From Acapulco to the World Series of Poker

I’ve got lots of updates and opinions, so simma down na and grab a snack.

First, I indeed have purchased a condo in Acapulco. It is the first real estate purchase I’ve made since my brief, ill-fated townhome purchase circa 1994.

It also denotes a change in my lifestyle. After 3+ years of pretty much living out of my backpack and travelling the world, I am looking for a place, or two, to call my own.

Unlike my prior, failed condo purchase a few months ago in Acapulco, this place isn’t anything too special. It is just a studio apartment. But the location is nearly unbeatable. The studio is on the 29th floor (of 31 floors total) and faces the bay. And, as I said before, if there is a more beautiful urban setting than Acapulco Bay, I haven’t seen it. The building is right on the beach and has two huge, 5 star hotel style swimming pools (complete with bar at the pool and everything!). On the other side of the building is the main street known as ‘the costera’. The building is about as central on the costera as it gets. 50 meters from the building is disco row, restaurants and any amenity desirable. In fact, in the building itself are many restaurants and shops including a tacos al pastor place! I don’t even have to walk outside to get my daily taco!

The building is facing the exact right direction to receive Star Choice Canadian satellite TV which is receivable in southern Mexico with a 85 centimeter dish. The balcony is large so I will throw up a satellite dish there and get a 50� flat screen, sound system, Xbox and a few computers. And voila, the perfect bachelor pad.

I’ll be watching the Oilers next year, in January, in HD, at the beach. Excellente!

It’ll be another week or so to complete all the paperwork and then I’ll hopefully get possession. I’ll likely stick around there for a while (a month or two).

In the meantime, however, while I wait, I thought I’d fly up to Las Vegas and play in some of the World Series of Poker events.

Some may take some of my comments on the USA as being anti-American. I’m not, though. The US government is heinous, but most governments are to one degree or another, but the people in America are the same as anywhere… there are some amazingly great people and some horrible people.

Actually, that is probably the best way to describe America. It has the best of everything (for the most part) and it also has the worst of everything (for the most part).

Let me start with the bad. I’ve seen two people nearly get killed (hit and run on pedestrians), seen numerous heated confrontations and had two people actually make a point of remanding me for not tipping them enough (one of which was a taxi driver who I made very clear that he had best get back in his cab and drive away very quickly or I’ll give him a tip he’ll remember). I’ve also seen a collision between two morbidly obese people on their industrial strength motor scooters. The collision was only at 4mph and was over instantly, but the jiggling and rippling of cheese-looking, pasty fat white skin resonated long after!

But, I’ve also seen and met numerous people (mostly at the poker tourneys where I spend most of my time) who are really interesting and nice. I’ve also greatly enjoyed my stay at the Rio hotel (where the tourney is). It is cheap (actually everything in the US seems cheap now thanks to the perpetually shrinking dollar) and very nice and the service has been excellent. And barely a minute or two goes by without an attractive girl walking by, of every race and color. And it is just so nice to talk to them in my native language where I don’t sound like a complete retard… notice I said complete.

I’ve actually enjoyed my stay so much I briefly took a look at the local real estate listing, considering getting a little condo here and playing some poker on a more regular basis. But, I quickly nixed that. Hotels are so nice and so cheap here, I’ll just stay in hotels when I visit.

The rest of this blog entry is about poker, so if that doesn’t interest you, go ahead and click off.

I played in some cash games to start and was quickly well up. The winnings from the cash games paid for nearly all the tournaments I played. To date I have played four tournaments.

Sadly, though, on my first try at the WSOP, I got ZERO help from the cards. I must’ve played a total of 18 hours of poker and had, maybe 4 playable hands. I’ve never actually seen such a run of atrocious cards. I survived about 7 hours in two of the tourneys and made it close to the money… but it was almost ENTIRELY on bluffs and blind steals! If I would have just once gotten AA, KK, QQ, JJ, 10 10 or AK or AQ and got action it would have been a whole other story.

I played very well though. In one of the tourneys I hadn’t had a decent hand for 4 hours and I looked down to AQ. Finally, I thought… a hand I can actually play a bit! One guy before me min-raised and the next guy re-raised. I took a minute to survey the action… and remember, this is after 4 hours of getting 10-6 offsuit! Your average person woulda jumped out of their shoes to get in that pot. I surveyed and didn’t like what I saw. Based on their prior plays I put them both on monster hands. I FOLDED. They both ended up all-in. The hands: AK & QQ!!!! I was practically drawing dead! I later ended up all in with my small stack with A9. I got one caller, 66. The flop, A J 4… then 7…. Then, of course, 6. What can you do.

I made one bad call in the four tourneys, that I know of. I put a guy on a bluff and ended up all in with one pair against a made full house! I did learn from that, though.

And in the last tourney I stuck around for 7 hours stealing blinds and bluffing and waiting for ANY A or ANY K to go all-in on as I was very short stacked. It took nearly an hour to get it! I got AJ. All-in. Call. AA! Sigh. Not one break all week.

One thing is for certain, the level of play, in general, at the WSOP is far and away better than any I’ve seen elsewhere. Only the Sydney Star City casino has competition that is similar.

I don’t think I was out of my league… but it’s really hard to tell, given that I had no playable hands the entire week! But, for sure, I cannot include myself in the upper echelon (like with the Daniel Negreanu’s and Phil Ivey’s) yet. This I learned. But I never really had much of a chip stack to play MY game (my game is a lot like Negreanus… I’ll raise with almost anything and call with almost anything, content to use my post-flop reading skills to outplay them after the flop). But I was out played a few times this week. This definitely isn’t your half-drunk casino crowd!

One thing I learned this week is NOT to play rebuys at this level! I played a $1,000 buy-in rebuy. I walked up to the table at the very start and half the table had $5k-$10k worth of chips in front of them! People like Negreanu go all-in dark for the first 30 hands trying to build up a massive chip stack! And, in general, it works. Him and Phil Ivey and others were in the final 27 people in that tourney… but most of them probably paid well over $10,000+ to get there! Whereas I walked in, like a dufus, with my $2,000 and was quickly just run out, getting called by 3 people with ANYTHING, pre-flop and quickly I was out the door! It makes sense for the top pros to buy in for as much as $30k because if they get to the final table or win a bracelet, their sponsorship money increases by much more than the $30k. As for me, my sponsor, Team Berwick, isn’t quite so generous!

I am thinking of leaving on the weekend. Part of me wants to play in a few more tourneys and at least, once, get more than the amount of chips you start with, in front of me (I don’t think I had much more than the starting amount the ENTIRE week!!). I kinda feel unfulfilled leaving now.

But part of me already misses Mexico!

We’ll see what happens… go with the flow, as usual.