Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Back from hiatus

I have not played online poker in 15 days-- the longest stretch I've gone without it in at least 18 months. This must be what tweakers feel like when they need a fix. Thankfully, I've been less than sober in other ways to compensate. Otherwise, I'd just have to work hard at my job, and really who needs that. Honestly, my primary reason for showing up at all this week is that this building has central air and computers and my apartment does not.

Showcase came home from NY to the aftermath of the burglary, and a still-empty apartment across the hall. We spent that weekend swapping in some dark, window-concealing blinds for the windows and getting security system estimates. That's right folks. We're considering a thousand-dollar alarm system for our $1200-a-month rented abode. The cops did end up getting a print off my window frame, though I spent the rest of that evening getting the silvery-black print-dusting crap off the covers of The Theory of Poker, Super/System, and my spankin' new copy of Barry Greenstein's Ace on the River (which I HIGHLY recommend).

Not having poker to play means compensating with gambling-related reading, of which I've certainly done my share lately. I blew through the fascinating The Professor, the Banker, and the Suidice King in about three hours. An awesome read that's mandatory for any modern-day poker junkie. Laughed my ass off through Tales from the Tiltboys, which made me long for more degenerate gambling friends. And I got a super-secret sneaky slip of Ben Mezrich's new MIT Blackjack Team book. This one names names and doesn't revolve around counting cards. Instead it follows one group of six as they test three very specialized blackjack techniques in Vegas, AC, and casinos around the globe. These tricks go way beyond the hi-lo count and end up being far more lucrative... ;) A nice companion piece to Bringing Down the House.

The only poker I've played in the last 2 weeks consists of one short, marginally winning session at Commerce, and three heads-up LHE freezeouts with Showcase. I'm 0-3 in those.

I also enjoyed the live broadcast of the Full Tilt Poker Championship immensely, thanks in no small part to the excellent commentary by the siblings Lederer and Chris Ferguson. The show was like a freakin' instructional video. I can't bear to delete it from my Tivo though I think I've already watched it 3x. Showcase thinks I have problems.

And lest we forget... the vacant apartment across the hall is no longer vacant. It's new occupant is a video game developer with a very snotty first name that rhymes with "Trenton." Showcase's ears perked up like a rabbit's when the first faint sounds of furniture dollies could be heard approaching the building. He leaped off the couch and pressed himself against the door, trying to get a glimpse at him through the peephole. Once it was determined that he looked "chill enough," Showcase bounded outside, bong in hand, and introduced himself. Three minutes later, he was back indoors with a crestfallen look on his face.

"What's the matter? Is he a prick or something?"
"No. He doesn't smoke pot. I have nothing to hope for anymore."

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

To the douchebag who robbed us yesterday...

Fuck you.

I hope you're happy with what you got. My Ipod wasn't even the good one-- it was the shitty 5 gig first generation one with the battery that craps out after 2 hours. So enjoy that. You did manange to snag two quality laptops though, you worthless piece of donkey shit. I don't have much faith in the LAPD, but with the little I do, I pray they lock you up and that prison is, well, let's just say "unkind" you motherfucker.

I arrived home from work last night and noticed that my front door (which, like any paranoid urban dweller, I deadbolt compulsively) was ajar-- a nightmare scenario straight out of a movie. I nudged it open and listened to hear if anyone was inside. Showcase was still in NY, so I knew it couldn't be him. No sounds, so I go in, and immediately notice that my laptop is gone. I run into my bedroom and sure enough, the window is busted open and the screen is on the ground. Drawers open, closet open. Ipod on my bedside table- gone. I check Showcase's room and his laptop's gone too. TVs, DVDs, VCRs, everything else was still there, but those laptops were pretty much the only things of value we owned besides our cars. I promptly broke down and called my Dad, who rushed over and sat with me while I talked to the cops and filed a report.

Just a bad fuckin' beat. But as a very wise woman once told me, "don't cry over anything that can't cry over you."

