Friday, September 25, 2015

Loving Daily Fantasy Sports on DraftKings

No, I haven't quit poker, but I have developed a passion for daily fantasy sports in recent month, moving much of my focus there.

At first I thought the game it was a total crapshoot once I started playing baseball in June, until I figured out that really it was baseball that was more of a crapshoot. (Consider that hitters only bat four or five times a game, compared to running backs and QBs who touch the ball 20 or more times a game -- hence reduced variance.)

Now that football season has started, I've been doing much better, and had I not made a couple of last-minute switches last Saturday I would have won about $15,000 on DraftKings. Ouch.

I see why many poker players have gravitated toward daily fantasy sports, as there are some similarities between the games -- playing against the field instead of the house, making +EV moves and watching them win out over time.

If you haven't tried it yet, now is a great time to start in the heart of football season. Click the banner below to get a free entry in one of DK's Millionaire Maker tournaments. Somebody has to win. Might as well be you or me!

Monday, May 11, 2015

Essential Guide to Las Vegas During the World Series of Poker

Hey look! I'm not dead!

I do apologize for letting the blog fall by the wayside, it having now been dark for about 16 months. Since I last wrote my baby girl has gotten much bigger, which tends to happen when you go from 4 months to 20 months. My son is now 5 and I am 38, but maybe feel like 48.

There was also some poker. I bombed out at the WSOP last year, taking my worse summer loss ever, mainly because I took a shot at a bracelet event and some other decent-sized tournaments. On the positive side, I now participate in a local underground game featuring some of the worst players I've ever had the pleasure to face on the felt.

This quick post is mainly, however, to promote my new ebook on the Amazon Kindle store. Essential Guide to Vegas During the World Series of Poker is pretty much what the title describes: a guide to all you need to know about poker and Vegas in general while the WSOP is taking place, with tips on hotels and airfare and how to best plan and spend your poker bankroll.

It's just $2.99 in the store, of if you have Kindle Unlimited you can read it for free.

Please check it out, and thanks.

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Best poker tip you'll hear this week

Hello folks. Sorry for the long hiatus. Haven't played a lot of poker of late, but I do have a few stories to catch up on: the couples' trip to Vegas, my low rolling at the Moose Lodge and a year-end recap.

But I wanted to knock out this quick post to alert you to a sweet overlay in Tunica this weekend.

Some may have heard that the Gold Strike is closing its poker room effective Sunday. The once booming room has seen a significant downhill slide, and with the rise of the Horseshoe poker room next door it's closing its doors.

First, they've got to give away tens of thousands in promotional money that by law must be returned to players.

Gold Strike will host a "player appreciation" tournament to close out the room, running Jan. 10, 11 and 12. Friday the 10th and Saturday the 11th will serve as two Day 1s, with the field playing to a winner on Sunday the 12th, so you can just come Saturday if you want to start that day.

The buy-in will be $150, plus a $10 staff appreciation, with the amount expected to be added to the prize pool now at $20,000.

So for your $160 buy-in, you'll have a shot at a first place prize that I figure will be in the $15,000 to $20,000 range. No clue how many runners they will get, but I would expect players to crawl out from under rock and weed to get to this one.

Check out online poker here:

Friday, October 25, 2013

God bless you, Sam Simon.

The longtime television producer, perhaps best known as co-creating “The Simpsons,” continues to fight terminal colon cancer, after being given a diagnosis of only six months to live late last year.

The 58-year-old gave Hollywood Reporter details on how he’s giving away his huge fortune before he passes away.

“I have more money than I’m interested in spending,” he said. “Everyone in my family is taken care of. And I enjoy this.”

Much of the money has gone to Save the Children, PETA and his own foundation, which benefits hungry people and dogs in need of rescue.

Of course, we know him in the poker world as one of our own, as he’s been a mainstay at the World Series of Poker for a number of years.

Little did I realize, before doing some Hendon Mob research, that Simon has played tournament poker for two decades. His first listed cash is a victory in a $100 Seven Card Stud event at the 1995 Big Poker Oktober.

I’ve never spoken to Simon, but I semi-railed him as the players at the 2007 WSOP main event made it close to the cash. I was getting some color for a PokerWorks blog post that day, floating around the Amazon room at the Rio.

As any of you who have witnessed that period during the main event knows, it’s a heady, nervous time, as players on the bubble try to creep into the money. There’s a massive difference for most players between going home with zero and about $20,000.

As I watched, none other than fellow WSOP mainstay Norm McDonald was standing on Simon’s rail, the poker player celebrity club rooting for each other. I chatted some with McDonald (I had met him at the previous WSOP) as he followed his friend, who would occasionally walk over to talk to the comedian.

Simon would make it through that day, going on to finish 329th for $39,445. He’d cash several more times in future WSOPs, including a 20th place in the $10,000 Pot-Limit Hold’em Championship in 2009 for $24,066 and 500th in the 2011 main event, netting $23,876.

It’s not like he needed the cash. He had his hands on “Taxi” and “Cheers,” among other television classics. The man is worth a mint.

It’s a pleasure to see a man in Simon’s position be as philanthropic with his money as he has been, and I for one will pray that he can beat this cancer and sit at the green felt at the WSOP once again.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Get your Full Tilt Poker money!

Woohoo! Finally time to get some of that cash back.

Now, how long do we have to wait?

In case you haven’t heard, the Garden City Group, the administrators for returning Full Tilt Poker money back to U.S. players, has finally started the petition process at Full Tilt Poker Claims.

