Movie Reviews: Rounders


Rounders

For any poker player, Rounders is the equivalent of A Field of Dreams for baseball or Hoosiers for basketball.

To me, this film works as a poker movie (the only one besides Maverick) and a drama. 

I’m not gonna lie, when I was younger and played a ton of poker after the “Moneymaker” moment,  I watched this film like every week. You see, every home game would play this in the background over and over and everyone would nod their head at how they would have kicked the legs from Teddy KGB and reraised Johnny Chan as well.

For a poker player, this movie might have contributed to the poker boom and WSOP Dream as much as Chris Moneymaker’s Miracle run. It came in 1998 to little fanfare and was certainly ahead of its time. 

Ironically, it’s a movie where poker and cheating play a big part, showing the honest people that play and the assholes that give it a bad name. When the cops beat the crap out of them for cheating, I really don’t mind. They deserve it.

Flash forward 12 years or so, and life imitated art when all the “big stars” (aka criminals, thieves, fraudsters) of rigged sites like Full Tilt poker had the FBI freeze the site, because as it came to be known, people like Howard Lederer and Chris Ferguson took all the money in the accounts and paid themselves, like a Ponzi scheme. 

In a way, all the degenerate gamblers who got lucky in the early 2000s got in on the con and enriched themselves with everyday people’s money. Grandma that just wanted to casually play 25 cent poker? Bam, Full Tilt robbed her. 

Ironically, a few poker players like Howard Lederer’s sister Annie Duke advocated that poker is a skill game and should be able to be played online for money in the US while her brother was giving her money from people’s accounts. 

They are the Worms of poker. 

From what I hear, they avoided the WSOP until this year after posting online an apology. Every single person I talked to playing WSOP events think the same thing. They are all a fraud and should rot in jail. All of them. Just like Worm.

Funny how in a country that if you rob a gas station for $50 you can get 20 years in jail. Rob $100 million from poker accounts and nothing happens.

Rounders is a masterpiece. The movie is even better today and holds up in theme and character arcs. I’ve seen it more than any movie outside the Empire Stikes Back.

Travel Blog (Vegas Adventure Part 10)


Want to hear a poker story? 

I mean, I’m playing a crap ton of poker and have not talked about it much. I play all sorts of games but focus primarily at 2-5 NL poker and sometimes 5-10.  This year, however I’ve been playing 1-3 for fun as I wait for tournaments. 

Yesterday, I drove to the rio at 8am and the place was empty as hell, so I sat at 1-3 to wait for the 2am deep stack tournament. 

I bought in for 300 and after an hour and around 500 then was down to 300 then back up to 500, mostly because I call a ton of pots. At 1-3, why not?

I lost a big pot to one guy who called my all in (I had the top set) and he an an open ended straight draw, and hit the river Ace to win after the money was all in.

So maybe 30 minutes later, I was dealt pocket Kings in the middle position. I simply flat called the 3 bucks to which someone else raised it to $12 and I simply called that and 4 players saw the flop. I was third to act.

The flop was K-8-5 with two clubs on the board. 

I bet $25 (half pot) and everyone called. 

The turn card was a red 10, so I still had the top hand. 

With around $150 in the pot, the first guy checked, the second guy checked, I bet $80 (half pot) and the last position called, the first position called, then the second guy (straight draw guy) shoved all-in with $300 or so. 

I then shoved all in, for around the $450 I had left. I still had the top hand. 

Then the third position, said “whatever” and shoved all in with around $400. 

Then the guy first to act waited 30 seconds and moved all in with $500. 

I was ahead but had a bunch of bad cards that could screw me.

The river was a red 2. I had the nuts.

Seat one flipped a Ace-4 of clubs for a missed flush draw. The second seat flopped a set of 8s. The fourth seat mucked his cards.

So there I was. Raking in a $1500 pot on a 1-3 game.

And all of it happened because I didn’t push my kings hard before the flop. 

I played another hour and left for the pool. 

