The Future of Poker

persuadeopersuadeo Red Chipper Posts: 4,367 ✭✭✭✭✭
...is and isn't what you think it will be. The good news is, part of it starts next week in Las Vegas.

I am going to be hosting a deepstack (uncapped buy-in, min 200bbs, super low rake) 2/3 game at the new Sahara in LV starting January 14th at 7 pm. For two years, I've run an infinite deep training game (a few of you know about it) and this is the live fruition of that weekly war. Now, I need butts in the seats and word on the streets to make this brave structure happen live. I know this sounds weird, but I think this very deep game is part of the future of poker, because we need, essentially, affordable, interesting pain. Let me know if you are up for it, here or through whatever channel. (I've negotiated it as a time game, so it is sweet cheap to play!) Thanks to all those who I've talked to here, then and now, Chris M./Persuadeo.

Comments

  • derdonkerderdonker San Jose, CA USARed Chipper Posts: 125 ✭✭
    Whoa, sounds like an awesome game !!
    no short stackers, uncapped, low timed rake, fun people !!
    Count me in !
  • sfx_beigssfx_beigs Red Chipper Posts: 98 ✭✭
    I'm curious your opinion on this. Conventional wisdom, really since the poker boom started, is that capped NL games protect the casual money. The belief is that the uncapped games of yore bankrupted the bad players so quickly that they just stopped playing. After Moneymaker and the meteoric rise of NL, capped games were implemented to keep that from happening again. What you're proposing is a high minimum buy in, uncapped game is the future. I'm genuinely curious what has changed in conventional thinking that supports this idea as the future?
  • TheGameKatTheGameKat Las VegasPosts: 4,745 -
    sfx_beigs wrote: »
    I'm curious your opinion on this. Conventional wisdom, really since the poker boom started, is that capped NL games protect the casual money. The belief is that the uncapped games of yore bankrupted the bad players so quickly that they just stopped playing. After Moneymaker and the meteoric rise of NL, capped games were implemented to keep that from happening again. What you're proposing is a high minimum buy in, uncapped game is the future. I'm genuinely curious what has changed in conventional thinking that supports this idea as the future?

    I'd go further than this.

    One rare topic on which I agree with Malmuth is that the conversion from LHE to NLHE cash was an unmitigated disaster for the health of the game. This is particularly true online.

    While the future of the "academic" game of poker may very well be ultra-deep, uncapped cash, the future of the game either as a social outlet or as a profitable skill game for those who put in the work is not. In fact, I'd argue NLHE cash is uniquely bad for either purpose.
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  • persuadeopersuadeo Red Chipper Posts: 4,367 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Good questions.

    Kat and Mason are right, the LHE to NLHE conversion was not a superior long term move. But this also like saying Rome should have stayed a republic. We must deal with the reality of the times. Everyone is perfecting and selling 100 bb strategies. Caps aren't keeping rooms from closing. Texas poker isn't booming because they play capped; it's the opposite. Did you once imagine using Monker solves at RCP for your 1/2 game at the Flamingo? Yet that is what is happening, not a push to play LHE.

    For those that love NLHE and its imperial decadence, even if it was the wrong road to go down, it is the game, and there is no Poker Boom without it. So, I'm open to and part of the movement to play it to its consequence, but at low stakes we can afford. That's what this is about. You shouldn't have to sit at Bellagio's highest stakes games to play deep stack poker and truly enjoy the NL part of NLHE.
  • TheGameKatTheGameKat Las VegasPosts: 4,745 -
    I think it's excellent you're providing this opportunity to those who are interested. What I doubt is that it represents the future of poker.
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  • sfx_beigssfx_beigs Red Chipper Posts: 98 ✭✭
    I think it's an interesting debate although dependent on the risk aversion of the population. I'm speaking totally anecdotally so keep that in mind. I would be hesitant to sit in a game where the maximum I would be willing to lose is a single minimum buy in. Even if it's deep and I theoretically have studied enough to limit the chances of going broke for the session. Now if an even smaller but similar formatted game can be offered and is a) beatable and b) profitable for the casino then I can see that. I know this is relative to the person, but $600 is not a small amount of money to lose.

