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The Desert Sun
Playing (and blogging) with the Queen of Hearts
Jill "Queen of Hearts" Cohen has been writing a weekly column about poker since June 2005 for The Desert Sun. She is now blogging regularly online as she plays, thinks and dreams poker.



You can reach Jill Cohen at jill.cohen@thedesertsun.com

Read Jill's past columns at thedesertsun.com/poker

WSOP Wrap Up
July 18, 12:23 p.m.
A new World Champion of poker has been crowned. He is Jerry Yang, a 39 year old psychologist from Temecula. He won his way into the WSOP by winning a $225 satellite at Pechanga Casino. He takes home $8,250,000.

Yang is already a great champion, and I am sure he will be a wonderful ambassador for poker for many years to come. He has pledged 10% of his winnings to children's charities. He wants to do community service. He wants his wife to quit her job. Gotta love this guy.

He is intelligent, humble, well-spoken, and attractive with a great dimpled smile. I am so glad for the poker community that he is our new champ.

I thought that this year's WSOP was awesome. Highlights for me were:

Phil Hellmuth's 11th bracelet presented to him by the two other 10 bracelet owners, who he just outpaced, Johnny Chan and Doyle Brunson.

Katja Thater winning the RAZZ event. The first woman to win an open event since 2004.

The WSOP website was a fantastic source of up-to-the-minute news, videos, audio, blogs, and photos.

Improvements onsite, specifically a better food thing with the Poker Kitchen, and the huge photos of the 37 previous winners lining the walls of the hall.

Pay-per-view of the Final Table. I didn't do it, since I was at work all day and couldn't take full advantage of it- but I think it's fabulous that it was available.

The lower limit H.O.R.S.E. tournaments ($2500 and $5000), as evidence that mixed games- and something other than Hold 'Em- are making their way back on to the scene.

The doubled-up starting chips. Much better.

All in all, it was an amazing six weeks, and I can't wait until next year!


-- Jill Cohen

At last, the Final Table
July 16, 4:51 p.m.
Tomorrow the 2007 WSOP's Main Event Final Table will be played. There are only nine players left out of 6,358. The winner will receive $8,250,000.

For $19.95 you can watch the final table live all day and night on ESPN pay-per-view.

Local player Dr. Roy Winston finished in 26th place for $330,000.

After 6 weeks of following the action, it's hard to believe it's all over until next year. I've got to figure out a different stratgey for myself. Only playing in one event doesn't really work for me. I want to play in at least three events next year- but that begs the money question. Oh well- got 10 1/2 months to figure it out.

~J
-- Jill Cohen

Friday's WSOP News
July 16, 4:34 p.m.
The following information is excerpted from Nolan Dalla's blog on www.worldseriesofpoker.com. It was posted prior to the start of play on Day 4 of the Main Event of the 2007 World Series of Poker.

There were 337 players who survived Day 3 of the World Series of Poker. There is a wide variety of players still alive including top tournament pros Gus Hansen, Humberto Brenes, Chad Brown, Jason Lester, Lee Watkinson, David Levi, Brandon Adams, and Mimi Tran. There are top online players like Sorel 'Imper1um' Mizzi, Jared 'Waco Kid' Hamby, Darrell 'Gigabet' Dicken, Hevad 'Rain' Khan, Matt 'Mattster24' Sterling, and Peter 'Nordberg' Feldman. There are top Europeans like Julian Gardner, Thor Hansen, Donnacha O'Dea, and Willie Tann. There are former world champions Berry Johnston ('86), Huckleberry Seed ('96), Scott Nguyen ('98), Carlos Mortensen ('01), and Robert Varkonyi ('02). There are 2007 WSOP bracelet winners Bill Edler and Alex Kravchenko. There are seasoned veterans like Billy Baxter, Hans 'Tuna' Lund, and Mike Laing. There are even celebrities -- actor Tobey Maguire ("Spider-Man"), musician Sully Erna (lead singer, Godsmack), and television writer/producer Sam Simon (co-creator of "The Simpsons) have already outlasted nearly 95% of the field. But wait ... there's more. There's the blind player, Hal Lubarsky, who uses an assistant to read the cards and whisper them into his ear. He's still in the hunt for the final table. There's Kenny Tran, who was a surprise at the final table of $50,000 H.O.R.S.E., but has followed it up by becoming the first player to a million chips in the Main Event. There's the uber-aggressive young Italian, Dario Minieri, who doesn't know the word "slow," and took the chip lead in the last half hour of Day 3. As an online player, he accumulated so many player's bonus points that he used them to buy a new Porsche. He's the big threat heading to Day 4. The remaining 337 players will play another five levels today, and then play down to the final 27 on Saturday (Day 5). Everyone who survives Saturday will be guaranteed at least $333,490. Sunday (Day 6), the players will battle for the nine seats at the final table. Everyone who survives Sunday will be guaranteed at least $525,934. Monday is an off day. Get some sleep. Tuesday is the big day -- the final table of the 2007 World Series of Poker Main Event. Nine players, one of whom will go down in poker history as the world champion, earning $8.25 million. The final five will become millionaires. Regardless of whom you're rooting for, you'll want to return to PokerNews.com at 12:00 noon PDT for complete coverage, with chip counts, hand updates, money finishes, photos, and video interviews.

Written by Nolan Dalla.


-- Jill Cohen

So Much Poker, So Little Time....
July 11, 2:14 p.m.
Here's where I want to be:
*At Spotlight 29 for their Friday night tournaments.
*At Morongo for 5-card Omaha, when they've got a game.
*At the Bike in L.A. for the Ladies Event/Legends of Poker series on Sunday 8/5.
*At the Bike for the 7-card Stud Hi/Low Event/Legends of Poker series on Sunday 8/12
*At the Orleans in LV for the Ladies Event/Orleans Open on Sunday 7/22
*At the Commerce in L.A. Sat and Sun 7/14,15 for the Ladies Dream Weekend
*At The Spa anytime because it's 5 minutes from my house
*At Agua Caliente RIGHT NOW, because I'd so much rather be there than where I am- at work!
-- Jill Cohen

The Weekend
July 09, 4:05 p.m.
On Friday night went back to Spotlight to play in their new Friday night series with cumulative points as well as cash. Once again, for the second week in a row, I came in 5th out of about 45. Got my money and 11 points. I'll be there next Friday to!
On Saturday afternoon, I made a quick stop at Morongo to pick-up Johnnyangel who was playing in their 11AM tournament. Jumped into their $4-$8 five-card Omaha game. $4-$8 Omaha with a full kill is a BIG game for me. Also, at Morongo (unlike any other poker room I have ever seen!), they play FIVE CARD OMAHA which is a different game altogether from the "regular" four-card version. But the truth is, I LIKE it. I like five card, and I had a great time raking in chips. Played for about an hour and profited abour $300. Wouls have stayed longer and continued cleaning their clocks, but we had a bowling date. We went to the new Canyon Lanes at Morongo, and it is a nice place. Not the most snazzy or high-tech lanes I've ever seen (make that Madison Square Garden in NYC), but perfectly nice. We had a great time.
We were scheduled to play in one of our favorite home games on Saturday night, but got hung-up, and couldn't make it. Sorry we missed it- it's always fun to mix some home game playing in with the casino and online varieties.
Then, on Sunday, I played in the Ladies tournament that they had at Spotlight 29. Came in 17th out of 43-- not great, but not embarrassing- mid-field. I really wanted that one too. The bragging rights along would have been worth four times the money- ten times- and the lovely lady who did won it, won't even brag about it. What a waste :-)
Anyway, that was my poker weekend except late Saturday night I played a $16 Razz tourney on PokerStars and came in first place for $60. YAY! Haven't made a deposit to the online account for ages. Just keeping it above the waterline.

Upcoming poker plans are for theis coming Friday at Spotlight...and I don't know what all else. I do kind of want to play in the Lips Grand Championship at the Orleans in Las Vegas on July 21st and 22nd. Will have to discuss that with Johnnyangel. Also there is another Lips tourney at The Bike on August 5th. I like Lips tournaments.... they're fun!

Going to the movies tonight, so don't look for me at the tables....
-- Jill Cohen

Ladies Tourney this Weekend Locally
July 06, 09:12 a.m.
I hope you join me on Sunday at 2PM for a Ladies Only No Limit Hold 'Em Tournament at Spotlight 29 Casino. Expect to see some of the best local players around there (of any gender!).
Spotlight is my favorite local poker room. They treat their customers beautifully, with great promotions, and a friendly, party-like atmosphere.
See you there!
-- Jill Cohen

What I Did On My Vacation
July 05, 5:32 p.m.
I've been off for almost a week, and computerless. Went to Montecito to visit my big brother, David Debin. He is my rock, my closest kin, the paterfamilias.

As many times as I've been to visit in him in the past several years, I'd never been to Chumash, the casino which is located in the beautiful Santa Ynez Valley about 45 minutes drive from Santa Barbara.

And what a gorgeous drive it is. Along a road clinging to a mountainside, affording views of vineyards and rolling hills dotted with farmhouses, horses and wineries. Absolutely beautiful. Then suddenly, you arrive at the less-than-beautiful, but highly functional Chumash Casino.

Poker is upstairs in the smoke-free third floor. You take an escalator up from the crowded and noisy (at least when I was there) main floor to the quiet, somewhat secluded area where the buffet and fine dining restaurant are. There are a handful of slots, then a long corridor, then a pleasant, friendly,14 table poker room

I was there on Sunday night, and they were spreading $2-$4 and $3-$6 Limit Hold 'Em and $1-$3 and $2-$5 No Limit Hold 'Em. There were 8 or 9 tables going and a waiting list.

Nice people. Seemed reasonably well-run for the short time that I was there.

Only thing is, if I was there for only a short time, how did I manage to lose $200? Never mind.


-- Jill Cohen

I am in the NEWSPAPER
June 27, 2:10 p.m.
I spoke to an old friend last night who said she missed seeing my column in the paper. I guess I've been moved around so much (3X in the last year) that people can't find me and think the Queen is no longer in the Sun. Not so.
MY COLUMN IS PUBLISHED EVERY FRIDAY IN THE WEEKEND SECTION OF THE DESERT SUN.
IT IS ALSO PUBLISHED EVERY THURSDAY IN THE DESERT POST WEEKLY.
-- Jill Cohen

Weekend Update
June 25, 5:05 p.m.
Lots of poker this past week/weekend.

On Thursday went to Morongo for the 7PM Limit Hold 'Em tournament, but it was cancelled because they didn't have enough players. That NEVER happens on Thursday at 7 for the No-Limit tournament. Anyway, I was there, so what the heck? Might as well play some 5-card Omaha. that devil of a game. Played about four hours and profited about $200.

Friday night, went to The Spa and played $1-$3 No Limit. Again, profited about $200, this time in three hours. Sadly, it's the first back-to-back wins I've put together in a while....

On Saturday, played in the $170 buy-in tourney at The Spa. Two winners, each getting a seat to the WSOP MAIN EVENT ($10K). Didn't do any good. Neither did Johnnyangel. :-(

Then played $3-$6 for a few hours. Broke even.

On Sunday afternoon, went to Agua and played about three hours of $4-$8 4-card Omaha. Very tough game. Those folks are almost all "regulars". Experienced Omaha players who know each other and know the game a lot better than I do. But I play Omaha in hopes of entering a H.O.R.S.E. tournament one day soon. That experience only cost me $185.

Not a great four day run, but still a little ahead. What is this week going to bring? Tell you what, it's not going to have my daily dose of PokerStars because my home computer is with Dr. Help for repair. So I am ready to leave work and trying to figure out some healthy positive activity to do given that I won't be able to play online when I get home. We'll see.....

~J

-- Jill Cohen

Vanessa is Baaaaadddd
June 22, 5:07 p.m.
Check this out.
This is the person who knocked me out of the Ladies Event. Ouch. She came in 8th in the Ladies ($20,000+) and 4th in the Heads Up ($120,000+)

And she's my homie (from Brooklyn!).

http://www.worldseriesofpoker.com/players/playerprofile.asp?playerID=19199


-- Jill Cohen

Hello Florida!!!!!
June 22, 2:27 p.m.
I have been doing an occasional guest stint on "PokerTalk America" a radio show on WBZT-Radio in South Florida. You can hear it on the internet at www.wbzt.com from 1-2PST, Mon - Fri.
The host of the show, "Poker Frank", is a really great guy, and a lot of fun to talk to. He has some regular co-hosts and other guests, and it's been a really cool thing to chat with him and his crew on-air.
For my efforts, he tells people to look at The Desert Sun's website, and read the Queen of Hearts column and blog. That's great for me because the more traffic (hits) my blog and column get, the happier the folks that give the Queen space are. And we like to keep them happy. It's like TV ratings, of course, because the business of communications about news, information, or really important things like poker, is driven by advertising...who care about how many eyes see their ads. Okay, enough for that lesson that you didn't need....anyway HELLO FLORIDA!!!!!!
As of now, my being on the radio with Frank is a kind of unscheduled thing, as in whenever I can, and he's got air time. We may make it more regular, but in the meantime, it seems like "Fun Fridays" will be the most likely time to catch me, and hear my actual voice- speech impediment, Brooklyn accent and all.

