Like a pincushion The Wesley Chapel 22-year-old who likes modeling but not being a target talks about being ousted from America’s Next Top Model. Gina Choe thought that America’s Next Top Model would be more about modeling and less about drama. “I was really naive,” she said. The theatrics of spending 24 hours a day with women she was competing against to win one of TV’s top reality shows was her downfall. Getting too caught up in them to do anything well, the 22-year-old Wesley Chapel resident got the boot by the show’s five judges in this week’s episode. “I know it was a reality TV show,” Choe said in a phone interview Thursday. “And it was about modeling and stuff. I just think some of (the drama) was really not necessary. . . . I just wish I would have focused on modeling instead of getting involved with fighting and having arguments with other girls and stuff.” Choe made the final round of 13 contestants after surviving a casting process that began with an open call at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Tampa. Her strength was her face. But from the start of the season, she was portrayed as someone with no confidence who became an easy target for one other contestant in particular: Jade, an obnoxious 26-year-old from Philadelphia who can’t understand why she isn’t a famous model already. Jade (Top Model’s network, UPN, won’t give last names until the contestants’ fates are determined) was shown tormenting Choe almost constantly. She told Choe that she didn’t have any sense of who she was. She belittled her at meals and in exchanges at the house the contestants lived in. She tried to intimidate her with long stares during the modeling challenges the contestants had to do. But she wasn’t the only one who made Choe’s confidence an issue. Other contestants were shown talking about how she lacked it. The show’s judges, led by series creator-supermodel Tyra Banks, brought that up when reviewing her challenge results. And many of her scenes portrayed her as weak, though she didn’t help herself. In previous episodes she was shown getting drunk at a dinner and having a long, loud meltdown over modeling an outfit on a runway while a roach was attached to her. “For the longest time,” Choe said, “I’m sure everyone watching thought “Gina is the weak one, she doesn’t know who she is, she doesn’t know anything about anything.’ ” Choe said she is confident, but the show was just too much pressure for her to handle. (Apart from getting on national TV, the contestants, of which nine are left, are competing for a $100,000 Cover Girl cosmetics contract, a fashion spread in Elle magazine and the chance to be managed by Ford Models.) She said she doesn’t blame anyone, including herself. Or Jade. “I’m just not used to people not liking me,” Choe said. “I think if we met again, I would definitely be a little bit more tough, not mean, but not be as weak as (Jade) saw me. She’s not a big bully or anything, just very strong-minded, very opinionated. There’s really nothing wrong with that. I’m just not used to it.” But still, Choe’s favorite episode was her elimination one. Because when Jade pushed her to a breaking point (by sitting on Choe’s bed when Choe got out of the shower; okay, not a big deal, but it was at the end of a long, hard day), Choe finally stood up to her. “At least . . . I confronted the girl who was picking on me. I felt like justice was served, and I showed I was not as weak as I was perceived,” she said. Back home, the bay area native is studying fashion design at Tampa’s International Academy of Design & Technology. She still would like to model, too. She has been asked to model in the school’s annual student fashion show in May. “I don’t know if I should do it,” Choe said. “I’m just kind of thinking about it.”