    What influences the size of the game more - the size of the blinds or the size of the stacks? If I want to play cards and the smallest game in the room is $2/3 uncapped and the whole table has $2k in front of them... In my head, that's not a small game. Especially when, currently, that game is a $300 max buy in and the biggest stack might have $700-$1000. I'd be curious to see how something like this plays out with the general population and what the 'standard' buy in looks like.
  • persuadeopersuadeo Red Chipper Posts: 4,367 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Right, this game is definitely bigger than every other Vegas 1/3 game. It's not the perfect example of the idea of playing very small but deeper, or is at least relative to what is affordable to X bankroll. It is the implementation practical to the moment and opportunities presented to me.

    What the baseline Vegas population could handle is a perhaps a 1-1 game where everyone has 300 bbs. Now we have the risk equivalent of 1/3 but the skill challenge of a much more interesting game. I may try this at another casino, off-strip. (I've already run a live private game with this format and it was as popular a home game as I've been a part of, lasting several years.) However, i don't think it would run, for reasons we haven't gotten to.

    The good news is, I have secured certain important advantages for players by running it as 2/3. It's a stake and game size that can appeal to players from 1/2-5/10. That's a very different and unsegregated kind of social and strategic interaction. (In fact, I'm not going to put pressure on him by naming him, but one famous player you all know is curious enough to say he'll be there.) Further, I was able to find the minimum size that triggered a time game charge of 5$ per half hour - that's potentially less rake than you will end up paying in most 1/2 games.
  • sfx_beigssfx_beigs Red Chipper Posts: 98 ✭✭
    I may have seen a particular famous person indicate his interest which is pretty great.

    I hope the experiment works. I would love to play a $1-1 $300 game. And even with a $5/half it's going to be cheaper than any LA based game. Speaking of... convince one of the LA rooms to do this and I'll be there. Hell, convince them to play something other than 40bb capped games and I'll love you forever.
  • TheGameKatTheGameKat Las VegasPosts: 4,745 -
    sfx_beigs wrote: »
    I may have seen a particular famous person indicate his interest which is pretty great.

    I hope the experiment works. I would love to play a $1-1 $300 game. And even with a $5/half it's going to be cheaper than any LA based game. Speaking of... convince one of the LA rooms to do this and I'll be there. Hell, convince them to play something other than 40bb capped games and I'll love you forever.

    Right, on the other end of the spectrum, it's remarkable that essentially none of the LA rooms has experimented with low-stakes, semi-deep NLHE. I guess poker room managers are instinctively conservative.
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  • sfx_beigssfx_beigs Red Chipper Posts: 98 ✭✭
    edited January 13
    Right, on the other end of the spectrum, it's remarkable that essentially none of the LA rooms has experimented with low-stakes, semi-deep NLHE. I guess poker room managers are instinctively conservative.

    Somebody once told me the short buy ins kept the action junkies in the game. They like the lottery aspect of it. And deeper games require people to be all serious and I guess that's no fun.

    At this point I think maintaining the reputation of the "crazy LA games" is really what they want. It's their brand.
  • TheGameKatTheGameKat Las VegasPosts: 4,745 -
    I guess. I'd just think with ~100 tables they could devote a handful to deep-stacked play. Unless there's some CA state law that restricts it maybe.
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  • MnpokerMnpoker Red Chipper Posts: 166 ✭✭
    sfx_beigs wrote: »
    I think it's an interesting debate although dependent on the risk aversion of the population. I'm speaking totally anecdotally so keep that in mind. I would be hesitant to sit in a game where the maximum I would be willing to lose is a single minimum buy in. Even if it's deep and I theoretically have studied enough to limit the chances of going broke for the session. Now if an even smaller but similar formatted game can be offered and is a) beatable and b) profitable for the casino then I can see that. I know this is relative to the person, but $600 is not a small amount of money to lose.

    What influences the size of the game more - the size of the blinds or the size of the stacks? If I want to play cards and the smallest game in the room is $2/3 uncapped and the whole table has $2k in front of them... In my head, that's not a small game. Especially when, currently, that game is a $300 max buy in and the biggest stack might have $700-$1000. I'd be curious to see how something like this plays out with the general population and what the 'standard' buy in looks like.

