Sunday, August 19, 2012


On July 1, 388 Ladies competed in the 2012 LADIES LIPS CHAMPIONSHIP! After nearly 24 straight hours of play, Tonya Baltazar (My wife) went got through a tough final table including professional poker player, Karina Jett, and got heads up with Tamara Cruz of Arizona...After tough heads up battle, Tonya came up short to finish in 2nd place...I took some time to interview my wife about battling through a VERY tough field:

Q: What was your initial strategy going into this tournament??
My strategy in an all women poker tournament is very different than when I play an open event with men.  I find women are harder to bluff.  I always maximize the value of my good hands and flops that I hit because women will tend to call you down if they hit any part of the board.    

Q: Was there a hand or hands you played that indicated that you were in for a long run??

I just moved to a table and I had about 35,000 chips, I just played the blinds and then on the button I had J 10os everyone folded to me so I made a standard 3 times raise, the lady in the SB reraises me but only doubles my initial raise so I call.  The flop was  A K Q, I flopped the nut straight, lady in SB bets out so I go ALL-IN and she instant calls me and she turns over pocket 5’s and I double up.  I’m not even done stacking my chips and a lady UTG raises, everyone folds to me and I look down at  pocket Aces so I announce ALL-IN and she instantly calls me with pocket Queens and I double up again.  A few hands later, I get A J hearts and this lady raised and I call, and I think the BB called too, the flop is K 10 Q, BB checks the initial raises makes a continuation bet and I announce ALL-IN BB folds and she instant calls and she has K 10 for two pair and I take her out.  I went from 35,000  chips to over 200,000 at that one table.  

Q: You had a mountain of chips with two tables left, but lost a big pot to eventual winner, Tamara Cruz, how did you overcome when you got to the final table:

Well I am a Short Stack Ninja Specialist, I know how to play a short stack well. 

Q: Talk about your double up against Karina Jett early at the final table.

Well I have played with Karina before and have taken a WSOP boot camp that she taught with Annie Duke, so I know her style of play and what her hand ranges would be.  She was one of the chip leaders going into the final table , but she did double me up twice, which was nice. 

Q: I know there were issues with the tournament playing out the tournament in one day, I heard not just yourself but other players had an issue with it, please explain your stand on this issue?

 Yes, it was complete craziness, they changed a lot of things this year with the Lips Championship than the years before.  It was the Golden Nugget’s decision to make it a 1 day event this year even though in the past years it was a 2 day event, and this year was the biggest turnout that Lips had a record of 388 women.  It definitely should have been a 2 day event. 

Q: Fatigue played a major part in not just you but your opponent, how did you maintain your compusure in the end?

I drank a lot of starbucks coffee! 

Q: Finishing 2nd is a great accomplishment, can you put into perspective how important this tournament was for you??

First of all, I have played the Lips Championship for the last straight 5 years and was always close to the money or bubble girl, so to actually get this far and finish 2nd was just one of the greatest accomplishments that I had in poker besides my two cashes in the World Series of Poker in 2010 and 2011.  

Q: How was your support able to get through this tough tournaments such as your friends and family??

I truly have the most amazing husband who not only taught me this great game, but always supports me and encourages me to be a better player, he is my ROCK!  I also have the most amazing friends that I have met because of poker, who will be long life friends, and who are always my cheerleaders not only in poker, but in life!  Poker is just not a game to play for money, but it’s a great way to bond and have fun with the people you love.   I am truly blessed to have such a wonderful husband, kids and friends who support my passion for poker

Q: What poker goals do you have left to accomplish??
My next goal is to play in the Main Event at the World Series of Poker and to make it the final table, but if I cash in the Main Event, I will be just as happy…I will be working on that goal this coming year in my 10K league. 

Thank you for the interview.....

Buy Poker Chips

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


I glance at my watch and see it's 6:15 AM....I then look at my stack. I'm still surviving but my stack is dwidling...Frustration starts to set in....I sit on the end of my seat, wondering when my big pot will come...

"Patience"....that's what all the books say, but are the books running as badly as me...probably not...

Around me, the tables at Planet Hollywood are breaking. The room is down to two games, many of the monster stacks are leaving the room, most satisfied with their profit...The only ones left are the people who are stuck, losing such as myself..Most are tossing in their chips trying to hit that miracle card to get them unstuck. I, on the other hand, have kept my's "one long session" I've heard many poker players have said...don't think of the short term...think long term.

I start to feel anxious....I take a sip of my water and see a raise in my front of me...I look down and see Pocket Queens...The raise was $12...I decide to reraise to $30....Everyone folds to a pleasant looking Asian gentleman who calls...we take the flop heads up...

Before the dealer, the Asian guy and I share an awkward if we've battled in hands before although this was the first hand (that I recall) that we were involved in...Two titans in card sword fight, pecking at each other, until we get the knockout shot. The dealer puts out the flop, his thumb slowly seperating the three cards until it's lined up ever so neatly on the middle of the felt...

I read the board....J 10 4 rainbow...I gaze at the board as if I'm taking a quiz, surgically piecing the puzzle of this flop..Did it hit my opponent....What range is he calling my re-raise? Does his range fit this board.

The pleasant Asian gentleman gently taps his index finger on the felt....I quickly cut out 10 $5 chips and fire them into pot. Suddenly, the pleasant Asian gentleman roars, "ALL IN"!! The quick change in personally startles me a bit. We exchange another awkward glance...dammit, this is fine mess I gotten myself into.

Sitting in seat 1, I leaned forward to get a look at my opponent, who's seating in seat 10....he is stoic...Sitting still as a statue. I try to get some information from him....I point to the Jack and 10 sitting motionless on the table, asking him, "Did you flop this or that" Of course I'm thinking did he flop a set of 10's or Jacks. I look at his two cards sitting in front of him and wonder if he had a pair matching any of these cards on the board.

But I have an over pair....After what seemed like an eternity, I turn over my pocket Queens for the entire table to see, but I wanted only one person to see...the pleasant Asian gentleman, wanting to get a read of what kind of hand he's holding. Unfortunately, the pleasant Asian gentleman gave me no indication of what he's holding. I could feel the saliva forming like a powerful wave zooming from the Pacific Ocean....the hammer was coming down and I have nothing to stop...Finally I flick my Pocket Queens into the muck, The pleasant Asian Gentleman slowly slips his hand to the dealer and collects the pot..

At this point, I admit defeat...I quickly grab the remaining chips and cash out....As step onto the Las Vegas Strip, I let the warm Vegas air collapsed on my face...I shake my head and walk back to my car....

Dammit, that wasn't very fun. But always....there is another day...I will live to fight another day....


Monday, August 13, 2012


The stream of guys and gals exiting the HEART bar is as steady as the unplayable cards I'm getting at this table. I wipe the small strand of sweat from my brow as I toss another unplayable hand into the much -- J2 offsuit...

My composition of my table is a typical variety of player you typically see in a wee-hours game on the Las Vegas Strip...Mix of drunk tourists willing to spew their money and sharks who are more than happy to take their money, but on his night...the drunk tourists are winning...

