so I'm making this up to help with orientation.
  1. ESPN Final Table: The final table area ihe final table has two small bleachers that you might find at a Little League baseball field. At the bottom of this area is the Bluff radio guys, as well as some computers. The money and bracelet sit in the bottom right with guards.
  2. I call this the Day 2 area as it is where the big events play down to a final table. It normally starts with 10-12 tables then gradually work down to Tables 119 and 120. Staff haven't been too disciplined about letting railbirds take over tables to sit and watch folks. At the bottom of this area is a railbird aisle along with the bottom of section 3. The goal when you start an event is to find yourself here to begin Day 2.
  3. Day 1 Ending Area: Players get shuffled eventually here to end the day, and the aisle lets railbirds catch the best views of players. You can touch the players in the 7s and 8s (although too much touching will probably get you escorted away).
  4. Day 1 Launch Area: Players get consolidated here before breaking down to #3. When this dries up, you'll often find either no play or some late satellites.
  5. Satellite Central: The home of dreams. After tables are broken down from the day's big event, this becomes the home of SNG's and the large satellites. There is a line often at the top of this area, and there are railbird areas at the top of both #4 and #5, as well as along the aisles.
  6. Ring Games: Big events start here (this is where I started and finished), but these are the tables broken down first and converted to cash games. The biggest games are in the bottom right corner, and the signup board for play is middle left.
  7. Cashier: This is actually a design flaw in my opinion. The following activities occur here: buying into a tourney, buying chips for a cash game (there are chip runners, so this is rare), cashing out of a cash game. What this means is that you'll always have to wait to either buy into a tourney or cash out. I understand the cash and security issues of a temporary cashier area, but I think they should have a second area or something for tourney buy-ins. Players cashing from tourneys have a couple of cashier windows available to them on the far right of this area, and the far left of this area has an area for lock boxes for the big hitters (when you're facing the cashier, these are reversed).
  8. WSOP Cash Processing: What a dream it would be to stand in line to sit down for processing after cashing in a tourney. There are several steps in this process from what I can gather, and the line can be long at times depending on where in the tourney they are. The line heads out of the room into the corridor, so once you get in you fill out stuff, then take a left and sit down, filling out more stuff. After you're done, you head to the cashier to get your cash or check.
Below are five photos standing in the aisle on the far left between areas #5 and 6, so I work my way left to right.

Area #5. Sorry that it's dark, but you can make out satellites finishing up in the morning.

Areas #5 & 4. You're looking into the very back of the room.

Up the aisle to Area #1, the ESPN Final Table. You can see the tips of the following areas (from bottom left and clockwise): #5, #4, #1, #3, #6. You can also get a sense of the aisle and area for railbirds.

Area #6, and you're in the far distance is #2 (last tables if you squint and look between two guys in foreground). You can also make out the door leading from the ballroom (bottom of schematic).

Areas 6 & 7. You can't really make out #8 (is left of the photo), but you can clearly see the Tournament Registration signage. Players still in cash games from the night or getting a little play in before these tables are converted to tourney tables.

A different photo to give some perspective. This is from the very end of Area #4, looking down with ESPN Final Table barely visible to the left (lighting can be seen, as well as red ladders still under construction). The end of this room is #3 and 2.

Played a bit late last night, just donking at low NLHE tables. Don't have the energy right now to really play, so I don't mind goofing around a bit. Not exactly like Negreanu and the Grinder at the re-buy tourney (8 and 20 re-buys respectively), but it was relaxing just playing a bit. The PokerWorks articles are very time consuming to do, -EV for sure, and I really have to start cranking on the sales/business development pipeline for my company. Still a struggle to do my best on the WSOP work while trying not to be just sucked into the poker vortex. I haven't really figured out how to combine these two passions, my company and poker. I still may make a run at some of the poker sites regarding customer loyalty or marketing, but I'm not sure if the fit is there.

