BARGE 2007: all good, as usual

by Lou on August 6, 2007

Five days is a long time without posting, but I was at BARGE where five days means a lot of overindulgence, not a lot of sleep, and in my case I had to edit the upcoming issue of Poker Player Newspaper in my spare time.

Thursday night Amy Calistri and I—she was in Austin, not at BARGE, although she committed on the air to attend next year—interviewed Barry Tanenbaum on our web cast radio show, Keep Flopping Aces that broadcasts every Thursday night at 6 p.m. Pacific Time on We’ve had Barry on the air before. He’s a terrific guest and a guy who’s able to convey complex hold’em strategy in a way that’s easily understood by beginners as well as experienced players. This time we had him on to discuss his soon-to-be released book, Advanced Mid-limit Hold’em Strategy.

Barry’s book is well organized, well written, and should be a boon to anyone wanting to improve his or her game. It’s not aimed at those who have never played before, so if you don’t know whether a flush beats as straight, this is not the book for you. Barry’s book is predicated on the reader having some experience playing hold’em, although it need not be a lot. If this describes you, and you want to become a far better player than you are now, this is a book you should read. I read an advance copy. You should be able to get hold of this book in September, at all the usual locations, and if you want to raise your game, you should read it, and read it again.

My other discovery during BARGE—and I should preface this by saying I like downtown Las Vegas though I never ventured over to this place—was something I’ve known about for years. It’s the 99-cent shrimp cocktail at the Golden Gate, the oldest hotel and casino in Las Vegas now in its 101 year. It’s always on Anthony Curtis’ list of best bargains in Las Vegas. I knew about it, but I’d never eaten there before.

Wade Andrews from Hold’em Radio and I ventured over. We opted for the $2.99 shrimp cocktail, which has big shrimp instead of the small, bay shrimp in the 99-cent special. Even with that splurge, we had four portions each, a couple of soft drinks, and our bill still totaled less than $27. The Golden Gate is really a terrific place. It’s very Art Deco in design, and in the back of the casino, where you sit and eat your shrimp cocktail, there’s a live pianist. The music is good and the ambiance is too. It reminds me of one of those places in New Orleans where you wander in when it starts raining, thinking you’ll sit there for 30 minutes until the rain lets up, but it’s so unexpectedly good in all ways that you don’t wander out for about six hours.

The Golden Gate is worth a trip to Glitter Gulch for the food and the vibe.

Aside from the eating BARGE was all good, as usual: a chance to catch up with old friends and make new ones, as well as play in some fairly competitive tournaments that had a variety of players, from raw beginners to Chris “Jesus” Ferguson, Andy Bloch, and Gavin Smith.

I monied in one of the events. That’s it. But the fun factor—as it does every year during the first week in August–—made it all worthwhile and then some.

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