Wednesday, May 20, 2009

In Preparation for the WSOP

this isn't actually me
#1: Making all the hotel arrangements.
As part of the package I won, 7 nights of stay at the Monte Carlo hotel is included. Since I won't actually know if I've won any money yet after 7 days (we arrive on the 1st of july, I tentatively play my first day on the 6th) we booked the flights to stay for 15 days and just hang out in Vegas if I get knocked out early on. That way, should I happen to survive to day four, say, we wouldn't have to perform the highly expensive trick of rebooking the plane tickets.

Now, since Party pays for the first 7 nights of the hotel, and we're staying 14 nights, how do we work this out? Ah, Party informs me that as a service to me they can book extra nights for me and I can pay directly with my Party Points. Sounds like a great deal: Party has a similar system to Poker Stars where you "buy bonuses" with your points, and the exchange rate on "points to cash" for the hotel room would turn out to be as good as the best bonus. Plus, I didn't need to worry about the exchange rate. Awesome.

Except, here's what boggles my mind: They charge me $1,199 (or the corresponding in Party Points) for one week at the Monte Carlo. I assume they get good rates on the rooms in booking them, since they're likely putting at least 100 people in that hotel during those two weeks. So when I go to Monte Carlo's website and check how much it would cost me to book it straight through their website, without any coupon or special offer, I should really expect to find a sum higher than $1,199 for 7 nights, right?

You've guessed it by now, but the answer is "no." If I book the room myself online, it costs me about  $650 for a week. So, if I'm correct in assuming Party gets a good deal on the rooms they're booking, they're sticking a 100% profit margin on their own players who book rooms through them. Nice job, there. Incidentally, if I wanted to spend $1,199 on 7 nights at the Monte Carlo, I could get a suite for that amount. I'm almost tempted to do that.

#2: Baby Benjamin and cats
Despite my objections that he's a big boy now, Lori still insists that we bring him to Vegas with us. I thought we could have him stay home and watch the cats for us, but apparently he's "too young."

Flying 18 hours (not counting the time spent at airports) with a two-month-old is going to be a challenge, but we've arranged it with KLM that we get a "baby basket" that we hang on the wall in front of us - which also gets us seats with a wall in front of us, for better or worse.  So that should be OK. The hotel shouldn't have any problem in just sticking a crib in our room and now that I think about it, I think I'm going to call them and ask if they perchance have a baby stroller to rent/loan.

Also, because we're planning on getting Benjamin a dual citizenship (Sweden/US), we have to get him an American passport before we go. Apparently the rule is such that if an American citizen ever enters America on a passport of a different nationality, he can lose his rights to citizenship. And apparently this is also valid for two-month-olds who just haven't had time to get a US passport yet. So next week, we're driving him up to Stockholm to go visit the US Embassy and get all the papers in order. I assume they're not so difficult about this that if they fail to issue us a passport in time, they can't just give us a paper saying "it's OK, use your Swedish passport." Then again, Ben does look a little bit like a terrorist, so who knows.

The cats, however, cannot come with us. So we're scrounging up favors from people we know who may consider coming by our house once a day filling up their food bowls, emptying the litter box and making sure they're alive and well. So far, we have the first week covered, with some "maybes" for the second week, so it's looking good.

#3: OMG it's a tournament. LIVE!
If you know me - and seriously, if you don't, why are you reading my blog? - you know that I'm an online cash game player. I play 6-max 200NL and 400NL. I don't play tournaments, unless I'm trying to rid myself of Poker Stars FPPs and use them to buy tickets to the Sunday Warmup. So that's the entirety of my tournament experience; that, and reading Harrington on Hold 'em two years ago. So Alan - my former coach, now just poker buddy - suggested that I'd consider getting poker tournament coaching to make sure to straighten out any rough edges I might have, and so I contacted Matt Matros from Stoxpoker for a one-hour session talking specifically about the WSOP Main Event, what to expect, preflop play, flop play, day 1 play, bubble play, etc. It was a good investment, I feel, and not only for the information, but for calming my nerves a little bit.

The most important thing I could take away from the session was that if I get close to the bubble, there's absolutely nothing wrong with folding my way into the money. A cash in the WSOP ME would effectively double my bankroll, and my chance of going deep isn't significantly altered by me playing aggressively on the bubble since I'd still need to fade 600 more people before reaching the final table. Day 1 and Day 2, though, all my goals are aligned and I should just play my best exploitative cash game style. I was pleasantly surprised that Harrah's have increased the starting stacks this year and we're now starting with 300 big blind stacks, which gives a LOT of wiggle room for a skilled player, and I think that suits me perfectly.


So, I've gone from nervous to excited. This'll be fun!


Astafas said...

Just leaving a quick note here: very nice blog and I hope the WSOP treats you well!


Fredrik Paulsson: said...

Thanks; I appreciate that. :)

Short-Stacked Shamus said...

Best of luck, Fredrik! Enjoy (and make the most of) it.

Fredrik Paulsson: said...

Okay, this is getting spooky. People READ this blog? I must consider that in the future; who knows what I might accidently say!

(Hi Shamus; big fan of your blog, by the way!)

Icemonkey9 said...

Great post, i look forward to meeting you out in Vegas Fredrik. Looks like you should book that room yourself. Monte Carlo is right in the middle of the strip and for the price is a decent place to stay. Make sure you find a place to get a free shuttle to the Rio and back otherwise you'll be blowing a ton on Cab fares.

Fredrik Paulsson: said...

Oh, Party supplies the shuttle to/from the Monte Carlo, so it's all good. :)

Kevin said...

Good luck to you, FP!

Anonymous said...

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Fredrik Paulsson: said...

Oh? What was your college assignment?