Anyways, I hope the schematic and photos are helpful. I think it makes it easier to visualize everything going on, especially as we're now playing four events almost daily.

10 July 2006

Busy Weekend

Phil Gordon, a speaker at Saturday's WPBT event, makes a big laydown in an early event.

Howard Lederer also addressed the WPBT. He's had a tough start to the World Series, yet to cash heading into week three.

New limit rock star, octagenerian Kuei Chi Chang. I think I grabbed her photo first early on Day 1 of Event #4, but neither she nor her crew would give out her name. Now she's the hottest thing since sliced bread, cashing in her two limit events.

Terrence Chan can barely be made out in the 1s. Check out my interview with Terrence from before the World Series. He made his first final table and it went south in just a brutal fashion, his A-Qo picking off an all-in steal attempt by Justin Pechie, who meekly turned over 7-5o. How do you want to be crippled at the final table? There are a few horrible ways, maybe AA vs. A-Qs, maybe some donkified flop bluff vs. your KK that turns into a runner-runner two pair (J-6o or something), but after Pechie flopped two pair it had to be horrible to sit there. Terrence will be back as he's an emerging player, but he'll remember that for quite a while.

Scott Fischman, sans facial hair has accumulated some big stacks so far at the World Series but just can't seem to get to a final table. He's had some brutal beatdowns in his young career, but his two 2004 bracelets give him instant credibility at any table.

Wish I had been at the Blogger tourney as it sounds like just a bigtime celebration of poker. I'm sure there will be tons of great posts and photos, so head everywhere.

Some writeups of mine from the weekend: Event #10 Stud David Williams first bracelet (Day 1 and Final Table), Event #12 $5K Omaha Ivey vs. Farha (Day 1 and Final Table), Event #13 Max Pescatori (Wrap). Also, Sweetie got into email late last night and said she had gotten several emails from folks about me being out at the WSOP, so thanks for that. Feel free to email her at honeycunn@yahoo.com to keep her encouraged to send me back out. Not sure when I'll be heading there, either in a couple weeks or just for the Main Event.

So much to see from the blogger tourney, so I'll keep it short today. Let me end with Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, a journey from this site to see where links and visitors take us:
  • Poker and Golf: He's a big CC pimp, and is there any better blog subject matter than poker and golf? (Shep, maybe if you added Poker, Liquor, and Sex with Sheep you'd see the traffic move up more).
  • Flights of Iakaris: Iak is just the best new poker blog out there. I haven't linked him up out of pure maintenance laziness, but his work and his poker are just great (OK, he can write some really good stuff and suckout with the best of them...). Here's his other blog that I didn't know about.
  • Loving and Loathing Poker: Jules, I think, has been mentioned here before, but what the heck? Crazy Canadian in Melbourne. Attendees at the blogger tourney got to meet her, and I'm sure they are better for it.
  • Martini Goddess: Oh, Canada indeed!
  • Katitude: Another repeat, but this is Martini Goddess's fault (no links). Kat also made it out to the blogger tourney, another I wish I could have met.
  • Poker through the Eyes of an Amateur: kaeallinn18 is a blogger tourney regular, so I know he ached not being in Vegas this weekend.
Have a good day, and thanks for stopping by.

07 July 2006

Michael Craig

Michael Craig with Jennifer Harman.

Michael Craig burst onto the poker scene with his terrific book, The Professor, the Banker, and the Suicide King. His story of the Andy Beal vs. the Corporation big game was riveting. He was good enough to participate in an interview (Michael Craig Interview). He also is launching a blog on PokerWorks called Naked Poker. His first post is a guest post on Linda Geenen's blog while they work out the kinks, but you'll want to check it out. He's a really, really good guy.

Have a great weekend. The Big Guy just got home from his friend's birthday party, so I'm back into the car and headed to the mountains north of G-Vegas. Hope the WPBT blogger gathering is a big hit--wish I was there with you guys.