Okay, you want to hear about poker.....
how about last night at Morongo playing $3-$6 (full kill)FIVE CARD OMAHA Hi/Low. Bought in for $200, cashed out $400. A rare winning session for the Queen. YAY. And how did I do it? Easy? All it took was one player with too much to drink and a lot of chips. He fed everybody's pile last night. Love that.
This weekend? WSOP Main Event sattellit at The Spa. I think they still have seats left. $170 buy-in... Saturday, one table shoot-outs with final three advancing to Sunday. Sunday- 6 table elimination (regular) style. Johnnyangel and I are both playing in it. It's a good thing they're giving away three seats! Hopefuly, I'll see you there.
And as for you Florida people....good luck with the new poker regulations. Hopefully, it will make your games more interesting and competitive.
Anyway, my "day job" calls. Gotta go. Later.
~J
-- Jill Cohen

More WSOP News
June 20, 12:21 p.m.
Nolan Dalla, the WSOP Media Director writes most of the updates on the WSOP site. They are fascinating! I like to check it once a day, and you should too!
Here's a link to today's interesting posting:
http://www.worldseriesofpoker.com/news/article.asp?newsID=1148


-- Jill Cohen

The rest of the trip
June 19, 2:35 p.m.
Okay, so where was I?
Oh yeah, at Binion's Horseshoe playing HORSE. Boy that was fun. So fun, in fact that on Saturday, our last day there we went back to Binions. No HORSE game going, but I did play some $4-$8 Omaha. I'm not a great Omaha player, but I can hold my own. Need it for the HORSE game. Anyway, that was fun.
Then for the final poker of our vacation, we headed further downtown to the real low-rent district and went to the El Cortez. Real old-style Las Vegas. Three poker tables playing $1 to $3 anytime with $6 on the last card. A bit smaller stakes than I'd been playing-- but what a cast of characters. Especially one ancient old man in a black suit who was gambling like crazy at this low stakes poker game. And glaring at me whenever I beat him. Someone told me afterwards that he owned the joint. Ah, Las Vegas- full of exotic wonders.....
So that was the trip. I had originally planned to go back in JUly for the WSOP $1000 buy-in SHOE event. But I don't have the bankroll to do it, and some family things have come up that I need to attend to in Central California...so maybe I'll check out the Chumash Casino- never been there before. I hear they have a nice poker room.
~Jill
-- Jill Cohen

More about my week in LV
June 19, 11:51 a.m.
Okay, so where was I?
Oh yeah, the Sahara tournaments. Well, they have them everynight at 7P and 11P and I think they are the best deals in town. In the first one I played (which was an 11PM one)I got knocked out 12th of about 100 or more players. Not bad, and I've been in need of a decent sjowing...but they paid 10 places, so it wasn't good. I was short stacked on the big blind (with only 6 players at the table. so the blinds were coming fast) and had A-10 offsuit. A big stack player known for being very aggressive put me all in, so I called. This time, he had the best hand, A-J, and I was out.
The next two days (Wed and Thurs) we took a trip to Mesquite. Mesquite is a little town about an hour north of LV on the Arizona/Utah/Nevada border. It's got about five sizable resorts and a bunch of golf courses. So we golfed for two days, and although it was sweltering, we had a great time. The Canyons course was absolutely gorgeous. Looked like you were golfing in the middel of the Grand Canyon. Twisting and turning through the red mesas, hitting golf balls off of cliffs onto greens 100 feet below. Just amazing.
Of course we also sampled poker in Mesquite. Only two places to play- The Oasis Resort Casino (where we were staying) and the Eureka. The Eureka is a little 3 table room with a pretty wild $4-$8 game. The blinds are only $1 and $2, so everyone limps in, and whatever happens, happens. Long story short- I lost $200 :-(
The next night we played at the Oasis. The have a big room which is used for tournaments that Linda Johnson runs (I've seen the advertismenets for them). But mid-week in the summer, there were only two tables going. Also $4-$8, but this time normal blinds of $2 and $4-- makes for a very different game. I broke even there and Johnnyangel won a bunch.
The back to Las Vegas on Friday and to the wedding of our friends Nick and Jacquie (you may remember Nick from my column of a few weeks back about the pocket Queens). A lovely affair.She looked beautiful. The recption was in their suite at the MGM Grand- with a jacuzzi on the terrace of the 17th floor. Nice!
Anyway, with my time in "our nation's capital" growing short, I really wanted to play some mixed games (like HORSE or HOSE or...). So far, I hadn't seen one game spread that wasn't Hold 'Em. But of course I hadn't been downtown yet. So to the Horseshoe we headed. And sure enough, in the deep heart of the poker world, in doewntown Las Vegas, at Binion's Horsehoe on Friday night, I fionally found my HORSE game. $4-$8 Hold 'Em, Omaha, Razz, Stud Hi, Stud Hi/Lo. I had a great time. Bought in for $200 and initially lost about 2/3 of it (on Razz- a killer of a game if there ever was one). But eventually figured it out, and came alll the way back to win about $100. I want to figure out some kind of campaign or something to bring different kinds of poker back. It's great that the WSOP has more mixed events this year than ever before... but except for the lone Omaha game you can sometimes find at AGua or Morongo- locally, there's nothing but Hold 'Em. No Stud to be found anywhere around here. Maybe the next Queen of Hearts tournament should include a HORSE tourney- what do you think?
More to come...gotta go.
-- Jill Cohen

Hey There Hi There Ho There
June 18, 4:54 p.m.
Hi All,
I'm back. So sorry about the limited blogging. The truth is-- I wasn't staying in a hotel so didn't have internet access except when I was in the media room at the WSOP and had my computer there with me.
Johnnyangel has a very comfortable 40 foot R.V. that we stayed in...and it was perfect except for no wireless internet. We'll have to adress that glitch next time.
Anyway, I'm back and what a week it was....
I arrived Friday night and just played a little at Sam's Town...$1-$2 no limit.
Saturday, went to the Rio to sign up for the Ladies Event on Sunday, and play in a $175 satellite. Came in 4th in the satellite but it's a winner take all deal (sometimes 1st and 2nd chop). Also got signed up for my press pass, and finally met my email buddy Matt Marcus. Matt lives in NYC and does P.R. for PokerStars/Bluff Magazine. We've had a wonderful email/phone thing going on ever since I caught his attention with my devotion to PokerStars. Finally met- (he was kind enough to take Jophnnyangel and I to a beautiful dinner at the Voodoo Lounge atop the Rio) and it was like hooking up with family. No surprise how nice, smart, and accomplioshed he is- only surprise was how young he is... 24!!!!! YIKES. Even Johnnyangel is old enough to be his father (now there's a first).
Then on Sunday at noon was the Ladies Event. $1000 OF MY OWN HARD-EARNED MONEY. And I was out in 3 hours 50 minutes. I played well, just didn't get the cards. And, I have to say, I didn't feel the right vibe going in. I had sort of a "it's a crap shoot" mentality... not an "I'm gonna win this thing" mentality. A lot of reasons for that including a poor night's sleep the night before... and a couple of other things on my mind (not important here) that were distracting me.
Anyway, it was fun being there for my third shot at it. I did hear a story about a guy who had played in 10 WSOPs and finally came in first place in one of this years tourneys.
After I got knocked out, I wanted to leave the Rio (as in, "get me out of here")but still was weound pretty tight. So we went over to the MGM Grand. Had dinner at the Rainforest Cafe- that was fun. They have a really nice poker room. 7PM tourney $150 (I think) buy-in. Made it down to two tables before getting knocked out. But then played $1-$2 no limit and won a ton of money.
It was to be the last big win of the trip.
Monday went back to the Rio to blog and check out the scene without having to worry about playing. Blogged (see below) and wrote my column, and had lunch with Matt. Left there and went... hmmm...can't remember where we went after that....somewhere along the line went and played the 7PM tourney at The Sahara. Great nightly tournament. $42 buy-in with one $20 rebuy. Get $5000 in chips, 20 minute levels. Lots of players-funky poker room, but overall, a really good deal. Played in that one twice during the trip.
Gotta go- more tomorrow.....
-- Jill Cohen

At the World Series
June 11, 2:03 p.m.
I am writing this blog from the (media room of) the 2007 World Series of Poker. It can only be described in the most over-the-top words...awesome, spectacular, incredible, mind-boggling...
This is my third WSOP and I have a more seasoned perspective on the scene but it still is the most exhilirating experiences you can imagine.
I have spoken to Daniel Negraneau, Barry Greenstein and Humberto Brenes. I have followed the adventures of my buddy Matt, who is a P.R. guy for poker stars as he wrangles some of the game's top names. I have played in the Ladies event- and yes, got knocked out :-(
I have seen folks from back home and folks from my hometown (Robert Varknoyi, the 2003 winner from Brooklyn), people I met on last years poker cruise, and people I only know from TV.
Amazing.
There's so much to tell....and I only have limited internet access this week to writ to you guys. So, read my column on Thursday (online and DPW) or FRiday in the Desert Sun Weekly section for more highlights and I will blog as often as I am near a signal.
Thanks for reading. ~J

-- Jill Cohen

I;m Here!
June 09, 09:31 a.m.
Hey Everyone,
I am writing to you ona TV set!!!!!! It's crazy, but I'm in a hotel room that has TV inernet access. The big CONVERGENCE is here. Wirelss too! Anyway, so much for the tech talk....
Arrived in L.V. last night, reunited with Johnnyangel, (heaven :-)), and am just getting up and about.
Played a little baby no=limit just to get my feet wet, but still haven'y been to the Rio where the WSOP is. I am going to have limited intrnet access this trip (it's a long story about why that is) so I don't know when I will be able to check back with you- but I will every chance I get. Iam hoping to pick up my "media credentials" today and that sghould eas thgp a bit.
Anyway, it's now Saturday morning at 9:30AM. I will be beginning my event in 26.5 houirs from now. Btweeen now and then...rest, good food, good love, and maybe a sattellite or two. Chant for me, pray for me, hope, wish, do a rain dance... whatever it is you do... DO IT.
Talk to you soon.
~J
-- Jill Cohen

I;m Here!
June 09, 09:30 a.m.
Hey Everyone,
I am writing to you ona TV set!!!!!! It's crazy, but I'm in a hotel room that has TV inernet access. The big CONVERGENCE is here. Wirelss too! Anyway, so much for the tech talk....
Arrived in L.V. last night, reunited with Johnnyangel, (heaven :-)), and am just getting up and about.
Played a little baby no=limit just to get my feet wet, but still haven'y been to the Rio where the WSOP is. I am going to have limited intrnet access this trip (it's a long story about why that is) so I don't know when I will be able to check back with you- but I will every chance I get. Iam hoping to pick up my "media credentials" today and that sghould eas thgp a bit.
Anyway, it's now Saturday morning at 9:30AM. I will be beginning my event in 26.5 houirs from now. Btweeen now and then...rest, good food, good love, and maybe a sattellite or two. Chant for me, pray for me, hope, wish, do a rain dance... whatever it is you do... DO IT.
Talk to you soon.
~J
-- Jill Cohen

Thanks for writing
June 06, 08:44 a.m.
Thanks to you lovely people who wrote in to let me know that you are reading my blog :-)))
I feel so VALIDATED.
And it motivates me to do two things (1) blog more often. and (2) try ever harder at the WSOP.
THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!
-- Jill Cohen

And by the way
June 05, 4:53 p.m.
The new website blog has spell check. So you won't have to slog through my stuff, guessing at words. Is that one of the joys of reading blog- that it's unedited?????
-- Jill Cohen

Gettin Ready for the WSOP
June 05, 4:50 p.m.
Let's see....I've got a haircut appointment, my manicure/pedicure appointment, and went shopping last week at the mall for new outfits. I am ready for the WOrld Series. Joke. Not really. I can't play great unless I feel great and I can't feel great unless I look great. So all the primping is necessary to survival.
Johnnyangel's been in Las Vegas all week, playing his little heart out. Last I heard his bakroll was shrinking but that was last night, so we don't know what the new day will bring.
I fly up on Friday, and the WSOP Ladies Event starts SUnday at noon. YOWZA.
If you want to follow the action, at long last the WSOP just today unveiled their new website which has up-to=date results at www.worldseriesofpoker.com
Dear readers, I am sorry that my blogging has got down to once a week. First of all, things are hectic and really busy for me right now. But frankly, there's something else at work. Because this blog is not interctive meaning that you cannot relpy/respond online...I don't know if you are reading it and/or liking/hating it... there's no feedback. So, it takes a certain mentality to soldier on when you don't know if nobody is listening. I am not certain that I like the sound of my own voice that much. Of course, I have asked readers to write to me at jill.cohen@thedesertsun.com and one or teo blog readers have... but I want to be more engaged with YOU. Okay, so here's the good news. The Desert SUn will soon be launching a new website that will allow you to post comments on my blog. That way, as you read you can respond/react/question/comment/etc. Then I will know you are out there, and will blog happily away.
Anyway, that was a digression....back to my trip to the WSOP. I think that there will be well over 1000 women in my tournament, so no matter how skilled or experienced I am, no matter how well I play- it's going to be a crap shoot. Either I get very lucky or not. And given that I am not very lucky when it comes to gambling (I qualify that because I am VERY LUCKY when it comes to LIFE), there is no particular reason to think that next Sunday will be any different. Only thing is... it's happened before, and it could happen again. You never know when it's going to strike.
Reminds me of the old line:
If you don't gamble every day, you could be walking around lucky and not know it!
So, I very studiously set my goal of (1) making it to the second day and (2) making it to the money (top 10%). Beyond that, who knows?!??!?!
But anyway, the point it, in a tournament where you get $2K in chips, and there are over 100 tables, it MOSTLY about luck.
Now I've been rambling on and on, and interrupted so many times I don't know where I am. But I am afraid that if I go back and read it, I'll just delete it in disgucst. So I'll just hit "post blog" and be done with it.
More from the Series coming soon.....
~Jill
-- Jill Cohen

Waitin' on the Series
May 29, 2:59 p.m.
Man, my day job is demanding. The past month has been full of working late and not having a chance to catch my breath for a minute every day.
On top of that, I've been playing a lot. Live action mostly, at The Spa mostly... but also Spotlight and Morongo. Haven't been to Agua much in the past month. Which is all well and good, except that it's tournament time I need in prep for the WSOP. In 12 days I'll be sitting down at the Ladies event with ONE THOUSAND DOLLARS OF MY OWN MONEY at stake.
Think I better chill out with this day job and start getting to nightly tournaments every chance I get over the next week and a half.
-- Jill Cohen

Up and down day
May 17, 6:27 p.m.
Today was a big day for Queenie, because my weekly column moved from one day to another in the daily newspaper, The Desert Sun, and debuted for the first time in the weekly newspaper, The Desert Post Weekly.
First the bad news: I was not at all happy that there was no reference to the column moving in today's daily newspaper.

So let's say you look forward to Thursdays because you open your newspaper, turn to the Desert Today section, and enjoy the Queen of Hearts column with your coffee (don't millions do that????)

And, let's say that you missed last week's Editor's note that said the column was moving. So you go to page one of Desert Today, and she's gone! No Queen! Well, maybe they moved her to inside, so you look at every page, and no Queen. Getting frantic, you think maybe there's some information on the front page of the first section telling you where she's gone- but nothing. Hmm... you wonder- is it off with the Queen's head at The Desert Sun?
No way of knowing.

UNLESS you happen to be reading the WEEKEND section tomorrow and rediscover her there. Well, if you do, it was only 24 hours of concern and anxiety worrying about what happened to the Queen. But if you don't read Weekend on Fridays, how in the world are you going to know that the Queen is alive and well, and playing cards?