America’s Next Top Model 6: Interview With Gina, 4/1/06 The latest to join the ranks of Top Model discards is Gina, who had a combination of qualities that must have had the producers drooling – and I’m not talking about her killer cheekbones. Gina seemed to be always in a flustered state; gasping with shock at the show’s surprises, brought down by a giggle from across the room, frozen by nerves when asked to pose on the fly. And throughout all the petty drama and grammar-school mind games, her every emotion played out on her face. Yes, Gina was a Top Model producer’s dream, and she emerges a little wiser from her trial by fire in the land of model meanies. Make that a very little bit wiser. Hello Gina, thanks for speaking with me today. No problem, you’re welcome! So…you were involved in quite a few controversial moments on the show! Does it surprise you to know you are the most talked-about Cycle 6 contestant on our website? Oh, wow, really? Yeah, it does surprise me a lot. Do you see yourself as someone who stirs up controversy? No, I’m really not that way. I guess just being on the show, I was kind of out of my comfort space and I felt like I was kind of thrown into the show. Not being able to have my family around or my sister around to support me, I think, I just kind of acted out. It was always in the back of my mind that this is going to be on national television and I was just so nervous about so many things, and the whole drama between me and Jade kind of made everything worse. I don’t try to stir up any controversy at all, it just happens! So the first time viewers raised their eyebrows was when you said you proud to represent Asian models, but then later said you don’t date Asian men. Can I ask you about that moment? Yeah, we can talk about it – that’s a good thing. I think before I even went into the room with Tyra and the Jays, I went in thinking maybe if I show them that I’m really strong about being Asian, they will think it’s something they can use on the show. I thought that would be an advantage of mine. But then when I went in there, I just kind of froze up because I was scared. When I get nervous I tend to just blurt out the most dumbest, randomest things ever, I swear! At the same time I was just trying to digest the whole thing – you know, me being there, the whole thing’s going to be on national television, and that’s Tyra Banks sitting right in front of me. I think it just all caught up with me and it messed up the way I was thinking. If I could start over, I wouldn’t say that I would want to represent all of the Asian community because that’s definitely not my intentions, and when I said that I didn’t know what would come along with saying that. I definitely would want to take that back. If I could say that, I would have to be a perfect Asian person who knows everything about their culture, everything about being an Asian person. I really don’t know everything and I definitely would want to take that comment back. I feel horrible because I’m sure there are a lot of people out there who watched the show who are so ashamed of how I acted. And I don’t blame them. I just feel really bad and dumb for saying that. It sounds like you really regret saying that. I feel that way because even after I came out of the room and I was all done, I felt so horrible. I actually cried because I didn’t know exactly what I had said, but I knew none of it had made sense. I know I said some things I shouldn’t have, so I cried when I went back to my hotel room because I knew I couldn’t take it back. I think I was just so nervous that I said the most randomest things. I messed up and felt bad. When you watched it on TV, what did you think of how it came out after being edited? I didn’t watch it when it first came on, I watched it after someone recorded it for me. From that point in the tape on I just didn’t want to watch it anymore because I knew people would be thinking, “Okay, she’s not my favorite girl anymore,” or, “That girl’s confused; she doesn’t know who she is, she said the most dumbest randomest things ever and she contradicted herself, and then she’s going to say she wants to represent all Asians? That’s horrible.” So I felt like that was the lowest point in my life because it wasn’t just in front of Tyra, the Jays, and whoever else was there, it was all of America – and there’s a lot of Asian people in America! I felt like I let a lot of them down by my actions then. What do you think of your makeover? Were you expecting something more dramatic? Oh, yeah, definitely. I’ve always had flat, straw hair. I don’t mind it, a lot of people tell me they love my hair, but after having that for 22 years, I just kind of wanted something big, something poofier, something different. They just gave me a blunt cut with blunt angles. It grew out to be basically the same haircut I had before the makeover. What was your favorite photoshoot? My favorite photoshoot was the bald one because not everyone gets the chance to be bald and then get their hair back. Plus, the crystals and makeup – it was very beautiful. Not just mine, I think all the girls looked beautiful with no hair, and the way that whole thing worked was great. You think that you need hair to be beautiful, and it’s definitely not true. We realized it and people who watched the episode realized it too, so it was my favorite photoshoot. Did you think you would really have to shave your head? (Laughs) Yes! Couldn’t you tell, did you watch? Yeah, the camera really zoomed in on your face at that moment. There was no one else there, there was no scissors, there was no bottles of hairspray or anything, so we just figured, oh my gosh, they’re serious, they’re going to shave our heads! At that point, I was just thinking, what am I going to do what am I going to