    While the rake is different you can see the format play out at Golden Nugget Vegas. They have a 1-2 game where you will see $300 buyins, $30,000 buyins, and everything in between. It bring an interesting dynamic to the game with the small stacks in general playing really tight looking for a tier one pocket to double on and the huge stacks usually playing loose and trying to bully the short stacks
  • TheGameKatTheGameKat Las VegasPosts: 4,745 -
    Isn't the $30k stack always in front of The Duke, and he sells silver while waiting for AA?
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  • persuadeopersuadeo Red Chipper Posts: 4,367 ✭✭✭✭✭
    sfx_beigs wrote: »
    Right, on the other end of the spectrum, it's remarkable that essentially none of the LA rooms has experimented with low-stakes, semi-deep NLHE. I guess poker room managers are instinctively conservative.

    Somebody once told me the short buy ins kept the action junkies in the game. They like the lottery aspect of it. And deeper games require people to be all serious and I guess that's no fun.

    At this point I think maintaining the reputation of the "crazy LA games" is really what they want. It's their brand.

    Yes, the lottery aspect of the cap game is important to understand fully. Ed Miller urged people not to treat their game like a slot machine, but this can go beyond just a strategy analogy. The capped games and short stackers really are partaking in a simple version of the NL poker game, where one to three decisions, with the drama of people involved, compose what is the poker. This will always have a majority place and is the entry point of "NL."

    So don't expect that to change. The question is, what is the full game, and as the current constraints are solved, does the fuller use of each street of play provide any help? There is folklore that NL is the most complex game, but this only derives from potential bet sizing permutations reaching toward infinite. So that is where depth potentially comes in. (Consider that Range Convertor, the primary source of full solutions for the poker community, does not offer a bundle deeper than 200 bbs.) Another analogy thus springs to mind: while checkers is played here in the U.S. on an 8 by 8 board and is mostly considered a child's game, apparently there is a superior version on a 10 by 10 board, with more pieces, that is still quite interesting and challenging.

    In any case, the weekly game kicks off tonight at the Sahara. Parking is free and the casino is nice. See a few of you then.
  • TheGameKatTheGameKat Las VegasPosts: 4,745 -
    I'll buy the checkers analogy and add a chess one.

    That chess had no future was stated almost a century ago, and luminaries looked for ways to change things up. This included an extended board, new pieces with different moves, and so on. Later, Bobby Fischer introduced what is variously called Fischer Random or chess960. (One might also mention variants like Bughouse which are more akin to silly poker variants like double-board Omaha.) In all cases the fundamental motivation was that opening theory and deep lines had progressed to the point where many feared chess was becoming a battle of memorization. Sound familiar?

    In another parallel, with chess again leading poker, the advent of chess engines, and subsequently self-learning AIs, led to humans being clearly inferior chess players than machines. After a great deal of initial hand wringing, the humans realized that the machines were teaching them new facets of what chess was.

    And there was much rejoicing, and so on.

    Anyway, if ultra-deep play takes poker players "out of book", I'm all for it. And as mentioned previously, I very much support anything that provides poker players with broader choices in how they play, enjoy and explore the game.

    Hope it goes well tonight, Chris.
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  • persuadeopersuadeo Red Chipper Posts: 4,367 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited January 19
    Following up, the initial game went off and was a success according to all feedback. We filled two tables, with a short list which kept us going until 3 a.m. I'd say about half the players bought in for the min 200 bbs, and the rest varying amounts up to 2k.

    It was, predictably, a very social game with a lot of chatter.

    "DGAF" of the Sessions podcast will be covering the game in a release next week, so you can hear more about it then.

    The key will be the coming weeks, when I won't necessarily have as many friends filling seats. Consider coming out and taking a shot this Thursday the 21st if you are in the area.
  • AndrewStephenson11AndrewStephenson11 Red Chipper Posts: 1
    Poker is becoming more and more popular and has fans from young to old. The German-speaking area in particular is growing year after year. The tournaments are getting bigger and bigger, the guaranteed prize money skyrocketing and millions are guaranteed. Is online poker dead? No way and it will never come to that. Enthusiasm is great all over the world and the market will still wake up even if certain countries continue to isolate themselves from the market.

