Sunday, February 27, 2005

The Poker Camp - San Jose, CA

I had a rare opportunity this weekend to participate in The Poker Camp, held this weekend in San Jose. The two-day seminar was hosted by Lee Jones, author of Winning Low-Limit Hold 'em, and featured Antonio "The Magician" Esfandiari.

The seminar was limited to 50 participants who were to participate in a strategy lecture, scenario workshop, advanced strategy lecture followed by a graduation tournament where the top 3 finishers won seats in a Bay 101 Super Satellite where the top 6 finishers win a $10,000 seat in Bay 101's WPT Shooting Stars tournament. Participants were quite varied, with men and women coming from as far as Alaska, Connecticut, and Maryland. Ages ranged from seventeen up to 80's. Even Esfandiari's family members, his little brother and father, participated in the seminar. Several moms brought their sons to the seminar as well, proving that poker is truly a family game.

Lee Jones got the seminar started with a powerpoint presentation and lecture of the basic strategies of tournament no-limit hold 'em. These strategies were pretty basic. It included stuff you'll find in almost any poker book, starting hands, Pot odds, implied odds, fold equity, betting, raising, check-raising and bluffing.
Next, Antonio enlightened us with a very casual Q & A session.
It was followed by a scenario workshop where we played out pre-arranged hands and evaluated the situational "to-do's" and "not-to-do's."

Antonio started day two with "advanced tournament" strategies which was followed by the graduation tournament. Antonio played with a bounty on his head, where whoever busted him out wins a one-of-a-kind "Antonio Esfandiari" Hockey Jersey. I busted an old dude out early in the tournament when my set of Js killed his set of 3s. I hung in for a bit longer until I went all in pre-flop with JJ. I had one caller who flipped AQo. The flop came down AxQ and my tournament hopes were squashed.
Note to self: Do NOT go all-in early in a tournament unless I have THE NUTS.
Actually they covered that during the lecture, but I guess I wasn't paying attention.

Antonio dominated his table and was second in chips by the time the final table convened. The game progressed and then we were down to 4. Antonio, Jack, James, Brenda. Since Antonio wasn't eligible to win a seat in the Super Satellite, Jack, James and Brenda were going to Bay 101.
Jack, James and Brenda battled Antonio to win the bounty but alas, The Magician's skills held up and he ended up winning his own bounty coming in first by busting out Jack in the final hand.

The Bay 101 Super Satellite was an exciting event. Jack, James and Brenda were joined by Dylan (a Poker Camp organizer) and some other dude from poker camp in a white t-shirt. Jack was knocked out by four 4's, and Dylan was busted when his AK fell to A7. Notably, Men "The Master" Nguyen also was busted from the Super Satellite. Meanwhile, James accumulated a huge chip stack essentially guaranteeing him a seat in the WPT Tourney. Finally, as the final table rallied to place in the top 6, James, Brenda and the T-shirt dude, were still in it. At last, they busted the 7th place finisher, and we had three people from the poker camp going to the WPT Bay 101 Shooting Stars Tournament!

Good Luck. Hope to see you on TV!

The Poker Camp followup

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