do. I was wondering how long it would take to grow my hair back. But I was willing to do it! Whether you believe it or not, I was willing to do it. I definitely would have done it. You were the perfect audience for Tyra’s little misleading rhymes; meaning, it looked like you really thought you were going to have to shave your head, and you were surprised by the cockroaches (weren’t we all)? Did you find the little hints and word games fun or just annoying? I love how you bring these things up because yeah, that’s true. I just felt – ugh. I just felt like I was under attack in a way. I don’t know how to say it exactly, but I just felt like, “Oh, another surprise,” and then another, and I was just so tired of it. I wasn’t getting enough sleep, and not being able to talk to anyone about it, it really made me feel alone. I really thought about it a lot. I thought, “Are they really doing this on purpose?” Of course they were. That’s what I would say, at least. But in the beginning I didn’t realize it, it wasn’t until a little afterwards that I thought that. And then it was my time to get eliminated, and by then I thought that maybe they did do all that on purpose. It’s fine, because I can’t turn back time. I wish I had known because that way I could be a little more prepared for it. I definitely feel like I was just thrown into it. I was so naive and I didn’t know what to expect. You say that you didn’t know what to expect – had you not seen the show before? I didn’t really watch a lot beforehand. I had heard about the show and I watched a little of the previous shows. My mom used to work at this building here in downtown Tampa, and a lot of customers would tell her that her daughter was pretty and should try modeling. We would constantly hear these remarks. My mom said that maybe I should pursue it. Then a woman came in that told us there was a casting in Tampa at the Hard Rock Casino, and told me to try out. My mom said I would have nothing to lose, so why not at least try out? I got accepted, so I was like, yay! Is modeling something you want to go on and pursue? Yeah, if I have the opportunity I would definitely do it. I don’t want to be bitter about what happened on the show. It’s just a show. There are so many aspects to modeling, and if you have the opportunity, why not take it? If I have the chance I definitely want to do it. What did you think of Janice Dickenson? (Laughs for about fifteen seconds) Well. Okay, when I first saw her, I thought she was very outspoken. I didn’t really know much about her. But when we were at the restuarant, she was being very loud and stuff like that, but I thought she was pretty cool. Then that whole thing that happened, I felt like I didn’t understand what I did wrong because she asked me to point out someone. I was like, “I don’t want to say.” I didn’t want to point anyone out. She really pushed you, at least it seemed that way. Yeah, she did, actually. I didn’t know what to do because I felt like if I didn’t say anything, she’d bite my head off, and if I did say something she would bite my head off, and she kept on asking so I figured she really wanted an answer. That’s when I pointed Jade out, and she just went ballistic on me. I was like, “But you asked me!” and she just didn’t want to hear any explanation. But it just wasn’t fair because she had just asked me plenty of times to point out someone, and I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who would have pointed out someone, it’s just that with her being so persistent. It was weird. I don’t know what to think about Janice, but that whole thing was weird. Did she do that with anyone else – ask them to point out someone causing them problems – and they just didn’t show it? No, that was it. They didn’t do anything else, and she didn’t talk to me after that. I think that was definitely one of the things that I don’t want to look back on. Let’s talk about Jade for a moment. Where did all the animosity start? They didn’t really show this. The first thing was before the press junket. Someone asked her if she was Asian, or had some Asian in her, and it was just her and me alone in the room. Her answer was, “HELL no.” I thought that was kind of rude, but I didn’t say anything at that point because I didn’t’ want her to jump down my throat about it. I never had the opportunity to just be with her alone again to talk aobut it. But later we were at the table eating and all the girls were there, and I thought that it really bothered me what she had said about me, so I decided I was just going to approach her about it, you know, just pull her to the side and talk to her about it. When I did that, everyone else was saying, “Oooh, what’s going to happen?” And Jade said that if I wanted to talk about something everyone should know. I told her that wasn’t true, not everyone should know about what happened. She said I should just bring it up to the table since I already pointed her out. I said I didn’t point her out, but she said, “Just do it.” But before I could say anything, she said, “I know what this is about.” She didn’t even let me explain, and it just went from there. All the other girls chimed in and I guess all the negativity started from there. How much did she affect your confidence? I really hate to admit it, but…a lot. I’m just so used to being friendly with everyone, just being polite and nice to everyone. I’ve never really come across anyone who doesn’t like me or who just hates or even dislikes me. From that point on, she would just be negative towards me. I didn’t know how to handle that, and I didn’t’ have anyone to talk to about it. If I did, I’m sure they would talk about it with their friends, and Jade would chime in, and it would just turn into a group ordeal, and I didn’t want that. Would she actually