Gordie Brown At Venetian

I’ve seen ads for Gordie Brown for a while here in Las Vegas. It wasn’t until I saw him on Letterman that I decided maybe he’d be fun to see. Tonight was our night.

We caught the monorail (after I spent ten minutes looking for our ten trip pass) and headed to the Harrah’s/Imperial Palace station. It’s still quite a walk to the Venetian.

Why wasn’t the monorail run right down the center of Las Vegas Boulevard, where it would be an instant hit and remove a great deal of the vehicular traffic and congestion? It was poorly placed.

The big act at the Venetian is Blue Man Group. Gordie Brown is almost an afterthought. It’s an excellent show, performed tonight in a room 2/3 empty! That’s embarrassing for a Friday night.

Gordie is a singer/impressionist. Here in Las Vegas, the obvious comparison is Danny Gans. Gordie Brown compares favorably.

It’s obvious this show isn’t getting the same kind of support bigger shows get. There were four piecees in the band, plus Gordie who plays guitar. The staging is stark and modern in a hotel that’s mainly Italian and somewhat over-the-top.

The theater itself is very nice. I would guess around 7-800 seats. We were front row center.

Considering the audience was anywhere from 21 years old to death, Gordie took a lot of chances. Did they know Alanis Morisette? How about Eminem?

When the impressions weren’t 100% on the mark, the material was funny enough to cover. Among his best, Kenny Rogers, Sammy Davis and Michael Jackson.

It was 90 minutes of fun. I’m glad we went.

Big Boys Playing Poker

I am watching the 2003 World Series of Poker on ESPN 2. This is… oh, maybe the ten thousandth time this has been on TV. I know who won, and have seen much of the action before, but still enjoy watching. The reason is, TV has added an angle to the game which never existed before.

Let me backtrack a second. I was in Las Vegas, playing at a $3/$6 Texas Hold’em table at the Mirage Hotel. Two players were head-to-head. The first raised and the second paused, thought and then folded. As the cards were being mucked, he asked the winner what cards he had. The reply, “This is a pay-per-view game.”

It’s true. Unless you pay to see them, the winner’s hand is never shown. Was he bluffing? Did he have the nuts? You’ll never know unless you pay for the privilege. That is major power for a poker player. Without his hand being exposed, his true strategy remains a secret.

Enter TV. Now every hand is exposed from the deal. There is no secrecy. The play of a master can be dissected and understood. The huge advantage that a very good player might possess is gone.

Of course TV has brought so much new blood (and money) into the game that it isn’t quite a pact with the devil. Still, the curtain has been parted.

The players at the WSOP level aren’t that much better than those I’m playing with… but they are better. Every time I sit down (online) at a low stakes, one table tournament, there’s guaranteed to be someone who really doesn’t know what he’s doing. Yes, that person can win – Kenny Rogers was right in saying “Every hands a loser. Every hand’s a winner.” But over the long run, he’s going to get drained.

I am fascinated to see the odds displayed on the screen as the games plays out. Calculating pot odds is something I should be better at. I have a sense of where I stand, but if I could really make the calculations of my chances versus the pot, it would make me stronger.

Meanwhile, Helaine and I continue to do fine playing our online games. At last check we are up about $300 since August 2003.

Over the course of this weekend, I will try and play in some of the larger tournaments available (larger in participants, not stakes). Though the payoffs can be large, it’s unlikely I’ll cash out in any given weekend.

More Poker

It has now been 1&#189 months since Helaine and I started playing poker online. We continue to enjoy it and be frustrated by it.

Maybe we have the wrong expectation of good play. After all, to quote Kenny Rogers, “every hand’s a loser, every hand’s a winner.” Still, it kills you when someone goes in with a 2-7 off suit (statistically the worst hand you can be dealt) and wins on the river (fifth and final turned card).

As of last night, we were down nearly $150 and then we got warm.

I came in 167th in an 1,100 player $3 tournament (only the top 99 won money), felt lucky, and switched to a $11 – 9 player tournament. I finished first and won $44 (actually net $34). Then, this morning, Helaine played in a $5.50 – 9 person tournament and finished first for $22.50 (net $17).

So, we’re back under $100 down and still having good, cheap fun. Considering a $5.50 single table tournament can take 1.5 hours or more, it’s a reasonable way to kill time.

I think I said this in one of my blog entries that was lost when the website crashed: We have probably won versus the other players. Our losses are entirely to the house for their share (rake) in hosting the games. It’s good to be the house.