I witness a monster pot in which the drunk tourist bets every street and the "so-called" professional agonizing over every can see the excruciating drama on his face as he faces one big bet after's like watching a prized fight between two evenly matched fighters...who's gonna blink first?? At the end of the hand...the so-called professional calls down a 100 dollar bet on the river....The drunk tourist shakes his head, takes a gulp of his 4th or 5th shot of Jager...and says beats this...Ace High....The professional looks suprisingly at the board, peeks at his cards, then at the board again...he begins to shake his head in disbelief, and tosses them into the muck, "Nice hand" the crackling voice utters...The entire tables rambles about the hand they saw...What is going on?

Five minutes later, the drunk tourist, at the urging of his impatient friends who's been waving two empty chip racks in his face for the better part of an hour, finally gets him to rack his nearly $1,300!! Good night everyone, the drunk tourist says as he stumbles to the cashier to reap the fruits of his "well done" poker player leaving the rest of us to wonder...I can't believe we didn't get any of that..

Despite that, the game moves on. Like a gripping novel we are willing to put down, the dealers deals the next hand...It's raised once again, this time by the same professional who dropped about 500 dollars to the now-departed drunken tourist....I peek at the cards ready to conceive it'll be another junk hand I can give back the dealer...I peek at one card...King of Clubs...I slowly peek at the another card and see two adjacent lines and I separate the cards the two adjacent lines form the letter "K"...Oh's another King..King of Spades...I have pocket Kings... 

I peek over at my's $12....My opponent just rebought for another $300...looking at my stack I see I have two stacks of hundred...I decided I'm gonna trap my opponent and let him give me his money..Yeah..that's it...I'll do my Mike McDermontt impersonation when he flopped a straight and got Teddy KGB to give him all his chips...I gather $12 from my stack and with a twitch of my wrist, I happily toss $12 in the game...The image of doubling up danced in my head, ready to rake in a monster pot...It's coming...its coming...everyone at the Planet and see....

The other players at the table quickly muck their hands in a synchronized hand at a time..They become the audience of what's about the happened...The triumph victory of Pocket Kings vs. a tilting professional....

Before the dealer, puts out a flop, he makes a comment about two hookers standing at the blackjack table across the poker room, "What an ass on her"...The dealer, an older gentleman, who seems to preoccupied with the "Ladies of the Night" than putting out the flop..."C"mon Dealer, " I think to myself, "My audience is waiting, put that flop out, so they can see me work these Pocket Kings like a maestro!"

Flop comes J 8 2...rainbow....The tilting professional fires $12. The chips flies through the air like a cannon. I quickly gaze at my stack and pull out 12 bucks to equal his bet...I call...My audience needs to see me milk this guy for every penny I can. I gaze at my opponent, a rye grin creeps across my face, "I got him!! I got him" I whisper in head...

The dealer peels the turn card, but not before making another comment about the hookers near the blackjack tables, "How much do you think she's worth" he says as he puts out a 3 of diamonds...

The tilting professional $30...I instantly call his bet...My plan was to look like I was weak, but at the same time, making him feel he's ahead...The Maestro of the Hold em at audience sits in silence watching our every move...The dealer puts out a Jack....The tilting professional bets out $50!

For the first time in the hand, a twinge of doubt creep in my head...what if I was behind the entire time. I could a feel a bead of cold sweat falling down my forehead...I decided to be cautious and just call... The tilting professional turns over pocket 8's for a flopped set!!!

Dammit, as I tap the felt and watching a pool of beautiful red chips get shipping away from me and onto the stack of the tilting professional's stack!!

Oh well, I thought...but my audience doesn't respond. They go back to their routing: Shuffling their chips, checking their phones, just another hand in the long session of poker....

Coming soon....Part 3!!!

Monday, July 16, 2012


In the wee-hours of the morning 4:50 AM to be exact, I aimlessly walk through the Las Vegas Strip and enter the Planet Hollywood casino. Walking through the surprisingly tranquil casino floor....

"Wow, not too many drunks stumbling around.." I thought as I slowly walk through the maze of party girls finishing their last guzzle of fruity spirits, and guys walking around in groups of two and threes obviously striking out in their pursuit of their "One Night Stand" or "Vegas Memory". I ended up at the Planet Hollywood Poker room and approach the cashier desk..

The Planet Hollywood poker room is a smorgasbord of hustling guys and gals playing the great game of poker. The Loud cracking of shuffling chips, the occasional scream of "Good hand" and "You called me with that?" and screams of "Seats Open" from the poker dealers resonate throughout the room. Stacks of $5 Chips and $1 Chips  fill this poker room in front of wanna be professionals, drunks party kids who stumbled from the nearby "Heart" bar, middle aged men, and insomniacs trying to squeeze and absorb every minute of their Las Vegas vacation. "My plane leaves in two hours" one young party animal says..typical Vegas visitor

Two familiar faces are standing next to each at the makeshift podium which acts as a cashier cage. The Dealer is a familiar...we'll call her "A" and the floormen, we'll call him "J" are chatting with each other as I approach him.

"A" recognizes me instantly, "Ron, what are you doing here so late?" The puzzled look on her face was priceless. Yeah, I'm probably the last person she'd probably see there at this hour. 

I smirk, "Took my parents to the airport, decided to play some poker."

"A" smiles, "I'll see if there's a seat for you."

"A" searches the busy poker room and as she does, I have a short conversation with the floorman, "J", "J" is a young guy with a Cajun accent with a lot of enthusiasm. I really like "J" personality. The kind of guy who seems like he always has his dealers back and would probably be a fun person to have a beer with.

"A" Points out an empty seat. I walk towards my new seat simultaneously gazing the stacks at the table. Couple of stacks of $500, some $200, and one guy with over $1000....I decided to buy in for $300. I hand "A" my cash and within minutes she brings me a rack containing 300 red. I pull out 2 bucks to tip "A". "A" wouldn't take it, she smiles, "Just get me in the box." I insisted on tipping her but again she relented...

I finally sit down and open my "POKER INCOME" Application on my iPhone and record all the details of his session:


I toss my players card to the dealer who swipes me in, already thinking about using my comp points for the delicious Earl of Sandwich. The dealer pitches the cards, as I lined my red chips in a row and peek at my cards....5 4 Offsuit...when its my turn...I toss them into the muck, tossing him high like a helicopter but being careful that I don't expose my cards...

A pretty middle-aged cocktail waitress ask me if I wanted something to drink. I politely declined....

And with that.....My Planet Hollywood sessions begins....

PART 2......SOON  

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Kudos to Victoria Coren!!

Found this interesting blog written by well-known English professional poker player, Victoria Coren about a young chap (England's term) who played in the $1000 Ladies No Limit tournament, and totally made an ass out of himself. One of the better blogs I've read in a long time. Point is....if your going to crash a party no one wants you to be in, don't spike the punch too...

As if this writing, this asshole is still in the ladies tournament. He's gonna face a lot of hate and scrutiny once this blog gets out....

Wednesday, June 27, 2012


Let's start this blog with a short clip from one of the best movies I've ever seen....BOYZ IN THE HOOD! ICE CUBE was surprising very good in this movie. I think it was his first movie role:

Today, I'm at work, eating lunch, and at the table next to me a group about 10 people were sitting and standing around playing dominoes! Actually 4 were playing and 6 are watching. I think they work in the Linen/uniform department. This domino game goes on every day between 12:30 PM - 1:30 PM, and I've always noticed this game, but today was the first time I really took note of it. The one thing I noticed about this game is how happy everyone is. This group, as I said before, it usually 10 people, who rotate after every game so that everyone gets to play. The game is raucous and loud, and good-natured needling going on. There are times when this game gather's 20 people who just want to see what's going on...The happiness these people show is definately palpable -- you just can't help but smile when you see these guys truly enjoy themselves away from the hustle and bustle of a workday.

