The Blogger’s Tournament

The blogger’s tournament was at Aria on Saturday.  It was my first live tournament in a number of years and it made me very aware of how hard it is to sit for long periods of time at the poker table.  My neck hurt, my shoulders weren’t very happy, and my legs were cramped from the foot rail that runs completely around the bottom of the table.  Let’s face it, I’m getting old-er, and any time I’m confined to a seat for a long period of time, my body isn’t ready to cooperate.

Then one more problem – I have bifocals, actually need trifocals, and couldn’t see worth a shit so…regular glasses with readers over the top of them so I could see the cards better, and of course, my eyes and head hurt from the vision thing.  Now that all the whining about my discomfort is out of the way — I HAD A GREAT TIME.

I got there a bit early, had to hit the ATM for cash and got a brand new Hundo out of the machine, that was fun since I never see a $100 bill anymore, let alone a new one.  I took a few pictures around Aria and while at Bellagio, look for them at the bottom of this post.

I got my seat assignment and sat, a youngster took the seat on my left and we visited off and on.  A couple of people I knew came in and we exchanged hugs and ‘hi’ and the guy told me I was really popular.  No, just know these people for a long time is how I handled that but it wasn’t until about an hour into the tournament that I found out that he didn’t know what a poker blog was.  LMAO!  He had asked management if they had a tournament and they said ‘yes, one is starting in 15 minutes,’ so he jumped in.

I sat pretty much card dead for most of the tourney, just a few hands at the right time that helped me make the final table, and one hand I managed a major suckout after a desperation move trying to collect chips.  WHEEEE!  Gotta love it!

I failed to take a bounty with me because I simply forgot that bloggers usually give out a bounty to the one that busts them.  I busted one that had the bad fortune to pick up queens when I picked up aces and he gave me a Chris Moneymaker PokerStars silver coin that’s encased in a plastic protector with a series #.  I love it!

When we got down to 7 players, Dave Aydt, suggested a chop.  The tournament paid five places.  I was completely ready…as mentioned above, body discomfort…and I was going to make about $300 over my buy-in. But the 2s made a lot of noise and racket over nothing and we played a little longer…just long enough for the 2s to lose about 10k or more and out of nowhere he decided we should chop but after giving $1,200 to first, he was to receive $700, along with Irfan A. Khan who was second in chips.

Yours truly had a bit of a fit.  The 2s must have thought we were just going to lay down and let him take a pig’s share – I didn’t even check his chip stack but I don’t think he was third in chips.  I think he was closer to 4th place. After more twitching and jerking about his share, he finally decided a chop would work. And after checking a Facebook post from another blogger, the 2s isn’t even a blogger.  That doesn’t bother me, what bothered me was his attitude.  I even flipped out enough to say, “Who do you think you are, Phil Ivey? And we’re just going to let you decide the chop and the rest of us will end up splitting out what’s left over?”  That brought a laugh from my tablemates seated next to me.

I put in my two-cents for a tip for the dealers and it worked.  All of us except the 2s left something.

While at the tourney I did get a quick hello with Dan Michalski and Jen Newell and also got to visit for a few minutes with Bill Rini who I hadn’t seen since the first few years of blogger tournaments. Bill has been out traveling the world and returned to be the director of online poker at the – and brought a wife with him.  Good job Bill, and congrats!

Registration at Aria. I have no idea what the gold lightning looking symbol over the registration desk represents.  Anyone?

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The poker room from the casino.

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After we chopped up the prize pool Marie and I headed for Bellagio.  I wanted to say hello to Martin Harris, my editor over at who was covering the Five Diamond event for the WPT. Also in the works was connecting with Sylvia Hart (long time friend/dealing buddy) and Carmen Bates (long time friend and high brush on swing shift).

Everything went as planned. It was cold and windy and we got a ‘call ahead’ parking spot right by the elevators on the top floor of the parking garage.  Did I ever mention that I hate valet?  We stopped by Bellagio’s garden for a few pictures. A harpist was busy filling the garden with music and the polar bear was mechanically squirming on his small piece of ice. The Christmas tree was beautiful and the nutcrackers were standing guard by the walkway through the center.  Reindeer were flying too. Marie stopped long enough for a picture before we entered the walkway.

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The entire 2013 World Poker Tour Doyle Brunson Five Diamond World Poker Classic Event was held in the poker room at Bellagio.  It may have been a standard location for the last few years but it seems rather odd to me that they would give up the space for the live games to tournament tables. There were only six or seven live games running when we hit the room.  This is the trophy for the event.

