Sunday, November 27

Why, Oh Why, Didn't I Buy A Powerball Ticket Last Night?

This Is Seriously Scary

I haven't gone into complete hibernation; as I said a little while ago, I've been working my rapidly-shrinking ass off.

One of the few ways I'm staying plugged in to the Internet is by the NDToday Message Boards, but even then, my conversations are mostly confined to the weekly football game prediction threads. Here's what I said about Stanford:
Giving them too much credit? Perhaps. But they have a bowl game to play for, and for no other reason than they'd just like to [mess] up our season.

So I say we get out, but pretty close.
This was the justification for my prediction, which was . . .
ND 38
Stanford 31

Made a little earlier than 4 PM yesterday.

Not a bad call, all around.


Saturday, November 12

The Most Heartfelt Message I Can Deliver To Veterans

I Know It's Late, But It's Worth It

Thank you.


Friday, November 11

When In Rome, Part Three

The 2005 World Series Of Poker Circuit Feature Event

(And Other Stuff)

(This entry crossposted to Steal The Blinds.)

Judging by the excitement on the faces of the ten lucky players who qualified for the $10,000 WSOPC Feature Event through the supersatellite, and the buzz permeating through the poker room all night long, the feature event was going to be a major event.

It wound up being pretty disappointing.

The first problem was the event location. If you look at the entire 2005-06 WSOP Circuit Event Schedule, you can clearly see one location doesn't belong:

Las Vegas
Elizabeth, Indiana
Las Vegas
Atlantic City
Atlantic City
San Diego
Atlantic City
Las Vegas
New Orleans
Lake Tahoe

A derivative problem here was timing. The opening events of the WPT event at Foxwoods ran concurrently with the final table at the WSOPC, plus the 2005 WSOP Tournament Of Champions started just a few days afterwards. This meant that many of poker's brightest stars probably just as soon skipped coming to Indiana. (Some big names did come; more on them later.) When the cards were in the air, only 127 players had showed up. This created a respectable purse of $1.2 million, with a top prize of more than $437,000; but that was still less than even the smallest event from the 2005 WSOPC, the New Orleans event where Jeffery Lisandro pocketed $542,360.

But the biggest problem was just with the way the tournament ran. While the newly-remodeled poker room at Caesars Indiana was gorgeous, and the actual machinations of the tournaments went off without a hitch, the tourney as a whole seemed to be disrespected. For the early part of the tournament, even though there appeared to be plenty of tables in the poker room, all but two of the tables in action were outside the poker room, in the adjacent wing of the boat.

Here's the travesty: while I was playing $4/$8 limit Hold'em in the brand-new poker room, with the WSOP logo imprinted everywhere, the actual WSOP event was being held in the "Burning Of Rome" room, which did look spiffy. But they hollowed out the middle to fit in the tables. Imagine twelve tables in two rows of six, bunched together as tightly as sardines, with a bank-lobby divider separating them from not just railbirds, but from dozens and dozens of blinking, whooping slot machines.

According to one knowledgable person, this was due to an Indiana gaming law which made it so that all casino cash games had to be held in the poker room and nowhere else. I believe this; Indiana has some goofy laws, and can sometimes be downright puritannical.

But there was no reason they couldn't have put more of the tournament in the poker room. Almost all of the tables in the supersatellite were in the poker room (the Ladies' Event was going on in the Burning Of Rome room). Or, if Caesars Indiana felt they simply had to hold the tournament in a different area of the casino, then move all the slot machines, or just TURN THE DAMN THINGS OFF. It couldn't have been that difficult.

I can't understate what a distraction this must have been both to the pros who were looking to win hundreds of thousands of dollars, and also to the schmos who just wanted to make the most out of their tournament. I play once a week in a bar, with a pounding stereo, and the scene in Caesars Indiana was worse than that. One pro I talked to said it was "driving him crazy" (he busted out very early); another admitted befuddlement that I was playing nickel-and-dime games while they felt like they might as well have been playing from inside a phone booth.

I would be very, very surprised if the WSOPC came back to Indiana next year. Or, if they do, whether any pros will bother to show up.

Who did come to Indiana? Glad you asked.

Mark "Big Daddy From Cincinnati" Hanna found no luck in the supersatellite, so he had to drop ten large and buy in. Men "The Master" Nguyen was there, and did very well. Scott Fischman busted out early, as did Gavin Smith. Caesars Indiana poker ambassador and former University of Louisville men's basketball coach Denny Crum finished in 59th.

But here are six names you might recognize:

Carlos Mortensen, David "The Dragon" Pham, Kathy Liebert, Erik Seidel, John Juanda, and Chris "Jesus" Ferguson.