make comments about you while you were doing your photoshoots? Yes, she would. I definitely think she thought that I was a threat, and that she thought by doing that she could hinder my performance. And it worked. I’m sure she saw it working, and that’s why she was persistent with it. After all, it is a competition, and I’m sure a lot of the girls will do anything to win. To us it looked like the more you questioned yourself and seemed shaken, the more Jade seemed to be gaining in confidence. Yeah, exactly. The funny thing is that I didn’t realize it until after I got home. When you’re there, and the stress is so high, you’re so high strung, and you only get a few hours of sleep every night, and it’s after hours and hours of makeup and photoshoots, you’re just physically and mentally tired. Everything just piles up on you and you don’t realize a lot of the things that you would unless you’re out of the whole competition. When I got home, that’s when I realized that maybe she thought I was a threat, and the more she saw me being vulnerable, or me being weak in her eyes, she thought it was a bigger opportunity to gang up on me and make me not do well. And when she saw me not do well, it just made her even more confident and strong. I definitely see that now. I wish that I could have seen that earlier. I wish I could have just built up my self esteem and not let the little things get to me. In the end, I’m never going to see Jade again. Unless I run into her or something. I’m sure that will never happen. What was going on with those poses in the judging panel? Oh, gosh. With the fire suit thing? They didn’t really show me doing much, and that’s because I really didn’t know what to do. When people ask me to do things, and I’m caught off guard, and I didn’t prepare for it, I do the most dumbest things ever. (Laughs) I just didn’t know how to pose and I froze because I was so scared. By that time I knew it was my time to go, so I tried my best but I knew it wouldn’t help my position much. The whole fire suit thing really caught us off-guard. They didn’t give us any information, just told us to do three editorial poses with it. It’s not something that’s real light, it was this big heavy suit and these boots. I didn’t know, was I supposed to wear these? (Laughs) I just wish they would have told me what to do because that way I would have known, but they just gave it to me and told me, “Three editorial poses.” How did you feel when you got eliminated? Because it almost seemed like you were relieved. (Laughs) You’re so funny. I was. As bad as it sounds, I was really prepared to go home because I kind of dug myself in a really deep hole from the beginning. I feel like if I could start things over I would do things differently and I think I would have stayed a little bit longer. I felt that it just wasn’t my chance to shine, and it’s okay, and I accepted it and was prepared for it. I definitely was relieved to go home. It was a really bad environment for me because I wasn’t prepared, and I was just looking forward to seeing my friends and family back home. FORT would like to thank UPN for granting the interviews, and we wish Gina all the best in her career – as well as in dealing with any “mean girls” in her future.
Hello everyone, I'd like to add some content to the poker community in the written form on an ongoing basis. I'm not a Vlogger and have no idea how Brad Owen, Doug Polk, or Dnegs do their videos with background music, graphics, and such (however, I am a huge fan of all of them), so for me, the best way to share content is in the written form with potentially a couple of pictures sprinkled within. Please let me know how I can improve my posts (and my game, lol!) for the future, and I hope you enjoy the read!submitted by jtex316 to poker [link] [comments]
This tournament review will essentially be my second one, as I sort of reviewed the Seminole Hard Rock Deep Stack Series Event #1 last month.
Background / Details:
Seemingly, every poker player and their mother is out in Las Vegas for the WSOP and having a great time. However, the "working man" like myself can't make it out there this year - fortunately, living in West Palm Beach, FL provides me the opportunity to compete in many well-structured and large-fielded tournaments throughout the year. For example, the Seminole Hard Rock series runs four times a year, whose Main Events have become legitimate "stops" in the professional poker circuit.
However, I'll have to wait until August to review one of those tournaments. Today's tournament review covers the Seminole Hard Rock June Big Stack Special.
Buy-in / Structure:
This NLHE tournament is a two-day, multi-flight event with a buy-in of $130. There are unlimited re-entries up until the start of Level 9. Players start with 15,000 in chips with blinds at 100/100 (Structure Sheet). Day 1 ends at Level 14 and the Day 2 restart is on Sunday.
There are 7 starting flight total - I played in Flight E.
I drop off my kids at Summer Camp and head down the Florida Turnpike. I'm a hard rock / heavy metal kind of guy, so today's playlist is all Metallica. The very first song that comes on via shuffle is "Master of Puppets" - that's got to be a good sign of things to come, right?
I arrive at the SHR and for those of you whom have played at the property before, I predict that you'll have a hard time recognizing it after the guitar-shaped hotel is 100% built. The property is being completely revamped, inside and out. Even the Hard Rock Store is now relegated to a temporary, uncomfortable corner of the hotel as this massive construction project continues. Nevertheless, everyone is very excited about the project, and I for one can't wait to see the end of the rebuilding phase of one of my favorite properties for playing poker.