I must have some serious financial karma. Or was one helluva bitch in a past life. This isn't even the first time I had a laptop stolen. For that, we'll rewind to September 1997. An Amtrak train taking me kicking and screaming back to Chicago and college after my Lost Summer In New York. I was seated across from a bearded fellow (think Eskimo Clark for you poker buffs) who, before we could even get out of Manhattan, informed me that he'd just been released from prison after a 7-year sentence for the attempted murder of a police officer, and that he was carrying just under 60 pounds of marijuana in his duffle bag. Needless to say, I kept my belongings VERY close to me and I didn't sleep for most of the night. The train, however, crashed into a semi stalled on the train tracks somewhere in Western Indiana, and derailed. We were evacuated from our car, and when we finally got back inside, my laptop bag was gone. Whether it was the pot guy or not, I'll never know.

So, I'm taking any and all suggestions for a replacement for my late IBook. I know a desktop will let me play 4 tables at once, but it's not practical for my lifestyle. It's gotta be portable. And cheap.

Raymer, Ivey and Juanda are all still left in the Main Event! ESPN must be jizzing their pants. Not to mention, the Full Tilt Championship at the Wynn tonight live on Fox Sports. It's certainly a great day to be a poker fan, and a welcome distraction for me. Here's the chip count going into the final table provided by the fantastic PokerWire.com:

1. Daniel Negreanu $122,900                 

2. Phil Gordon $116,500                 

3. Ted Forrest $72,100                 

4. Kristy Gazes $67,900                 

5. Clonie Gowen $48,000                 

6. John D'Agostino $15,100      

I guess Ted Forrest is officially on the team now. I saw him at the WSOP with one of those customized jerseys over the back of his chair while he was playing the $5K Stud. Can't wait to see that name in red... once I can play again! :(           

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Why is it getting harder?

Like every other wide-eyed young'un that heads west to make it in showbiz, I once had delusions of making, or at least developing great films. And I have worked on a few that I'm incredibly proud of. But now, more often than ever before in the 6 years I've been doing this, I keep asking myself (and my peers) the same question.

Why is it getting harder?

A few headlines from today offer up perhaps the top three reasons it's so freakin' hard to make a good movie in today's box-office climate:

1. Studios love to make crappy sequels to films that sucked in the first place, since it's easier than coming up with a new idea.

2. Now that every studio is part of a freakin' conglomerate, it's way easier for executives to convince their bosses to remake their old crapthat people have already heard of, than to sell a new idea to a dumbed-down public.

3. And last but certainly not least, CAA is taking over the globe. Or at least Wilshire Blvd. After inflating actors' salaries (and driving up the cost of films) for 20 years strong, it's really only simple common sense to inflate their own after this long. Seriously, I can't believe they waited this long. Congress does it all the time.

It used to be common for me to see 2-3 movies a weekend. I'd be up at 10 on a Saturday, Starbucks in hand, ready to go for a double feature. Now it's almost a chore to sit through one. And even then, it usually helps to be stoned. Honestly, I can't understand my colleagues who willingly forked over $11 to see HERBIE: FULLY LOADED. Unless it's to see Lindsay Lohan's digitally reduced chest. Now that I can sort of understand.

* * * * *

I called Showcase last night and fed him the stripper story. He totally bought it.

"Wait, they're TWINS? Why are they living in a one bedroom?"
"I dunno. I guess it'll be cozy."
"No, seriously."
"They're from Nebraska and weren't prepared for the crazy rents."
" I guess that makes sense. Did you talk to either of them?"
"Yeah, they seem pretty nice."
"Do they smoke pot?"
"Oh totally."
"And they have huge fake tits?"
"Seriously, you need to take some pictures."
"You know, I'm also lying to you right now."
"You mean NO ONE has moved in?"
"That's right."
"I'm calling the landlord. This is ridiculous."

Monday, July 11, 2005

Tilt Me Commerce One More Time

The apartment across the hall from mine has been vacant for 3 weeks now. The floors have been cleaned, the walls repainted, and the "for rent" sign has been long discarded. But no new neighbor yet. This does not bother me. Seeing as I've given up a hefty percentage of quiet and privacy in exchange for dirt cheap (by L.A. standards) rent, I'm not that anxious to have one more potentially disruptive human being cohabitating within six feet of my front door. But this irks my vacationing roommate to no end. In the five days he's been away on the east coast, our phone conversations have gone a lot like this:

"Hey what's up? How's New York?"
"Anyone move in yet?"