I've complained to the appropriate party about the ommission, but it's irrelevant since the opportunity was missed. And Queenie is miffed, because my readers are left wandering and wondering. I wanted to take better care of them than that.

Now the Good News: The column got a very warm welcome into The Desert Post Weekly which relatively speaking, rolled out the red carpet, with a nice note from new editor, Michael Felci, and a nice little graphic treatment on the column. A royal welcome.

So for me it was an up and down day. For you online readers, nothing changes. I still blog and the column still goes up online on Thursdays. So as always, you guys are ahead of the game.

Now if I can get ahead of the poker game in time for the WSOP (Ladies event in 23 days from now), everything will be OKAY!
-- Jill Cohen

Lucky You
May 14, 11:46 a.m.
John and I went to see the new poker movie "Lucky You" this weekend. It's about a poker player trying to scrape together his buy-in to the main event at the 2003 WSOP. It's not a very good flick, but it's worth seeing for the poker action and all of the big-name pokers pros in it.
The relationships (father-son, guy-girlfriend) aren't at all believable, and neither is the acting. And most of all, who can believe that a guy can run $500 up to $10,000 in low-limit hold em games - THREE TIMES within the week before the WSOP, then having made his buy-in, goes to the WSOP and ends up at the final table? With his dad???? The whole thing stretches the imagination, and Drew Barrymore has an awful role as a clueless bad lounge singer... but still it's a poker movie and there are precious few of them. So if you care enough about the game to be reading this blog, you should probably cough up the $10 bucks and waste two hours seeing it.
This week's column (NOW IN FRIDAY'S DESERT SUN - WEEKEND SECTION) is about this and some other (much better) poker films.
What's your favorite poker movie? Write to me at jill.cohen@thedesertsun.com and let me know.
I've heard that KALEIDOSCOPE with Warren Beatty is good- anyone seen it????
By the way, very soon The Desert Sun is going to have a new website, and my blog on the new site is going to be interactive....you can respond right onto the blog. COOL, huh?????
-- Jill Cohen

I Lied
May 07, 1:36 p.m.
There was poker this weekend. After all, what do two poker-crazed nuts like Johnnyangel and I do when we've spent 8 hours in the hot sun, walking miles and miles, and listening to more good music than their ears can bear? Do they go home on Saturday night to get some rest before Sunday's extravaganza of a day? Nooooo....they go to Agua until God-knows-what-hour and play poker until they can't see straight. Then sleep a few hours, hit the jacuzzi, swallow as much coffee ans possible, then back to the Polo Fields, and the Stagecoach Country Music Festival. Again, hot sun, miles of walking (must have been at least a mile to the car...); hours of dancing, eating, hootin' and hollerin'. And then, exhausted, home to bed??? Noooooooo.... back to Agua for more poker until it's Monday morning and in about four hours I have to go to work, and in less than that, Johnnyangel has a tee time. So what? I know it sounds insane, and it probably is, but after such a highly charged day, unwinding at a nice, cool, quiet poker table probably did help us to sleep when we finally did hit the sack.
But yes, it is insane, I know.
We had a wonderful weekend.

-- Jill Cohen

No Poker this weekend
May 04, 4:09 p.m.
Johnnyangel and the Queen will be dozie-do'ing at the STAGECOACH COUNTRY MUSIC FESTIVAL at the Indio Polo Grounds this weekend.
See thedesertsun.com home page for my Coachella blog and photos, along with extended concert coverage.
For more info on the festival see http://stagecoachfestival.com/
It's going to be an absolutely amazing event. I am totally psyched.
See ya next week......
-- Jill Cohen

Big News - The column is moving and the blog is getting better
May 03, 11:09 a.m.
HEY, EVERYONE... BIG NEWS
The Queen of Hearts column, which currently publishes every Thursday in The Desert Sun's DESERT TODAY section is MOVING. We will now be in TWO publications...The Desert Sun's WEEKEND section which comes out on Fridays AND our free, hip, progressive weekly, DESERT POST WEEKLY which comes out on Thursdays. It's very cool to be in the Weekend section... much more visibility for Queenie!
This will all be effective Thursday May 17th. So, one week from today the Q of H will still be in the regular place in Desert Today, but TWO WEEKS from today you won't find us there, and will have to either look for us in Friday's Desert Sun, or pick up a free DESERT POST WEEKLY on Thursday. (DPW is on newsstands all over the Valley). Also, it will appear online at thedesertsun.com on Thursday, as usual. So, there will be THREE FABULOUS WAYS to get your Q of H :-))))

Okay so that's the story on the print version....

Here's the big news on the blog- it is going INTERACTIVE!!!!

In a few weeks, when you are reading this...you'll be able to post here as well. HOW COOL IS THAT???????

So, once again, blog readers are in the know waaaay before anyone else!
-- Jill Cohen

Update on Q-7
April 30, 1:06 p.m.
I knew Marc would rise to the challenge. In his latest email, he says
"I have a gang of ARGers working day and night to find the "Poker Hand"
truth! :-)"

If any one can find the truth about anything rleated to poker, it's a gang of ARG'ers. huhhh????
ARG'ers are a loosely (very!) knit group of people who are absolutely passionate about poker. They are the poker version of the model train guys at the county fair. They don't just like to play poker (some are pros and some are amateurs), they STUDY it. When I went to their Southern California gathering several months ago, you would have been amazed at seeing a group of us paying rapt attention as author Jerrod Ankenman very professorially took us through a PowerPoint presentation that gave the "highlights" of his book, "The Mathematics of Poker". Believe me it was intense. Afterwards we relaxed by playing Chowhaha and Bidugi, both strange and exotic forms of poker.
As I said, if anyone can get to the bottom of the Q-7 mystery (is it real or urban myth?) it is these uber-poker-sleuths.


-- Jill Cohen

Shame on me or...?
April 26, 1:58 p.m.
Marc Gilutin is a pal of mine. He is the Omaha host at the Bicycle Casino in L.A. He has been very kind to me, is an avid Q of H reader, and is the one resposible for introducing me to BARGE, which was a totally cool experience. He knows A LOT about poker. In order for the following to make sense, I need you to read todays Q of H column. www.thedesertsun.com/poker will take you there.
So this morning I got an email from Marc (below), and wrote him back (below that). What do you think about this little controversy?????

From Marc to Jill:

Jill, Dahling:

An entire 'poker' article based on one fact.....and it's wrong.

Q-7 is the 'computer hand' because a computer once proved that half the possible starting hands were *better*.....and half were "worse".

It's the median hand...not the most common.

No two cards are more likely to come than any other two. How could they be?

I still love you but....*SHAME ON YOU*!!!!

-marc

From me to Marc:

My dear,

I miss you too.

In researching my little column I found this definition of the computer hand at http://www.planetpoker.com/games/dictionary

computer hand:
(n phrase) In hold 'em, Q-7 as one's first two cards. Comes from an apocryphal story that "someone" did an extensive computer simulation of hold 'em hands in which those two cards appeared most frequently in the flop, or, in some stories, among the downcards. The simulation was atypical, however, because the chances are the same for any two cards of different ranks.

Which is the story I had always heard, so I went ahead and used it. After I became ashamed of myself, I did some more research, and found that most definitions out there match what you contend, that it is the median hand.

Can you find a link to the actual research? Can we be sure it is true, or is this too, an urban legend? If we can reliably prove that this actually occurred, and Q-7 is indeed the median of all hands, I will explore the issue of how myths happen in a future column.

Thanks, as always, for reading and writing, and hope you’re well.

Abashedly yours,
~Jill






-- Jill Cohen

Another Fun Weekend
April 23, 6:11 p.m.
Played golf and poker, details in Thursday's column.

By the way, I know I had previewed a column on Hollywood Park Casino's e-poker room, but you never saw it. That's because I never wrote it. That's because there is no e-poker room at HPC as advertised. I am still looking into what's up with that, and e-poker in general and will do a report- promise.

Tonight are the finals of the Tag Team poker league at Morongo. Wayne and I fropped out several weeks ago when it became apparent that it was a mathematical im[possibilioty for us to be in the winners circle like we were last time. But my good friend Rosemarie WInston is in- playing for the first prize of $10,000 and a bracelet. GO GIRLFRIEND!!!!!!!
-- Jill Cohen

Where was I???
April 19, 5:52 p.m.
Okay, so there we were headed to the Bike for a Limit Hold 'Em tournament on Sunday. $100 buy-in, over 300 players. I'll cut to the chase....I didn't come in the money and neither did John.
My last hand was brutal. I'd been struggling with bad cards, and only has a very few chips at the first break. Almost not even woth coming back to the table... but you never know. So, when I got back, I won a couple of chips, still needed to make a stand to double up...then had my big chance. Pocket queens.
I went all in and got one caller- the guy with all the chips (as well he should whatever he's got). He flips over J-K.
Flop comes 6-10-Q. I thrilled to have fit my set. Turn is 9 and river is J giving him a straight with his king. I couldn't believe it.
I walked out of the oturnament room dazed and into a $6-$12 Hold Em game in which I lost about 1/2 my progit for the weekend before I realized I was on tilt and better get out of there. So, for the whole weekend, I was firmly in the plus column, although I sure had a better time on Saturday than I did on SUnday.

Lat night I played in a charity tournamnet at The Spa. I represented the Blood Bank....but didn't do well. Guess I'll have to give a pint at the Blood Drive in our office tomorrow.
Oh well.

I've been spending a good deal of time on PokerStars playing stud, stud hi/low and Omaha in preparation for the S.H.O.E. event at the WSOP.
Not being a stuid player I'm probably nuts to enter a tournament where 1/2 the play is stud... but I just have a very strong feeling about it- so I'm going with it.
Anybody else out there like mixed games????
jill.cohen@thedesertsun.com

-- Jill Cohen

Wild Weekend
April 16, 2:24 p.m.
What a weekend! Packed full of poker.
I've always loved to play at Hollywood Park and still do. Good games, fun environment, yummy food, excellent service.
Turns out, the Ladies LIPS Tournament scheduled for Saturday was cancelled due to not enough players showing up. So that was disappointing (Lupe, LIPS tour director said it was because it wasn't advertised properly by the casino- I found out about it by looking on the LIPS website). Anyway, it was no big deal because there we were at Hollywood Park (HPC) at noon on Saturday- NOT A PROBLEM :-))))Also, they did give us the free buffet breakfast that was supposed to be part of the LIPS event...and as always the HPC food was delicious.
So we played live action (I played $4-$8 and John played no limit)for about three hours and both won. Then we went to our hotel (we'd settled on the LAX Travelodge which was unique garden-style motel... kind of wierdly situated... but the room was nice in a sort of 1960's way....) for a rest before going back to HPC for another session at about 8PM.
Went back for another three hours, and both won again. Ate their delicious Pad Thai while playing.
Back to the hotel, slept for about 6 hours then went back to HPC for a brief morning session before leaving to meet my Santa Monica cousins for brunch. The morning session wasn't quite as successful as the two previous evening sessions, but it was good because I got into a $3-$6 stud game. And I need the Stud practice for the World Series in July where I am going to enter the S.H.O.E. event which inludes Stud. And there's no Stud games spread here in the Valley. SO that was good. Didn't lose much just a little. Still way ahead for the HPC experience though (Johnny also ahead).
One other thing that was interesting was that HPC has been advertising an "e-poker room". That is, a room with electronic poker tables (no dealer, chips, cards, etc.). So I was very anxious to see it and use it as fodder for this Thursdays column. Check out the next column(in the paper or online) to see what I found.

At 11AM on Sunday we had a lovely brunch with cousins Peter and Karen. Their son, Taylor Locke, is the lead guitarist of a rock group called Rooney.(www.rooney-band.com) Rooney's just about to come out with their second album, which is really exciting! My brother David drove down from Santa Barbara to join us... so it was a really nice morning.
Then it was on to The Bike. That'll have to wait for next installment because right now, my DAY JOB beckons....gotta go!







-- Jill Cohen

Over the Hump
April 12, 09:31 a.m.
YAY! It's Thursday... my poker-loaded weekend is just around the corner.
Last night I saw to details. I booked our room for Saturday night. No easy task to find a hotel around Hollywood Park that is both comfotable/clean/nice and not expensive. There are, of course, tons of hotels- being that Hollywood Park is next to LAX- but the Marriotts are too expensive for us, and the cheap hotels too funky. Finally decided on Travelodge... will report on that when I get back.
ALSO, used my credit card to pre-register for SUnday's tourney at The Bike. Normally, I wouldn't do that (just in case plans change), but since we are having brunch with my cousins before we go to the Bike, I figured that it would be good to not have to worry about getting locked out of the tourney-- or having to rush to get there to register....so we are pre-paid. That's pretty cool, huh?
Probably not a bad idea to go that route for the World Series to avoid long resitration lines. Only thing is, I don't know how it would work if I pre-register, and then get an entry by winning a satellite...would probably have to sell the satellite entry, which should be doable. I'll have to mull that one over.
Anyway, this weekend is all set to go (getting my nails done tonight), so I am psyched. I'm thinking it'll probably be my last out-of-valley tournaments until the WSOP.
Off I go....
-- Jill Cohen

Tourneys this weekend
April 10, 10:04 a.m.
I didn't play at all last weekend (poker, that is). I was playing outdoors all weekend- Saturday golf and Sunday motorcycles.
Back to it this coming weekend though.
John and I are going to L.A. to play some bigger tourneys (both limbering up for the WSOP). On Saturday at Hollywood Park, I'll be playing in a $150 buy-in ladies No Limit Hold Em event (a LIPS event), and on Sunday at The Bike, we'll both be playing in a $100 buy-in Limit Hold 'Em event (part of THE STARS AND STRIPES series).
We're hoping to hook-up with some old friends for Sunday brunch. Looks to be a great weekend,
Only problem is...today is Tuesday. Not over the "hump" yet.

-- Jill Cohen

Do you have a favorite?
April 05, 1:57 p.m.
People are always asking me who my favorite poker pro is. I've got one, and I'm thinking of doing a column about who it is.

Do you have a favorite? If so, send me an email and tell me who and why.

jill.cohen@thedesertsun.com

-- Jill Cohen

The joint was jumpin'
April 04, 11:22 a.m.
Agua's poker room was jumpin' last night. All ten tables were going when I arrived about 7:30, and most were still filled when I left (too many) hours later.