When I get to an event early, I like to play a little cash, to further put me in a poker-like mindset and, hey, who knows, you can get lucky and hit a high hand or double-up. There aren't many tables running at this time as it's early, so I get seated at a $1/$2 NL table and buy-in for $300. There's only one hand in 90 minutes that's worth mentioning:
I have about $275 and I pick up two red Aces in UTG+2 and raise to $15 (there was a $5 Straddle on the button). The SB calls and has roughly $100 behind, and we're heads up to the flop. The flop comes A23, with two spades. I continue for $25 and he again calls. The turn is the 8s, and see that he has a little over $50 left that he's playing with in his hands. I put him all-in and he snap calls with Ks9s for a turned flush. The river bricks out for me, and he wins a nice pot. I take it on the chin, as this is about the fourth or fifth cash game session where I lose 1/2 a buy-in and then work the whole session to either even up or at least not go broke (I will detail this in another post sometime in the future).
It's now 20 minutes before the start of Day 1E, so I pick up my chips and cash out for about $200, which is salvageable. I buy-in for the tournament, and after taking a break, I make my way over to table 35, seat 3.
Levels 1 and 2:
The tournament starts and in seat 6 is a familiar face that I've played with a few times before. He's an older gentleman who is very friendly and has run hot in a few tournaments that I've also competed in. He immediately says hello to me, and we chat it up a little bit. I then begin to recall some hands that we played together and wonder if we'll get involved in some crazy situation at some point today (Spoiler Alert: It happens).
Only one hand of particular interest to report: In Level 2, blinds are 100/100/100 (That's the Small Blind, Big Blind, and the Big Blind Ante), and I'm in the SB with T8o. I check, and there are 4 of us to the flop. The flop comes J96 rainbow, and I decide to lead out for 300. I get called in two spots, and the pot is now ~1,300. The turn brings the Ks, so I have a double gut-shot straight draw. I bet again, this time I believe I bet 1,100, hoping to just take the pot down right here without having to sweat out a river card, and in the hopes that this board really connects with a hand that a player in the Small Blind (namely, myself) could have. I get called by the player in the CO, and there's now ~3,500 in the pot. The river is a big giant brick for me, but I continue with my story that this flop hit me and that I did fill my straight. I bet 2,800, and the CO immediately calls with QJo, but tells me "very nice bet". It's a small consolation, but does put the table on notice that I am not weak/tight and am willing to put my opponents to the test. Honestly, at this point, I am already thinking about firing bullet #2 as I'm down to about ~8,000 from my starting stack of 15,000.
Levels 3 and 4:
This is where the tournament really gets interesting for me. Remember the older, nicer gentleman that I said hello to earlier? Well, we're about to have one hell of a hour in these next two levels. The blinds are now 100/200/200, and my elderly friend raises to 500. The HJ and D both call, and I look down at Ah5d. I consider a 3-bet for a split second, but the table has been very loose/passive and I can't recall a 3-bet before the flop as of yet. So I pay the extra 400 chips and make the call, as does the BB. There are 5 players to the flop with 2,500 in the pot. The flop comes 2h3h3d. I really like this flop, but check to see what my friend will do. The BB checks and my friend bets something in the neighborhood of 1,200. Action folds around to me and I consider my options. Folding here is not an option for me for a couple of reasons. For one, it's very early in the tournament and if I do bust, I can go re-buy and start fresh (and at a $130 buy-in, it's not a big deal). Second, even though I'm most likely behind, I have a a backdoor flush draw and any 4 will do just fine for a wheel. After 20-30 seconds of deliberation, I move all in for ~6,500 more. I get snap-called by my friend whose name I should really know by now. He flips over KK. I say "That's a nice hand", and the dealer whose name is Brittney starts to burn & turn. The turn card is a 5d, to which I say "That's not that bad", or something to that effect. The river is the magical, miracle, improbable 4c, giving me the straight and boosting my short stack back up to ~18,000. The older gentleman and I laugh a bit about it, and we move on.