So I've decided to torture him with lies. The next time he calls I'll be spinning a tale about twin strippers trying to squeeze a couch through the doorway.

Spent Saturday night at Commerce grinding the 4-8, which is usually a very profitable game for me. Not this time. Within the first hour I could sense that this was going to be one of those sessions where I couldn't get a thing to go right no matter how well I thought I was playing. My first table was just from hell-- a guy called me all the way down with J5 suited after I three-bet my AA preflop. He caught runner runner jacks. Tilt. Tilt. Tilt. It was crap like that on every premium hand I held no matter how much I tried to protect it. And, at the same time, every trash hand I wouldn't even think of playing hit the flop hard. Cold call 2 bets with KJo? Never! Flop? KJJ! I wanted to light myself on fire. But driving home defeated would be worse.

Pissed away over $200 before coming to my senses and changing tables. Second table was better, but not much. The sweet, fiftyish woman next to me saw me take two crap beats in a row and actually commented to me that I had remarkable self-control despite all the bad luck I was having. I suppose that says a lot about my growth as a poker player-- I didn't mouth off even once. Or kick any furniture. I finally walked out around 3 AM down $160. Just one of those nights. We've all had them. And we'll have them again and again.

Raiser busted out on Day 1C. :( He and Mouse are still out there so I have yet to find out about the hand that did him in.

Still writing up some stories from the WSOP. A fistfight at MGM Grand... blackjack with drunk lesbians... and my heart goes pitter-patter as I sweat Phil Gordon in the $1500 NL. Off to a test screening for now.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Summer Fridays

Now why can't L.A. have summer Fridays like our New York City counterparts? It's not like anyone in Hollywood works on a Friday afternoon anyways, regardless of the season. I just took a lap around this joint and 50% of my office is nowhere to be found. Though a few are legitimately travelling in the name of Our Next Huge Blockbuster, I would guess the balance of those missing can likely be found either in the shoe department at Barney's or in their cars, on the freeway, futiley attempting to avoid traffic and skip town to Palm Springs/Santa Barbara/ Vegas while screening their calls. Seriously, people. I don't think I've had a meeting on my books post 3 PM on a Friday since I got promoted. Not that I'm complaining about that or anything. I'm just saying, why not formalize it like the New Yorkers were so wise to do? Get it all out in the open, no sneaking around, no "I have a doctors appointment" or "I have to be in Newport Beach by 6."

So yeah, I'm prety much just riding out the remaining hours I have to be here, while half-reading a new manuscript that I didn't think was right for us, just on concept, but I've gotta do my due diligence. Mainly I'm rolling around tonight's major decision in my head. Commerce or Party Poker? Party or Commerce? Commerce would be +EV for sure, given my recent runs at the 4-8 there, but I just don't know if I have a 6-8 hour session in me right now. So I suppose the pendulum has swung toward fishing in the Party aquarium.

Meanwhile, check this out. Doyle Brunson and a group of "unidentified backers" just bid $700 Million to buy the WPT. If it happens (which I'd venture to guess probably a longshot), I can't imagine the repercussions that will be felt throughout the poker world for decades to come in terms of sponsorship, logos, a player's union, etc. And what other players are among these backers I wonder? Could a certain Texas banker be one of them? Food for thought for this weekend.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

It's On.

The cards went in the air for the Main Event about an hour ago.

God I wish I was there.

I thought the pangs had disappeared once I got back from my trip out for the $1500 NL, but they've returned with a vengeance. I know I had about as much chance of winning (or even cashing) as I would playing the freakin' Lotto, but still. I can't help but want to be there. For this week, I'll just have to live vicariously through fellow blogger Pauly, who's Tao of Poker has been providing the sharpest, most entertaining WSOP coverage out there. Check it out, people. His tales from the "Redneck Riviera" (his seriously foul yet undeniably colorful rent-by-the-week accomodations in Vegas) are not to be missed.