    And if something unexpected happens suddenly and some countries join us again in the future, so much the better. If not, the world won't end either. The Asian market in particular, which has huge potential, is gradually growing and bringing a lot of new players to the tables and most of them are not particularly good, in Asia there are almost no opportunities to improve your game if you are with you Europe compares. Of course that will change a bit in the future, but that will still take a while and the Asian market is simply huge.
  • persuadeopersuadeo Red Chipper Posts: 4,367 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Update and Affordable PLO
    So we've passed ten weeks of running this game. The main table has filled each time; a second game less often. The game itself has been greatly enjoyed by those participating, which is not a surprise, and some of the comments, especially around the idea of it reminding people of "how poker used to be" confirm that many players enjoy the challenge and more social atmosphere it creates.

    That said, it is clear that it is a challenge, or at least, more of one than some like. Many players, despite a transparently positive experience, have not returned to the game, and many strong players, who I know personally or can track on social media, end up playing in softer games on Thursdays. Second, and something I suspected, the extremely low rake of this game isn't a big draw, despite many players bemoaning rake in general. So I while I think we've established a healthy niche with slow growth, it's clear personal motivations and general inertia matter quite a bit when making game selections.

    On a related note, Mason Malmuth himself didn't initially like games such as this being encouraged. We talked about this and all things live card room on a Poker Zoo podcast which will be released very soon.

    Going in the opposite direction, I am opening a super-low stakes PLO game on Tuesdays starting today at Sahara. There is a lot of desire to play PLO in the community, but the bait-and-switch of 1/2 + 5$ bring-in keeps many from playing, as it's simply too big and much of the low stakes traffic goes to app games instead or disappears. So to make it affordable, this game will be 1/1 with the normal math, no bring-in, and a 50$ min buy. The Linq ran a game like this before, but that poker room is long gone, as far as I know.

    So, if you're a local, consider helping me get this game off the ground tonight and next Tuesday. (The Sahara is on Poker Atlas, not Bravo.)
  • TheGameKatTheGameKat Las VegasPosts: 4,745 -
    I would be there were it not for a lack of transportation and vaccination. But this is a great idea. The old game at The Linq was an absolute hoot. Despite it being $1/$1, I saw a total of at least $5k on the table during the series on multiple occasions.
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  • persuadeopersuadeo Red Chipper Posts: 4,367 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Update:

    After three full months of running the deep stack game, I have a good sense of where it falls in the poker ecosystem.

    I can always get a game, and usually a full table, together. More than one table happens about 20% of the time. So the big picture is: the game works but growth is slow.

    The game has not cannibalized the 1/2 games at Sahara, which are on the rise, in spite of Mason and others' concerns. In fact, what I have seen is players seem to behave like more or less rational actors, and include or exclude themselves without much confusion or regret. When it is the case that a noticeably weaker player comes in and gets stacked more than once, he/she tends not to return and potentially risk more. Games and stake levels, it seems, sort themselves out perhaps even more nicely than we might expect, despite fear over "recs" busting and leaving poker.

    Conversely, the hunt for soft games is even more important for the average reg than I suspected. Many competent but not particularly special players have put in several sessions but have informed me through word or action that they can do better elsewhere and that is what matters.

    Of significant interest: I wasn't under the illusion that it would make all the difference, but the extremely low rake of the game is not the biggest draw or even a significant part of player retention. While rake gets a lot of air time in various poker discussions and media, it does not seem to be nearly as key as the wish for a soft game. Only one player in the deep stack pool has mentioned this as his primary driver to playing in the game.

    What has made it successful is clear, however. Definitely the 1) combination of the challenge of deeper stacks, and 2) sociability of the game, both of which are widely commented on. The feeling of "having fun again at poker" is a repeated phrase from the deep-stack player pool. Older players tend to be reminded of "how poker used to be." Further, the simple act of introducing everyone at the table, literally the least thing that I do as host, carries a great amount of weight and lightens the mood significantly.