Home Alone II

Tough starting table: Joe Awada, Minneapolis Jim Meehan, dude, Kathy Liebert.

The Mouth taking a breath.

Hellmuth last week--what a battle he was in store for at the final table of the $5k NLHE Event #9.

My favorite buddy, Lynette Chan (see interview on right).

John Juanda, one of the masters.

I stopped on I-85 for about 2 1/2 hours today, driving the Big Guy back to the ATL for a birthday party. If we lived in LA, I'd call it the 85, but this is the South, home of Cokes, Moon Pies, inbreeding, sweet tea, and cole slaw. I had lunch at a place on Hwy 11 that claims to have the best hot dogs around. Now, I'm not sure of the marketing savvy that dogs for $1.19 bring to this local convenience store, but after driving by this place for literally 18 years, I decided to give it a whirl.

CC: "I'll take two hot dogs."
Lady (NOTE: same lady as pictured in a poster holding an upright bass with two other men, some sort of bluegrass or gospel trio): "You want it with the works?"
CC: "I'll take it with mustard."
Lady: "For here or to go?"
CC: "To go."
Lady: "You sure you don't want chili and onions?"
CC: "OK, sure."
Lady: "Well, that's the works."
CC: "OK."
Lady: "You want it for here?"
CC: "OK, I'll take it for here."
Lady: "It's hard to take it to go with the works."
CC (under my breath): "Now do you connect the dots here?"

Were they the best hot dogs around? They were hot dogs. What are you supposed to do with hot dogs? The wall next to the booth had these ancient newspaper clippings, including one of a guy who found forty rattlesnakes in a hollow log. There were also forty Polaroids of people with fish, turkeys, snakes, and a thirty-pound cauliflower.

Played a bit on Party, doubled by some fool with big slick on a board of K-Q-J-9 (uh, what do you think I might shove with, you numbskull?). My 10s-8s was good all day, unless two or three more cards came. I got some extra Party points for a six-card straight as well.

I wanted to explore one WSOP observation, something that I think is easy for us to overlook. As I said before, I've been to the Bellagio during a WPT tourney, and I'm not one of those stalker guys always looking for an autograph or a photo with someone. For a middle-aged chunky guy, I'm fly like that. I'm the guy who, when crossing the street on the Upper West side in '86, said "Hello, Mrs. Penn," taking Madonna's quick grin as treasure enough to last a lifetime. So, I wasn't looking for some sort of out-of-body experience with these poker players we see on TV or read about. My observation: these folks who were truly degenerate, social fringe people are now celebrities of rock-star status. And they are eating it up, lapping it like milk to a kitten.

Grown men are near tears approaching Doyle. It is almost akin to wrestling, as villains are embraced as warmly as the cuddly players. For those players who are generally shy, introverted, who have not figured out how to deal with this, they gravitate to the felt as a venue of protection from the hordes. Other INTP types have figured out how to play their role, turning themselves on when appropriate. For the affable, outgoing types, their smiles are greeted by the clicks of cameras and the bask of an adoring public. Even the peripheral player who's made the singular television appearance is gawked at and fawned over, "There's what's-his-name."

Ten years ago? These folks would shuffle to Vegas for the WSOP, searching for backers, fighting each other for their own money, chasing the big score to pay off their markers. Twenty years ago? Smoke-filled tables, dangerous men out for blood or money. It wasn't about bracelets, it was about survival. Professional poker players hadn't been invented; the species wasn't that evolved. They were rounders, grinders, hustlers. Implied pot odds and game theory were in their infancy; collusion, scratched cards, and crews were the analytical theories of the day.

Heady talk of brand management, battles between Stars and Full Tilt for player logo acreage may rage, but peek at any of the veteran players and you can get a hint of what they're really really really thinking when they stop and think: this is some kind of bewilderingly incredible, that we are celebrities. Let the younger members in the crowd, the beautiful people, get an outsized portion of the attention, what do we care? So-and-so is sponsored but has never cashed? What's-her-name is just a pretty face? Petty, as in Year 3 of the explosion, surely we are reaching the peak of the tidal wave.

