Taj Poker Author’s Tournament a Huge Success

by Lou on March 23, 2006

I spent a few days in Atlantic City’s Taj Mahal, at a poker author’s tournament, which was organized as promotional event for Secrets the Pros Won’t tell You About Winning Hold’em Poker, the new book I wrote with Sheree Bykofsky.

The event was sponsored by the Taj, along with support from Kensington Publishing Corp – Lyle Stuart Books, Poker Life Magazine, and Borders Books. But all of credit for conceptualizing this event and doing the lion’s share of the work required to make it happen was my coauthor and literary agent, Sheree Bykofsky. She put numerous hours into organizing and coordinating all of the varied tasks needed to make this a success.

All I had to do was show up. For me it was a chance to see other authors I hardly ever spend much in-person time with, such as Matt Lessinger, Greg Dinkin, Dan Kimberg, and Mike Cappelletti, and it gave me an opportunity to meet a number of authors I had only know by their work, but never met in person.

This group included Neil D. Myers, Richard Sparks, David Apostolico, Henry Stephenson, Gary Carson, Bill Burton, John Schroeder. It was also nice to see Anthony Holden, who flew in for London for this event. Fifteen years ago Holden wrote Big Deal: A Year as a Professional Poker Player. Now he’s in the midst of writing Bigger Deal, which will be a look at how poker has changed in the intervening years. I’m hoping he gives this event a mention.

Mickey Wilson, who publishes PokerMagazine.com was also on hand, and she conducted video interviews with a number of authors that I’m hoping to see on her site in the near future. In addition to the authors who played, there were approximately 215 others who took part. It was an amazing number of participants, considering that the Borgata had a competing tournament at the same time.

This event marked my first time in Atlantic City in more than five years, and it gave me a chance to play at the Borgata, which didn’t exist the last time I was in Atlantic City. I like their room. Each of the $20-$40 and $40-$80 tables are adjacent to a plasma screen TV, which is almost a necessity in mid march, during the height of the NCAA basketball tournament. The Taj, by comparison, has smaller TV screens that aren’t hi-def plasma, and are not as accessible for viewing.

But I played in both casinos, and there was sufficient overlap among players that made it impossible for me to distinguish between games at the Borgata and at the Taj. The Taj games seemed a bit looser, but I’d need more time at the tables to really draw any sort of valid conclusions about the relative difference in game offerings.

I did well in the side games but didn’t make any impact at all during the tournament. I started out OK, but then went card dead for the longest time. When I finally had to make a stand it was with a pocket pair of treys and I was called by A-6. The flop helped neither of us, but the turn paired my opponent’s six. I saw no miracle on the river and I was out somewhere around the top third of the field, though far out of the dough.

I loved this event. Poker Life is planning a story on it in a future issue, and Sheree is hoping to hold another version of this event next year, perhaps back at the Taj or maybe in Las Vegas. But that’s still to be decided.

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