    As a strategy, I'm deliberately not pinning hopes on name recognition, as I don't believe that is a sustainable way to grow, but it's worth mentioning that we have a had a parade of various poker "celebrities" in the game. They seem to enjoy it, but with a caveat. The unusual stakes, which seem to be not small but not big, make it less of a priority to return for 5/10+ type players. Again, the efficient self-sorting of stakes, and the wish to find soft opponents seem to be primary drivers of games.

    Finally, I did go the opposite way with PLO, and have carried off a 1/1 game with a small buy in to limited success each Tuesday. I thought this would be more immediately popular, but so far it doesn't have the critical mass yet.

    Anyway, contact me if interested in getting more info, and in fact we are having some requests for the game to run other days, including one this Monday, if the day of the week is keeping you from giving it a try.
  • TheGameKatTheGameKat Las VegasPosts: 4,745 -
    Surprised the low rake doesn't have more of an impact. Thanks for the update, Chris.
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  • sfx_beigssfx_beigs Red Chipper Posts: 98 ✭✭
    TheGameKat wrote: »
    Surprised the low rake doesn't have more of an impact. Thanks for the update, Chris.

    At first thought, I’d be surprised to but then I remember that I play in LA where the absurd rake isn’t a deterrent at all. It doesn’t even get mentioned at the table unless there’s a player who refuses to chop the blinds. I think the only players who care are the ones obsessed with scratching out every tenth of EV which is a pretty small percentage of players. at low stakes anyway.
  • TheGameKatTheGameKat Las VegasPosts: 4,745 -
    Vegas locals certainly howl when it goes up, but maybe it's just their natural love of complaining and they don't actually respond to good deals.
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  • KossKoss Red Chipper Posts: 32 ✭✭
    I'd guess a good portion of rec players couldn't tell you the drop amount, nor do they even really notice it. I've always assumed that rake was set more around what the poker ecosystem will support. There's a minimum amount required to make it worthwhile for a room to host the game, and that seems to be around 10% to $5 with a no flop no drop. I know of very few places that have lower.

    But I imagine if rooms thought they could get away with higher rake they would. But if they bleed players dry too often then they are essentially tanking their own business. A good salesman once told me "Milk the cow, don't rip her tits off."

    I'll be in Vegas this June, and will try to make it a point to check out the Sahara. I will echo the opinion that deep stacked and sociable poker is fun, but without some bad players in the game, it may not be worthwhile. I've managed to find a good combo of all three playing at PH or MGM during the series. Their 2/5 runs uncapped, with many being $1K deep or more. They are tougher games, but still profitable.
  • KossKoss Red Chipper Posts: 32 ✭✭
    One other question and a comment too. So is this a time raked game? I was new to poker as the LHE to NLHE transition was happening, and in my home casinos in Detroit the NL games all had time rake of $6/half hour. The reasoning at the time was that dealers were taught to count the pot in bets, and the NL game messed with that, so this removed that. Within a couple years they went to traditional % rake. While I understand that the time rake may be less that what we would otherwise pay (and incentivizes looser play) the psychological effect of seeing $12/hr come off your stack was a barrier, especially if you were losing. The advantage to traditional rake is that you don't see it leave your stack until you get pushed a pot, which is an otherwise happy experience. The pros will understand the difference and prefer the time rake, but if that's only an incentive to pros, and it's all pros showing up, no pros will want to play, and you have no game.