Thanks for June's top ten referrers to this site:
I'll clean up my links on the right, but scroll down to find my newest player interviews and other articles. Some great interviews with Vince Van Patten, Joe Sebok, Matt Matros, and Terrence Chan. Head to PokerWorks for the latest articles from my WSOP coverage. As always, thanks so much for stopping by. Have an important call in a few hours, so I'll sign off for now. Have a good Friday.

QUICK ADDENDUM: Michael Craig interview now up on PokerWorks. Very interesting one for sure.

06 July 2006

WSOP Photos

Another guy whose name I can't remember, wearing a paper clip on his forehead.

Tuan Le staring down Greg Raymer.

Mr. Phil Ivey.

Layne Flack (Ron Rose in background).

Antonio Esfandiari ended up not spitting on Richard "Quiet Lion" Brodie, at least not on this hand.

Have to figure out when I'm going back to Vegas. I'm driving back to the ATL and will put up a mega-post or two tonight or tomorrow. That's the big hook, I know, grabbing my droppings of wisdom. And, of course, more more more photos. I'll go through what I've got and pull some new ones. Thanks for stopping by, and I'll post more later. Scroll down to see new interviews, etc.

05 July 2006

Recap of New Stuff

Some new items completed in the last week (interviews I think are really good):
This playing in the WSOP experience hasn't been cathartic or fulfilling; I'm afraid it is like the Siren's call that Odysseus faced. This harmony isn't sung by a trio of beauties but is created by the clattering of rifled chips. I've only played half dozen of my hundred hands over in my mind about a thousand times. Why didn't I call with my pocket sevens when the tight guy raised it up (a set on the turn to pocket sixes and pocket eights!); why did I check it down when I called the guy's raise when I limped with Qs-Js (As-5s took the rag board). What would have happened if AA held up vs Ah-Qh? Stupid poker odds calculator never gets it right (I'm 86% pre-flop, 92% post-flop, 0% after the river). Sweetie: "You know what I always say about pocket aces; just lay them down."

It's good that I've escaped Vegas as I would be negotiating kidney donations to scrape enough for more buy-in's. Here are other folks like me yet to cash in the 2006 WSOP: Howard Lederer, Gus Hansen, Doyle Brunson, Stu Ungar, Gabe Kaplan, Angelina Jolie, and the Mook.

Dysfunctional blogger acting up, so I leave it with a horrible post this afternoon: fellow blogger Obie's son Alexander Nathaniel "Alex" Overby, killed on 3 July 2006 while walking on the side of a road. Dead at age 14. Please stop and say a prayer after reading this in what is the worst loss a person can have, that of a child.

Back from Exhaustion

The face that launched a million fish.

Champ from Central Casting, with Frog Hair

"... and blah blah blah blah blah blah..."

The champion all will be measured by, Greg "Fossilman" Raymer.

Elvis in action.

So very much to document after all my first week. First, what's happened since I landed in the ATL. I drove home (my family has been with Sweetie's parents north of G-Vegas), stayed awake all night Sunday night/Monday morning, drove to get the Big Guy from Furman Soccer Camp, made my way to the mountains to in-laws, fell asleep around 5:00 Monday night, woke up at 7:00AM yesterday, ate breakfast, fell asleep again at 8:00, woke up around 12:30, made lunch for the boys, watched them at the lake (Little Guy has strep, so he's been inside), wandered back to be with Little Guy while he slept/watched World Cup, went swimming in the lake, ate supper, fell asleep on All-In's bed, got moved to our bed, woke up at midnight, flopped around all night, fell asleep around 4:00AM watching Celebrity Poker Showdown. Remind me to let Jason Alexander bluff into me if we're at the same table during the Media/Celebrity event.