Could it have been the big bad beat jackpot that had everyone there? After all, if you play in the Valley, you probably know that the bad beat rules are the most relaxed at Agua and The Spa than anywhere else in the Valley, maybe the known universe. All you need is ANY aces full beat by four of a kind, and while both cards must play, if one matches the board that's okay. In most other bad beat jackpots it must be a minimum of aces full of tens and if a hole card matches the board it voids the jackpot. So, it's hit often at Agua, where a lot of hands are played and the rules are lax. I spoke to a guy last night who said he's been playing everyday for the past two weeks, and had been in involved in THREE jackpots. That's amazing.

We actually almost had one at our table last night, when the special double promotion was on (if we had hit it, it would have been very rich!). The board was A-6-A-A-Q. One player held 9-9 which would qualify if one other player held A-Q or A-K. Alas, it was not to be.....

Guess we'll have to keep trying.
-- Jill Cohen

Monday's mood
April 02, 2:27 p.m.
Just back from Laughlin. Seems so odd to have been there three weekends out of the last five- it just worked out that way. Or more to the point, alll I have to do is casually mention to John that I was "thinking about going to Laughlin" and we're there. As in "We just thought about it!". He's funny. He was particularly funny this weekend. Here's what happened:
At the Riverside Casino, he's in the poker room and I am behind him coming out of the Ladies Room. As I apoproach, I see him standing in front of the poker room, waving madly for me to hurry up. As soon as I get there he tells me in a super-excited manner that he's just won the "big end" of the Bad Beat Jackpot.
"No kidding!" I said, given that in all my years of playing, I've only won that once. "How big was it?" I asked.
"12,000!" came the reply
"That's $6,000 for you- where is it- I want to see- what did you have" I said as I began searching the tables for the one which would have his hand spread out on it, just waiting for the money to arrive. It was just at that moment as I was mentally spending the money, that he said "APRIL FOOLS!!!!!!"

Boy, did he get me good. I wasn't even mad because it was such a perfect "get". I went for it hook. line. and sinker.

The rest of the day I plotted my revenge and got him back with an April Fools... but that one isn't for public consumption :-)!

Anyway, we're loving Laughlin- more about it in Thursday's column.
-- Jill Cohen

Profits
March 30, 08:55 a.m.
I was whining because my poker bankroll (separate, of course, from my household bankroll)was low this week. So, my sweet boyfriend John invested $200 with the understanding (explicitly stated) that we split any winnings. OKAY!!!!!
So last night after meeting a friend for dinner at the marvelous STEAKHOUSE restauarant at The Spa, I moseyed over to the poker room to play a little $3-$6. After about two hours of most enjoyable play and banter, I figured that since I had a backer, I should quit while I was ahead. $25. So when John got home after work last night there was $12.50 on the table for him.
That's a 6.25% return on his investment...not bad for one night :-)
We're thinking of going back to Laughlin this weekend. We love that poker romm at the Riverside casino. So cozy, comfortable, and a panoraminc view of the Colorado River to boot.
-- Jill Cohen

$12 million dollar man
March 28, 3:17 p.m.
2006 WORLD POKER CHAMPION, JAMIE GOLD. WAS PLAYING AT THE SPA ON SUNDAY NIGHT. HE WAS IN THE $3000 BUY-IN NO LIMIT GAME WITH MY FRIEND WSOP BRACELET HOLDER PERRY GREEN, A COUPLE OF OTHER REGULARS AND AN UNIDENTIFIED BEAUTIFUL BLONDE.

I WALKED RIGHT IN, BOUGHT A RACK OF $100 CHIPS AND KICKED JAMIE GOLD'S ASS.

No, not really. He was there, but I didn't kick anyone's butt. It was cool seeing him anyway.

Now, I've seen Pete Sampras, Phil Hellmuth, and Jamie Gold at the Spa. It may be the least known celebrity sighting spot in town!
-- Jill Cohen

Last night
March 28, 3:10 p.m.
Streak ended. Last night played the No Limit tourney at Morongo and got knocked out. Played pretty well, just couldn't hang on. I almost hated to play because I knew a string of cashes like the one I was on, couldn't continue... but I'm still happy with 4 out of 5.


-- Jill Cohen

4-4-4
March 23, 09:17 a.m.
Whew!
I am now four for four in tournaments. The last four I have played, I've come in the money. I've never had a better run.
They are:

Tuesday 3/13 No Limit Hold Em at Morongo 7th place
Sunday 3/17 at Sam's Town Las Vegas HORSE (3 way chop for 1st)
Tuesday 3/20 No Limit Hold Em at Morongo 5th place
Thursday 3/21 Limit Hold Em at Morongo 8th place

Now I am trying to decide if I should enter another one tonight. Hmmmm.... to push my advatage (always a good practice in poker) or lay back a little (never a bad idea).... the confidence of being on a winning streak helps to win... it perpetrates itself. So maybe I should.
Ah well, I'll see how I feel at 5 o'clock.

Jill Cohen


-- Jill Cohen

Tournament Turn-Around
March 21, 4:28 p.m.
FINALLY, I'm back in the winning column with my tournament play. Hadn't won one for about four (long, painful, dreary) months. The the clouds broke, and the sun came out.
Last Tuesday, 3/13, I came in 7th place at Morongo's NLHE tourney, and last might 3/20 I came in 5th place. Both started out with about 80 players.
Last night was expecially gratifying because when we got down to tables (20 players) I had the fewest chips (only 4 of them). Then I tripled up, then doubled up, then came in 5th place. That's moving up 15 spots. Love that!
Also this past weekend we went to Las Vegas expressly so I could play in my first live HORSE tournament. It was somewhat disappointing in that there was only ONE table. Mixed games, I believe, are the wave of the future, and as usual I am ahead of my time. Anyway, only 10 players (this was at Sam's Town)... but I chopped it with two other players for first. So that's a win.

Anyway, I am officially in training for the World Series. Have reconsidered my initial thinking about what to register for. Currently, I'm thinking the Ladies Event for $1000 and the SHOE event for $1000. I think I am on target for saving that much by WSOP time. More on the WSOP in this week's column.
Anyway, from now until June, I'll be travelling where I have to to get as much tournament play in as possible. Practice, practice, practice, mother always said.

-- Jill Cohen

WSOP Looms
March 14, 4:52 p.m.
I had a wonderful time today participating in a teleconference put on by the World Series of Poker organizers, led by WSOP CEO Jeffrey Pollack. It was an amazing call, chock full of interesting information, and could have gone on for hours.
The WSOP is only 79 days from now, and they are ready. Are you? I'll do a full report on what I learned in my column of Thursday 3/22. Don't miss it!
-- Jill Cohen

Weekend in Laughlin
March 12, 2:20 p.m.
John and I went to Laughlin this weekend. We had planned to go to Las Vegas, but found that we couldn't get a room because it was NASCAR weekend and the town was jammed. Well, actually we did get a room- but not one that we wanted. It was a funky place on theBoulder Hiway, no poker room and overpriced. Thinking about a packed L.V. for a short weekend wasn't that appealing, so we decided to check out Laughlin. When I called to cancel the reservation in LV the nice operator asked why we were cancelling, and when I explained, she offered to make us a reservation in Laughlin. So with one phone call, we got our weekend plans righted.
The drive to Laughlin (up Hiway 62 to Amboy to Essex to I-40 to 95)took us 3 hours and 15 minutes and there was NO TRAFFIC. Very scenic.

Laughlin itself seemed largely unchanged since I was last there about 15 years ago. It's a group of hotel-casinos hugging the banks of the Colorado River on the Nevada side of the river (Arizona's acrosss the water). The town is small, with only nine hotels. And it feels real small, and provincial. The only thing in the whole town besides the hotels is a kind of funky outlet mall (we're not talking Cabazon here)with movie theater.
It's actually a refreshing change of pace from LV, even if it doesn't have the 24/7 excitement, sprawl, or action. Actually BECAUSE it doesn't have all that.....

In fact, illustrating the small town vibe of ythe place, late on Saturday night as we were playing poker at the Riverside Casino, John excitedly pointed to an imprinted $5 chip that had a picture of DOn Laughlin, the town's founder on it. Then he pointed to a corner poker table around which some guys were lounging, chatting, etc. One of them was Mr. Don Laughlin himself. How cool is that? Here is a history of Laughlin lifted from visitlaughlin.com:


In 1964 Don Laughlin, owner of Las Vegas' 101 Club, flew over South Pointe and offered to buy the property. In less than two years the motel and bar, now called the Riverside Resort, was offering all-you-can-eat chicken dinners for 98 cents, play on 12 slot machines and two live gaming tables. Guest accommodations were available in four of the motel's eight motel rooms. The Laughlin family lived in the other four rooms.

South Pointe was renamed Laughlin when the U.S. Postal Service inspector insisted Don Laughlin give the town a name-any name-in order to receive mail. Don Laughlin recommended the name of Riverside or Casino, but the postal inspector used Laughlin instead.

In 1972 the Riverside Resort added 48 rooms, followed by several additions and in 1986 built the first 14-floor high-rise.

A second casino, the Bobcat Club opened in 1967 where the Golden Nugget Laughlin currently operates. In 1968 a third casino, the Monte Carlo opened its doors.

Across the River, Bullhead City flourished in the glow of the casino light. Shuttle boats transported customers from the Arizona side of the river to Laughlin's resorts.

During the 1980s a surge of casino construction exploded in Laughlin. The Colorado Hotel (now the Pioneer), the Regency Sam's Town Gold River (now the River Palms) and the Edgewater opened early in the decade. The activity attracted other investors to begin a second boom resulting in the construction of the Colorado Belle, Harrah's Del Rio, Ramada Express and finally, in 1990, the Flamingo Hilton.

In 1987, Don Laughlin funded and built the Laughlin Bridge at a cost of $3.5 million. He donated the bridge to the states of Nevada and Arizona. The bridge carries 2,000 vehicles daily.

Today there are nine hotel/casinos and one motel in Laughlin providing over 10,000 rooms, 125,000 square feet of meeting space, 60 restaurants, two museums, a 34-lane bowling center and a variety of boutiques, spas and salons. More than 14,000 casino workers now cross the Colorado by shuttle boat or the Laughlin Bridge each day.

The city by the river now attracts nearly 5 million visitors annually who visit Laughlin to gamble, enjoy water sports on the Colorado and attend many high-profile special events hosted by the community.

-- Jill Cohen

Check out the Headliners!
March 02, 3:42 p.m.

-- Jill Cohen

Are the clouds breaking?
March 02, 3:30 p.m.
When it comes to tournament play I have been on a bad luck bender since last October when I won the CVPC Media Event. Since then, with the exception of a winning season- the previous one, not this one- in my poker league (for which I can only take 1/2 credit since I've got a partner)I haven't made any final tables. It's been pretty bleak, even though I understand that these periods come and go. Well, I am hoping mine has finally GONE. Wayne and I made the final table at Morongo Poker League this past Wednesday. (Truth be told, we went out first of the final table players...but still, we got there!), and last night I came in 4th at Spotlight's WSOP qualifier. (Truth be told, only 1st and 2nd place advance, but at least I got my money back by getting to the Final Table!).
Sooooo, I am hoping that the clouds are parting, and the sun is going to break through and my winning ways are returning. Time will tell.
These things run in month(s)long cycles. Hopefully, the sun will be shining brightly by the first week of June (WSOP time).
As always, I'll keep you posted.
-- Jill Cohen

World Series Planning
February 26, 12:28 p.m.
2 1/2 months to the 2007 WSOP, and time to start trying to beg, borrow, or win my way in.

The first thing I'm going to do is compete in the fantastic series that Spotlight 29 is running. That's for a $10,000 Main Event seat, and will keep me busy any Tuesday and Thursday that I can get over there.

Any my Morongo Poker League is also for a WSOP seat, bet we are doing so miserably in that competition that it would be the comeback of the century to win it.

So, I am focusing on what I might actually be able to afford/play in if I don't win an entry.

Last year, I played in the $1000 Ladies Event (to which I had won an entry), and in the $1000 Seniors Event which I paid to enter.

$1000 is the cheapest buy-in, so if I can save enough money between now and June 10, I can enter one of those. And, in the Ladies Event at least, I feel like I can finally cash. I have played so many LIPS and other Ladies only events that I have already played with a portion of the women who will be there. In addition, having had that experience, gives me a good confidence level.

But my dream for this year would be to play in the $2500 HORSE event. Last year was the first year they had HORSE, and they only had a $50K buy-in! It must have been very well-received because this year they have added two more HORSE events... a $2500 and a $5000.

I am hardly a world-class HORSE player, and at all three levels, the field will be populated with them. So, it's kind of a crazy thought to even try to compete.

I'd probably be better off in the Ladies Hold 'Em where I have the greatest confidence level, have experience, and would be on solid ground.

Anyway, whatever event I decide to play in, I gotta start saving for my entry- or winning one. Which, is, in itself a contradiction in terms....

These are good problems to have :-)
-- Jill Cohen

Poker League Loser
February 22, 12:26 p.m.
Last season, my partner and I were at the top of the pack of the Morongo Tag Team Poker League for the whole schedule. We ended uo, after 13 weeks, in 2nd place of 50 teams.

This season, we cannot get off the ground. With both Wayne and I running semi-bad, we are not bucking each other up and getting to the final table which is where the scoring starts.
We are 1/2 way through the season and have no points. The leaders are way out ahead. That said, we only need to make 10th place to get to the finals.

It's not too late, but it's a big mountain to climb. Hopefully, we will begin the ascent next Wednesday.

-- Jill Cohen

My Personal Take on the Tournament
February 16, 3:07 p.m.
Okay, as promised, here is the off-the-record (well, sort of) just for blog readers (definitely)lowdown, from my personal point of view on the Queen of Hearts tournament.

There were lots of things I liked about it, a few things I didn't like, and a few things that are just "lessons learned".

I LIKED all of the new friends I made. That, and shmoozing with old friends, was my favorite part of the whole experience.

I also LIKED having a microphone. I am just a natural "ham", and being in the spotlight is something I adore. I can't sing or dance, and I've never been model material-- so it took me 50 (+) years to figure out how to grab some spotlight. EUREKA!! POKER!!!

Okay, that's enough about ME- now, as to the tourney itself....

I LIKED that 8 out of our 10 final table players were locals.

I LIKED the spacious, well-lit bingo hall at Agua.

I LIKED working with both casinos. Thire maerketing dept, gaming commission, table games managers, box office managers, poker room managers, and poker romm staffs were all absolutely wonderful. I can't say enough about their hard-work, enthusiasm, integrity, and devotion to the players enjoyment.

I LIKE having our little online contest for a free entry. The fact that 25 people logged onto thedesertsun.som, watched the entire 3:00 video, and sent in an email, was fantastic!