DOMINOES: Also known as Bones, Cards, Tiles, Tickets, Stones, or Spinners

I LOVE PLAYING DOMINOES!!! When I was in the Air Force, I played it wherever I was stationed. The first time was with a group of airman when first joined in our dorm rooms. We would play throughout the night, time would fly, beers were flowing, it was an awesome time! I remember when I was working for the Security Forces Squadron in Nellis AFB, NV, I used to fix computers and each time I was on a call....I would always see a group of airmen playing dominoes, wishing i could stay to play a game....damn I miss times like that.

I also remember in high school. Lunch time was always domino day! A group of students, one of which, played in the NFL for short time, would always get as many games in the 30 minutes as possible. It got to the point where everyone was bringing their own domino sets to school. I remember one guy had an elaborate set...I think he said it was made from ivory tusks of elephants worth 200 bucks, not sure if I believed him (Teenagers always exaggerate). Funny cause soon it became a race to see who had the best domino

Now, I rarely play dominoes. I have a set sitting in my game closet, and occasionally, my wife and I will pull out the "bones" and get a game in...but today has really got me thinking, maybe there's an Apple App where I can people from all over the world. Heck, maybe Zynga (Makers of Words and Scramble For Friends) has developed a domino game...

Guess it's time to look for one :)

Best of Vegas

Monday, June 25, 2012

SNAP CALL...WHAT????!!!!!

I really hate playing poker awfully!!
I really hate playing poker like a donk!!
I really hate playing poker when I self-destruct!

And that's exactly what happened one hot summer downtown Las Vegas at the Golden Nugget Grand Series Poker tournament this past Saturday..

Played the $125 No Limit tournament at the Golden Nugget with 151 players, and despite the high juice/rake and less than average dealers, this is the one of the best structured tournaments during the summer.  I've played this tournament ever since they started running a few years back. Unfortunately, I'm drawn  the goose-egg, haven't cashed once in 3 years, but I continue to go back because I like banging my head against a brick wall over and over!

So I came roaring out of the gate, dropping 3K from a starting stack of 12, during the first level. I ran what I call the "No Peek Bluff". Basically, when I'm the BB blind, I'll call a small raise from the button or cutoff, then play the hand blindly...I check raised a 9 5 2 board and bet the turn and river when a 2 and 4 fell. On the river I was raised....I finally had to look my cards and saw I only had 8 7 off...and played "Hollywood" before mucking my 8 No Peek bluff usually works out for me...but not this time..I guess this should have been a sign of what was to come...

Fortunately, my table was full of weak-passive fish where I was able to rebuild my stack to a little above starting stack using positional raises and bets. By the first break, I was back up to 11K. After the break, I won a small pots, then doubled up a short stack when my KK was no match for my opponent's Q10 hearts, when he nailed a flush on the turn...oh well...

My table broke and got moved to a table full of big stacks, and had a run of bad cards and bad flops and by the second break I was down to 7500....

My wife, who had busted from the Binions Classic $160 tourney, came to sweat me and gave me some words of encouragement. Few hands after the break, I peeked and saw one ace and shoved my 7K stack in the middle...The guy next to me calls....He turns over AJ Clubs...I squeeze my other card as I turn it over and see the beautiful ACE OF SPADES...WOOHOO Pocket aces....I had to fade a flush draw but managed to double up.

His brought my stack size to about 17K or about 20 BB, so I wasn't out of the woods yet, but at least I acquired a little fold equity so at least I had a 3-bet all in my arsenal just in case I wanted to come over the top of an aggressive player.

Few orbits went by with dead cards...I did call a raise from the BB with 6-4 hearts after four callers hoping to flop a big draw, two pair, or something where I could shove my stack in....Unfortunately, I didn't flop anything so it was check/fold with that....

Then this hand comes up..with the blinds 400-800 100 ante...Four people limp into the pot. I'm in the small blind with 10-8 offsuit, and complete the bet out a 15K stack..BB checks and we see the flop 6 handed...flop comes 10 4 2 rainbow. I lead 2000...Everyone folds to the button, who has me way covered, calls...So we're heads up....turn is a 5...I lead for 4500....Button peers at my stack, then have an awkward eye-contact...and says ALL IN!!! I knew I was beaten at that point...With just 9600 left...the pot was near 10K, and mathematically, it was correct to call, but I had a gut feeling I was beaten.  At this point, I think tournament survival and putting my money in at a another spot was the optimal decision, and reluctantly folded my top pair...

So being back down to 9600, I go two orbits without picking up a hand..Finally picked up AK when my stack dwindled to 7100...and shoved over a Early position raise...He had AQ...AK hold up and a I double again. Then I lose a couple of small pots. Then our table breaks..My stack shunk to around 9K...

I had no such luck in my next table...Again the cards are horrific and with my stack down to 7 K, I double up twice against the same player with A6 vs. JJ, and AQ vs. 1010...At the dinner break, I have 41k and feeling confident I could go deep. At the dinner break, there were 44 players left and 18 gets paid.

My wife and I have dinner at the Aloha Specialties at the California Hotel/Casino never tasted so awesome. My wife and I discuss a few poker strategy and I knew if I just played my game I could get to the money (Unless I hit a bad beat or a melt down...Foreshadow alert!!!) When we get back I count my chip stack again and see I have 26 BB left...Plenty of time to work my stack and try to put myself in a position to win this tournament...


THEN DISASTER STRIKES in the most vicious way. I, Ron Baltazar, known at balt999 in the blogosphere world...SELF DESTRUCTED ON THE FIRST HAND AFTER THE BREAK..DETAILS ARE HERE....

I post my SB and Ante....It's folded to the cutoff and tosses a 5000 chip without saying raise, so the dealer rightly says it's only a call...I clarify to the dealer  it's a just a call, and the dealer confirms it was. I, now peek down and see QJ offsuit..I complete my SB...The BB (A loose player) with a monster stack check his option...Let's take his SELF DESTRUCTION STEP MY STEP Shall we???

STEP 1) Flop comes Q 9 9 rainbow...I check...(First mistake, I should have led this flop) Big blind bets 6K...Cutoff player folds...I call

STEP 2) Turn is a 8...I check again...(Again I should have led the turn)...BB annouces ALL IN.

STEP 3) Before the Big blind finishes saying ALL IN...I SNAP CALL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WHAT????

STEP 4) Big blind turns over KQ and the river bricks out and just like that I'm out of the tournament!!!

STEP 5) I gather my stuff and make a quick exit out of the Golden Nugget feeling as if I was just punched in the stomach!!!

I walk towards the California Hotel/Casino to get my car from valet, I think about how quickly I was out of the tournament totally ignoring the smell of dried piss from the alley swimming with the hot Vegas Air....