Need to knock out some reports, then I'll be back to talk about the experience a bit more, as well as what I take away from this. Thanks to everyone who has been supportive through last week, as well as everyone stopping by.

03 July 2006

Going to Sleep in the ATL

Clonie from Limit tourney today.

Terence Chan, Jennicide, Andy Bloch.

Howard Lederer at work.

Hitting the sack now as I'm pretty worn out and it's late. Thought I had a uberpost in me but no such luck. Head to PokerWorks for tourney wraps. And if you haven't checked out the blog in the last few days, just starting scrolling and reading away to learn about my first WSOP tourney I played, plus all the good stuff from the weekend.

02 July 2006

Airport Post

All things Liz.

Richard "Quiet Lion" Brodie. "Do you want me to sign this for you?" OK, I'll email it to you, Richard.

Name these three monster players.

Rene playing in the limit tourney. Boarding, so I'm outta here. I'll post when I'm back, so thanks for stopping by.

Good Sleeping

Ivey cranking away, stacking chips yesterday...

...and Jennifer Harman as well.

Juan Carlos with a new design.

David Williams sitting across from (guess whose head has the FullTilt cap and headphones on it in blue).

Aces vs. queens for Bellande, but he's down to only a few chippies now.

I got some good rest, although I got to bed late again around 4:00 this morning. All checked out for my flight to the ATL today. I'll try to post from the airport this afternoon. I'll have some photos from today's $3k LHE event. Much smaller field (like 450 or so), making it more than a little weird. It also shows you that the poker explosion is really the NLHE explosion, for what it's worth. Oh, a couple of nice tables to be sitting at: Table 39 (Eli Elezra, Minneapolis Jim Meehan, Kathy Liebert, and Phil Hellmuth), Table 137 (Jennicide, Terrence Chan, Andy Bloch, Chris Ferguson), and Table XXX (the ultimate winner of Event #7).

Will I be glad to leave here? Well, I didn't get to play nearly as much as I would have liked, so I need to change that when I come back in later this month. Schedule I kept was really screwed up, and I should have been either sleeping later or taking a daily nap. All the writing is at the end of the night mostly. I wanted to update the blog all the time, but it was just brutal to keep doing. Let me know your thoughts on improvements.

Have a good Sunday night, and I'll post later.

01 July 2006

Analysis of My WSOP Event

Was CC a donkey?
Or a fish with teeth that couldn't bite anyone?

Well, I played in the World Series for roughly 200 minutes or so. I understand how folks really don't want to recount their experience most of the time, but as many of you know, I' all about wading into uncomfortable waters. Let me grade my performance as well as comment about a bunch of this:
  • Overall Stats: VP$IP (est 18%) blinds defended (<10%),>
  • Limps vs. raising: I'm a pre-flop raiser most of the time and limped normally much more than I ever do. I think I should have stayed true to my style. I listened to Juan Carlos Mortensen's advice at the end of our interview (limp more than normally because there are alot of bad players there). Well, what I forgot was I'm one of those bad players. He told a story to illustrate: with blinds of something ridiculous, a guy min raises and he looks at K-6o and calls. Flop come K-8-6, he checks, guy bets $250, he raises to $500, guy shoves, and Mortensen thinks a bit then calls. Guy had A-2o.
  • More about raising: I should have raised more consistently with my middle pairs. I can't say I was card dead as I got aces twice, jacks once, As-Qs, several small pocket pairs.
  • Guts: C+. I was hardly fearless or anything, although I did come over the top and put a couple to the test, causing a laydown. Should I have done more of that with rags? I don't know. Maybe more like a C-. Darden called some guy with a K-rag flop with 8-8 (he called with queens I think).
  • Players I outlasted: Men the Master, Doyle Brunson, Clonie Gowen, Howard Lederer, and Mike Caro.
  • Having Darden at my table affected me. He would do the following: raise 50% of the pots, normally 2x bb with a few 3x thrown in. He would call any re-raise. He would continuation bet. He would keep firing, once losing a pot with Ax for ace high vs. Vlad the Terrible with second pair. He knew what time it was with everyone there, it seemed.
  • Accumulating chips early: one way of looking at the WSOP is that all pros are one team and all fish are another team. Pros are going to hack away at the fish, commit chips proactively at pots (+EV, because they are taking the pots 50% of the time, getting 50-200% more chips than their bet post-flop when they hit, and can get away from their hands if post-flop action goes south). If all the pros are basically doing this, then they're accumulating these chips. In the individual sense, Doyle going out is a tragedy. In the broad context of pros, they are all grabbing chips. You absolutely have to get some serious chips early so that you aren't pot committed in Levels 3-5 if you've been treading water.
  • Available pots that I stabbed at: zero
  • Tightness factor: fairly high, throwing away A-10 UTG, A-8o on the button to a raise, a bunch of pocket pairs.
Tons more photos for everyone from this event to follow.