I do have a friend to keep tabs on in the ME. My pal "The Raiser"--a no-limit star, Hollywood Park regular and stellar home game host. This guy gave me the bug to even give a few satellites a try after he won his entry on UB. He'll be playing in flight 3 and right now, is most likely sleeping off all the booze from last night's festivities. His lovely girlfriend "Mouse" works with me and we'll be sweating the action together from here.

Part 2 of my WSOP adventure coming soon. For now I'm starving and am about to head out to get a $15 salad that I'll find some way to expense.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

My Car is on Fire: WSOP Part I

If you're going to make the drive from Los Angeles to Las Vegas in the early afternoon hours on the first day of summer, I'd suggest taking a car with a fully functioning air conditioner. Make that priority number one. Not charging up the ipod, or making the best playlist ever to get you through the four hours on the road, or stocking the car with bottled water and snacks. None of that is important. For without the air conditioner, you will be so sickeningly hot that neither music, nor desert scenery, nor even your impending WSOP debut will matter. And all that water you you had the brilliant foresight to purchase at the 7-11 before getting on the freeway will be hot-tub warm before you hit Barstow. But let's rewind a bit.

It's actually pretty remarkable my car even made it there and back. A week before, I was heading home from my WSOP "dry run," aka a $125 NLHE tourney at the Bike, that I busted out of after about four hours. I was on the 10, three exits from La Cienega when I noticed that people were honking and pointing at me, then moving/swerving/speeding away. Was my 13 year old, sea-green car really that offensive to these Mercedes SUV jackasses? I was about to give the finger out my window when I finally saw what the fuss is.

My car is on fire.

There is a cloud of white smoke streaming out of my hood, trailing behind me for a good hundred yards. The heat needle thing has moved PAST "H" into an entirely new territory. More of the various engine lights (besides the two or three that always seem to be on) have lit up. An angry man in a truck behind me is honking and flashing his lights. I look up and I'm passing La Brea. OK... can this thing make it another 3 miles? Because I'm really not in the mood to be pulled over on the side of the freeway with a steaming open hood at 2 AM. I was about to find out.

With every car going out of their way to avoid me, I hit the gas and barrel up the now-clear right lane. This, of course, is a very bad choice, and only makes MORE smoke come out of the hood. Now I start to believe this thing could actually explode and kill me. But I really really really don't want to call a tow truck. Seriously, can you imagine what that would cost? I'm a girl on a budget here. So I ease up on the gas, glide off the La Cienega exit ramp, and come to a steaming, smoking halt at the Venice Blvd. traffic light. The smoke abates a bit, now that the engine isn't screaming aloud in overheated agony. It returns, of course, the second the light changes and I hit the gas. Wow, there's a lot more smoke now that I'm going slower. But only one mile and I'm in my driveway. Please please please no cops. Please please please don't explode. I thankfully pull into my driveway shaken, but unharmed.

The next day I pour coolant into the engine and five minutes later its all over my driveway after leaking out through the HOLE in the radiator. OK... at least now I know what's wrong with it. Two days, $400, and a trip to Pep Boys later, it's fixed, but not after my ornery, elderly Jewish landlord left a nasty note on our door -- "clean up spill. People will slip. Kitty litter works well." Sigh.

I wasn't even going to drive the damn thing to Vegas. My sister, who has a far nicer car than I, was in NYC on a two-month TV shoot (she's a camera operator) and she'd never be the wiser if it went on a little outing. Even my mother supported this plan, I suppose out of fear of a "hey it's me, the car died in Yermo" call. But sis wrapped early and would be on a plane to LA just as I was supposed to be driving out. So it was fly, rent, or drive my own car. Being the cheapass on a limited bankroll that I am, I chose the latter. I can spend $200 on shoes on my lunch break or push it all-in on a bluff, but I can't fork over $29.99 a day to Avis.

I'm surprised I slept well at all the night before leaving. Usually, thoughts of the dry desert air, the clatter of chips and the dingdingding of slot machines will race through my head for hours before sleep comes. This time, though, I was dead tired. Working my normal ten hour days plus cramming in as much poker as I could handle in the weeks leading up to the WSOP had left me exhausted and spent. Even my father, barking over the phone from three miles away, urged me to get some rest.