Like the shirt? You want it? 'Cause I'm giving it away to whoever can bust me in a $24 + $2 tournament. I'll have details when I put it together, but for right now I promise you a way to get in — free. Just register at Full Tilt Poker using the links here or the bonus code MARCHRON, deposit $50 in real money, and earn 100 FTP Points, and I'll buy you in myself. Swear to God.

Liebert, Seidel, and Fischman were all seated at the same table when play started. Jesus showed up late. I only stayed until after the dinner break, when Caesars Indiana finally wised up and moved the biggest tournament they may ever have into the actual poker room. Liebert, Seidel, and Jesus were all at the featured table.

The last thing I did before leaving was get Men The Master's attention. One of the TVs was showing a broadcast of the 2003 WSOP, where Men was playing out a hand. He stopped what he was doing in the hand in front of him to admire his play on TV. Egotistical? Yes. But that's why he's Men The Master.

Unfortunately, I was unable to get pictures. No cameras were allowed on the boat, and I was such a goody-two-shoes about the rule that I forgot when I encountered Jesus, John and Carlos outside the boat in the pavilion, by the buffet, that I could get a picture with them. So you'll have to settle for this:

Larry Kang had a media pass and got to take nicer pictures. (You may have to cycle through to find them.) Those pics do reveal who won, so if you're waiting for the ESPN broadcast, tread lightly. Jason Kirk liveblogged the entire tourney, and was lucky enough to hit the town and party like a poker star several hours after I left.

If I had known Chris Ferguson was going to a Halloween party dressed as a pimp . . .

(Photo: Larry Kang)

. . . I would have stuck around.

(Edited 11/12 1:34 AM to add the STB link.)


Thursday, November 10

When In Rome, Part Two

The 2005 World Series Of Poker Circuit SuperSatellite

(This entry crossposted to Steal The Blinds.)

I've kicked around the idea of writing my own little treatise of no-limit Hold'em tournament play, and in the WSOPC satellite at Caesars Indiana I managed to violate the first two rules of my forthcoming bestseller. Rule #1 is to always know what the buy-in is. This I knew: $200 + $25 (meaning $200 went to the money pool, $25 as the house fee). But I didn't discover until later that the tournament had re-buys and add-ons. I'd never played in a tournament that had re-buys and add-ons, and had never even heard of a satellite with them — I thought it defeated the whole purpose of a satellite (allowing players with smaller bankrolls to make bigger tournaments) to make it so that players who had higher ambitions needed to spend more money.

For those of you who've never heard these terms, they're basically exactly what they say. A re-buy is to poker what a mulligan is to golf; if you bust out, you can buy back in by matching the original buy-in amount and receiving the same amount of chips. An add-on allows you to tack on more chips at a certain point in the tournament. The $225 supersatellite allowed unlimited rebuys for the first three levels (90 minutes) for any player at or below $200 in tournament chips (meaning it was perfectly legal to re-buy before the tournament even started — three people did just that at my table alone). At the 90-minute mark, all players were allowed either a single or double add-on: dropping $200 would purchase $200 more in tournament chips; $400 would get you $400 in chips.

Rule #2 is to factor in the blind structure — both length of the level and steepness of the blind increases — when making decisions. The levels were thirty minutes and started reasonably at 5/10, then 10/20 and 15/30. But after the add-on period, they got stiff: 25/50, then 50/100 and 100/200. This isn't too terrible — if you brought enough money to re-buy and then purchase a double add-on — but I only brought about another $200 for side games, plus blackjack and craps. This meant that I couldn't play as conservatively as I normally would in the early stages of a regular ("freeze-out") tournament. Well, I shouldn't have played as conservatively, anyway. I did, and it cost me.

Here's two examples. After taking down the first pot I entered with pocket kings, I found myself in the small blind with Kª/5ª. Two players limped in, I chucked in another fiver to call, and the big blind checked to see a flop of 10©/5©/5¨.

I bet out 25, and after two folds, the button raised to 50. A min-raise. In a regular tournament, I wouldn't want to let someone outdraw me, so I'd raise enough to telegraph that I was holding trips. And I did, raising to 150. He folded.

After the fact, though, I thought about it. My opponent didn't seem like the kind of player who was savvy enough to raise with just a flush draw. I was crushing almost any other hands he might have been holding; given his preflop limp and his small raise, he probably had a 10 with a weak kicker. I probably should have just called, in the hopes to extract another bet, if not all his chips. A dangerous play if I allowed him to outdraw me, but with a hand that strong I should have been thinking about how to win more than a grand total of 80 chips with it.

Later on, in the second round, I held Aª/10ª in middle position, and raised to 75 after action was folded to me. The big blind, who re-bought before the tournament started, called.