During Level 4 now, I win a few small hands and then, with about 15 minutes left to go in the level, I start to run super red hot. All of the following action happens within the last 15 minutes of Level 4, where blinds are 200/300/300:
i. I pick up 66 in mid-position and make it 700 to go. I get two callers and the flop comes K65, with two diamonds. A player (I think the BB in this hand) makes it 2,500. A bit scared of the flush and to protect my hand, I raise to 6,500. I showed a very small bluff to the table a few hands ago where I had complete air, but bet into 2 players on the button, so I am convinced this player in the BB is thinking about making a move. He ultimately sigh-folds, and I show my hand to the table.
ii. On the very next hand, I pick up KK. I raise again to 700. My friendly nemesis whom I doubled-up through calls, and it's heads up to the flop, which is 7-high with two hearts. I bet 1,200, he snap calls. The turn is an 8h, so we're looking at a super-connected board with three hearts now. I bet again to 2,200, and he instantly raises it up to ~8,000. Even though I have a big over-pair, this player knows what he's doing and would not be raising light in many spots. There is so much that can beat me, and I had just ran up my stack to a decent level again. I start to count my remaining chips behind after my 2,200 turn bet and I have about 22,000. I tell him "I just feel like this hand [as I show the table] is not good here", and muck it. My friend says "whoa!" and says "that's a really good fold - we were about 50/50 going to the river!". He didn't tell me exactly what I had, but by his statement he must have had 15+ outs (any heart, any straight-card, and possibly whatever lower-paired card he was also holding for 3 additional outs). We start discussing the hand and chat back and forth a bit about probabilities and if he could have made that lay down, when all of a sudden....
iii. ... I look down at 7c7s UTG. I again raise to 700, the player immediately to my left calls (he has a stack around 18k-20k). The CO calls and both the SB and BB complete, so we're five ways to the flop. To my amazement, the flop comes T97 with two diamonds, so I flopped bottom set and am loving life. The SB and BB both check and I decide to get cute and set the trap, with a plan of check-raising anyone who dared throw any chips in the middle of the table. That's exactly what winds up happening - the player to my immediate left throws out a bet of ~3,000. Action folds to me and I get a feeling that I may not want to play coy for too much longer, as the table, like I mention previously, has been very limpy and "call-ey". I look at the player, look at his remaining chips, and I move all-in. I can sense that the table is getting annoyed with my constant aggression, so all eyes are now on me and the player to my left. He asks me "Show if I fold?", to which I don't respond. He tanks for over a minute and finally grabs his stack, picks it up off the felt with one hand and drops it forward. I flip over my bottom set and he shows JJ. The board run-out is clean and honestly I don't even know what my chip count is, but I eliminated the player and I think I'm around 40,000. The dealer begins to shuffle the deck and the tournament clock is almost at zero for the first 15-minute break of the day. Players start to get up and fold and I'm in the BB on the next hand...
iv. ...My older friend makes it 800 from UTG+2, and action folds all the way back around to me in the BB and I look down at KsJs. I make the call and we're heads up to the flop. The dealer tells other players that if they're not in the hand, to please leave for the break, so there's a lot of commotion and movement around me, but I'm in a hand so none of this matters to me. The flop comes T95 - ALL SPADES. My eyes must have been as big as watermelons popping out of my skull at this point. I check and my buddy in seat 6 leads out for 3,500. He started the hand with around 30,000, and for some reason I'm thinking I'm drawing to one out, the Qs, because I somehow convince myself that he's had enough of me and has AsXs for the Ace-high flush. I think about it for a little while and I call. The turn is some brick and I ask him how many of the grey & yellow 5,000 chips he has behind. He sort of mumbles something unclear, and I don't know what possessed me to do this but I say "OK - I'm all in". I think I was running so hot and I was still all jazzed up about the previous hand that I just let it rip. He exclaims "Are you serious?!?!?", and makes the call. He flips over pocket 5's for a flopped set, and I turn over my hand to reveal my flopped King-high flush. He says "pair the board", and I say "no, please don't pair the board". The dealer burns and flips over a 8, which doesn't pair the board, winning me a monster pot and busting my older friend from the tournament. We get up, shake hands and shake our heads at my crazy run and wild turn of events. We kind of just stand there for a minute chatting about the last 10-15 minutes - he reveals to me that he saw me running so well that he thought there was no way I could have had it every time, otherwise he might have folded his bottom set.
I then sit back down and take a minute to get organized and count my chips. I took a picture of my stack, shown below - the count after level 4 was 78,200, with blinds in Level 5 going up to 200/400/400. In other words, 195 Big Blinds!
78,200 (195BB) after a wild Level 4.