I DIDN'T LIKE the tight, poorly lit space at The SPa. In cact, The Cascade Lounge itself is a beautiful place... but it just wasn't right for our purpose. When I first scouted the room, the first thing I asked was "What about the lighting?" I was told it could be turned up adequately, but it was indeed problematic.

I DIDN'T LIKE the lack of editorial coverage by The Desert Sun. I campaigned for having a reporter there, and got a photographer who took a limited amount of photos. I thought they should have reported on the tourney. The only reportage was left up to me with my 350 weekly words. That said:

I LIKED that The Desert Sun agreed to be a sponsor, and give us advertising space and a promotional budget. Without their agreement the whole thing never would have happened, so even though I think they blew it on the editorial side, they did just fine on the marketing/online/promotional side.

I DIN'T LIKE that we had to cap the ticket sales at 200, and had to turn people away.

I LIKED the combination of the two tourney styles- Saturday being shoot-out style, and Sunday being elimination style. I wasn't sure how that would work out, but from my perspective, I thought it was good. I'd like the player's perspective on that....
In fact,
I'd LIKE PLAYER'S INPUT on
1. two tourney styles
2. two day format
3. the satellites
Please send me emails on these (or any other tourney-related thoughts you may have) to jill.cohen@thedesertsun.com

Let's see....what else.... oh yeah...

I LIKE that the casinos splurged on the baseball caps.

I DON'T LIKE that we left off the words "Poker Tournament" on the caps. I ran into a few guys who didn't want to wear a cap that said "Queen of Hearts" on the front! Also, the caps were all sized large, and were too big for many folks (me included). As far as the caps go, it was a wonderful, generous gesture... but the product wasn't exactly right. Anyway, everybody seemed happy to receive them.

I'd LIKE to see Agua and The Spa have more tournaments. This proved that there is a hunger for it, at the right buy-in.

I'd LIKE to hear from you folks with your thoughts.

Talk to ya soon.
~J

-- Jill Cohen

More on the tournament
February 14, 5:18 p.m.
Okay, I've posted the pictures and the winners names, but haven't really told you what I thought about the whole thing. My column tomorrow will be the "official" 350 words, then I will write my usual true feelings blahblahblah stream of consciousness right here tomorrow afternoon.
There's nothing bad to be said- it's all good.... but I do have some ideas about improvements/enhancements mnade to how we did it.
Talk to you then.
~J
-- Jill Cohen

These ten cashed!
February 14, 10:29 a.m.

-- Jill Cohen

Awarding the Trophy to Hassan
February 14, 10:29 a.m.



-- Jill Cohen

Photos from the Tournament
February 14, 10:25 a.m.
I have posted the photos from the Queen of Hearts Poker Tournament. One photo is of me and dealer JR with all ten of the Final Table players. The other is of me awarding the crystal trophy to Hassan Komeoi, the winner. (He also got $9900!).
Everyone involved felt that the tournament was a great success, and look forward to doin ti again.
If you participated (or not) and have comments/suggestions, please send them to me at jill.cohen@thedesertsun.com.
I love to hear from you!
~Jill
-- Jill Cohen

Trying again...?
February 12, 3:58 p.m.


-- Jill Cohen

YAYAYA Sucess over technology!!!
February 12, 3:55 p.m.
Awesome... I posted a photo on my blog. There's no stopping me now. As soon as I have my hands on the photos that Jennifer took at the tournament, I will put them up there for you all to see.
YAY!
-- Jill Cohen

Spelling Corrections.
February 12, 12:47 p.m.
I have two spelling correction on the winners list....(sorry guys).
Jose Ulloa - 3rd place
Ralph Bertaina - 8th place

More to come on the tournament here on the blog very soon....
-- Jill Cohen

Hmmmmmm
February 12, 11:39 a.m.
My attempts at posting photos not working. I'll have to go back to the technical guys and see what I'm doing wrong.
I will keep you "posted"....
-- Jill Cohen

trying again....
February 12, 11:39 a.m.

-- Jill Cohen

Photo Test
February 12, 11:22 a.m.
Hey Everyone,
I am hoping to post photos of the tournament, but haven't received them yet. In the meantime, I am learning how to post photos to my blog (it's HARD!!!!)
I am now about to hit the "post blog" button, and hoping you will see a photo. If you do see it, it's from last year's Dick Van Patten Media Event.


-- Jill Cohen

TOURNAMENT WINNERS
February 11, 7:13 p.m.
FINALISTS OF THE "QUEEN OF HEARTS POKER TOURNAMENT"
Feb 10-11 at The Agua Caliente and Spa Resort Casinos

1st Place Hassan Kamoei Palm Desert $9900
2nd Place Carol Censki Enfield, CT $6000
3rd Place Jose Villa Coachella $3750
4th Place Linda Garrison Diamond Bar,CA $2760
5th Place Dan Thornburg Palm Springs $2100
6th Place Jamieson Gateb Cathedral City $1590
7th Place Joe Sarlot Rancho Mirage $1320
8th Place Ralph Bertina Palm Desert $1080
9th Place Al Halfon Cathedral City $900
10th Place Antonio Reyna Indio $600
-- Jill Cohen

Tournament Updates
February 09, 5:27 p.m.
I am leaving my office now, and don't know when I'll be blogging next. It will either be Sunday night or Monday morning. I will post the results of the tournament here.
I am hoping that there will be a photo of the wineer, as well as a list of final 10 in Mondays Desert Sun LOCAL section.
I am assuming that I will see everyone who reads this blog sometime over the weekend.
If you're playing in the tourney, and happen to get knocked out on Saturday, please feel free to come by on Sunday. I expect final action sometime between 3 and 5.
To my Glow-worm, sorry you didn't win the drawing and hope you're playing in the tournament anyway. Make sure to say hi to me if you see me there.
Okay, everyone- we're off and running!!!!!!
C YA TOMORO
-- Jill Cohen

SOLD OUT!
February 09, 12:10 p.m.
Looks like tomorrow's tournament is going to be sold out. The entries were capped at 200 players. As of yesterday there were only a handful of seats left at The Spa, and none at Agua.
This is absolutley fabulous! THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU.
To be honest, I didn't realize that there was a limited amount of entries, or I would have written that in the columns. But each casino can only handle 100 players, for a total of 200. Therefore, Sunday's final round will have 6 tables, or 60 players.
I am so excited! We're going to have prizes, refreshments, and a fantastic time.
I, personally, am not playing in the tourney-- just being the ringmaster :-)
On Saturday I'll be at Agua, and on Sunday I'll be at The Spa.
C you there!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
~J

-- Jill Cohen

CONTEST COMPLETE!!!!
February 07, 5:30 p.m.
Thanks to everyone who entered the online contest for a free entry into the tournament. The lucky winner is Brian Lester.

Now, it's just tomorrow's Q of H column, with last minute details... a minuteing tomorrow afternoon with the poker room managers...getting the gift bags for all entrants ready... and then ON WITH THE SHOW!!!!

Yikes.
-- Jill Cohen

CONTEST RESULTS IN MINUTES
February 07, 4:41 p.m.
Coutdown to the contest results. We have 25 entries, and my assistant Barbara (the real Miss Divine) will be choosing the name. I'm jumping out of my skin with excitement.....!!!!
We'll know the winner in 15 minutes!
-- Jill Cohen

More....
February 05, 5:41 p.m.
You gotta admit it, that video is pretty cute!
I think the less-than-bright lighting helped me a lot, as did the sunglasses, but I WAS having a good hair day. And, of course, Jon and Greg did their parts great-- so it came out pretty darn good. Over the weekend, we had 18 people eneter the contest for a free entry to the tournament. That's a great number for me-- and a great number for you. From my perspective, it's a lot... but if you are entering the contest, it gives you an 18-to-1 shot. Of course, when the contest closes at 5PM on Saturday we'll have plenty more entries... but still, if you don't win an entry, you can still buy-in. Such a deal!!!!!

Special heartfelt thanks to everyone who entered. The success of the Queen of Hearts rests pretty heavily on web clicks and blog reads, and video views. So, for you online readers, my deepest appreciation.

This weekend I finally played in the L.A. Poker Classic Ladies Event at Commerce Casino. I won the $1000 buy-in last summer. It was a long wait for nothing, since I got knocked out pretty early. One thing I noticed though, is that I wasn't heartbroken getting knocked out like I sometimes am. The conclusion I come to is my reaction to getting knocked out of a tournament is based on two things (and not the cost of entering):
1. How well I play. If I play well, and the cards just don't go my way...I don't have any regrets. I didn't do it to myself. I did the best I could with what I was given (Something I've tried to do :-)).
2. How close I am to the money. If I get knocked out anywhere near the money (like going out 125th when they paid 99 places in the 2006 WSOP Ladies)- THAT HURTS. Everyone hates "the bubble" and so do I. If I get knocked out early, it just isn't as painful. I have much less time and emotion invested.

John says that I should always try to go as far as possible in any tournament I play, and I agree, and I do. But emotionally, it's just less painful after one or two hours than after 6 or 7 hours, if I am not getting paid.

So, this weekend at the L.A. Poker Classic, I played GREAT and just didn't make it. Got knocked out in the third hour. I wasn't bummed out (of course, it helped that I hadn't paid $1000, and got in on a freeroll I won at a LIPS event).

Then, on Sunday, I went over to the Bike (I love that place), and played in a $125 buy-in Ladies Event. There were 8 tables and I got 1/2 way through. Same deal- good play- no help from the poker gods. No pain, really. Just the frustration of not winning a tournament since last November when I won the Spotlight 29 Celebrity Media Tourney. I really think I am due for a turnaround. I am intending to play more tourneys at The Commerce, the Bike, and other casinos this spring. Got to be ready for the WSOP Ladies Event on June 10.

Anyway, that's my story and I'm sticking to it. See you this weekend!!!!!!

Love,
~Jill
-- Jill Cohen

CORRECTION!!!!
February 05, 5:40 p.m.
Below, I said:
"Of course, when the contest closes at 5PM on Saturday we'll have plenty more entries"

I should have said :
"Of course, when the contest closes at 5PM on WEDNESDAY we'll have plenty more entries"


-- Jill Cohen

WIN A FREE ENTRY
February 01, 2:45 p.m.
For all of my blog and online readers, there is a drawing for a FREE ENTRY to the Queen of Hearts Tournament. By this weekend, you will see a link on The Desert Sun's home page to a video which was shot today. In the video are instructions for how to enter the drawing for a free ticket.
I loved being in the video, but I havn't seen any of the footage, so I don't know how it came out. I was flanked by two handsome men, Jon Eskelin poker room manager of ACC and Greg Nares poker room manager of The Spa... so it can't be TOO BAD. I think I remembered to put on lipstick :-)

Anyway, be sure to check it out, and get in the drawing for a FREE ENTRY to the tournament.

~J
-- Jill Cohen

Coachella Valley Poker Tournament
January 29, 6:17 p.m.
This past weekend the inaugural CVPC was held. 199 players (including me, who got knocked out very early) participated. Here is a list of the final table winners

1. Alex Madriaga - Holt Ville, Ca $50,000
2. Roy Churchill - Big Bear City, Ca $35,000
3. Larry Kenzy - Palm Desert , Ca $20,000
4. Brett Gardner - Bradenton, Fl $14,000
5. Steve Jarrot - La Quinta, Ca $6000
6. Sam Lin - La Quinta, Ca $5000
7. Marilyn Harris - Palm Desert, Ca $4000
8. Alan Turner - Redlands Ca $3000
9. Robert Perreault - Palm Desert, Ca $2000
10. Richard Gotti - Salem, Or. $1000

There was a lot of controversy surrounding the prize pool for this tournament. NORMALLY, the way a tournament works is that the amount of money being held for the casino's expenses and the amount of money going into the prize pool are clearly stated. For example, $150 + $10 means that it'll cost you $160 to buy in, $150 of which goes to the player's prize pool and $10 of which goes to the casino.
But intially all they said about the CVPC tournament was that it was $150,000 prize pool. At some point a huge controversy swirled up when players learned that even if the entries exceeded 150, the prize pool wouldn't increase. The casino folks said they had lots of advertising expenses (we all saw the billboards and heard the radio ads)which they needed to pay for. Because this was not what people have come to expect in "normal" tournements, and it was not CLEARLY stated up front, players were very upset. Here are some excepts from emails I got over the past several weeks....
1. "the players pool. is that not for the players and the entry fee for the casino?
any tournament that takes $ from players pool is a rip off......to this day I know of no other turny. in history that took $ out of players pool !!!!!!!!!!!!!. other than a very small % for dealers toke."
2. "The prize pool will NOT be going up no matter how many players the have. If 400 people end up in this, not only will a player have to make it through knocking out more than twice as many other players there will be NO reward for their efforts. Not only are the people in this getting shafted but that would mean that Spotlight will pocket $250,000."
3. "Juice for that event is outrageous. It's not like that's the only poker tournament out there. The are major tournaments at Commerce and other locations this and next month, and none of them charge the kind of juice this one is. I don't know how they felt they could get away with it, but there is no way in hell that I would play in an event that witholds the amount of money they do. I guess in selecting poker tournaments, like buying a used car, it's caveat emptor. And if people are foolish enough to pay that kind of juice to enter a tournament, either they don't care, or they haven't done their due diligence -- despite the allegations that the event itself tried to hide the amount they are taking off the top in the fine print."

Now, I like the folks at Spotlight, and I enjoy playing there. I don't know why the tournement was set up this way or why the communication coming out was garbled. So I contacted the guy that they had hired (expenses!) as a publicist for the event and made him aware of how people were feeling. He issued the following press release:
"INAUGURAL COACHELLA VALLEY POKER CHAMPIONSHIP STILL ACCEPTING PLAYERS

Go All-in for Guaranteed $150,000.00 Prize Pool; Clarifications Announced

COACHELLA, Calif. (January 12, 2007) – The inaugural Coachella Valley Poker Championship is coming this month to Spotlight 29 Casino, and with less than 100 players signed up so far, the odds of winning the guaranteed prize pool of an incredible $150,000.00 are very good at this point.

“The tournament is not sold out yet, and the excitement is definitely building!” said Spotlight 29 Casino General Manager Ray DelFiandra.

For just a $1,000 buy-in, players will have a shot at the $50,000.00 top prize and a gold bracelet! Second prize is $35,000.00, and third prize is $20,000.00, and the top 20 finishers all receive prize money. The $1,000 buy-in receives $10,000 in tournament chips for the No-Limit Texas Hold’em event.

