Day 1 of the WSOP Poker Academy at Caesars Palace. The main message was: “Be a sponge”. The more information you can get about the players, their betting strategy and their tells, the better. Poker story.
I learned quite a bit already and today is a full day with a tournament in the evening.
After the workshop, we went to the fancy nightclub, Pure, for a reception. I sat down to a guy that didn’t have a badge and we talked for about 45 minutes before Phil Hellmuth Jr. (The Poker Brat himself) came by and asked if there was any food in the joint and then I found out that I’d been talking to Phil Hellmuth Sr. For the non-poker players, Phil Hellmuth Jr. won the WSOP Main Event in 1989 and has won more (11 — now 14) bracelets than anybody.
Phil Sr. & I talked about everything from Scooter Libby to Paris Hilton to Oakley Sunglasses to Wisconsin (he said he’s from Madison, so politically he’s left of left) to poker to how it is to have a famous son and more. I thought I was going to go for about 30 minutes and bail, but I stayed for 2 hours.
I stayed at the fabulous Caesar’s Palace Casino & Hotel while at the Academy.
Annette “Annette_15” Obrestad
On day 2, we had several hours of presentations about strategy, we played and analyzed hands with pros dealing. We had Scotty Fishman and Annette “Annette_15” Obrestad at our table.
Annette is an online poker phenom. She’s from Norway and she started playing poker online when she was 15 and never deposited a single Krone because she started playing free roll tournaments. She’s won about $3.5 Million in online poker tournaments so far (as of 2007). She can’t play in the USA because you have to be 21.
ESPN filmed the simulated games for a future WSOP show. I didn’t get on film this time.
I think that Greg Raymer was the most helpful of the poker pros.
Joe Hachem was also fun to listen to. On the final day Phil Hellmuth Jr. told a bunch of stories and basically said that since he, Greg & Joe play completely different styles, you just have to find your own style and the more you play, the better you can get.
Ex-FBI profiler, Joe Navarro — author of Read Em and Reap
Read Em and Reap — Learning about non-verbal communications
I think this was the most fun day of the Academy — having ex-FBI profiler, Joe Navarro, tell us how to use non-verbal communication to read your poker opponents. I had gotten his book and read it over the weekend and it’s amazing how many things people to subconsciously that give away what they are thinking. We found out that the most honest part of the body is the feet and the least honest is the face.
I highly recommend this book. Read ’Em and Reap: A Career FBI Agent’s Guide to Decoding Poker Tells
I was able to use what I learned right away in the very nice Caesars Palace Poker Room. One guy would rub his nose when he was bluffing and a woman scrunched up her lips when she saw a card she didn’t like. I used this to my advantage and won a few bucks.
I was in the big blind with 5–3 of spades. Scrunchy woman leads out with a big raise (3x) and I defended my blind. The flop comes out 7–2–8 with one spade. She made another big bet and my read was she had pocket tens. I called and the turn card was the beautiful King of Spades.
She immediately pursed her lips to the side (I called it squeench mouth just like this photo) and just stared at the King and then at me and then at the King.
She made a bet of about 1/3 of the pot and I made a big raise with my 5 high flush draw. She kept looking at the King and back to me and then folded. After the hand was over, I heard her whisper to the player next to her: “I know he had Ace-King.” Bluffing is way fun!
They also have an excellent Chicken Caesars Salad that they bring to the poker table — it makes sense, eh?
Vegas in July vs. the planet Mercury
Greg “Fossil Man” Raymer (2004), Joe Hachem (2005), Me & Phil “Poker Brat” Hellmuth Jr.
My first photo op! We be stylin’, yeah!
Fossilman, Ozzie Joe and The Poker Brat. I guess when I get better, I’ll get a nickname.
Attending the WSOP Academy was fun, exciting and informative, so what else could you ask for? I learned a lot and I’m positive I’ve got more game.
I didn’t win a satellite tournament this year, so I didn’t get to play in the WSOP Main Event, but out of 180 attendees, I finished 20th in the academy tournament and I used a lot of my newly acquired knowledge.
I won all three times I played in the Caesars Palace poker room and then after I got home, I won a online sit-n-go tournament, so it hasn’t completely paid for itself yet, I’m positive it will in the future.
Hopefully, California will get legalized online poker again some day. I was doing really well when Poker’s Black Friday shut it all down. I was at my peak and luckily PokerStars paid out right away.
Here’s an easy riddle: What’s the difference between Las Vegas in July and the planet Mercury? A: Las Vegas is hotter.
Since I had workshops & tournaments from morning to evening, I didn’t leave Caesars Palace for 4 days and I had my car in valet parking. They had obviously parked it in the direct sun and July 5th set a record for the date at 116 degs, so the inside of the car was probably 150+. I had a plug in car fridge and that melted and warped. I’m just glad the Red Bulls inside didn’t explode. I had to toss it because I was afraid that the motor that cooled it off was damaged.
Mystic lake casino
When I started to drive the car, it felt like that tires had melted into the pavement because it would only go really slow. Also the button that lets me lock & unlock the doors didn’t work until I got back and went to the car wash, so I guess something was deformed and the cool water made it work again…
I had the water bottle you see in the cup holder and the bottom softened and deformed, so now it’s convex and won’t stand up any more. The gum that I had changed its chemical composition and turned into something really yucky. So the moral of the story is to self park and not on the roof.
The last two night I spent in Vegas, I stayed at the Renaissance Las Vegas Hotel. It’s an excellent hotel and less expensive than the hotels with a Casino. The beds are very comfy and the showerhead pressure is massive compared to most hotels and they had a nice plasma TV with free HBO.
The best meal I had in Las Vegas was at the hotel restaurant — Envy The Steakhouse. I met a very nice server, Alina Gold, and I had never met anybody named Alina. She told me it’s a common name in Russia and also now in Cuba and the latin community because Fidel named one of his daughters Alina. Her mother defected from the USSR and Alina was born in Nepal and I’d never met anybody born in Nepal… We had a very enjoyable evening as it wasn’t very busy and I told her about the poker and about reading people. The next night I went back for dessert and she treated me to some excellent raspberry sherbert.
I’m sure to go back next time I’m in Vegas.
This is the end of WSOP reporting. I hope you enjoyed my stories. If you are a Poker player, you should save up and play at the WSOP.
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