Sunday, June 5, 2011

My Trip To The WSOP & Full Tilt Poker Rumor

Money, Money, MoneyMy Trip To The WSOP & Full Tilt Poker Rumor

WSOP 2011

I fly into Vegas on Thursday night. It was rather quiet in the Rio for a WSOP.

It was around 9 pm, so I decided to play in a middle limit hold'em cash game. There was only one $5-$10 and $10-$20 game going. Oh my, how times have changed.

After a 15 minute wait, I sat down at the $5-$10 game.
I played for 3 hours...and incredibly I won $700. It is remarkable to win so much at a limit game at this low a level. Frankly, I got the right mix of good cards, luck, a few good moves and bad players.

The next day I entered the $1,500 limit hold'em tournament. I didn't even make it to the dinner break.

The players were making some surprising pre-flop calls of raises. For example, a player raised under the gun, I found K-K and re-raised, and the player to my left called. The flop came down A-A-3. I bet and he raised. He was predictable after the flop, so he had to have an Ace, right? We both checked the turn and river since four hearts were on board. He showed A-7 of spades. That was a loose call, in my opinion, but he won the pot.

I left the Rio and went to the Mirage to check out their poker room. It was rather dead. No limit holdem games only no limit games. I wonder where all those Mirage, limit poker pros are these days?

They were about to start a $70 sit n go, so I signed up. The players in this game were novice ones, except for me and one other guy. Sure enough, he and I were the ones left to play for the money. He ended up getting some great hands heads up and beat me. I cashed but I was not happy about it.

On Saturday, I entered the super satellite for $330 to win a main even seat. There were over 80 players and again, I was fortunate in that the competition was not that strong. The payout was going to be 2 seats plus a third place cash of $3,400.

In the middle of the event, I took a tough beat with my K-Q vs 9-7--it cut my stack almost in half. The action was that he moved all-in pre-flop and I called on the big blind. I had just moved to this table and it was clear that players were pushing with a wide wide range of hands.

Fortunately, I came back to be at the final table. I believe of the times I moved all-in, I was only called once throughout the entire event. It was at the final table. I had 5-5, moved in, and was called by K-J. I won that pot.

When it got down to 5 players we agreed to a chop. One player was way ahead since he recently found pocket aces on the big blind after the small blind moved all-in with K-Q. The rest of us were about even in stacks so we agreed to the chip leader having the seat and the rest of us chopping things based on chips. It took 6 hours and it was a nice cash win.

One bad note about the satellite was the guy who was the WSOP satellite director for our game. The guy was bad news. It was like the Rio was the last place he wanted to be at the moment. He made one really bad decision at the final table and he useless when we wanted to calculate the payouts for chopping. The guy needs a major attitude adjustment.

His poor decision was the following. A player with a big stack raised in early position. Another player with a smaller stack pushed all of his chips into the pot and then said "Ok, I call." The first player, believing that his opponent had more chips, says "I'll call whatever is in there." The dealer turns over the cards and the original raiser wins.

Now, the dealer counts the chips of the small stack and realizes that he put out more than the original raise. He calls over the tournament director who says "verbal is binding" so the small stack doesn't lose all of this chips. Not correct. Verbal is binding when there is no action. There was action before he made his statement. Anyway, it was no big deal as this small stack eventually got knocked out, but still it should not have happened.

After that event was over, I went to Aria. I had not been there before and I wanted to check out their poker.

I arrived a little after 11pm. The poker room was packed. The hotel was packed. But, the restaurants adjacent to the poker room were both closed. And, if you wanted to order from the table it was at least a one hour wait.

Who is the genius at Aria who decided no one wants to eat after 11pm on a Saturday night in Vegas?

Anyway, after an hour wait, I sat down at the $2-$5 no limit cash game. I don't care for this style of poker even if it is the most popular now. It is boring to me, since the action often slows to a crawl. And the play is so predictable. But, I thought I would give it another try since it is almost the only game in town.

I played for 2 hours and I couldn't take it anymore. I won $100 but the whole thing is so boring to me.

The guy who was the worst player lost the most money--but he was some rich guy with a stack of hundreds in his pocket who wanted to play stupid starting hands to surprise his opponent with a stupid hand to win the pot. Everyone at the table won because of his play.

Brad Garrett, from Everyone Loves Raymond, sat down and played at our table for one round. The man is tall and has hands that are huge. He wore earbuds so he did not interact much--which is totally understandable. He was very polite. He had his tall, blonde girlfriend with him.

Net, I ended up adding to my Sunday Oaks win with this trip. I may try to head back for some more action at the WSOP. Overall, it did appear that fewer players were attending probably due to the economy, the end of online poker and, of course, not getting their money back from Full Tilt.

Full Tilt Poker Rumor

Here is what I heard. I did not substantiate this information, although my source is fairly reliable.

Phil Ivey is suing Full Tilt since they are not paying the players back, and he is not attending the WSOP. This has already been in the news. Now, for the rest of the story...

Ivey owns about 10% of Full Tilt. He has made millions and millions of dollars due to his ownership. (Does that mean he is suing himself..lol?)

I was told that the owners, including Ivey, had a vote about paying the players back. Ivey voted against paying the players since he wanted to get his money out of Full Tilt before the players would see a penny. When that was not approved, Ivey was not happy. Instead, he decided to play the publicity game and sue...not really on behalf of the players but really just wanting the money he is owed. What a gem of a guy, if this is true.

It seems that Full Tilt may counter sue, of course. (I wonder where all this lawyer-ing will take place?)

Overall, Ivey sounds like a real jerk here. Who knows maybe he needs the money for all the money he loses playing craps.

More importantly, I think this is another bad sign for players getting their money back. It smells more and more like these guys ran a Ponzi scheme on us.

Oh yeah, my source told me that no one has heard from Lederer or Ferguson, and they may not make an appearance at the WSOP.

That is the rumor I heard. If you know the real story, please share. Thanks!
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3 comments:

Mike said...

Regarding internet poker, it seems we were more concerned about hacking software, bot players, etc., when we should have questioned why high-profile (high-stakes)players were allowed to compete on internet poker sites where they also held shares. Talk about a conflict of interest.

Glad I resisted the temptation to deposit any money at these sites. It's only because I'm not that good and didn't want to take the risk. Also, something about it always made me uncomfortable.

Are there are any curious journalists out there who would be interested in finding out how much money these players/shareholders made during their play on these sites? Wonder how those win rates would stand up to statistical analysis?

Mitchell Cogert said...

Since it is not a public company and Full Tilt is under investigation by the DOJ, it is probably nearly impossible to find out how much money they each earned. As to win-rates, I don't know if that is available online.

I found online the list of poker pros who are shareholders are:
Howard Lederer
Andrew Bloch
Phillip Ivey
Christopher Ferguson
John Juanda
Phillip Gordon
Erick Lindgren
Erik Seidel
Jennifer Harman-Traniello
Michael Matusow
Allen Cunningham
Gus Hansen
Patrick Antonious

I know that Juanda and Gordon are at the WSOP.

I believe that Full Tilt operated as a Ponzi scheme. I would like to ask the Pros that famous line from the Watergate hearings:
"What did the Poker Pro know and when did he/she know it?"

Who knows maybe some day this will make a great movie? A double feature with the Bernie Madoff story.

The RetroYoungen said...

I don't know about too many of the others, but as far as who's playing, I know Juanda has made two final tables so far (at least) with one bracelet, you said Gordon was, I heard about Seidel cashing a few times and Gus Hansen reached the semis in the heads-up $10K buy-in.

What's Your Poker IQ?