Spotlight 29 Casino has also clarified the prize structure. DelFiandra said, “Right now, we have just under 100 entrants. If this exciting tournament draws more than 300 players, we will then increase the prize pool by putting 70 percent of the entry fees toward the pot. We cover our expenses at 300 players, which is why we chose that number to begin increasing the pot. In other words, after we reach 300 players, $700 of each entry goes right to the pot, making the tournament that much sweeter for every one of the top 20 finalists.”

The event takes place in the Spotlight Showroom on January 26-28, 2007. Registration is open now at StarTicketsPlus by calling (800) 585-3737. Players are advised to register early to guarantee themselves a shot at the big money and the title of Coachella Valley Poker Champion.

Put the spotlight on hot poker action at Spotlight 29 Casino, the Coachella Valley’s most exciting place to play. Spotlight 29 Casino is a business venture of the Twenty-Nine Palms Band of Mission Indians. Turn it on at www.Spotlight29.com."
----------
Okay, so they were still keeping an unusual amount of money, but at least they put a stake in the sand on what they were doing, and how. After this point, when people sent me email about the tourney, I referred them to the PR guy.

I played in the tournament. I won a FREEROLL for media people (in fact I was the first player in, and had table 1 seat 1 when we sat down to play. The way I looked at it is, I'm going to play because I like my overlay ($0 cost to possible$50K first place). And MOST of the other people played because they liked their overlay having won entries via $110 satellite. For the few folks that bought in, it was up to them to understand the deal and choose to buy-in or not. I don't see it as underhanded, sleazy or a rip-off so much as a bad public relations decision that was poorly communicated. They have the right to set it up anyway they want, and we have the right to choose to play in it or not.
THAT SAID, I would never personally lend my name, or be involved in, a tournament that didn't clearly specify how much the players were getting and how much the house was getting.

One thing I have learned, however, is that no matter how hard you try to get it right on a first run, you're going to miss stuff. Take the upcoming QUEEN OF HEARTS tourney for example. We pondered every choice so carefully to make things fair and easy to understand. But we neglected to set aside a dealers toke. So the dealers are going to have to rely on the winners largesse to see any gratuities at all out of this. And on Saturday, the winners don't even get any money, they just advance. So, likely no tips. For someone like me (a dealers advocate) this was a bad slip-up.
If things go well (God willing) and we have the SECOND ANNUAL Q of H Tournament in 2008, the entry fee will have 3 components
1. The prize pool (say $150)
2. The house share (say $10)
3. Dealers Tips (say $5)

So, you live and learn.










-- Jill Cohen

Zooooommm, I'm back
January 23, 6:20 p.m.
Seems like just yesterday, but once again I guess it's been too long. My excuses are I was sick, I am busy with the Q of H Tournament coming up, and as if all that wasn't enough, I've got a day job!

To Mr. Glow, everything is fine. Thanks for asking. Queenie loves your concern.

Okay, let's see... where are we? The Chris Moneymaker/Playboy Playmate Boot Camp at Morongo is history. Since I was sick last week (stomach virus- I know who gave it to me, and who I gave it to), I didn't get out there but I heard that Moneymaker was in the Morongo poker room every night. Two stories filtered out. One: a Morongo regular- a Mexican lady of senior vintage won a freeroll into the boot camp. So she goes and plays in the final night tournament. MAkes the final table and knocks out all the pros except one. She's finally heads-up with him and he takes her out. She missed making the $15,000 first prize but got a bunch of prizes including a freeroll into the next Moneymaker/Playmate Boot Camp in Las Vegas. Only thing is she's not sure if the pro she was playing heads-up was Johnny Chan or Men "The Master" Nguyen!
The other story I heard was that on the last night Moneymaker came down to the poker room (after the boot camp activities were over)they never got the big game off. So Moneymaker sat down and played $1-$3 no limit with all of the Morongo kids (at Morongo they can play at 18). The kids were all going out of their minds clamoring for a seat at the table. SO they worked it out amongst themselves that they each played for an hour and got up so they next guy in line could sit down and play. That way, they all got to say they played with Chris Moeneymaker. I think that is SO SWEET. I would love to have seen that.

Okay, what else is going on??? I received a press release from the publicist working with the Coachella Valley Poker Championship coming up this weekend. There have been a lot of rumors, questions, and accusations flying about just how much the organizers are keeping and how much they are putting into the prize pool. The press release says this:

INAUGURAL COACHELLA VALLEY POKER CHAMPIONSHIP STILL ACCEPTING PLAYERS

Go All-in for Guaranteed $150,000.00 Prize Pool; Clarifications Announced

COACHELLA, Calif. (January 12, 2007) – The inaugural Coachella Valley Poker Championship is coming this month to Spotlight 29 Casino, and with less than 100 players signed up so far, the odds of winning the guaranteed prize pool of an incredible $150,000.00 are very good at this point.

“The tournament is not sold out yet, and the excitement is definitely building!” said Spotlight 29 Casino General Manager Ray DelFiandra.

For just a $1,000 buy-in, players will have a shot at the $50,000.00 top prize and a gold bracelet! Second prize is $35,000.00, and third prize is $20,000.00, and the top 20 finishers all receive prize money. The $1,000 buy-in receives $10,000 in tournament chips for the No-Limit Texas Hold’em event.

Spotlight 29 Casino has also clarified the prize structure. DelFiandra said, “Right now, we have just under 100 entrants. If this exciting tournament draws more than 300 players, we will then increase the prize pool by putting 70 percent of the entry fees toward the pot. We cover our expenses at 300 players, which is why we chose that number to begin increasing the pot. In other words, after we reach 300 players, $700 of each entry goes right to the pot, making the tournament that much sweeter for every one of the top 20 finalists.”

So there you have the final word on what's happening with that.

I won my entry, so I am in.

Satellites for the QUEEN OF HEARTS Tournament on Feb 10 and 11 are humming along. Ticket sales have been a little sluggish, but there's still three weeks to go. I figure people are waiting until it's closer to the date to buy-in. Maybe play a satellite or two....but ticket sales end at 5PM on Thursday February 8th, so don't plan to just show up on Saturday morning and buy-in. As of now, that's not an option. Tickets can be purchased through the Agua Caliente Box Office or the Spa Paradise Rewards Club. I'm counting on you loyal readers to help make this a success!

Let's see what else.... hmmmm... big bummer on the online poker scene. The Feds in their infinite wisdom and high morality have tightened the screws very uncomfortable in the last two weeks. They are bringing down an industry centered around a time-honored American pastime because someobody thinks it's not respectable. The whole thing is totally gross and perverse. Here's a quote from an article by Jane Wardell of the Associated Press:
"The British government has been strongly critical of the U.S. stance on internet gambling, with Culture Secretary Tess Jowell likening it to a new form of the 1920s Prohibition on alcohol, warning that it will drive the industry underground."

I can think of so much good that could be done with the billions in tax revenue that the Federal government would make if they'd just get off their asses and regulate. Can't you?

More on this subject in Thursday's column.

Okay, gotta run.... been nice visiting with you. C U Soon.
~Jill




-- Jill Cohen

A TREE FALLING IN THE FOREST
January 16, 09:37 a.m.
So, given that blogging is like a tree falling in the forest-- if nobody hears it, we cannot be sure it makes a sound.
BUT SOMEONE IS LISTENING!!!! YOWZA! I'M NOT ALONE IN THE CYBER-FOREST.
In response to my request to hear from you readers, I did indeed get several responses. Okay....I am newly invigorated and planning to blog away. Hopefully some of it will be worthwhile, or spark your imagination, or wake you up.... or something.

At our ESCARGOT adventure this weekend (see blog below), we played $3-$6 CHORPEL. CHORPEL is HORSE for insane poker people :-)Here's how it goes, round-by-round
1. Crazy Pineapple
2. Hold Em
3. Omaha
4. Razz
5. Pidugi
6. Hi Lo Stud
7. Lowball (single draw)
The only one I'd never played (never even heard of) was Pidugi. Here's how it goes....
It's Four Card Lowball (1,2,3,4 best hand) but it need to be "rainbow" (all different suits), because if you have two of the same suit, that's the same as having a pair. That doesn't entirely foul your hands because at the showdown, if all revealed hands have a pair or 2 suited cards, then it becomes 3 card lowball with 1,2,3 being the best hand. In all cases, a four card hand beats a three card hand.
On top of all that, it is a triple draw game. Meaning that you are dealt four initial cards , then can draw three times to improve your hand.
If it sounds crazy, it is. But it was FUNFUNFUN.
Where else but at a poker player's convention like ESCARGOT can you get a game of CHORPEL going, IN THE CASINO NO LESS?????
Drop me line if you want to hear more about ESCARGOT or PIDUGI.
-- Jill Cohen

What a Weekend
January 15, 10:19 a.m.
Good Morning.
It was an awesome poker-filled weekend. John and I went to The Bicycle Casino in L.A. (well, Bell Gardens, actually) to participate in the ESCARGOT Convention. ESCARGOT stands for Extraordinary Southern California Annual RecGambling Outing and Tournament. Founded some nine years ago by our local guru Lou Krieger, ESCARGOT is a loose-knit group of poker aficionados who meet annually to talk and play poker. Essentially a bunch of poker geeks. If you are a dog breeder, you probably have a society of like-minded people to commune with... if you are a nudist, there is probably some kind of convention (I'd like to be a fly on the wall at that one!)... and so on... so ESCARGOT is kinda like that for So Calif Poker enthusiasts. Only thing is, it's got a feeling of being a bit clandestine, off the wall...hard to describe. The participants seemed to me to be an odd conglomoration of characters- who all share a deep and abiding passion for the game. My column of January 18th will have more info about Escargot... so look for that.

In the meantime, the Queen of Hearts tournament is doing great with registration... lots of folks signing up. If you sign up early, you will get your choice of where you want to play the Qualifying Round (Spa or Agua), so don't delay!

Blogging is an odd thing, because you don't really know if anyone is paying attention. So, as sort of a mini-poll- I'd sure appreciate it if you'd send me an email to let me know if you're reading this. jill.cohen@thedesertsun.com
And, if you have any suggestions for the blog..or for future columns... or anything. Let me know.
Thanks,
~Jill
-- Jill Cohen

More About the Tournament
January 08, 10:27 p.m.
I know all of the details out The QUEEN OF HEARTS VALENTINES DAY POKER TOURNAMENT.... so here they are.
Buy-in is $150+$10, $25,000 guaranteed.
The Qualifying Round will be shoot-out style with the final 3 players at each table advancing to the finals. There will be two qualifying rounds played simultaneously- one at Agua and one at The Spa on Saturday 2/10. The Final Round will be played Sunday 2/11 at The Spa (in the Cascade Lounge- a GORGEOUS room). It will be played regular tournament style with tables being consolidated. We will pay 10 places.
One table satellites are running now at The Spa and start tomorrow (Tuesday) at Agua. Satellite buy-in is $37 and the final two players of each satellite win an entry into the main event.
I was at The Spa this evening, and they got 2 satellites off, so I've got my first four official entrants. It is sooooo cooool!!!!!
Satellites will be played at The Spa on Monday from 6P-10P and on Wednesday from 2P-6P. They will be played at Agua on Tuesday from 6P-10P and on Thursday from 2P-6P. A lot of people have siad that they buy-in of $160 is so reasonable, they aren't even going to try the sattellite , they're just going to do a straight buy-in. And that makes sense to me. Other people like a one-table tourney with two chances to win (I know I do) so they'll play the sattelites. Whatever your preference, find a way to be there for the QUEEN OF HEARTS VALENTINE'S DAY TOURNAMENT. Don't miss it, it's going to be an amazing party. If you have any questions, email me at jill.cohen@thedesertsun.com
C U THERE. ~Jill
-- Jill Cohen

THE BIG ANNOUNCEMENT
January 05, 9:11 p.m.
I've been teasing you for weeks now about a big event in February, and it can now be told. The QUEEN OF HEARTS $25,000 VALENTINE'S DAY POKER TOURNAMENT is on!!!!
I am out of my mind with excitement.
It will be held on February 10th and 11th. A joint venture of The Desert Sun and The Spa Resort Casino and the Agua Caliente Casino, it'll be the first time the two casinos have teamed up for a poker event. There will be two Qualifiers held simultaneously at both casinos on Saturday the 10th, then a Final held at The Spa on Sunday the 11th. Buy-in is $150 + $10. I can't tell you how much planning has gone into this... to make it an amazing event. There will be fabulous food and gifts for all, and a MINIMUM prize pool of $25,000. Satellites will begin running in both casinos this coming Monday, January 8th. More details will be forthcoming here in the blog, in this Thursday's Queen of Hearts column, and in both poker rooms. This is a huge deal, and as promised, readers of this blog are finding out about it FIRST. Special thanks to Greg Nares, Bobby Jones, Jon Eskelin, Bonnie Picker, Rich Harhbarger and Michelle Krans for making it a reality. More to come....YAY!!!!!!
-- Jill Cohen

Happy New Year
January 03, 3:39 p.m.
I can't believe it January 3rd and I haven't blogged in almost a week! Well, if you're reading this I haven't lost you... thank you so much for checking in. The Queen is back!!!
On the events front, all I can do is say that my special announcement draws ever closer, and as promised, you'll read it here first.
Other than that, I'll see many of you at the Coachella Valley Championship and the L.A. Poker Classic. I'll be in the Ladies Event in that one. Both are $1000 buy-ins, both entries I won.
On the day-to-day front things haven't been very good. Haven't played much over the holidays but when I have, I haven't ended up in the PLUS column. In point of fact, although it's never good to lose, I don't mind it so much right now because I am hoping that this bad streak will have come and gone in time for the two big tourneys. Needless to say, it's not something I can control (if I could, I'd always have good luck!)... but I've paid close attention to my streaks and they seem to run about 2-3 months. Given that I've been running kinda bad since early November... things should pick up just in time to get my hands on some of that big green coming at end of Jan/early Feb.
In the meantime, I'll lay low, practice on PokerStars, and let the cloud pass over me.
C ya round.
~J
-- Jill Cohen

Dropping Hints
December 28, 2:52 p.m.
Blog readers know I've been dropping hints about a special event coming up in February. I still cannot make an official announcement, but if you are a tournament player, and a Queen of Hearts reader, I suggest that you don't make any plans for Feb 10-11. We're getting very close....
-- Jill Cohen

The gory details
December 26, 5:26 p.m.
Well, I had to do a year-end wrap-up for Thursday's column, so the league finals details won't be appearing. But I always keep my promises, so here are the promised details.