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There were name brand players all over the place, Marvin Rettenmair, Antonio Esfandiari, Barry Shulman, Phil Hellmuth, Daniel Negreanu, and more.  With the tournament held in the room, it’s easy for the fans to walk through and gaze.

We arrived about an hour too early to visit with Sylvia and Carmen.  Sylvia’s shift ends at 7, Carmen’s starts about 6:45.  I found Martin and we got a few minutes to gab while he was working.  I ran into Eli Elezra just as he busted out but he stopped to give me a hug and a cheerful smile…Nice! I also got a minute to chat with Tim Walsh (one of the bloggers I played with at my first table) who was doing some media coverage for his blog.

Marie and I headed for Bellagio’s shops just to window gaze while we waited for the hour to pass. We both agreed on the clothing styles that were on display.  There were only two items that either of us would ever consider wearing.  Guess it’s a good thing they don’t rely on me for sales.

Back to the poker room.  A dealer was setting a deadspread and we took a seat, ordered water and wine from the cocktail waitress (wine for Marie) and had a number of dealers stop by to visit for a few minutes as they came in to work.  I caught up briefly with Carmen when she came in.  Sylvia got off work and went off to change her clothes, we were going to go to dinner at Mimis up in the nw by the old digs and Sylvia needed a ride home – she lives not far from there.  It worked out perfect.

I was so ready to just park my butt, have some food, and completely relax, and we did.  Then it was off to Marie’s place (my home for the weekend).  Marie and Gary are always so gracious and wonderful hosts when I make the trip in for an overnight stay.  I get the spare condo all to myself and it is set up with everything one would ever need to call home. My condo view gave me a perfect photo of the High Roller that’s going in just off the strip.

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Sunday was the day for heading home.  Marie and I had breakfast at iHop and I headed out to connect with Riot and Darian.  Riot was being a typical nine-year old…smart mouthed, lippy, and rambunctious…but still one of my favorite people.  Then I was headed home to Scout and Dan.

It was 30 degrees at Mt. Potosi/Spring Mountain/The Hump when I crossed it at 3 p.m.

So happy to be home, so happy to have gone and returned with more cash than I left with.  And so happy I have friends that are always glad to see me…as I am them.

About Linda R. Geenen

The easiest way to begin is to start at the beginning. But where is that? At what point does one suddenly decide they are going to spend the rest of their life involved in the intricate art of the dance? What is the art of the dance? A game about people - played with a deck of cards. Poker! I stepped into the poker world in 1980 in Missoula, Montana. I didn't know anything about poker, couldn't tell you what the difference was between a bet and raise, or if a straight beat a flush. I had three boys to feed, needed a job and a dealing spot was open in one of the local bars. I played my first hand of poker in a 5 Card Stud game (with the help of one of my bosses) and that was it! I was hooked. I lived, breathed, slept, dreamed, ate, and talked poker. I eventually ran my own games (licensed by the County) in several different bars in Missoula, and at one point, managed the games in the bar where I started my first dealing job. In 1987 I traveled from Montana to Nevada to deal major poker tournaments, returning to Montana at the end of each one. In 1989, I opened The Mirage – along with 6,400 other people. In 1993, I moved to Gulfport, Mississippi, and opened Grand Casinos Poker Room, returning a year later to Las Vegas and The Mirage. In 1998 I opened Bellagio - along with over 9,000 other employees. In 2003, I dealt the final table of the Aruba Ultimate Bet Poker Classic event. Hey…I’m on TV! I had the privilege of being chosen as the dealer in the Howard Lederer videos that have been released on No Limit Holdem. I play poker on a regular basis and I deal to every name brand player that is still above ground and breathing air, the elite, the freaks, the ne’er do wells, the rich, the poor, the illiterate, the educated, the beautiful, the ugly, the superstitious, the rational, the sane, and the insane. Perhaps I am the one that is insane but if I am, I fit right into the game plan. Five nights a week I walk into the greatest, social melting pot known to mankind. I no longer dream about it but the art of the dance is prevalent in everything I do - see you there!
This entry was posted in Dear Diary | 2 Comments

2 Responses to The Blogger’s Tournament

  1. Ten Mile says:

    Good to see the cash. However, what I missed the most, without knowing, since your retirement, was the Christmas Decoration pictures from the various houses. Weird, that.

  2. TM, Some of those decorations are truly fabulous. I miss them too! Marie and I’ve talked about my coming in after the 1st of the year and doing a photo shoot of the end result of City Center, since I have so many photos of the construction process. City Center is pretty amazing. Will get back with that if it comes to fruition.

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