The flop came A©/9§/6§, and he immediately fired out a bet of 125. This represented less than half his chips but more than half of mine. I could have been ahead at that point, but a lot of hands crushed me (ace with a better kicker, two pair) and some had good draws (ace plus a flush draw). Faced with such a large bet, I gave it up. I probably should have been a little more aggressive in that situation; doubling up would have been very important, and if he did have me beat, I could always re-buy.

Most of the rest of the hands I played were straightforward. Here's a fun one: when the blinds were 15/30, action folded all the way around to the small blind, who went all-in for his final 55 chips. I'm in the big blind for 30, and am facing a bet of 25 into a pot of 85. I can call with virtually any hand, and I look down and see 5ª/3©. I called.

With cards that awful, it was almost certain that I was "drawing live" — that is to say, my cards weren't in common with his, making it so that I was an underdog, but only a 2-1 underdog as opposed to being a 3-1 or 4-1 dog if I were being dominated. My pot odds were better than 3-1, so it was an easy call. He turned over Aª/9©, and though I wasn't proud of it, I busted him with my trashy cards when fourth street paired my 5. (I still should have busted him with my trip-5's earlier; at least that way I would have spared him the ignominy of breaking him with 5/3 offsuit.)

My unluckiest moment came a few hands later. On the button with A§/J©, I raised to 100, and the big blind and the under-the-gun limper, a nice-looking but fierce-playing Asian lady, called. The flop came Aª/10©/Q§, and she put me all-in. It was a trivially easy call at that point, and the big blind called as well. I thought that if I wasn't already beat by A/K or A/Q, then hands like A/10, K/J or Q/10 might have just overtaken me. But the turn K§ gave me Broadway, and thoughts of tripling up danced through my head.

After the BB and the Asian lady checked around, my dreams of tripling up were dashed when the river came J¨. Now we all had the nut straight and a 3-way chop. My profit for the hand was one-third of the small blind: 5 chips. Even worse was that I did have them both beat: the Asian lady had a smaller ace, and the big blind, who played rather donkishly, had K/10.

After the third round came a 10-minute break, wherein any player who wanted an add-on (or two) could stick the requisite amount of money under their stack so the staff could chip them up. In went my fun money, and I went to catch a break. When I returned, the blinds slowly gobbled me up. I tried doubling up with pocket nines, but the early position raiser chickened out. At the 100/200 level, I was down to 375 chips, and went all-in under the gun with Q¨/8¨, figuring Q/7 is the statistical median hand, so Q/8 suited is technically better than average. I got two callers, and dreaded being knocked out by the unspoken "check it down" conspiracy. But the flop came Q§/4©/7©, and the remaining players fought it out, with another winding up all-in. They had A/J and J/10, so I was way ahead. Another Q came on fourth street, leaving them both drawing dead and me tripled up, for real this time.

It was short-lived. Before the blinds could get to me next round, I went all-in from early position with 6¨/6ª. I had a bad feeling about going all-in from such early position, but with the blinds so high and me so short-stacked, it was undoubtably the correct play. The nice Asian lady immediately called. I grimaced. I saw that it was for all but 75 of her chips and winced. I asked her if she had a pair, and when she said "Yeah!" I cringed.

A§/Aª. Try the veal, I'm here all week.

IGHN, placing . . . well, I don't even know where exactly I placed, it was that badly. About 250 players registered, but with all the re-buys and add-ons there was enough money in the pool to send ten players to the $10,000 Final Event.

But that's for the next post.

Given that I put myself in a corner by coming to the tournament short-rolled, I think I acquitted myself fairly well. Next time I won't forget the first two rules.

And don't feel too bad for me; after a quick trip to the nearest ATM I came back, played $4/$8 limit at the regular tables, and made back most of my "fun money."

(Edited 11/12 1:33 AM to add the STB link.)


When In Rome

Part One: Casino Review — Caesars Indiana

(This entry crossposted to Steal The Blinds.)

In my review about Trump Lake Michigan, I said that the poker room was "the nicest I've ever been to," and that when you're there, "you almost forget that you're actually on a boat."

Caesars Indiana supercedes both of those comments.

Harrah's Entertainment, Inc. decided to remodel the poker room at Caesars Indiana to accomodate the World Series Of Poker Circuit Event they hosted, and it's magnificent. The poker room now takes up nearly half of the bottom deck. The tables, chairs, and (most importantly after the nuisance at Trump) chips are all new, with the WSOP logo everywhere. Caesars Indiana set out to create the biggest poker room in between Las Vegas and Atlantic City, and while I can't prove it, I certainly believe it. The room is huge, with more than 30 separate tables. They spread limit Hold'em as low as $4/$8 and as high as $200/$400, with a sprinkling of no-limit, plus Omaha and Stud games.