Levels 5 through 8:
My remaining table-mates are shocked to find out I've busted another player during the break, and I'm obviously having a great time with the table talk. In the second hand of Level 5, I pick up TT from late position and raise to 1,200. The player on the button shoves for ~10k, and action folds back around to me. I call, and he flips over AJo. The board runs out without an Ace or a Jack, so I bust yet another player and run the stack up to nearly 90,000. The players are bursting out in laughter as this is a pretty insane run.
However, as many of you know, there can be large swings in poker, specifically in tournament poker and even more specifically at the lower buy-in tournaments like this one. So this moment winds up being the high point of the event for me, even though at the time I wasn't thinking about anything else other than the fucking Mirage (bad Rounders reference there) :)
Other than one spot where I called an all-in with my A4 vs. an AJ (the AJ held, so I lost about 11,000), nothing too consequential or significant really happens to me until the break, so we head into the break and through the end of the registration / re-buy period with 80,500. Although, the last hand of level 8 had a 4-way all in that many players of our table and about 10 players from other tables stopped to watch. Because of the crazy action, it took a few minutes to get all of the counts and side-pots going. After it was all said and done, a pair of pocket Kings held against a lower pocket pair and two other Broadway cards that I can't remember, and off we went to break.
Table #35, in the back row of the poker room, breaks. The dealer runs out an unnecessary high-card (I'm actually not sure why this is done as we're randomly given seat cards...but whatever), and I get moved to Table #28, seat #3. A player whom had bought in later and was at my original table was also moved to this table - I had raised pre-flop in level 8 with a KJo and he called with a raggy-Ace, hitting his Ace on the turn, to which I joked with him that he'll "play any Ace". This does become important later on.
In Level 9, blinds are 500/1,000/1,000 and about halfway into the level, I get into a hand that is my favorite of the tournament and I'm very proud of how I played it. I have about ~80,000, and the action folds around to me in the CO. I look down at Jh8d, and decide to raise it up to 2,500. At this point, I haven't been very active since my meteoric rise to nearly 200BB a few hours prior, and haven't opened a pot yet since being moved to this table, so I specifically went into this hand with a plan of applying pressure to my opponent if I thought that they were not very strong and if the board + player(s) involved favored such a strategy. The BB calls, and the flop comes T76 with two spades with 5,500 in the pot. The BB checks and I lead out 3,000. The BB thinks about it for a bit and calls, so the pot is now 11,500. The turn is a off-suit 5, giving me some additional outs. The BB checks again and I think he is in check-call mode with something like a pair of tens, some Broadway cards (over cards), or some suited-connector hand like 87 (but I do block some combos of 87, 98, or T8 with my J8 holding, and also take away some of what he could call a raise in the BB with - hands like KJ, QJ, or even JT). I think about what bet-sizing I want to use, knowing full well that, at this point, I am going to be triple-barreling no matter the river. I bet 5,500, and again he tank-calls. There is now 22,500 in the pot and the river is the 3s. So now, there is a flush on board and hands like 64 get there as well. The BB once again checks and I lead out for four grey & yellow 5k chips. This was a big, nearly pot-sized bet at this point in the tournament. The BB goes deep into the tank and I can see the pain on his face. I honestly thought he would eventually fold, but after well over 2 minutes of deliberation, he does pull the trigger and tosses out 20,000. I immediately say "Good call, you got it", and he turns over AT for top pair.
He lets out a huge sigh and complements my play, telling me how "polarized" my river bet was and he got very lucky in how we played the hand, that he almost nearly folded, etc.. While his compliments on my play were nice as the other players were hearing his comments, his hero call cuts my stack in roughly half, lower than the tournament average.
I definitely give the player a lot of credit for making the call - a call I did not think he was capable of making under the circumstances. Winning that pot would have put me up to over 100,000, which would have been very nice and on a good pace to make it to Day 2 with a nice stack. Unfortunately, I am now below average and the blinds are once again going up soon. However, I am very proud of the way I played this hand. In the past, I would have never considered anything other than a check/fold or possibly checking it down to see a cheap run-out. But I've been working on my game and am continuing to improve, finding spots just like these to put opponents to high levels of stress and decision-making. In the long run, I should continue to find these bluff spots as I do believe that they will work more times than not, in key situations against players likely to fold to high-pressure spots.