The 20 minute drive home was the longest drive I ever had..I turned off the radio and drove silently as I went over my bust-out hand. I can't believe I inexplicably snap called without thinking about the hand through. I take pride in taking my time when I have to make a tough poker decision. If I would have thought about the hand for 5 seconds, I guarantee you I would have mucked my hand. When the BB goes all in, he wasn't doing that on a bluff. I had 40K and it would have dented his stack significantly. In addition, I played with his guy for a hour and didn't see him bluff once...let alone make a ALL IN BLUFF!!!! All this factors pointed to mucking my QJ...

I beat myself about this hand all night....I was pretty quiet the rest of the night...laying on my bed staring blankly at ESPN not comprehending what I was watching...I kept going over the QJ hand until I fell asleep that night...

Patience has never been my best trait unless I'm playing it's ironic I wasn't patience when I was about to make a tough poker decision....

This Brain-Fart, as I told everyone, had me re-examining my poker game, and I came to this's not the poker that holding me back from having success. I know the math, understand the metagame aspect, know the game theory behind no limit. It's the mental aspect I need to work on. How to take my time to make decisions, how to keep my ego in check in tournaments, and to think things through.

I'm going to do my best to consciously be aware of my mental state of mind when I'm playing poker and make the proper adjustments to improve my poker game. I have to stop thinking poker tournaments are a sprint instead of a marathon...if I do that I think the results will come.

Will I learn...I hope so...

Patience is a virtue!!

Sunday, June 24, 2012


There is more good than bad in being a poker dealer. Unfortunately all you hear is the bad things a poker dealer does.

"Her burn and turn cost me 300 bucks"

"His river card cost me 1000 bucks."

Today I wanted to give you a short, and funny anecdote about a young man and his tip:

So I'm dealing a typical Ballys $1-$2 game when this hand came up...Young man, looking a young Leonardo DiCaprio, accented with a fedora similar to the one Michael Jackson wore in his "Smooth Criminal" video (Google it is you want to know what it looks like), goes all in for his last 85 bucks or so and gets called and wins the pot...I think he flopped a set of 9's. After tossing me a few bucks from the pot we had this dialogue,

"Thanks Dealer, I needed that. Do you smoke cigars?" The young man says.

"Not really, but I know a few people that due" I said.

"Here," the young man digs into his backpack and pull out this...

"Is that your business" I ask.

"Yeah, I sell Cigars and cigarettes in Florida..been doing it for a couple of years. Hey,  it's a $35 tip!" He smirks."

I laugh, take the cigar, "Thanks buddy."

Anyway, just something interesting that happens, which is cool since most of the time as a poker dealer and same thing and routine happen everyday!!

I'm really appreciative of this cigar, even though I don't smoke. I've never been tip anything other than chips before...I'm not sure what I'll do with it (I'm sure I have friends who wouldn't mind having it." I might just keep it as a souvenir as the most unique tip I ever got.

IF any of you smoke cigar and are interesting and checking out his guy's line of cigars and cigarettes, drop him a e-mail. I don't get a dime for advertising for him...just wanted to do it out of the goodness of my heart :)

Wednesday, May 23, 2012


The week that was....

Poker is funny game. One day, you're on top of the world. The next day your scrapping the bottom of the barrel.

This is what I felt like last week.

Had a late-night session at the Aliante Casino $1-$2 game and ran so bad and disgusting it was beyond words. I lost two buy ins basically on two hands SET OVER SET both times!!! If you've played enough poker you know the worst feeling in the world is being on the negative end of a set of set. I don't think I played either hand wrong, it's just so disgusting that it happened to me twice in one night and for my entire stack twice!! Oh well..

The next day I decided to play $4-$8 Limit at Orleans

I got a great set of cards!! AA, KK, QQ JJ, 10'S!! One a few occasions I got them two of three times, but after 2 hrs, I lost my entire buy in of $140!! Of all those premium hands I think I only won 2 of them!! And to put salt in the wound..I had this old fart, slow roll me for a big pot, which really pissed me off. I had it out with this guy! I was very angry, almost to the point where I wanted to fight, but what would that solve? All I know is the Orleans crew is a group of the most misarable people I've ever been around. It reminded me of my trip to The Bicycle Club in Los Angeles a few years ago, where almost every hand, people were yelling at each other, the dealers, the floors, the chip runners, the porters, anyone who would go in their way. I really don't like playing at the Orleans, but the games especially the limit games are extremely juicy, so I tolerate, but that day, I couldn't get anything going with none of my hands holding up...Again..oh well...

The day after that, I decided to play the Binions 2PM Deepstack, and despite being card dead, I managed to make a mid-cash. I played extremely well throughout the tournament, making minimal mistakes (Although I made a horrible all-in call with J8 suited). One of the highlights of the day was meeting Rob of  He has one of the most entertaining poker blogs in the blog-sphere, feel free to read it, you'll definitely enjoy it.

Now it's time to brag...Probably the best hand I played in a long time. It also cemented the fact that despite my bad run of poker lately, I still believe I'm a good poker player:

Forgot what the blinds were, but player opened limp from middle position out of a 40kish stack and it's folded to me in the BB and I tap the table holding 10-4 offsuit. I have around 74K...The flop comes 5 5 4 with two hearts...With one player who just limps, I wanted to see where I was so I lead for 2K...He calls. The assigned him a range of small pairs and suited connectors...The Turn is a Q diamonds...I didn't think this card fit my opponents range, so I decided to bet again..this time 5K...He calls again...At this point, I eliminate pairs from his range and sqaurely on a draw heart flush or straight draw...The River is a A of hearts, completing the flush..I check...My opponent quickly shoots out 12K. This was a little bit over a pot-sized bet....I thought about a flush, but I just didn't believe my opponent would continue with a flush draw especially with the paired board. From the hands I've seen him played, he seemed like a solid player who wouldn't chase too much, but then again...what possible holdings could I possibly beat...7 6 was the only hand I could beat giving the betting action. I really didn't believe he had an ace cause he just didn't make sense that he's calling the entire was with an Ace in his hand unless he had some hand like A2 and got lucky, but then again it was possible to have that hand....I decided 7-6 was his holding..I took a deep breath, cutout 12K from my stack and relunctly shoved it towards the pot.

"Nice Call" he said, as he turns over 7 6!! My 4 wins a pretty good-sized pot.

After the tournament, My confidence in my poker ability was sky-high...sometimes I can't let the awful results of my cash games affect my thinking on a poker level.  I know I'm a good player...just got to continue chugging along and believe in myself...yeah, from time to time, you'll have doubts but if you believe in your ability the results will come.