There were 10 2-player teams players at the Final Table. As we did throughout the season, I played 20 minutes of limit Hold 'Em, then Wayne took my place and played 20 minutes of no-limit Hold 'Em. Having finished 2nd in overall standing prior to the Final, we had the sexcond most in chips. The first place team started with $7500, we had &7250, third place had $7000, and fourth place (John's golfing buddies David and Dan) had $6750, and on down the line. Having the second most in chips to start should have been a decided advantage but it proved not to be. Amazingly enough, when the dust had settled, the four top chip holders (those who finished 1-4 in regular league play over 3 months time) were the first four to get knocked out!
There were only two women in the tournament and I had the dubious pleasure of knocking the other one out. Unfortunately, that was to be one of the few hands I won :-(
At most of the regular season tournaments, either Wayne or I held up our end, but at the final table, neither of us could get a leg up. The chips just kept dwindling. Finally, just when it looked like it was all over (he had about $1100 in chips)he doubled up. His all-in on A-K of diamonds made a pair of aces, and rivered a flush. It was overkill. The aces alone would have been a winner. So I came back to $2200 with blinds of $300 and $600. Not much but still in. I won a few blinds, and was up to $4000+ It was then that my moment came. On the big blind ($600) I had J-5. There were four callers but no raise. The flop came 5-5-K. I had flopped a set (3 of a kind)! And the K was especially sweet, because anyone holding a king with a halfway decent kicker would be in until the end. The smal blind checked, I checked (looking for the king and intending to check-raise), the guy next to me bet, the next two players folded and it was now up[ to me heads-up. So I raised and he just called. That indicated he had a king with a medium kicker, or a smaller pocket pair. It should have told him (loud and clear) that I had 2 Kings, a 5, or A-K. Anyway, heads-up I bet on the turn and he called. The river was a queen, and growing wary, I checked. He bet$1200 and I went-all in with everything I had left, $1100. Three fives was a monster hand againt a Q and K on the board. Except that he had pocket queens and had rivered a full house after staying with the betting much longer than he should have. And we were done. Ninth place. Believe me, it sucks to play everyt week for three months and be in 2nd place out of 50 teams, then go out #9 out of 10. Especially since first place in this one was &20,000 (split amongst the teo teammates) and a KILLER championship bracelet for each.
As to the winner, if it wasn't me, I was glad that it was Laurence. Laurence practically grew up in Morongo's poker room, first as a brush (chip runner), then as a break-in dealer, and now he is a full-time dealer. When it was heads-up, Laurence and the guy he was playing against agreed to split the money, then they played off for the bracelets. Each of the four on the final two teams gfot $5000, and Laurence and his partner Rick got the bracelets.
It was very exciting, even though I was terribly disappointed. I should mention that Wayne and I received $700 for our 9th place. We tipped the dealers $60 and split the rest for $320 each./ We then took $100 of our winning and signed up fior the next round of the league whgich begins again on January 17th. Once again, every Wednesday night at 7P- there will be some very intense tournament acxtion in the big room at Morongo. JOIN THE LEAGUE!!!!!! IT'S A HOOT. If you are intereted, email me me at jill.cohen@thedesertsun.com for details.
That's my sad story- fortunately, in poker, there's always tomorrow.
~Jill

-- Jill Cohen

Wrap Up of Morongo Poker League
December 21, 08:54 a.m.
The championship bracelet is GORGEOUS! The $10,000 would have been a boon. But I am not wearing it or spending it.
Wayne and I did not win first place in the finals. Bummer. Super bad beat. Anyway, we did get some money, which we used to buy into the next round of league play which begins January 17th.
The gory details will be in next Thursday's column.
~J
-- Jill Cohen

Love it Hate it
December 19, 4:49 p.m.
In a way, I hate to be SO FOCUSED on one event as I am with tomorrow night. It's easier (and more likely) to lose a tournament than to win one since there is only one winner. So I get highly invested (like I am now) and if/when I don't win, I get VERY UNHAPPY. In this case, the difference between 1st place and 2nd place (a World Series seat @ $10,000 versus 2nd place money of $750) is so VAST that anything less than first will not be okay.
ON THE OTHER HAND...
We did qualify in 2nd place out of 50 teams...so that's something to be proud of. And, I am constantly wanting to play for higher stakes-- so here it si-- I better get used to it. And get philosophical about it. As in,
Win or lose it's going to be great.
YEAH, RIGHT.
-- Jill Cohen

Been a while
December 18, 10:45 a.m.
Sorry we haven't chatted for a while, but it was hectic week getting back from the cruise, settling into work, etc.
I did play some poker this weekend (so what else is new?. Stuck close to home by playing at The Spa in Plam Springs. Went there on Saturday night (after Chuck Beal's birthday party), and it was SO MUCH fun.... the place was jumpin'.
I like The Spa on winter weekends, because they get a lot of tourists who are visiting our wonderful town. Many are not used to playing casino poker, and even if they are, they certainly aren't used to our local players. The result is usually a very loose game with happy-go-lucky vacationers. There was a party-like vibe in the room,and John and I stayed VERY LATE. We knew we could sleep in in the morning so we didn't get out of there until after 3A. I did well- was up about $240- pretty good for a $3-$6 game!
ANyway, all of my concentration right now is on this WEDNESDAY night at MORONGO. It is the Final Table of my poker league. Wayne and I will be playing for seats to the 2007 World Series. That's worth $10,000. There are other prizes for 2nd-10th place, but of course they all pale in comparison to the big one. Being that it's only one table, we've got a 1 in 10 chance of winning. In fact, our odds are better than that because having finished second in the league standings, we will have more chips than all but the one team ahead of us. A decided advantage. I need to really buckle down, channel the energy, and grab that gold.
There is one distraction, and that is the exciting event that I am working on for mid February. Still cannot divulge, but we are getting closer to reality on it. Stay tuned.
~Jill
-- Jill Cohen

Whassssup?
December 13, 10:25 p.m.
Hey, I'm back.
There is so much going on.
I just got home from Casino Morongo and the final regular week of my poker league. My partner Wayne and I will end up in 2nd or 3rd place depending on tonight's results (they were still playing when I left). Either way, we will be at the Final Table next week. 50 2-player teams began 3 months ago, and next week there will be the final 10. The team that comes in first place will win TWO ENTRIES INTO THE 2007 WORLD SERIES OF POKER. So the stakes are very high. The caliber of players is phenomenal. It's going to be an awesome final table. Wednesday at 7PM. If you want to see some tournamnent play at its most competitve, come on down.
Even more exciting is the special event that I am working on, but can't talk about yet because it isn't finalized. What I can tell you is this: IF it happens, it'll take place on 2/12,13 and 14 in Palm Springs. AND if it happens, blog readers will be the first to know! Stay tuned for (what I hope will be) BIG NEWS.

-- Jill Cohen

First Day Back
December 11, 7:10 p.m.
Okay, first day back... steady as she goes....trying hard to hold onto the post-vacation glow, but that's fading faster than my tan. Only thing that seems to have taken hold for good (I hope) is a deepening of the love and tenderness between John and I. I guess romantic vacations will do that. No complaints there.

Still not unpacked but played a few cheap HORSE tournaments ($6 entry)on Poker Stars last night and won. It's great for relaxation- better than veging in front of the TV.

Big news on the event front. January 17th-21st the PLAYBOY POKER BOOT CAMP is coming to Casino Morongo. That is play and training with the pros (some good ones too), and hanging out with the Playmates (no bad ones there), culminating in a party at the Playboy Mansion in LA. This one is gonna get a lot of press, including a column from me. For a mere $5000 (for 4 days, not including poker buy-ins) you too can join the fun. More details coming after I speak with their publicist.
As you may rmember, John works at Morongo- I think he may have to get an urgent out-of-town call for those four days!

Speaking of Morongo, I missed my regular Wednesday night poker league, but my partener Wayne, and my alternate (some guys brother) managed to hold onto second place. With only two weeks to go, we will for sure make the final table with a shot at two WSOP seats!!!!! The importance of placing in 1st or 2nd place is that the higher our standing, the more chips we get to start with at the finals on Decemeber 20th.
Exciting stuff.

Anyway, as I looked over my blogs from the ship, I noticed the typos were awful, and I apologize for that. I'll blame it on the ship rocking, and try to do better, so this stuff is readable.

Cruise wrap-up in this Thursday's column so check it out.


-- Jill Cohen

Finally an Update
December 08, 3:46 p.m.
Sorry I haven't been blogging for a while, but I either get interrupred or don't have a signal.... or something. ANYWAY......
In less than 24 hours from now we will be back in Palm Springs. I'd love to turn around right now and start this beautiful vacation all over again. One things for sure.... I will definitelt go on another CardPlayer cruise. They gave us a survey about how we liked things, and one of the questions was "What did you like best about the CardPlayer cruise?" My answer was BEING ON VACATION WITH 600 POKER PLAYERS!!!!
I mean, the ship is great, sailing is very relaxing, Mexico was fabulous, and the moonlight is romantic.... but to do all that in the company of LIKE MINDED PEOPLE who may have started out as strangers, but now are compadres... like GARY M. from CORONA, STEPHANO from L.V., and SYLVIA and CHRIS... well, it doesn't get any better.
Anyway, on the poker front, last night I played a $120 buy-in sit-n-go(one table) tournamnent. Chpped it 3 ways so I made about $200 on that. Then I played $4-8 Omanaha for the rest of the night and made another $200. Used to poceeds for John and I to both enter today's tournament ($230 but-in). Unfortunately, neither of us scored in that one.... so tonight will be the last crumbs of poker playing, then we arrive in San Diego at 7AM tomorrow.
John's been talking to them about working a cruise for them (dealing), which would make his passage free... even make some money dealing. That would be awesome. There are 80 dealers on their crew! Maybe in June to Alaska..... but then there's the World Series in July to think about...actually, there is a whole lot of poker coming up...the Coachella Valley Poker CHampionship in January, the L.A. Poker Classic at the Commerce in February... and a special event that I am working on for Valentines Day-- too soon to spill the beans on that one...
Anyway, as I said the other day- if you are a [oker player in search of a vacation idea, I cannot recommend this highly enough. www.cardplayercruises.com
On another note, I am glad to see that Lou Kriegers guest column did finally get posted on thedesertsun.com/poker. I hope you enjoyed his "Tips to Improve Your Game". I should have read that last week, but it's never too late. THANKS LOU for so graciously stepping in.
Well, I am off to the farewell cocktail party, dinner, pack my bags, and another round of poker... then it's back to reality. You won't hear from me again until I am onn solid ground, ao thanks for reading, I hope you've enjoyed cruising with me.... Later.
~Jill
-- Jill Cohen

NOT HAPPY
December 07, 11:07 a.m.
I am NOT HAPPY because, due to a techical problem at thedesesrtsun.com, my column is not appearing online yet today. And it is a special day since world famous poker author LOU KIEGER has stepped for me while I am on the cruise. Fortunately, it IS IN TODAYS NEWSPAPER, so check it out there while they get it together for the online version. Very disappointing.
Also, I just got knocked out of the Ladies Tournament.
-- Jill Cohen

Day 3
December 05, 8:15 p.m.
Where to begin? Let's see....I'll do poker news first. On Sunday, there was a no limit hold em tournament- $125 buy-in. 193 players, paid 18 places. John came in 5th for $1160. Bullseye! YAY! Makes for a great kick-off to the trip. I was in the tourney too but got knocked out. That's okay I'll just use his winnings for the rest of the trip.
Later on Sunday night I got into a $5-10 HORSE game, which was awesome, because there is no HORSE played in the VALLEY CAsinos, very little in Las Vegas, so I never get into a good HORSE game. But there are 600 hard-core poker players here, so everything is beig played, at all stakes. It'a absolutely awesoe. Broke even at HORSE. Then last night (Monday night) even though I was really tired, I stopped by the poker room just to play a few hours. Beat em up at $4-$8 Hold em. Won $2000 in 2 hours, and would have stayed but was falling asleep so I turned in. It's now 9:10 (boat time)PM on Tuesday and I'm getting ready to settle into my first poker of the day.
That's the poker news.
But, oh what a day. One of the most beautiful I can remember. We docked in Mazatlan this morning and went to an authentic Mexican fishing village o a place called Stone Island. There was a gorgeous seculuded cove for swimming, powdery sand beach, and swaying palms for shade. We went for a horseback ride through a coconut grove, and onto the beach, then had lunch, and lazed the rest of the afternoon away. Came back, napped, and woke up to a huge orange moon bathing the sea in a golden glow. Had dinner at one of the innumerable eating places and now for a little poker. I should mention that yesterday we went for an all day boat ride off of Cabo sAN lUCAS. wE WERE SUPPOSED TO BE FISHING, BUT DIDN'T EVEN GET A BITE- SO CONTENTED OURSELVES WITH BEING OUT ON THE WATER. tHE WEATHER IS GORGeous, the land is beautiful, the people are friendly. This cruise is one of the finest experiences I've ever had.
If you are a poker player, and have never been on a CardPlayer cruise, sign up now. You will not regret it. And this is not a paid advertisement...just for the record, John and I are on this cruise totally out of our own pockets. And I STILL love it!!!!!!
Don't forget to check out Lou Kreiger's column in my regular space on Thursday morning. I'll be back the following Thursday with the cruise warp-up.
Tomorrow we will be in Puerto Vallarta for another adventure.
Stay tuned, and I'll be back with you.
Love,
A blissed out Queen of Hearts
-- Jill Cohen

IT's WONDERFUL!
December 03, 11:22 a.m.
Hi Everyone,
I have been aboard the SS Oosterdam (what is a dam ooster, anyway?)for 22 hours and I am having the best time ever.
First and foremost there is the ocean. It is so blue, so big, and ever-changing. Okay, so you already know that... but it's my first cruise and I am not above being impressed by the obvious. The rocking of the boat is a constant sedative- add to it the wonderful sea air... and of course all of the luxurious amenities... and life doesn't get any better. Well, it does get a little better... there are 600 poker players here, and a 30 table room in what they call The Crows Nest, which is of course, perched way up on top of the foredeck (nautical, aren't I?). The view is beautiful, there is a bar and constant food- not to mention Hold 'Em, Omaha, Stud, No Limit, in any stakes you like. I don't even mind having gotten knocked out of this mornings tournament ($125 buy-in- probably 200 players). Poker, poker, poker..... and so much else. There's a first-run movie playing, constant incredible food, a spa (I'll be there later- broke a nail), a gym (I may or may not be there later :-)), and deck after glorious deck to lay around on.
I thinkm we get to Cabo tomorrow, where we will spend the day sportfishing. That's another dream coe true. I love deep sea fishing, and to do it in the greatest fishing ground in the world, is amazing. I hope I get lucky fishing on the sea and IN THE CROWS NEST.
But even if I don't I am lucky just to be here.
I'll be in touch again tomorrow.
Your friend on the high seas....
~J
-- Jill Cohen

FInally, it's tomorrow
December 01, 7:32 p.m.
I am finally within exhaling distance of the poker cruise. In less than 24 hours we will be on our way to Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlan, and Puerto Vallarta.
I ran into someone today who just returned from the same cruise, same ship and had a fabulous time. Johnny and I are soooooo excited. My hair and nails are done, almost finished packing (need to put the laptop in when I've finished this...).

