Saturday & Sunday - Went to LA. Happy Birthday.

I went to LA for the weekend to surprise my sister, Cori, at her surprise party.

She was completely surprised. Happy

Pics here...

Now I am back in Vegas and getting ready for bed. Tomorrow is my big day. Think good thoughts...

Friday T-minus 3 days

I don't start until Monday, but I went to the Rio to see the first first day begin. It was crazy exciting. James Garner, who is playing in the event for the first time kicked it off.

I also got to see Wil Wheaton, who has been blogging the series for PokerStars. If you don't read his blog, you should.

And then there was this guy.

Joe Hachem, the current world champ is a class act. He was signing autographs for hours and never had anything but a smile and a nice word for the people who came to see him. Not bad for someone who won over $7 Million just one year ago.

Arrival in Vegas T-minus 4 days.

I made it to Vegas. No problems. I went to check into the hotel and they had a special counter for PokerStars folks. I was on their list, so it looks like this is real.

After checking into the hotel, I headed over to the Rio to check in for the event.

They have an expo going on there. A bunch of booths representing many sites and tons of poker products. And lot's of cute booth babes. Much better than Macword Expo on that account.

Now for the really cool part...

I am playing in the 4th first day which is Monday. Did I explain that? They have so many players this year that they split em into 4 groups of about 2000. Group A plays Friday. Group B on Saturday. Etc. Each "first" day the groups play down until there are 800 people. Then the Groups A and B meet on Tuesday, and Groups C&D meet on Wednesday. Both "second days" they play down to 700 people. Everyone had Thursday off and Friday the whole remaining field continues.

Update. They have even more people than expected. They have "alternates" waiting for people to bust out so that that can take their seat. I have heard that means the first day plays down to 900 instead of 800. It's madness.

See some cool people like Kenna James

And Ron Jeremy???

Loren at the World Series of Poker FAQ

Several friends have been asking me about my entry to the World Series of Poker, and I have realized that not everyone is the poker freak that I am, so I thought I would post the answers to some of the questions I have received.

Will you be on TV? When?

Sort of. ESPN will be covering the Main Event. It will be aired in a few months. Of course there are expected to be 8000 people playing, so the only way I'll get air time is if I am playing at the same table as some famous pro, or if I last a while. I prefer option 2. While I look forward to meeting all the pro's, I don't want to face em early in the tournament. ESPN will air the edited version of it all in a few months, but the final table will be broadcast live on PayPerView on August 10.

You won a seat. Do you still have to bring money to play with, or do they give you money to play with?

This is a tournament. For the $10,000 entry fee I get 10,000 chips that have no cash value. I keep playing until I have run out of chips, or won them all. The prize money is then given out based on how long I last.

How much can you win?

I think the top 10% get paid. Here is the payout structure from 2005. First place got $7,500,000 and that was with 5600 players. This year they are expecting at about 8000, so, it could be as much as 10 Million. And, of course, it could be no money at all. But either way, I'm gonna have a great week in vegas.

How did you win your seat?

I played in an online tournament on This was what they call a double shootout, which means that there were 81 people playing at 9 tables. Each table played like a single table tournament, down to 1 player. Then, the remaining 9 played another single table tournament down to 1. That was me. Entry fee was $160. Prize package was $12,000.

So you play online?


For real money?


Aren't you worried about that?

No. I play on well known/reputable sites, and I only play with money I have set aside for poker. Not my savings, nor my mortgage payments.

Do you play live too?

Yes. I play at a few of the clubs in Manhattan, and occasionally make my way to a casino.

Are you any good?

I think that I am better than average. Most poker players lose money. A small percentage wins. I am pretty much break even, which puts me ahead of the curve. And I am still learning. I tend to do better at cash games live. Online I try to stick to tournaments.

Did you say clubs in Manhattan? Is that legal?

The New York District Attorney has been quoted in the papers after one such club was raided as saying that they were just there for the people running the clubs, and that the players were not doing anything wrong and therefore had nothing to worry about. I have been at a few of these clubs during such a raids and it was fine. The police took all the money, but left the players alone. I hated losing my money to the police, but I could just as easily have lost it playing and this is a better story. I think we should take a lesson from LA, where they recognize Poker as a game of skill and make it legal.

What to you place your chances at?

50-50. Either I win, or I don't. Happy

Not doing the monday night movie tonight.

The weather is nice today, but the park has poor drainage and it is a swamp after last weeks deluge. So, Ungie and I have made the executive decision to not sit in the mud. Sorry to cancel on everyone, but it is what it is.

Catch you next time...

I won a seat in the World Series of Poker!!!!!!

Last night I played in a double shootout tournament. The format is 81 people at 9 tables. Each table plays down to 1 player and then each of those 9 goes on to the final table. For $160 entry fee, first place was a $12,0000 package to the main event of the World Series of Poker.

And I did it!!! I had been playing pretty exclusively online for the past few weeks trying to win a seat, and this was my last chance. Literally. This tournament started at about 11 and the final table didn't start until about 12:30.
PokerStars was ending these satellites at midnight, so this was it.

I was pretty confident that I was the best player at the final table, but luck is a factor, and I was the short stack when we got down to 3, but I stayed calm, kept breathing, and didn't do anything stupid. And the next thing I knew it was over and I was the winner.

I went in to wake Karen up. It was about 2 in the morning, but how could I not? You should have seen her pop out of bed when I said "I'm going to Vegas!" Happy

Ok. Now I gotta actually make my travel arrangements. Wish me luck!!!

Yet another nice tournament finish...

I played in that same 180 person tournament again tonight.

Well, I played in it twice. Missed the money the first time, but came in second place for $720 the second time.

That's first or second place 3 out of the 4 times I played in it. I gotta say, I'm feelin' pretty good.

Added some "Baby pics" to the site.

I have added this page of pictures from my youth to the site.

Another online Tournament win.

A few weeks ago, I blogged that I won a 180 person $20 tournament on PokerStars. Took $1080 for first place.

That was the first time I played in that particular tournament.

Last night I played in it again, and won again. It was crazy. I was destined to win this one. I got crazy lucky. Cracked Aces twice, had Aces, Kings and Queens a number of times. And most of the time they held up. But the time of the final table I had half the chips in play. Eventually, another player took some from me and we traded 1st place back and forth, but in the end, my A5 beat his A4 when a 5 came on the river to prevent a chop.

Man winning feels good. Happy

The Bris

Congrats again to Malinda and Sabi who's son is now named Josh. He's a cute little guy. I went out the Brooklyn for the Bris (yes, I really did venture to one of the other boroughs) and had a terrific time. It was great to see the Smolen clan again. Everyone looked great and they were all really excited that Cid and I were able to come out.

I didn't take a lot of pics. There was a photographer for that. But here are the few I did take.

Mazal Tov to Malinda and Sabi

New baby born on Monday, July 10. Going to the bris tonight, which is why you won't see me at the Monday Movies. Hopefully I'll have some pics to post shortly.

Cool music animation video.

This is really cool. Both visually and musically.

From these folks...

Flickr for online photos.

I've had a flickr account for a while, but have barely used it. Today I discovered that, with rapidflickr, I can incorporate my flickr pictures on my RapidWeaver built website.

My photo albums will still look pretty much the same, but now you can click on the icon below the pictures to access then on flickr and order prints, and such. I have moved some of the albums over already and should have the rest done in the next few days.

Home again...

I had a phenomenal time in Venice. Didn't get into blogging it, so you'll have to settle for the pictures. It was a great time.