It’s a great time to be a poker player in Reno. The Grand Sierra’s World Poker Challenge is going to kick things off and carry me through to the opening weekend of March Madness. I’ll spend that weekend on my annual golfing/drinking/gambling/pokering weekend in Las Vegas. But as soon as that’s over I’ll be back in Reno on the tournament grind, this time at the Atlantis for their inaugural All In poker series. Then we get to cruise into April for the Peppermill series. Just writing down this schedule makes me smile.
The World Poker Challenge has been running for a week. Normally I dominate the tables at any tournament series held at the Grand Sierra, so I was extremely pleased when they announced a $15,000 prize pool for the all-around best player. Unfortunately, so far I’ve been running like a three-legged dog with two legs tied together. (For those of you not from the South, that translates into “I’m not running well.”) I’ve gotten a huge stack all in with the nuts twice only to see my hand be crushed by the time we’ve gotten to the river. I’ve also run KK into AA twice, once short-handed at the final table. And I think I’ve lost about 90% of my all in coin flips. But there are still a lot of tourneys left in the series and I hope to start putting up some big numbers. Plus the structure at the GSR really is the best you can get for your money, so with just a little luck . . .
The opening weekend of March Madness in Vegas is a tradition with friends and family of mine going back to the 80’s. This weekend used to be one of the best poker weekends in Vegas bar none. Back in the day, Vegas was flooded with kids in their early twenties with trust fund dollars in their pockets and a bravado fueled by alcohol and pride in their college team playing in the big dance. These kids didn’t know much about poker but they had plenty of money to burn. It was a poker player’s paradise. The times have changed a little. The kids with trust fund money and more ego than sense are still there, but now some of them are internet poker phenoms who have played nearly as many hands of poker as I have. But it’s still a great weekend and the vibe around the sports book with a few minutes to go in a tight basketball game is magical. So if you can make it, I highly suggest you attend the party. And for what it’s worth, Kansas is my pick for a great team to implode early and mess up everyone’s bracket. Remember, you heard it here first.
The All In series at the Atlantis should be interesting. I’ve seen some of the structure sheets and the tourneys look like good value. If making it onto a TV final table is something you’ve always dreamed about, the $1000 main event should be of interest to you. The Atlantis is touting that the main event will be aired on an as-of-yet unnamed national TV channel. But before you rush to the bank and make a withdrawal to cover your buy-in, I have my reservations about any TV channel actually picking up the broadcast. TV poker seems to have reached its saturation point and without a million dollar prize or some big celebrity names, I just really don’t see a network being interested. But the Atlantis is a beautiful poker room and I’m eager to see how the new management does putting on a tournament.
Wow. Just laying out my plans for the coming month has me almost exhausted. I guess I’ll have to put off talking about the Peppermill until next time. And hopefully I’ll have some good results and stories to report from the GSR and Atlantis. Until then, here’s my one bit of advice, sure I’m stealing from Matt Damon in Rounders, but it’s still good advice: if it’s good enough to call, it should be good enough to raise – so raise!