Blinds are now 500/1,500/1,500 and I'm roughly at ~35,000 chips at this point, when the player that "Plays any Ace" from my previous table raises it to 3,000 from UTG, with about ~10,000 left behind. The LJ (Low-Jack) calls and the action folds to me in the SB. I look down at AKo, and with my 25BB-ish stack, I have one and only one viable option - I shove. The player snap calls and almost flips his hand over, until he realizes that the LJ is still in the hand. He thinks about coming along for the ride, but ultimately decides to let it go. The Any-Ace aficionado flips up AJ, and is dominated. The board run out is very nice for me, as the dealer reveals the other two aces left in the deck and I knock out the player and build my stack back up to over 50,000. I start talking to the player on my left who is a nice younger guy with noise-cancelling headphones on, and we start talking about the tournament structure, that we're both going to make a comeback in this event, and other poker-related hopes and dreams.
The remaining tables are being broken, player stacks are getting much larger than mine, and we're now down to 4 tables in this flight. I'm once again in the SB, and the player in the CO who was recently moved to our table makes it 4,500 to go. I don't have any specific reads on this player and have never seen him before. The action folds around to me and I look down at AQ. I really want to play this hand and am not really in the mood to fold it at this point, given that I was once a monster stack in this tournament and I'm now trying to hang on and survive. I definitely don't want to call, even if I do decide to lay it down, so I'm left with two viable options: Fold, or Raise. In regards to a raise here, I also think my options are quite limited to a shove. I have exactly 52,500, so if I do three-bet, I can't really make a min-raise to something like 9,000 as I'll be out of position for the entire hand. So I start thinking about what amount to three-bet with in this spot, and I'm thinking that a bet of 16,000-17,000 might be good. The problem is then that I'll have like 35,000 left, which will really put me in a tough spot the rest of the way if I don't connect with this upcoming flop. I ultimately decide that if I shove, I can double-up if I get called and win, or I can take the pot down right here and be up to ~60,000. So I do decide to shove with about 35BB and the player in the CO does make the call with KK. The flop isn't very helpful, and neither is the turn. I'm down to a 3-outer...an Ace from Space as Tony G says...the river card had other plans, though, and it bricks off and I don't win the pot. We count up the chips and amazingly, we had the exact same chip stack at exactly 52,500. That actually made me laugh. I wished the table "GL", and that was that.
Due to family commitments and the fact that I do want to spend time with my wife and kids whenever possible, I am not able to play in any of other two Day 1 flights, so my Seminole Hard Rock June Big Stack Special is over and I'm off to the next one.
Final Thoughts / Up Next:
Obviously, I'm disappointed that I was not able to survive to Day 2. Looking back, I think I could have folded that AQ hand that I busted with and found a better spot - hopefully in a later position - to reclaim some lost chips. So for future tournaments I'll definitely want to try to avoid playing for stacks and out-of-position with hands exactly like AQ or lower pocket pairs, given that my opponent could have woken up with a big hand, which happened exactly as described.
However, I do think I played well overall, met a lot of nice people and had a great time. I'm also looking forward to having all of the regular tournament grinders back in town after the summer, as I'll be able to do some good name-dropping in future posts :)
Looking at the upcoming schedule, there's a really interesting Seminole Turnpike Series event, a $250 buy-in, $250,000 guaranteed, multi-day tournament where players can qualify at either the Seminole Hard Rock Hollywood or the Seminole Coconut Creek Casino, as Day 1 flights will run simultaneously at both properties. Day 2 of this event will be at the Hard Rock (probably due to logistics - Coconut Creek's Poker Room can't handle the volume, unless they were to bring in tables and use the pavilion like they did for the WSOP-C series back in February.
There's also the Florida State Poker Championship event at the end of July at the Isle, in Pompano Beach, FL. I really hope to be able to play in the Main Event of that tournament, with a $300,000 guarantee and, I believe, a Day 3 final table (I've made Day 2's in tournaments but never a Day 3 - so that alone would be really cool).
Entered For: $130 (1 Bullet)Position: ~35th of 153 on Day 1ENet: -$130
TL;DR: Played in the event described above where, after running like Robert Varkonyi in the 2002 WSOP ME Final Table, I ultimately busted in Level 10 of Day 1E.
Edit: Fixed a couple of things.
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