Rockets, The Hoy, and I'm Out

Paul Darden in the 10s. He had a nice looking ice cream cookie sandwich for $3.95. I offered him $2 for the remaining half, but he said no way.

6s guy. On successive hands he had black aces, I had black aces, then Darden had black aces.

Vladimir the terrible. He played a wide range of hands, Darden tried to stay away from him after awhile. He limped in mybig blind, I checked with 10-4o, and two aces flopped. We checked it to the river, when the four paired me. I called his $200 pot bet, and he flipped over his baby ace.

I was down to $1600 in chips, and the blinds were $100/200 (Level 4). I had limped earlier when I had aces and was able to take down a decent pot, so this time with one limper I decided to pull out the Hoy. I couldn't work the CC-Hoy as I only had one $25 chip. To the uninitiated, the Hoy is a raise where you are all-in except for one chip or $1 ($1 normally online). Hoyazo developed this technique, and I had modified it in tourneys. Anyways, it did rattle folks as they didn't really know what to make of it. I used it once as a re-raise with As-Qs and got a guy to laydown. With aces, an M of roughly 5, and a pot of $500, I decided to Hoy and hope someone had a hand. Vlad counted it down and made the call, and I was delighted to see his Ah-Qh. The flop came Qc-2s-4d (I had moved all-in in the dark for my last $25). Turn came a great 2h, and the river was just a nightmare, Qd. And that was that, I was packing and out.

There is an absolute visceral feeling (if that's the right word) to run up and tell everyone about your bad beat, yet eveyone basically wants to avoid you when you're telling folks. I don't think I was photographed at all, which is a bummer. I asked another guy covering this to shoot a photo, but unfortunately he was tied up and it didn't happen.

I'll compose a post later today with a wrap-up of my takeaway from this. Lots of lessons learned for sure about how to play these types of tourneys. CC, out of the World Series of Poker Event #5 $2k NLHE.

$2600 Chips

Not playing incredibly great, but blinds are 50/100 and I had 1800 in chips, couldn't call raise by tight guy and would have flopped a set of eights. Just got aces and got up to $2600 with them. Table 167, Paul Darden across from me. Have been moved twice.

England has been Denied

Oh mighty Melissa, may your generosity shine down on me today, giving me marginal hands that hit, bad hands when others have good, and great hands when I need them.

A light meal to last the day (will probably throw up in the next few minutes).

Chris Mankamyer from the ATL is playing today. He doubled Erik Seidel up last year in this event, and Seidel went on to take the bracelet (hope he's at my table today and can double me up too).

Beckham injured, Rooney gone with a red card, PK's, and England is gone. For having a seemingly great midfield, they just couldn't get past the injuries to Owen and Rooney, played tight throughout. This helps me in my Matt Matros pool, but I always pull for them.

My starting table is a check-in table, not a poker table. Is this an omen? What I hope it's not is the indication I'm an alternate, which would be horrible. I'll meet Juan Carlos in a bit then have to spring to the table, so I'm outta here.
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