The decor is also fantastic. The section of the boat used to be called the "Movie Room," and they kept the motif. The room looks a lot like a movie or TV set, with track lighting and black ceiling lattices. The walls have large photographs of some of poker's brightest stars: Jen Harman, Johnny Chan, Scotty Nguyen, Chris Moneymaker, and the man who won the 2005 WSOP Main Event (I won't say his name, for the six of you poker fans out there who haven't yet had the results spoiled). TVs show sports action and tournament timers, and a large plasma TV at the front now keeps track of wait lists after they got the system online over the weekend. The adjacent All-In Deli serves sandwiches, dinners, and drinks.

And since it's Caesars, there's plenty else. If you've ever been to Caesars Palace in Vegas, the Hoosier version looks much like it, only on a slightly smaller scale. Outside the boat is a miniature empire, featuring the hotel, four restaurants (an upscale bistro, a bar/nightclub, a buffet, and a café), two retail stores, a convention center, and a conference room. Unfortunately, they're going to be spending an awful lot on remodeling: Harrah's, Inc. has decided to scale back the Caesars brand to just the "Palaces" in Vegas and AC. Caesars Indiana will become a Horseshoe next year, which means all the marble and architecture will be replaced. So if you want to see Rome in the Midwest, better book your reservation soon.

One more thing: Caesars Indiana also has no-limit Hold'em tournaments on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays. If the Saturday $200 + $20 tournament has the maximum 250 players, the top three finishers all receive a buy-in to the 2006 WSOP Main Event.

(Edited 11/12 1:32 AM to add the STB link.)


Wednesday, November 9

Hunting Season

It's A Full-Time Job Trying To Find A Full-Time Job

Sorry I haven't been around much; I've been working like an animal. Fifty-plus hours in my day job, plus I have the best chance to actually land a career since I graduated. So I'm putting a lot of work in.

This would be the point where I do a news roundup. Honestly, though, I haven't paid attention to nearly anything in the news. So no dice there, but I'm sure you can find opinions elsewhere. They won't be as weird as mine, but no big loss.

I've had just enough free time for one thing: a couple weekends ago I played in the World Series Of Poker Circuit Event at Caesars Indiana. I lost in the satellite to the featured event, but I've got a present for you. Stay tuned.


Location: Mishawaka, Indiana, United States

I graduated with an English degree from the University Of Notre Dame in 2001, and in 2008 I have a day job that has nothing to do with my degree but gets the bills paid in a semi-regular fashion. (I have running water five days a week!) The idea is that once I get turned around on my bills, I go to grad school. I also have an idea for cold fusion. Anyone's guess which will be feasible first. In non-work mode, I'm usually reading columns by famous and well-read thinkers, blogs by critically praised writers, or sometimes blogs by overzealous cranks who make me laugh. I yearn to be all three at once; until then I'll settle for being the third. I also have an undying love for the Chicago Cubs and Notre Dame football. Praise them and I'll buy you a beer; curse them and I'll dump it over your head. If that's not enough, I'm becoming quite the fan of no-limit Texas Hold'em. My games have one of two results: I either win all the money or whine because I didn't win all the money.

marchandchronicles -at-

Fair warning: I reserve the right to post any and all criticisms and flames, in their entirety. Seriously. Just ask this guy.

July 2006
May 2006
April 2006
January 2006

January | February | March | April
May | June | July | August
September | October | November | December

Essays on whatever I feel like writing about.

August 8, 2005: High Gas Prices
August 1, 2005: Judge Roberts' Hearings
June 20, 2005: Senator Durbin's Comments
May 23, 2005: Newsweek & Pepsi
May 2, 2005: Al Gore's MoveOn Speech
April 25, 2005: Lebanon
April 18, 2005: The Nuclear Option
April 11, 2005: Pope John Paul II
March 5, 2005: The Domino Effect
January 31, 2005: Iraqi Elections
January 24, 2005: Bush's Inaugural
January 17, 2005: Roemer, Dean & The DNC

WARNING: links, comments & trackbacks may contain profanities or other items of unscruples. marchand chronicles does not endorse any comment/opinion expressed in any such addendum.

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marchand chronicles has such massive readership and influence that it makes me weep.
—Glenn Reynolds


Damn right.


What's Your Line?


I absolutely love the name of your site.

Scott "Big Trunk" Johnson, Power Line
Just the name? Not the content? . . . I'll take it.

You have something in common with Dave Barry, Hemingway, and Mark Steyn: I'm not linking to them, either.


That's good stuff there Mark.

Dean Barnett, Soxblog
Psst, it's "Mike."

(click to buy)

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All text and original images © MMVI by Mike Marchand/Marchand Chronicles.

Okay, so I don't really have a copyright. But I still don't want you ripping me off. Reprint it all over the Internet if you like, but give me proper credit and link back to me. Besides, if you're going to plagiarize, steal from someone with some talent.

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