This Friday, I'll be playing the first event of the BINIONS CLASSIC...the $110 Employee Event, I'm looking to play well and run well...wish me luck!!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012


Want opinions on a slew of poker hands I played the past two weeks. I'm always seeking advice to improve my game:


I think I played this horribly wrong. This was a early Wednesday morning game, so it was 5-handed with two extremely aggressive European players with a lot of chips. Euro dude straddles...Open limp from the weak button, I'm on the Big Blind with KK and $175 behind. The trend for the Aggressive Euro guy was to raise his straddle if the table showed any type of weakness. My plan show weakness by just calling the straddle and hoping the Euro would continue his trend of raising, where I can play a big pot with him. Only drawback was he would have position on me the entire hand. So I completed the straddle, and on cue, the Aggro Euro raises to $16..button limper calls...I thought about re-raising at this point, but with only 3 players in, I figured I could be deceptive with my KK, and hopefully undervalue my hand. Also, I've been playing fairly tight up to this point, so if I re-raised, I would define my hand and probably wouldn't get the action I wanted. The flop comes K62 rainbow. I thought about leading, but with this dry board, I felt the Aggro Euro would bet his entire range, then depending on what the button does, I would find the best course of action. I checked the flop, Aggro Euro bets $25, Button folds. I decided to just call because, as I said, the guy is probably betting his entire range, and with this dry board, if I raised, he's probably probably not calling with anything but AK or a set...The one aspect about this Aggro Euro is he many be aggressive, but he wasn't stupid, he knew when to shut down when the action got heavy and he didn't have the goods. So I called the $25, Turn is a Ace.. I check again. Aggro Euro fires $30 to the pot....I decide a raise was in order. I raise $50 more to $80 total, Aggro Euro folds rather quickly. After analyzing the hand, I think the more optimal play was to call the $30, then lead the river for about $75-$80...The board was so dry, My Set of Kings was probably way ahead of the Aggro Euro's range, so maybe I could have let the river peeled off and maybe he'd make two pair..something to pay me off. So maybe I didn't get maximum value for my hand...

HAND #2 -- MIRAGE ($1-$2)

On contrast, I think I played this hand really well. This was a typical Mirage $1-$2...mix of solid and loose weekend players during Kentucky Derby weekend. Started with $225..Five limpers to me in the small blind, I complete with 10 2 spades...Big Blind check, and we take the flop 7 handed...Flop comes Q J 9 with Two spades...With 7 players in the pot, and playing out of position the entire hand, I took a passive approach...If I bet here and get raised, I may be forced to play for my entire stack. With a straight and flush draw, this could be the optimal play, but I only have a 10 High flush draw, I could be facing an Ace or King-high flush draw. I wanted to see how the action developed before I made my decision to play forward with this hand. I check..BB bets $20...called by one other player, I decided to call again.....Another factor is both players have me covered .. BB had $340 and the caller had over $400 in front....Turn is 4 spades, completing my flush. Again, I take the passive approach, Since it was a limp pot, bigger flushes could have been out I check...BB bets $40...Limper calls again...I call....River is a 10 diamonds..I check again...BB Bets $50....Limper folds. The BB has now bet on 3 streets, and was representing strength, but I had gone this far and since I was drawing to the flush I had to call the river bet and hope I didn't run into a bigger flush....I called, BB turns over K7 off suit for a meaningless straight. I rake the pot after showing my 10-high flush. Yeah, I probably played the hand too cautiously, but I just felt not committing too much of my stack with an inferior flush. I think I would have to fold my draw if I bet the flop and get raised.

HAND #3 -- HARRAHS ($1-$2)

This is a simple one...This game was fairly tight, usually is someone raised and got a caller, a continuation bet on the flop would do the trick, hands rarely went to the river. I was able to build my stack playing positional poker. Checked to me, I always bet and won 90% of my hands uncontested. Anyway, folded to the a straight-forward Asian Local who raises to $10 from a $240 stack. I call from the button with 99...BB calls. We take the flop 3-handed... Flop comes 3 8 2 Rainbow....BB check..Asian Local bets $40...I insta-fold, BB Folds as well. The Asian Local proudly shows KK.  The key to this hand what was the reason to play 99 and fold when the flop comes with a a bunch of small cards. I played this hand for one reason -- TO GET THE ASIAN LOCAL'S ENTIRE STACK!! I immediately put him on a big pair, cause this guy played a bland "ABC" type poker. I seen him limp with AK or AQ suited, so I knew his raising range was very tight...JJ and above! I felt if I flop a set against this range, he would overplay his hand and give me his entire stack. I guarantee you if the flop came 9 -3 -2...He could have given me all his chips with his pocket Kings. Another reason I folded was he made a slightly over bet the pot on the flop...If I called his bet and another plank fell on the turn, I may be facing a bigger bet on the turn, then I wouldn't know what to do...probably fold...Why waste $40, if you're not sure where you are?? Tight Locals always overbet their over pairs because they're always afraid of getting outdrawn. Against these type of players if you flop two pair or better against their over pair, they usually will shove the rest of their chips in the middle. They're an excellent source for a timely double up!!

Opinions anyone?? Do I play bad?? Do I play good? Do I run good??

Monday, May 7, 2012


One of the most underrated movies is a movie called "Bucket List" It's a story of two terminal guys played by Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman who escape from a cancer ward on a road trip to complete their "to do" list before they die.

As a man in his late 30's, I have my own bucket list...3 things I would like to do before I die....So here they are in no particular order:


My last two years of high school I was absolutely enamored and addicted to the sport of tennis. This was back in the golden age of American Tennis in the late 80's, early 90's. Names like Andre Agassi, Jim Courier, Michael Chang, and of course the great Pete Sampras dominated the tennis scene. I even knew lesser known Americans who had success like MaliVai Washington and Todd Martin. Whenever tennis came on, I would stop whatever I was doing and sit in front of the TV and absored every point, every serve, every dramatic moment a tennis match brought. I played tennis for my high school for two years, and although I never achieved much success...I really enjoyed playing the sport. The two marquee events for tennis were the Wimbledon and the US OPEN! Back in the day, Wimbledon was on HBO and the US Open was on the USA network. Every year, i would plan my days around these events so I would miss a single match.  I would tape every match and watch it over and over. I told myself someday I would attend these prestigious tennis tournaments one day. It's been 20 years, and I still have been to either. I think I'm more likely to attend US Open over the Wimbledon, but damn it would make my life if I were to attend either or both of these tennis tournaments!! 


As a kid growing up, I WAS AN ABSOLUTE MARK FOR PROFESSIONAL WRESTLING and particularly the World Wrestling Federations (Entertainment, now) - WWE! I thought it was the greatest thing ever invented. I grew up in the Hulkamania era. I loved them all from Hulk Hogan, Junkyard Dog, Randy "Macho Man" Savage", Ultimate Warrior, "Million Dollar Man" Ted Dibiase, The Rock, "Stone Cold " Steve Auston, The Undertaker, and every wrestler till about 2007 when I stop watching it..Yup, I watched wrestling religiously until I was 35! The WWE's signature event was Wrestlemania, the "SuperBowl" of all of professional wrestling. When all the stars came out and shined for one night, when all the wrestlers gave their best effort in putting on the greatest show on the earth. I've watch EVERY Wrestlemania and relished every wrestlemania moment. My favorite moment wasn't even a match, it was Wrestlemania 7, I remember every detail up to this day. It was the retirement match between Ultimate Warrior and "Macho Man" Randy Savage. Savage lost and had to retire, but not before he was reunited by his true love, Miss Elizabeth, check out this clip:

IT was an emotionally charged moment which defined what professional wrestling is all about!! I LOVED IT!!! I've heard the buzz at being at a live Wrestlemania is an incredible adrenaline rush, and I would like to experience it one day! Attending a Wrestlemnia live would be the ultimate gift for this guy who loved professional wrestling from time he was a young kid.

There you have it, the 3 events I want to attend before I die. I'm 38 now, and I'm not sure if I'll be able to do any of these things, but it keeps me a sense of hope that if I keep trying, one day I'll be a one, two or all these events. 

Bucket list..additional events may occur :)

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

TRY POKER, BABE!!! YOU'LL LIKE IT!! -- My Wife Journey from Bingo To Poker!