"Did you play tonight?"
"Daddy, I'm too tired to play."
"See, what did I tell you? You need your rest."
"I've gotta practice. I'll only get better by playing."
"Well practice won't help if you pass out at the table."
"Hey, does two pair beat three of a kind?"
"But a straight beats a flush?"

I hung up with my father and fell asleep with Super System 2 splayed across the blanket.

It takes a good hour to get out of L.A. The 10 was clear, the car was running fine, and the little heat needle hadn't wandered past the quarter mark. Too good to be true, of course. As soon as I hit I-15, the air pouring from the vents turned from reasonably cool to moderately lukewarm. About halfway up the first big hill, it quit altogether and the windows went down and my car began its transformation from oasis to oven. I tried the A/C again going down the hill, but it was done for. As I passed the largest thermometer in the world, the temp read 109 degrees, and I was sure this was going to be the longest three hours of my vacation. I normally plow straight through on the drive, but I was so fucking hot I decided to stop at my father's favorite roadside diner-- The Harvey House in Barstow-- to cool off, have a sandwich, and continue plowing through my new copy of Harrington on Hold'em Part II and cramming all the insight I could into my addled brain before I was scheduled to sit down with 2000 or so of my nearest and dearest degenerate gambling friends at Event 22 of the WSOP.

I pulled into Valet Parking at the Rio at around 3:30. As I got out of the car, the (cute) valet asked me if I was all right, and I said, "oh, I'm fine, just a little hot from the drive." But he still looked a bit concerned. As I got my first glimpse of myself as I stumbled through the glass doors of the casino, I could see what he was talking about.

My face was totally purple. Not red, purple.

I'm a fair, freckled blonde girl. Heat that extreme manifests itself in even more extreme manners through the skin of someone like myself. I can't help it. Once I handed off my luggage to the bellhop and the delciously cool blanket of A/C enveloped me after pushing through the revolving doors, I decided to stop in the ladies room to throw some water on my face and cool down a little so I wouldn't frighten the people at the check-in desk. Probably the best decision I made that day.

Please allow me to introduce myself...

I'll admit, I'm more than fashionably late to the blogging party. But hey, I live in L.A. so that should give me some sort of handicap, as we Angelenos seem to operate in our own hazy, smog-filled time zone that lags about 20 minutes behind actual reality. Be it a screening, a dinner reservation, or a trip down the freeway, tardiness is all but expected. Arrive on time, you're the first one there. Get there late, and the party's in full swing.

So allow me to introduce myself. I'm change100. I'm a 28 year old film executive and I'm addicted to poker.

Admitting you have a problem is the first step, right?

I love poker. I'm sitting in my office thinking about it right now, while I should be conjuring up another box office smash for my boss. I fall asleep with cards flying behind my eyes. I have mastered the art of reading the first thirty pages of a script and determining whether or not it sucks while simultaneouly folding crap hands on Party Poker. And I can hardly wait until the sun goes down each day and I get to leave this antiseptic, overpriced slice of office real estate for the tables, virtual or otherwise.

Yeah, I have problems. But if you're reading this, you probably have the same ones.

I'll try to keep the lame hand histories and bad beats to a minimum. Mainly I'm going to spew whatever comes out of my head at the moment. Most of it will be poker-related, but not always. Maybe a little salacious Hollywood gossip from time to time. We'll see. For now, I have to end this blog and adjourn to the company conference room for lukewarm catered Chinese food and a three hour meeting to discuss "tentpole" film ideas. Superheroes-- done. Comics-- done. I dunno, apocalypic world-ending scenarios always seem to make dough, don't they?

