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Daniel - Poker Journal

The Real Deal Grand Opening

18 Oct 2008

So. the Real Deal is really going to happen and the grand opening night is this Tuesday. There are two pros that do each show and I'll be one of them, and don't quote me quite yet, but I do believe that our boy Hellmuth will be the other pro on opening night.
We've already done several preview shows and they've gotten better and better each time, with the hand held technology working perfectly and everyone else involved in the show having their responsibilities nailed down.
For those not sure what to expect, well, you should expect to laugh. Vinny the host is hysterical and I just can't wait to hear him rip Hellmuth to shreds! He adds a lot to the show from a comedic perspective while Kenna James does an excellent job calling the action and keeping the game moving.
The audience is always involved, and if you can pick out a Royal Flush from 52 random cards you'll win a million dollars. Seriously. Not the easiest task in the world, but hey, a million dollars is a million dollars! There are also loads of other prizes that get rewarded throughout the show.
The poker is fast paced and it needs to be in order to have the show length work into about a 90 minute window. Each show works like so:

Two pros are joined by six members from the audience at random. Each player starts with 100,000 in chips and blinds of 5,000-5,000 which double after six hands. If no audience member is eliminated in those first six hands, the shortest stacked amateur is outta there! That format continues until you have either a pro and an amateur remaining, or one remaining amateur if a pro doesn't make the final two.
Once that's done, the last remaining amateur and pro are joined by a member of the audience who scored highest while playing along on his console. The three of them play to a finish, starting with 300,000 in chips and blinds of 10,000-20,000 which will double every round. Yeah, it's an all in fest for sure, but the show is mostly about entertainment and giving the audience an opportunity to play with the pros.
So far the response has been overwhelmingly positive and those in attendance really enjoyed the preview shows we've done. The cast of characters, which will rotate, consists of:

Doyle Brunson
Daniel Negreanu
Phil Hellmuth
Jennifer Harman
Antonio Esfandiari
Phil Laak
Todd Brunson
Eli Elezra
Scotty Nguyen
Gavin Smith

All of these players will be playing day 1A of the Bellagio event this week since they will all be in attendance for the grand opening show which will be slightly different than the other shows, in that, the six amateur seats will be filled by celebrities.

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Home Game: Lately the addition of Christian to the after golf party has gotten us playing poker tournaments at my house. Never no limit hold'em, mind you, it's usually a random choice. This week they wanted to play a $100 buy in pot limit Omaha tournament with rebuys for the first 30 minutes. I never went broke in the rebuy period, got my double add on and was in for $400. Sam spent $700, and Millie spent $600. Tyson and John Smith (my Korean friend with the funniest accent ever) were nits and didn't rebuy. There were seven of us:

Me
Sam
Tyson
John Smith
Christian
Mille
Ted the Idiot

Dealing this game was tough, none of these guys knew how to count the pot and when they bet they'd just say, "pot" and stare blankly into space hoping someone would tell them what it was. Especially Ted the Idiot, he never even moved his chips, he'd say pot and then never put his chips in. At one point, and this is a classic, Sam asked how much was in the pot and we told him 3800. The he proceeds to say, "I'll bet 4200" and no he wasn't being intentionally funny. Folks, these are my friends, what can I say.

I rarely win our poker house games because I usually run into Ted the Idiot and take some sick beat where he is playing the wrong game, but this time I did take it down and pocketed $1800 for first, $500 in a last longer with the Idiot, and another $5000 from the idiot for winning it all.
I'm going to have PokerStars screen name changed to MyNameisTED!!! Inside joke, but you might get the gist of it.
We then set up a 6 handed 9-ball tournament. We play just one game of 9-ball and everyone gets a spot:

Sam is the one seed
Daniel gets tie 8
Tyson gets win 8
Ted gets tie 7
John gets win 7
Christian gets tie 6

Everyone plays 5 games with those spots. So for example, if I play Ted I give him the win 8. After everyone plays each other the 1 seed gets a bye to the finals. The 3 seed plays the 4 seed, the winner of that plays the 2 seed, and the winner of that is in the finals. The 5 and 6 are out.
Last time we did this I went 0-5, this time I went 2-3 but got the 4 seed and beat Ted the idiot in the finals! More money for me!

These nights aren't fun because of the money, they are fun because of the company. My friends are really funny and we all have the same, disgusting sense of humor. Lots of "inappropriate humor" but that's often the best kind.

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200-400 HORSE on PokerStars: When I used to be a "real" professional poker player back in the days of grinding it out at the Bellagio, we often played between 200-400 and 400-800 mixed games, usually some form of HORSE. Those same games have been going on at PokerStars recently, only they aren't quite the same games. At the Bellagio, the games were pretty tough. Usually when you translate a limit online to live the online game would be tougher. For example, a $30-$60 limit hold'em game online would be much tougher than a $30-$60 limit hold'em game at Bellagio.
Well, that is NOT true of this $200-$400 HORSE. I don't mean to be insulting to the guys in that game, but the majority of the players in that game make major errors on a regular basis. Their hand reading skills are way below par, and their fundamentals are often just terrible. Razz and Stud 8 or better are the two games that stick out the most, but even the Omaha 8 or better portion is often just laughable.
I play about an hour a day and don't remember having a losing session yet. I'm sure I will, and have been running lucky, but the truth is, the skill level in that game is very weak. Each of the guys I used to play with at Bellagio back in the day would crush that game, hey, maybe even Matusow! (if he'd ever learn how to play Stud)

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Doyle's comments: I didn't say anything in my blog that Doyle was referring to that should make it seem like I think the player of today is so much better and that bracelets of old have less value. I never said that at all.
I do think it's an interesting topic of discussion no matter what the "sport." Would Tiger Woods crush Arnold Palmer? Would Kobe Bryant destroy Dr. J? Would Annette Oberstad crush the WSOP events of the 80's? It's a fun discussion that you can only theorize.
My thoughts are as follows: the old school players were just much better poker players, but the new breed of player's knowledge base and fundamentals are far superior. Old school players knew of some great moves and tricks, the new breed knows WHY they work.
If I was looking for a reliable tell on a guy in a cash game, I'd much prefer asking someone like Doyle Brunson than someone like, Tom Dwan for example. Durrr has likely played more hands in his lifetime than Doyle, so in that sense he has more experience, but Doyle has a lifetime of real life experience and people reading skills that you don't get from playing online.

There are trade offs with age. What you lose in sharpness you may gain in patience in wisdom. Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong Mr.Brunson...

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