    As someone who comes to Vegas for about 4-7 nights per year, usually in June (I hope the WSOP stays in June!!!!) I do seek out games like this. I'm normally a $1/$2 and online player. Back home when I'm trying to win and build my roll, game selection is important. But in Vegas I'm looking to just let loose, have fun, and stretch my roll a bit. The challenge of playing against tougher opposition can be part of that, and it's why I seek out some tougher and deeper 2/5. I would never play in a known tough game more than a few times a year, so I see the challenge in getting and keeping it going. Maybe these are games that will be more successful during the series when you have more semi/pro players like me in town seeking games outside of our normal comfort zone, than during the other reg infested 11 months of the year. The other option is spreading it less but hyping it harder when you do. My home casino does this. We usually never have games beyond 1/3 semi-capped (match the stack is the buyin, which is fun). But once a month or so they will start a list for a Friday night 1/3/10 game, and it will usually fill up pretty quickly. No one would play this game if they offered it every day, but by hyping it at certain times, they can get it going.
  • persuadeopersuadeo Red Chipper Posts: 4,367 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Thanks for your extensive comments, I'll try to answer each one that seems to want a response.
    Koss wrote: »
    I will echo the opinion that deep stacked and sociable poker is fun, but without some bad players in the game, it may not be worthwhile.
    Right, so this always a relevant question. If you are playing strictly to reach an hourly, a harder game is, obviously, always a bad idea. However, is that what occupies the mind of every single poker player all the time? The answer is actually no, because there is a competitive as well as recreational aspect to the game as opposed to just (immediate) financial interest. For this reason, one of the strangest pilgrimages in poker is the one where grown, successful men fly across the country to stay in crappy hotels and hunt small, soft games for a couple months a year.
    I've managed to find a good combo of all three playing at PH or MGM during the series. Their 2/5 runs uncapped, with many being $1K deep or more. They are tougher games, but still profitable.
    Those games are known for being fun and active, and no one could blame you for seeking them out. However, part of their appeal is in fact the depth, which in turn also draws the action players; Vegas standby games like the Bellagio or Caesars are 100 bb cap. In other words, while you and others all over have raised concerns about running into tougher players in deep environments, the same players and their targets often seek out deeper games when they run. It's hard to have it all - max reward and min risk.
    So is this a time raked game?
    Yes, it is 5$ per half hour.
    The pros will understand the difference and prefer the time rake...
    It's true that pros will notice the rake more. However, even very novice players interact with the rake on a regular basis. For example, they love to chop the blinds. In a time game there is no incentive to chop. Now, a funny thing happens sometimes: players who are accustomed to chopping are hesitant, at first, to play the blinds when sitting in a time game. What's happening, in addition to often overestimating the rake loss of continuing, is they have effectively cut themselves off from learning how to play and prefer to be protected from playing SB vs BB. This curtails their development, and thus is 1) a good reason to play in a time game when offered, and 2) why I always recommend to students to play their blinds in reasonably raked games.
    ...but if that's only an incentive to pros, and it's all pros showing up, no pros will want to play, and you have no game.
    Concern with pros is overstated. For one thing, actual professional players are quite rare. Mostly what we mean by "pros" are in reality young people on an extended poker vacation. Second, "pros" are not a monolith. In other words, the quality of their play varies considerably. Many of the "pros" that have passed through my game are worse players than the "recs," especially if they are my students or simply students of the game in general.
  • TheGameKatTheGameKat Las VegasPosts: 4,745 -
    Concerning WSOP, as you may know it's in Oct/Nov this year. It'll probably return to June, although unless you have work constraints I'm not sure why that month appeals given the climate. I guess one could argue that if you never go outside, you're doing Vegas right, but we have a lovely Fall here.
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  • KossKoss Red Chipper Posts: 32 ✭✭
    It's sort of a work constraint. The climate is actually the reason I'm there. I work for a car company and we do hot weather testing in the Vegas summers during June. Usually for about 4 days out there in the city and in Mt. Charleston. We like to hit at least 110 degrees. The work days are long but my nights are my own and I enjoy the influx of cash games and nightly WSOP tournaments. My experience is that overall Vegas cash game action is significantly worse outside of the WSOP months.
  • TheGameKatTheGameKat Las VegasPosts: 4,745 -
    edited April 27
    Yeah there are two schools of thought on that. I personally never play live poker during WSOP, outside the occasional low-stakes PLO game or Wynn tournament. In most cash games, the number of hands/hour drops by 50% while the posturing and anti-social behavior triples.

    ps: that sounds like a pretty neat job!
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  • kenaceskenaces Red Chipper Posts: 1,580 ✭✭✭✭
    TheGameKat wrote: »
    Concerning WSOP, as you may know it's in Oct/Nov this year. It'll probably return to June, although unless you have work constraints I'm not sure why that month appeals given the climate. I guess one could argue that if you never go outside, you're doing Vegas right, but we have a lovely Fall here.

    I didn't know that :)

    I might have to spend a month in LV this year to play some poker and do some rock climbing as Oct/Nov is the best weather for it in Red Rocks!

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