I filled mine out yesterday to get my little nugget back. Unfortunately, it’s about 10 percent of the money I had on World Poker Exchange that disappeared into the ether, but at least it’s something.

The process was easy enough – verify some info, put in the bank account, check to make sure the amount was correct (it was). What’s unclear is how long it will be before the money comes in, and if it will be for the full amount.

The process closes in November, though I don’t think that necessarily means the virtual checks will immediately come in. It’s sad, but likely true, that me getting my full nut is dependent on some people not filing claims. After the administrators, lawyers, Justice Department and anyone else with their hands out get their cut, I don’t think they would have enough left over to pay 100 percent of balances. But I suspect some people are either unaware of the process (that is one really short window, is it not?) or have such small balances they don’t plan to fool with it.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Pros (and celebrities) I’ve whipped at poker

OK, so I didn't exactly whip all of these celebrity types. In fact, some may have whipped me. In most cases I hardly played a hand I had against them, but I did play them, sometimes resulting in great stories.

Watching a "Curb Your Enthusiasm" rerun recently and seeing Richard Kind guest starring reminded me that I had intended to post a Top 10 list of notables I've played against in my years in poker. Kind also played an online poker pro in the mockumentary “The Grand.”

I can’t remember if he was supposed to be Canadian or from somewhere near the border. I’ve played against plenty of Canadians online and off, but no one from north of the border is on this list.

Some of these are celebrities from entertainment while others are well-known poker players. I rank them based on what I would perceive their Q ratings to be among the general public. With no further ado here is my Top 10:

10. Dewey Tomko – I played against the former Kindergarten teacher in my first WSOP event, a $1,000 NLHE affair in 2004 with a star-studded table. (Remember, with the small fields a decade ago stacked tables were pretty common.) I don’t think we played any significant hands against each other.

9. Amir Vahedi – I tangled with the gregarious Iranian in that same 2004 WSOP tournament. One hand is recalled in detail in one of my first Poker Nation blog posts. I was also fortunate to be perhaps the last writer to interview Vahedi before his untimely death.

8. Jeff Madsen – I played against wunderkind Madsen the same year of his breakout, when he won two bracelets in 2006 at age 21. It was in a $1,500 NLHE bracelet event they ran concurrently with the main event for people who had busted out. It was, I believe, the only year the brass at Harrah’s decided to do that.

7. Mike Caro – I tangled with the “Mad Genius of Poker” briefly on Day 2 of the 2006 WSOP Main Event, though tangled is a strong word. Caro was moved to our table and took a bad beat to go out within the hour. Pretty sure I never played a hand against him.

6. Patrik Antonius – Ironically, of all the players on this list, Antonius is probably both the best and the own I most owned at the table. That’s the nature of run good. Read my post on Day 1 of my 2006 WSOP Main Event run for more details – it never hurts to flop quads and turn a set, I’ll tell you what!

5. Phil Hellmuth – The Poker Brat tops my list of poker players on my celebrity list. The fact that he is merely fifth shows how I figure the general Q rating of poker players is -- pretty low. But what an experience to play the 10-time bracelet winner in my first major tournament experience. This was the previously mentioned $1,000 NLHE with rebuys event at the 2004 WSOP, the last one held completely at Binion's Horseshoe.

4. William Hung – Here's a guy whose 15 minutes of fame stretched a little more along the clock face. He parlayed his horrid rendition of "She Bangs" on "American Idol" into two albums in which he butchered classic songs and Christmas tunes. Nice kid, though. I ran into him at the World Poker Challenge at the Reno Hilton in March 2006 -- the same placed I tangled with Shamrock. I was sitting down to play cash games one night when I heard Hung was at the $2-$4 LHE game so I decided to sit down. The recounting of what transpired is located here.

3. Ken Shamrock – One of the early UFC fighters, Shamrock was a sweetheart at the poker table, very gracious and almost bookish in his eyeglasses if not the bulging muscles hanging out of his sleeveless shirt. I played him in a $10-$20 LHE game in Reno, a day after meeting Hung.

2. Richard Kind – Kind is a guy whose face you recognize but the name draws a blank. He most famously played Paul Lasiter on "Spin City" for several years opposite Michael J. Fox and Charlie Sheen. I played $1-$2 NLHE with Kind at the Las Vegas Golden Nugget in 2007 when he was there filming "The Grand". Some other stars of the film darkened the doors of the poker room, I am told, but the only other one I saw was Jason Alexander. Unfortunately, I could not get a seat at his table or he would be tops on this list.

1. Jennifer Tilly – I will rate Tilly as #1 on my Q list just barely. She's been in enough movies and has such a distinctive voice that I think she is fairly well known. I played with Tilly at the same $1,500 bracelet event in which I played Madsen. Since I had just won $16,500 I figured I would take a shot at this one. Tilly sat to my right. Interestingly enough, she was missing a yellow 1,000 chip from the bottom of her stack when she sat down. I can't say I was too impressed with her play. I saw her call down in obvious folding situations to lose much of her stack. I think she still had chips when our table broke and I was sent off to get my A-K cracked by A-J.

Sunday, September 01, 2013

Introducing Sarah Beth Kampis

I haven't posted a lot lately, but I have a good reason, that being:

Our little girl was born last Saturday, Aug. 24, weighing 7 lbs. 4 oz. and 20 inches long.

It was nice to feel that feeling of unbelievable love again that I remembered from John Harper's birth.