I'm off.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

The Best of Pot Committed

Women and Poker
The Politics of Ladies' Night
Fixing a Hole
The Big Empty (Part I)
The Big Empty (Part II)
Malaise and the Beverly Hilton
And you may ask yourself, well, how did I get here?: 2005 WPBT Holiday Classic, Part I
Change Can't Hang: 2005 WPBT Holiday Classic, Part II
Fill in the Blanks: 2005 WPBT Holiday Classic, Part III
Props, Pai Gow, Poker, and Pauly: A Vegas Return Engagement
Russian Plumbers and Golden Globes
Trip Report: LA Poker Classic, $330 NLHE
I gave Hollywood my twenties and all I got was this lousy severance check
Dining Out in the Aftermath
For Revenge, Don't Call
Outfitting the Doctor
Stacee and the 3:15 AM Orgasm
Play what you're good at
Slippery When Wet
Down in the Holler: A Bonnaroo Prologue
Smells Good in There: Bonnaroo Part II
Pace Yourself: Bonnaroo Part III
2006 WPBT Summer Classic
Confused Conventioneers and Keno Crayons
Dodging Tourists, Main Event Bloggers, and how Cindy Margolis put me on tilt
The End
Fear and Loathing on Ladies' Night
Treading Water in a Leaking Pool
Finding the Swing
Pigs on the Wing
Twelve Bars (Part I)
Twelve Bars (Part II)
Brandi Hawbaker, Capt. Tom's Penis, and $21,000 Jim
My Morning Jacket at the Fillmore, NYE 2006
Threading the Needle
Langerado, Part I
Langerado, Part II
The Lease
Organized Chaos
Two Bracelets, Tony G., a Windstorm, and the Return of Brandi
Screams and Reefer
Meeting Mama McGrupp
Jerry Yang, Faith, and the World Series of Poker
New York State of Mind
Unruly Railbirds, Change Falls, and Why I Respect Harrah's a Lot More Now
Jennifer Harman's Almost-Win
Annette_15 Wins WSOPE Main Event, Grown Men Weep
And Who Said Chivalry Was Dead?
Seven Minutes With Olga
Get Over It
Showcase and the $54 Vitamins
2007 WPBT Holiday Classic, Part I
2007 WPBT Holiday Classic, Part II
You Have No Place Here
How I Puked in Becca's Airplane
To Monaco and Back
Domestication by IKEA
Why Poker Movies Have Failed (Thus Far)
Desert Calling
The Satellite
Collision and Citation
The Barometer
Mo' Money, Mo' Problems: The Tiffany Michelle Story
Little Earthquakes
Set Code to Away
Bleeding Dodger Blue
Sixteen Bars
When One Window Closes...
Unexpected Domesticity

Friday, July 01, 2005

About the Author

Change100 is a Los Angeles-based freelance writer. She spent seven long years working inside the Hollywood film development machine during the early and mid-2000's before joining the ranks of the self-employed. Change100 was a stupid name she picked for herself during that fateful lunch hour in the summer of 2005 when Pot Committed was born. It's a reference to her brief, losing stint as a blackjack player and unfortunately, it stuck.

In the summer of 2006, Change covered the World Series of Poker for Party Poker's Pokerblog.com. When the UIGEA chased Party away from America's shores, she went to work as a tournament reporter for PokerNews.com. Since then, she's visited dozens of countries and four continents, covering poker's premiere events including the World Series of Poker, the Aussie Millions, the World Poker Tour Championships, the World Series of Poker-Europe, and countless stops on PokerStars' European Poker Tour and the Latin American Poker Tour.

From 2007 to 2009, she wrote Bluff Magazine's gossip column, "Bird on the Rail" under the pen name Nicole Gordon (yeah, that's two secret identities if you're counting). From 2009-2010 she made the transition from tournament reporting to feature writing for PokerNews.com, where her articles appeared daily under the name Nicole Gordon. She is currently a regular contributor to the PokerStars Blog, covering events on the North American and Latin American Poker Tours.

After 5 1/2 years of successfully flying below the radar, Change's secret identity finally failed when she earned her first major live tournament victory. In January 2011, she won the $1,000 Ladies No-Limit Hold'em event at the PokerStars Carribean Adventure for $29,798. It was totally worth it.

A Los Angeles native, Change earned degrees in film and theatre from the only private university in the Big Ten. She lives in the slums of Beverly Hills with her boyfriend Pauly, author of the Tao of Poker and the novels Lost Vegas and Jack Tripper Stole My Dog.