Hold’em Radio Poker Weekend: Terrific Fun for All

by Lou on May 22, 2007

In Las Vegas For the Weekend
Sorry for the lack of posts over the past few days. I was in Las Vegas where I took part in a series of poker tournaments sponsored by Hold’em Radio. As most of my readers know, I’m a show host there, and Amy Calistri and I broadcast Keep Flopping Aces, every Thursday night, live, world-wide, in real time at 9:00 PM Eastern and 6:00 PM Pacific time.

If you haven’t listened before, just point your browser to http://www.holdemradio.com/ and click the “listen” button on the web site. If you’re not in the time zones mentioned above, you’ll have to figure out the time change and tune in during the broadcast. You can also listen to previously recorded shows in the station’s archives, or download Keep Flopping Aces as an i-Tunes podcast and listen to us at your leisure.

I usually broadcast from home, but the station is headquartered in Las Vegas, right in the tournament area of Binion’s poker room, and it’s always more enjoyable to broadcast in person, so I drove up Thursday in order to do my show live, with Amy connected via Skype from her home in Austin, Texas.

A lot of Hold’em Radio’s audience descended on Binion’s for a couple of poker tournaments that were held on Saturday and Sunday. Most of them were listeners I had never met in person before, and that was a lot of fun for me.

Warning: Actual Poker Content
Friday was a free day for me, so I ventured over to the Wynn to play some poker. I put myself on the board for $15-$30 and $30-$60 Texas hold’em, but the bigger game never materialized so I played $15-$30 hold’em for the duration of the afternoon.

The game was very good, at least for a while. Two contributors were supporting the game, and both played until they went broke a few times and then left. Each one was replaced by a better player, and at some point the game was not very lucrative at all.

I did manage to make one good laydown. I was dealt J-J in the cutoff seat. The guy to my right was first to enter the pot by calling. I raised and was able to drop the button and both blinds. The guy to my right, who appeared to be a very straightforward player, called and we took the flop two-handed. It wasn’t threatening at all, three different suits and T-6-3. My opponent checked. I bet. He said, “I’m just gonna raise you one time.”

That statement from a guy who was playing very A-B-C poker and was not a chatterbox at the table was like a red flag. I folded immediately, saying, “Your set is good,” and he showed me his pocket pair of sixes.

Breakfast with the Boys (and Girl)
Friday evening was a reception for the Hold’em Radio tournament attendees, and Dr. Alan Schoonmaker, who is also a show host on the station, attended. He reminded me about the Saturday morning poker discussion breakfast that’s held every week at the Omelet House on Maryland Parkway. I’ve been there before, and the poker minds that usually gather around the table are quite sharp, and I never fail to learn or reinforce something about poker.
I showed up at 8:15 AM, fifteen minutes early, but Dr. Al and Warren, two of the regulars had beaten me there. We were soon joined by poker author Jim Briar, Michael, and Robin (aka “Poker Babe”) who I’ve known since the first Wednesday Las Vegas Poker Discussion Group I attended years ago.

We stuffed ourselves and discussed poker hands, and it’s always interesting to see how many ways there are to play a given hand in a given situation.

Warning: More Poker Content
The tournament began at 1:00 PM and ended for me at about 7:00 PM, when I busted out at the final table in fourth place. For me it was a remarkable accomplishment though I was frustrated that I did not win it. I was shortstacked for much of the day after a foolish play on my part.

Two players were already in the pot when I raised about three times the big blind before the flop with a pocket pair of jacks and was cold called by a player to my left. I bet the flop, which was completely ragged, and the guy to my left made the minimum possible raise. All of my hackles sat up and took notice—as if my opponent was telling me he made a small raise in order to lure me on with his big hand.

That was not a hand I had to play but I chose to ignore that little voice inside my head. I had him covered but lost most of my chips when he showed me the pair of aces he virtually told me he had, if only I wasn’t too stubborn to listen.

That ugly little episode took place at about 2:30 PM, so I just hung around and hung around until I was able to start building my small stack just before the final table some four hours later. That was the good news. On the other hand, had I played a little smarter I would have had plenty of chips and would have avoided all those short stacked situations, such as going all-in with a lone ace, in order to hope you can win the blinds and survive another orbit.

Considering the circumstances, finishing fourth was not all that bad, though it broke my winning streak of two or three hold’em radio tournaments in a row.

The next day I didn’t even make the money, getting eliminated when I was pot committed and was checkraised all-in by an opponent who had called my raise before the flop with a pocket pair of fours, called my bet on a benign looking flop when I had an overpair and then checkraised me all-in when he turned a set. It was a hand I was bound to go broke on regardless of how I played it and I was out the door in about fifteenth place.

All in all a great trip. Loads of fun, and profitable too, because of my tournament placing and a good day in a nice cash game at the Wynn.

I had a nice dinner with Richard Burke and his wife. Richard is a fellow writer at Poker Player Newspaper who was in town and also played in Sunday’s tournament, finishing third overall. The only drawback was getting up at 4:00 AM Monday morning to drive home to Palm Springs. I do that to avoid traffic, and catch the back roads through Cima, Amboy, and 29 Palms just as the sun is rising. It’s shorter than the freeway by about 50 miles and a much more pleasant ride for anyone traveling from the Coachella Valley to Las Vegas.

I wanted to sleep in, but my editing duties with Poker Player Newspaper, ignored for three days, were calling loud and clear, and it was time to rise up early and soldier on. Despite that early wake-up call, it was a wonderful weekend, proof positive you can still have fun in a cardroom.

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