So I'm standing outside of the "Ivey Room" at the Aria Hotel Casino, arms crossed, fidgeting my thumbs, and feeling a sense of excited anxiety as I rail my wife, Tonya Baltazar at the final table of the 1PM Aria No Limit Tournament. With 6 players left, my wife initiates talks of a chop with the monster chip leader...He's a young buck, who listens intently to my wife proposals. He seems receptive towards it. Then all of a sudden, the other players nod their heads, congratulate each other, and shake hands...Chip Leader takes $3,500, everyone else splits the rest of the prize money evenly to the tune of $1,300! Every one's happy for a good days work...As the floor person initiates the paperwork, I started to reminisce about how my wife, Tonya Baltazar got to this point in her poker career. I remember when the mania for poker began...innocently enough, it while we were playing bingo.....

My wife didn't play poker the first two years of our relationship. All she knew was I loved playing poker and did really well at it, but Tonya was scared to give it a shot. Whenever I told her about a big win I got from an online tournament, or a winning session playing cash game, I got the same blank stare as if I was talking Russian. I kept encouraging her to give poker a chance, I would even give her money to play with. One night, we were playing Bingo at a small casino called Silver Nugget. Tonya and her grandmother used to play bingo at the Silver Nugget, so we played there occasionally. During one of our visits, I again brought up giving poker a try. Tonya was scared...sitting at a poker table with 9 strangers who're trying to take your money was an intimidating prospect for a woman who's only claim to gambling was hanging around old women dobbing numbers in a smoky bingo hall. Finally, Tonya relented, and agreed to play poker. The following night, I went over the etiquette of playing poker in a casino as well as simple strategies to follow. Basically, it was if your hand didn't have two pictures or wasn't a pair, don't play.

I started Tonya at the lowest game possible..the 3-6 limit game at the Mirage. After a short wait, she got her seat, bought in for 60 bucks, and was already involved with the first hand...He called a bet, and you can see her hands shaking. I thought we were in a the middle of an earthquake as nervous and shaky as Tonya was. After 15 minutes, Tonya turned to me and said, "I'm so nervous!!" I assured her that she was doing great. Tonya played for 45 minutes, lost 15 bucks, and cashed out. I asked how she felt. She said it was an awesome feeling.

In the following months, I give more poker tips and we got an played more....The nervousness and anxiety subsided the more she played. Soon, the shaking was gone, the nervousness was gone, and anxiety was gone. It was all about playing poker

Fast forward to the 2005 Orleans Open.......

I suggested she try a poker tournament. There was a LADIES ONLY Limit Event for $125 buy in. I had been playing so many satellites and won about $1,500 worth of lamers and vouchers, and I told her I'd buy her into the event with one of my vouchers. 

"Don't worry, " I assured, "It's pretty much a free tournament. Just go in there and play...have fun and you never know."

Hesitantly, my wife agreed. Before the tournament, I gave some tournament advice, she listened intently, nodded when she understood, asked questions when she didn't understand. With the knowledge I gave her she sat down in the ladies event, and went to battle. She started off slow, but pretty soon, she got into a groove, and began to win pots and pots and pots and more pots. I don't think she understood how she was winning these hands, but she had no problem stacking the chips the dealer were shoving her way...

Then before we knew it, my wife, Tonya Baltazar was at the FINAL TABLE of the Ladies Limit Event for the 2005 Orleans Open!!! INCREDIBLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Weeding through a tough field of 161 players, there she sat. There was a break before the final table, Tonya ran up to me and gave me a huge hug, grinning ear to ear, "I Can't believe I made it this far! I was proud of her, I felt like a teacher whose pupil did something spectacular! It was a moment I'll never forget. 

At the final table, she played her hardest and when got 6 handed, the ladies began talking deal. My wife had no clue what there were talking about. What's a chop..she!! Two of ladies talking about prize distribution according to chip stacks. Again, my wife had no clue of what they were talking about. I had to explain it to her, and whenever a proposal was brought up, Tonya looked at me for advice. Unfortunately, one of the ladies, didn't want to chop, so they played on. Eventually, two more players got knocked including the lady who didn't want to chop. At Four players left, the ladies talked deal again and eventually agreed on a 4 way split...My wife's cut....$6,200!!!! AMAZING!!! 

I'm not sure how we celebrated, I think we had a late night dinner and talked about the amazing run she had in this tournament. From that point on, Tonya Baltazar, my bingo-playing wife, was officially hooked on poker......and I created a monster....a POKER MONSTER!!!! 

From that poker tournament in 2005 to the present, my wife's world was turned upside down because of the game of poker. She's meant all sorts of people from all over the world because of poker. She plays in all the LADIES EVENTS, became friends with prominent poker pros Linda Johnson and Jan Fisher, and has so many friends in the poker world (Women and men alike) Yup, I made the suggestion for her to play poker, but she took it to another level. Now, I believe she's one of the best poker players out there..She's a threat to win any poker tournament she enters (Not just the ladies, ANY POKER TOURNAMENT!!!) 

Tonya gets her $1,300 from the Aria Cashier and has a short conversation with one of the players she played with it in that 1PM Aria No Limit tournament! It's amazing how far my wife as come as a poker player and is a FAR BETTER player now than she was 7 years ago....As we walk out of the Aria Casino, and think of her poker accomplishments (over $10,000 in winnings, according to and smile. I owe it all to our little conversation in that smoky bingo hall at the Silver Nugget....

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Spencer High School -- Class of 1992!!

No Poker! No Gambling! Not in this blog entry. Going to focus this blog entry about my upcoming high school reunion...

This week was very eventful. I confirmed my attendance my 20-year High School Reunion to Spencer High School  in Columbus, GA! I can't believe it's been 20 years since I was in high school. Time really flies..To quote the great Ferris Beuller, "Life moves pretty fast. You don't stop and looking around. You could miss it." That's how I felt the past 20 years have been. I can remember vividly my a hot and muggy night. I don't remember feeling nostalgic about my high school days, just wondering what the next chapter in my life would end up. I remember saying goodbye and salutations to my friends and wishing them good luck. It was like the end of an era and the beginning a new chapter.

I didn't keep track of my classmates, until I became friends with many of them on Facebook...It's amazing what some of the graduating class of 1992 are doing now. One, owns a Photography studio JB Hedges...looks like it's very successful. One, owns a very successful business, who even blogs about his success and helping others have successful: Two guys are successful military officers in the United States Army. One of which is very prominent on Facebook, telling us what he does and what's on his mind every 2 seconds...Sorry Ray, had to needle ya a little bit.

Although I knew a lot of people in high school, I wouldn't say I had a lot of close friends, because I was a very introverted person. I was beyond shy!! Although I think I'm more outgoing nowadays, I was the typical teenager who didn't fit in with one particular group, but didn't wasn't a total outsider. I was friendly with everyone and they were friendly to me, so I never had enemies.

A few months ago, my fellow Spencerians formed a 20-year reunion committee. Invitations was out, the buzz was loud, but I wasn't sure if I was going. First of all, The reunion would be in Columbus, GA. I live way out in Las Vegas, NV....Would I be willing to spend the plane ticket to see people I rarely hung out with when I was in high school?? Initially, I wasn't going to go...but as time went on and as I was thinking about the memories of Spencer High School. I must say I had a lot of good thoughts about that school.