Travel Blog (Las Vegas Adventure Part 3) 


All I need is a chip and a chair, or so goes the old WSOP tournament adage. I’m here for the 7th year in a row, discovering news ways to splash pots and watch money get shoved in different directions. You see, the card play is usually the same, but the characters playing seem to be from a different planet at times.


For those not familiar with “nice hand” at a poker table, that pretty much translates to “fuck you.”

Today, many people told me “nice hand.”

Doesn’t matter. I am now on a 3 day heater and feel like I can’t lose. Tomorrow, I want to play the $1500 millionaire maker tournament, but last year I only have bad memories so I might stay away. 


Will this be the year? Who knows.

Some quick observations: If you enjoy cash games, the Rio has the softest lower limit games in town, however there are drawbacks. 

1)70% of the dealers this year are new, so there are a ton of mistakes. 

2)The Rio uses the same seating as banquets and conventions, so they suck. Your back will be hurting after 5 hours.

3)There are no shuffle machines which slows the hands per hour, plus the hands are not shuffled enough. 

4)There are no chip runners this year (everyone has to go up to the cage). This means when people get knocked out, instead of grabbing cash, they have to do a walk of shame and then return. Many choose not to return.

5)The food service still shuts down at like 11pm. Why can’t they do 24/7 like most places? 


Not sure if you can zoom in or not, but as you can see there are a shit-ton of events to gamble with “chip and a chair” dreams. 

See you at the tables.

Travel Blog (Vegas Adventure Part 1)


I’m going to test out live blogging. My annual Las Vegas trip started a few hours ago, and I figured I would write about this key experience. A full disclaimer, I used to live in Las Vegas so I know the town pretty well. 

Why am I going in June? Well, the World Series of Poker is this month and many walks of life from around the world descend on Vegas which makes all the games and antics pretty entertaining. Simply put, for poker players this is their Super Bowl month. 

Will I only be playing poker? Nope. (Especially if I go on losing streak that makes Pauly Shore’s career collapse look pleasant) I do have other things planned that you’ll have to stay tuned to see.


How did I pack? Pretty light. I don’t know what I needed to bring,  so I packed a few of everything. I wanted to go light. I can always buy stuff here on Maryland Blvd behind the strip. I briefly lived in an interesting place there, right near UNLV. I could write 28 novels from the stuff I saw and heard in that area (where dreams go to die).

To start, I wanted to give a little travel hacking information. I booked last minute flight and searched all the airlines and Travel sites. I booked a $177 (with all taxes and fees) roundtrip flight from San Antonio to Las Vegas. This was 75% cheaper than the major carriers plus it was a direct flight with no layover (score). 


I might sound paranoid, but I questioned the rock bottom pricing of Allegiant. I was wondering if it had hamsters powering those engines, but nope, the flight was actually pretty good. The takeoff and landing were pretty smooth and I didn’t feel in danger at all, unlike the last time I flew on American Airlines. I swear, the pilot almost flipped our plane in “turbulence” on my flight in April to Mississippi.

The downside of Allegiant? They charge for everything. Do you want a carry on? Boom $50. Do you want them to print your boarding pass? Boom $5. Do you want a coke on the plane? Boom $2.

This resulted in the strangest thing I’ve seen this year on a plane. Only like 5 people chose not to be total cheapskates and paid to put their luggage in the overhead bins. Only maybe 5 people bought a drink on a 2.5 hour flight. 

So what is the plan? I rented a car and have no place to stay for the first 4 days. Yep. You heard that right. I’m a nomad for a while. There was a major pricing anomaly with one of the hotels which I’ll discuss next week when I check in. I got a hotel package with the airline deal the last 5 days. For now, I’m just a man and a luggage bag in the city of sin. 

Will I slum it at a stank place the first 4 days? (Circus Circus or Stratosphere I’m looking at you) Will Priceline give me a sweet deal when I search later? (Pleeeeeease) Will I win a million bucks on the Wheel of Fortune slot and get the penthouse? (Odds are 1/25,000,000) 

Check in and comment on what I should do the next 7-10 days. I’ll be live tweeting nothing but Vegas observations the next week.