You see, despite the awkwardness most teenagers are (myself included), the memories of High school are some of the best times in your lives. It's high school where you develop you social skills, where you begin to learn about yourself as a person. It's a place where you develop your first crush, but never pursued it cause you were extremely shy. It's a place where you gain respect for a particular teacher who believed enough in you to put you in a local contest even if you didn't think you deserved it but it helped you develop a strong confidence that your exhibit now...Thanks Mr. Hampton.

I'm proud to say I'll be attending my 20-year high school reunion, and I'll be happy to reacquaint myself with everyone I went to high school.. from my closest friends to acquaintances. I'm definitely gonna have fun while I'm there...and maybe..just maybe be a teenager for 2 days..I'm looking forward to laughing and reminiscing about four years of my life that partly made me the man I am today.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Poker Hands For Critique

This blog will be dedicated to some hands I've played the past couple of and tournaments...Every poker player is looking for improve their game. A poker player who thinks he/she knows it all is not a true student of the game. I, for one, is always looking to improve my poker game and getting advice from other players is the best way to do it:

Hand #1 (Aria) 1-3 No Limit

Typical Aria game, mixture of tight and loose players. I'm sitting behind a stack of $500 after a couple of hours...Limper UTG (Loose, bad player behind a stack of $200) calls,  I raise to $12 with AQ hearts....folded to a tight player in Small Player with around $120 calls...Limper calls...3 to the flop....Flop comes A 9 10 (two hearts). Small Blind check...Limper leads for $40...Limper has $160 behind after the bet, and I'm pretty much gonna play this hand fast...With the small blind lurking behind, I don't mind playing for stacks with such a strong hand against these two players. Even if I'm behind, I'm pretty sure I have a ton of outs even if I'm called...I decide to apply maximum pressure and raise-all in. To my surprise both the small blind and Limper calls!!! Shit!!! Small Blind turns over AK, Limper has A9....I need help!! Turn is a K river is a 4....I lose both pots!! I thought I played the hand correctly, but after analyzing the hand, I may have overplayed it...Thoughts??

Hand #2 (Ballys) 1-2 No Limit

Arrived at Ballys around 7:30AM to a table full of drunken morons with monster stacks and they were throwing chips in the middle like it was out of style! Probably one of the best tables I've ever been at! But this hand involved the only non-drunk at the table. A gentlemen who was a semi regular at Ballys, who I'd call a pretty solid player...I raise a couple of limpers to $15 behind $350 stack with KK...called by two of the drunks...The solid player is on Big blind, instantly shoves $100 in the middle! Limpers fold... Because he's a solid player I immediately put him on AA, but after further thought I believed he re-raised to fast to have that big a hand. In my experience, anyone who has AA and there is a raise in front of them, you'll see a lot of stalling (or "Hollywood") to try and show weakness! This is what I sensed he was doing. My range extended to now included AK, QQ or JJ. My plan of action (Albiet, a risky one) was to cold call the raise, and hope the two drunks would let go of their hands and I can play my KK in position against one player. If I got called by either drunk, I would proceed cautiously. But to my surprise and relief, both drunk limpers fold. So I'm heads up against solid player. My plan was to go All-in to any bet unless an Ace, Queen or Jack flopped!  The flop comes 2 3 4 rainbow....Solid player leads for $125...I go All in...he instantly calls....Board comes runs out a couple of bricks...I show my KK, he taps the table and mucks....Later he told me he has QQ....Not sure if I played this hand correctly, but I loved the results...

Hand #3 (Santa Fe) $10,000 Guarantee No Limit Tournament

This monthly tournament attracts a pretty tough crowd, but there are still some weak spots to make it worth your time. It's one of the better tournaments in Vegas! The structure is awesome and it's run very well. Although I haven't had much luck in this tournament (In fact, I NEVER HAVE LUCK at SANTA FE), it's still one of my favorite tournaments to play. This hand happened in the middle stages...Blinds are 400-800, 50 ante....Two limpers in front of me with over 40,000 Each...I raise in Middle position with AQ offsuit out of a 25,000 stack...Limpers call....Flop comes A84...Both limpers check....I decided to pot control and check behind...this is one of those "polarizing" boards where I'm either way ahead or way behind...There's not much turn cards I'm afraid of...The turn brings an 8 diamonds, which not puts two diamonds on the board. The first limper leads for 2,200...Second limper folds...I would characterized his player as weak-straight forward...I've seen him limps with all kinds of junk but fold if he doesn't flop anything...maybe he'll take one card off sometimes...I decided to just call and reevaulate the river...The river comes 3 diamonds, now he leads for 4,400....Dammit, I definitely put myself in a bind. He's definitely representing a flush. I didn't think he'd bet an Ace on the river, so there's not much I can beat out there...maybe AJ or A10, which I felt was in his limping range....My initial reaction was to fold, but I'm a stubborn guy, and I reluctly call...HE turns over 64 Diamonds for a rivered flushed...Damn!! Two mistakes is I should have raised for value on the turn especially if I put him on a weaker Ace and the fact that a flush came I should have made him pay dealer to draw. On the river, I need to go with my first read and go with it...Fold was the correctly play on the river...

Critiques please!! Thanks...

Friday, April 6, 2012


I hate bad beat stories!!!
I hate bad beat stories!!!
I hate bad beat stories!!!

Did I mention how I hate bad beat stories??

As a poker dealer, you hear kinds of stories that people "think" are "bad beat stories. It usually starts with I had "pocket Jacks" or "pocket Aces". Funny how it's all bad beats involves Jacks or Aces...never Kings or queens or 75 off suit. Dealing for 6 years, and hearing countless "bad beat" stories, you pretty much become immune to the next one. After a while, you learn to just nod your head and say, "I know what you mean."

I've been playing for 10 years and dealing for 6 years, and I wanted to take this time to tell you about my all time favorite bad beat story...I've told this story numerous times to other dealers, players, and anyone who wants to hear it's time to tell it to my blog readers. I hope you'll enjoy it as much as I enjoy telling it:

In 2002, I used to play 4-8 Limit at a casino called Boulder Station on the east side of town. It's a 98 percent locals room, which houses probably the juiciest game in the entire city...It's a 4-8 Limit Omaha-High only. The game has been featured in a Card Player article...despite the game being only 4-8 game, there have been times where the game as had as many chips on the table as a 2-5 No Limit game!!

Anyway back to the 4-8 Limit Hold em game..I used to play this game every Friday. No Limit cash games were non-existent in Vegas. At the time, there weren't many poker rooms in the city: Mirage and Bellagio were the big boys. The smaller rooms consisted of Flamingo, Circus Circus, and the old Stardust

Boulder Station is part of  the Station Casinos properties which catered to the local clienteles. At the time, the only station casinos with poker rooms were Sunset, Palace, and Texas Stations.  These poker rooms had a unique progressive bad beat jackpot where if a bad beat occurred (I.e. Quads loses to Quads), not only do the casino where the bad beat occurred gets the majority of the jackpot (I think it was $150,000 at the time)...every one playing in the other poker rooms gets a share. So let's say the bad beat hit at Sunset Station, if I'm playing at Texas Station, I get a piece of the bad beat. Since there were only 4 casinos participating at the time, the player's share sometimes reached in the thousands. The qualifications for the bad beat lowered week when it wasn't hit.

On this particular night, I remembered distinctly cause I had a good night, I think I won about $150, not sure if I played good or ran good, but I was ahead all night. Around midnight, this old gentleman took a seat next to me and bought in for a hundred. I remember him being very tight, and when he was in the hand...he lost pot after pot. I never saw him rake in a single pot...Then it happened...I remember him having 40 bucks when he raised's folded to the another player who re-raises...the old gentleman capped it...The flop came K-K-x.  The old man led out...the other player raised...he just called...the turn was another brick...He checks calls...The river brings an Ace...Suddenly the old man bets out...The other guy raises...he old man re-raises...other guys raises again...the old man puts his last 5 bucks....Hands are turned over guy turns over Pocket Kings for Quad Kings, the old man turns over pocket Aces for Aces Full of Kings. The entire table erupts, as the qualification was Aces full of Queens must be beaten... High fives are thrown around the table as if we just won the lottery. The floorman makes the call to the other poker rooms, surveillance had to verify the hand, players from other tables trickle to our table to witness the good fortune and when everything is said and done..The floorman announces that we have a bad beat Jackpot, and because the jackpot took place around 2AM the player share was over $2,000!!! Winning hand gets $10,000. Losing hand gets $22,000!!!...The poker room explodes with utter disbelief and excitement..everyone congratulates the old man, who's grinning ear to ear that never left his face..Mind you he still hadn't won a hand!!!

While the casino gathers the jackpot money, our poker game continues..the old gentleman pulls out another 100 bucks for more chips...Again, the old gentleman continues to lose...I think he played 4 hands after that and lost each one...Finally our money came...They give the old gentlemen his $22,000...and tips the dealer $3,000!! Extremely generous man....and continues to player for another hour...Still he hasn't won a SINGLE HAND!!! I loses another $100, and finally racks up his chips and leaves...

This guy hits the Bad beat jackpot without EVER WINNING A HAND!!!! But I never seen a guy so happy to lose!!

About a month later, they put a picture of him on the wall of fame with previous jackpot winners and if you look closely at this picture, you can see my chips on the right of him, with my $2,000 and two racks of white chips...

It's been a long time since I stepped foot in Boulder Station, so I'm not sure if that Wall of Fame still exsit, but whatever happens in my poker life...that night will go down as the greatest poker night I ever witnessed!!  I don't think I'll ever be a part of something so unique in poker...

What a fun night!!!!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012


Alot has happened since my last blog update....combination of my trip to Reno along with working out late at night, has left me little time to sit in front of my computer to convey my thoughts to my readers. As I'm writing this, I just finished another workout, listening to "Here I go Again" by WhiteSnake, it's 10:40PM..this is the perfect time to update everyone on my trip to Reno, NV:

Went to Reno, Nevada to sweat my wife as she played in the Nevada Ladies Poker Championship. This is a chance for my wife to have a mini-vacation, which we try to do once a's a very relaxing and tranquil time I enjoy very much. My plan was to play a lot of poker. I played at the Peppermill and The Grand Sierra and I had a profitable session each time, but I found the games very tight, and unsocialable..just mindless people playing with their checks trying to grind out every dollar. This is a sharp contrast than the games I'm used to in Las Vegas. Yes, there are more "Grinders" and "wannabe" pros, but I like that fact that the Las Vegas poker games are littered with "Tourists" with disposable income to don't care if they win or lose...they want to find a good poker game, have social interaction with the players, and generally have a great time...In Reno, the tone is more serious, a little like playing in Los Angeles Cardrooms (Without all the hostility and fights).

I played a gentlemen who opitimized this point..."Mac" (As the floor and dealers called him) took a seat to my left and immdiately complained to the guy to his left to move over so he could have more room for his oxygen one of these...

One thing I notice about people who roll these things around a casino, is they are the grumpiest people I've ever met and get agitated really easy. Anyway, I notice this guy talking to himself the moment he got dealt his first hand to the moment he went broke (By me...thankfully)

Now I want to talk about my favorite part of the trip....During the Nevada Ladies Championship, I had the pleasure of having dinner with my wife's friends during her dinner break...I recongized one of the ladies as I dealt to her at Ballys. When I brought it to her attention, she said, I thought you looked familiar. After my wife left to complete the tournament, I stayed behind to continue my dinner with my wife's friends...they were talking about poker strategy which I absorbed intently. I'm always looking to gaining knowledge and these ladies provided me some interesting insights. One Lady in particular, London Gallagher (Who appeared in one of the World Poker tour Ladies Shows which featured Isabelle "No Mercy" Mercier) made the best anology about poker. London, I apologize in advance if I butcher Anyway, London said poker is like a football cause when you're the offense, the defense is always looking for ways to counter your tendencies so you're always looking for ways to counter whatever they do. It makes a lot of sense cause in poker, every poker player has tendencies, you're job is to find ways to exploit those tendencies to find the best way to beat them...Thanks for the advice, London!

The Reno trip was awesome because, despite my wife running bad in her tournaments, we were able to eat basically for free and have a profitable trip thanks to the wonderful game called 3-card Poker, where we won all our money.

On out drive home, we stopped by a small town called Beatty, Nevada for a piss break at a small casino called Stagecoach:

While I waiting my wife to finish her business, I walked around this small casino, to get a ideal of what they had...then I spotted this machine...

It's MEGABUCKS!!! Megabucks is the symbol of the Las Vegas dream everyone tries to achieve...stick 3 bucks in one for a chance at a progressive jackpot of over 10 Millions bucks!!! I starred at this machine for a solid minute, the thought what the hell, so when my wife came out. I told her lets stick 24 bucks in here and spin 8 times and whatever happens after 8 spins, we cashed out...So we did...and lol and behold...we won $100!!! Now, that's the profitable piss break!! LOL

For 4 days, we ran really well....what a nice trip to Reno, Nevada....."THE BIGGEST LITTLE CITY IN THE WORLD!"

Thursday, March 8, 2012


Today, I'm heading to Reno for a couple of days. My wife is playing the "Nevada Poker Ladies Championship" and I'm tagging along for 4 days of poker. I haven't played in two weeks, so I'm looking forward to getting a couple of long sessions in. Also, this is the perfert time to catch up on my sleep.

I've always said the most important commidity in your life is not's time! It seems I never get enough sleep. I always get to bed at 11:30PM..toss and turn cause my wife doesn't turn off the TV, and I wake up at 5:50 AM, usually to take my stepdaughter to her bus stop, then I come home and do P90x for an hour. So there are days when I feel extremely sluggish and just dead tired. On my days off, I'm always doing something with my family, so I try to get in a catnap now and then.

So this Reno trip comes at the perfect time. I'm gonna get a lot of poker and sleep in, and hopefully watch my wife take down the Ladies Championship.

I'm not looking forward to the drive. The drive from Las Vegas to Reno is brutal cause there is no "highway" miles. Your literally trying through every small town in the entire state. I used to believe that Reno, Las Vegas, and Henderson were the only cities in Nevada. I thought the rest of the land was used as a test site for the military to try out their latest Nope, there are other cities like Hawthorne, Sparks, and Indian Springs...with people milling around...even a WalMArt..and Yes, even small

Thanks to my iPad, I'm going to try to update my blog while I'm up there...Hopefully it'll be lots winning and lots of profits..:)