The odd thing about blogging in this manner is that you don't know if anyone is reading it. So, what I've decided to do is to blog for my own pleasure. It's like journal writing... a creative expression, a diary, a record of the day. So, if you are reading - I thank you and hope you enjoy it. I will be enjoying doing it.

We leave from San Diego on Holland America's SS Oosterdam tomorrow. Boarding is at 2:30. SO the plan is that tomorrow morning early, I run to the bank and the pharmacy, then home by 10AM because I want to listen to Ellie Tourjet's show on KPSI radio sine I AM A GUAEST. Yes, the lovely Ellie interviewed me earlier today and will be playing the results on her show tomorrrow. I've never been on the radio, so am very anxious to hear how I did. If it's good, maybe I'll do a poker show! Although I don't have high hopes- I've always hated the sound of my own voice (not to mention my lisp). If you're up and about, please tune in and send me an email with your thoughts. My email address is jill.cohen@thedesertsun.com.
I love to hear from readers, and reply to every email I get (although this week, you'll have to wait until I get back). Speaking of getting back, I better get back to packing now. Thanks for being out there.
Love,
~Jill
-- Jill Cohen

What's happenin'
November 30, 8:25 p.m.
Hey Everyone, it's Thursday night and I am ON VACATION. Ahhhhh what a relief. You do know, of course, that the Queen of Hearts has a day job....
Yes, by day I am the mild-mannered Clark Kent of an HR Manager for the newspaper and then in an amazing transformation I enter a poker room and become THE QUEEN OF HEARTS ta da....
So while the HR Manager is enjoying her much-needed break from the everyday grind, my alter ego is going to have a field day!!!!
I am intending to blog (at least) daily from my poker cruise, which leaves Saturday. Can't wait.
In the meantime I hope you liked today's column. I thought it was pretty interesting myself.

-- Jill Cohen

Speaking of Interesting
November 30, 8:24 p.m.
And yes, I was speaking of interesting things... here's one. I am busy working on a top secret project to take place in mid February. That's the first teaser. Until I officially announce it.... I'm not gonna tell anyone what it's going. Except that, if you are crazy enough about poker or about The Q of H to be reading this blog, then you are going to LOVE IT. Okay, my lip is now buttoned.
-- Jill Cohen

Countdown to Cruise
November 27, 2:37 p.m.
I played this weekend, but not very eventfully. All at The Spa, $3-$6 and $1-$3 No Limit. Won some, lost some. Nothing extraordinary.
I do like their "Baby No Limit". I tend to go in almost every hand if I can limp in. If I've got a lousy hand and can get in for $3- why not? If it gets raised pre-flop, I fold (and often that happens in front of me, so I don't have to make the call). I know it's a terrible way to play, because you'll wear away at the bankroll $3 at a time. But, it sure is a way to make some big pots against high cards. Well, now that I've come out and said it- I may have to rethink. I'd never advise anyone to do that...so it's a case of "do as I say, not as I do" hmmmm...... I think poker is ALWAYS that way. Everybody would like to be a "rock" but very few really are. The closest thing to a rock I know is my League Tag Team partner, Wayne Hodge. And that's why we are headed to the finals. ANOTHER hmmmmm.....
Later.
~J
-- Jill Cohen

I'll be in touch with you
November 24, 09:48 a.m.
Yes! I can blog from my poker cruise. From Sunday 12/3 through Friday 12/8, I'll be keeping in touch, and filling you in on what it's like to play poker on the high seas.
-- Jill Cohen

Happy Turkey Day
November 23, 8:32 p.m.
Hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving. I played $3-$6 last night at The Spa and lost $50. Then I moved over to $1-$3 no limit and won it, and a little more, back. On my way out of the casino, I put $20 in a poker machine and won $250. So it was a good night.
As far as The Spa goes, it's my home court, since it's about 5:00 from my house. Only problem is, that my two favorite reasons for going there aren't there :-(
That would be two of the greatest dealers in the world, Sean and Paul. I'm told that Paul has resigned, and Sean is on a leave of absence. Not good. There are still a few decent dealers there-- JR. Pat, and Annemarie. But nobody of the caliber of the two departed ones.
Work tomorrow, then the last weekend before the cruise. Needless, to say counting the minutes. Tomorrow, I will confirm that I can blog from the cruise. If anybody is out there...I'll give it a shot.
Do you like the blog? I have no way of knowing unless you send me email at jill.cohen@thedesertsun.com. Write or send smoke signals... I just want to know if anybody is listening!
Later.
~J
-- Jill Cohen

The Last Headline
November 22, 4:13 p.m.
You may be wondering why the previous headline had "Sea Cruise" in it. Well, of course, I am absolutely thrilled that one week from Saturday, I will be leaving on my cruise of the Mexican Riviera with a couple of hundred poker players, and my sweetheart John.

I'm hoping I can blog from there...should be do-able. Also hoping to win some good tournament money on board. And counting on lots of fun, sun, and romance!

In any case, I am counting the minutes.
-- Jill Cohen

Sea cruise and other bruisin's
November 22, 4:11 p.m.
Since my debacle of a weekend, I haven't played. Let's see, that is almost 48 hours, not counting online. I am sure this holiday weekend will include some live poker somewhere... we'll have to see where/when.

In the meantime, despite the stupid (and probably never-to-be-enforced) Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, the lovely PokerStars is still going strong, blithely ignoring the forces of evil :-)

And they have some really cool new games: 5 card draw, and my all-time favorite 2-7 Triple Draw LowBall in which straights and flushes COUNT AGAINST you! What a mind-altering game that is. You gotta check it out.
If you want to lear more about 2-7 Triple Draw Lowball, or PokerStars, send me an email at jill.cohen@thedesertsun.com and I'll fill you in.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving. When I count my blessings,YOU are on the list! Thanks for supporting The Queen of Hearts and our local poker rooms.

~Jill
-- Jill Cohen

But anyway....
November 21, 10:55 a.m.
in poker, there's always another day... another game. And I've got exciting stuff coming up.
Next Saturday, John and I leave for our CardPlayer poker cruise to Mexico. We are both SO EXCITED about it. There will be plenty of poker (tournament) action includeing a LIPS tournament. And since I am the reigning LIPS "Best of the Best" champion, they'll be out for me. I love that :-)

Then, last weekend of January, there is the Coachella Valley Poker Championship (to which I have already won my $1000 entry), then one week later on February 3rd, there is the Ladies Event at the L.A. Poker Classic (to which I have also won my $1000 entry).

On February 8th, I have the honor of hosting th Palm Desert Womens' Club annual fundraiser luncheon...their theme this year is pker- so I was invited.

Sounds like it's going to be a great season. I am ever optimistic about this little cloud of loss passing over very quickly.

As I think about it, it seems to me that all poker players are at heart optimistic, no matter how serious or grim their facade mught be. If you didn't believe that the next hand was going to be better than the last- why sit around and wait for it?
-- Jill Cohen

The cloud cover
November 21, 10:37 a.m.
is still there. After losing in tournament on Friday night (Fantasy Springs), Saturday (Soboba), Sunday (The Spa), my partner and I failed to make the final table last night at Morongo. Frankly, the Morongo loss hurt the most, because I think this may knock us out of 2nd place in the league. I won't be able to check the standings ubtil later, but the league is coming to a fast close and we need to maintain our position to have the best shot at the World Series entry for the winning team.
-- Jill Cohen

No Go Weekend
November 20, 2:17 p.m.
YUCK! NO LUCK!
My last shot at making any tourmnament money this weekend came (and went)at the Spa on Sunday morning. I thought he was doing me a favor when he called my all-in bet...I had K-K, and he had 8-J diamonds. Wouldn't you know it- he rivered a fluch on me, to knock me out....

Okay, now that that's behind me. tonight is morongo Poker league. I usually play Wednesday nights, but due to the Thanksgiving holiday. we're playing tonight (Monday). We are in second place, and I am hoping that at worst, we maintain, and at best- pull ahead of first place, At this point in the league schedule, I think Wayne and I are pretty much a shoo-in for the final table. But position counts, as the higher place you're in, the more chips you'll get at the final.
Given that the final is for TWO SEATS TO THE 2007 WSOP MAIN EVENT, this is critical.
~J
-- Jill Cohen

Weekend not shaping up too well....so far
November 18, 7:34 p.m.
There's been a lot of poker this week. If we reach back to Wednesday night, that wasn't so bad. At the Morongo Poker Leasgue, my partner Wayne and I got 4th place which was enough to propel us into 2nd place in the standing. We've been playing oh...about 7 or 8 weeks, and out of 50 teams, that's pretty good.
Then things nosedived :-(
At Fantasy on Friday night there were four tables. I went out in 7th place which was the bubble since they were paying 6 places. HATE THAT. I was first action with A-J, and I went all in, given that I didn't have enough for the next blinds. I got called by A-Q and K-K. Third best of course lost.
Then today John and I went to Soboba for their Fall Classic. $120 buy-in for $10,000 guaranteed. Bummer. My pocket Kings all-in bet was called by j-9 of diamonds. The guy sucked out a flush on me.
One more to go- tomorrow at 9AM at The Spa. Freeroll with $2500 guaranteed. Despite the last two days, I've been running pretty good, so Iguess as lon as there's another game, there's hope.
~J
-- Jill Cohen

Stuff Goin On
November 17, 10:07 a.m.
Okay, as to what's happening with the Queen of Hearts...

For one, if you haven't checked out the video I did with Richard Guzman, you've got to see it. It's pretty hilarious as I whup him. The link to it is under "Featured Videos" on the home page or at www.thedesertsun.com/queenofhearts

IMPORTANT...next Thursdays column will not be on the front page of the Desert Today, as it usually is. Being that its Thanksgiving, they have to put turkeys on the front page, so the Queen of Hearts will be inside the section. It's going to be about Dr. Sam Lin....

Still trying to decide if I should play tonight at Morongo ($15K guar $150 buy-in, 10-12 tables), Fantasy ($100? buy-in, no guarantee, small field), or Spotlight ($110 buy-in? $2500 guar, small field). I'm going to play it by ear and see how I feel later.

Thanks for checking in.
~J
-- Jill Cohen

Keeping the Lines Open
November 17, 09:51 a.m.
I've gotten such a great response to this blog, that I've asked the computer guys to keep it open, so I can keep blogging away. YAY!

I have also requested that they make it a two-way street, so we can "converse". It may take a while to get that going, but they're working on it. In the meantime, of course, you can always reach me at jill.cohen@thedesertsun.com

-- Jill Cohen

Still blogging away
November 14, 3:51 p.m.
Hey Everyone....
My blog-ware is still active and I've got stuff to tell you, so very quickly- before I go offline- here it is.
1. Robert Thompson, the tournament director rebutted the blog in which I described a "bad call" (made, it turns out, by him). He's got a good point, and I appreciate where he's coming from, so I'll print it verbatim.
"We make rulings based on the intent of the rule, not necessarily the letter of the rule. If at all possible, we always want the best hand to win. In most cases hands are dead once they touch the muck. The rule usually deals with players intentionally folding or dealers killing losing hands. That being said, the player involved wasn’t folding, he threw his hand face up and one card ended up face down touching the muck. If we know that is the player’s card or cards and we can verify that from the dealer and other players at the table, then we can retrieve a hand or card from the muck. The same would apply if a dealer kills a winning hand that was turned face up. That hand would be considered live and would be entitled to the pot.
I know each person views rules differently. I try to make decisions that are fair to all players. Most times I succeed, but sometimes I make a mistake. I don’t feel that I made the wrong decision with this situation, but I wanted to clarity my thinking since you mentioned it in your blog."

I think that is a fair and reasoned response. Also, Robert and his team of dealers did a fine job running the tournament, so kudos the them.

2. Many people were looking for a list of winners. I was able to get the Fional Table list from Fantasy, so here it is:
1. Sam Lin La Quinta $12,895 (chop)

2. Dale Grinager Moreno Valley $12,895 (chop)

3. Don Kane Escondido $12,895 (chop)

4. Avedis Chuldjian Glendale $3,868

5. David Remney Yucca Valley $2,677

6. Scott Carroll Indio $2,083

7. Bryce Calhoun Indian Wells $1,477

8. Cruz Quiros Indio $1,190

9. Steve Leonhard Indio $952

Well, I think that about wraps it up. Thanks again for reading. Later.








-- Jill Cohen

Correction and Winners List
November 13, 1:17 p.m.
Several people have requested Winners Lists. I have contacted the casino and they say the will try to get it to me tomorrow. Evidently one guy has it and he is away. As soon as I get it, I will post it here and make it available to anyone who emails me at jill.cohen@thedesertsun.com.

ALSO, Fantasy Springs Resort and Casino asked me to correct something which I wrote. I said that the new ly expanded poker room is next to the Sports Book. That is incorrect, since they don't have a real "Sports Book" which allows people to bet on sports. What the have is an OFF-TRACK HORSE WAGERING FACILITY. You can bet on the horses but not on the humans.

Anyway, check here tomorrow for the list- hopefully, I will have it by then.

-- Jill Cohen

Wrapped up
November 12, 5:34 p.m.
Okay, from my last blog at 2:30, almost three hours ago, things have been hectic. Let me see if I can summarize events for you.

The tournament started with 238 players and a prize pool of $59,500. It was held over two days, starting with a shoot-out format, than advancing to an elimination format.

At 1PM today there were 27 finalists. 1 1/2 hours later there were 9 left for the final table.

In less than one hour the final table went from nine to three. Fourth place got almost $4000.

The final three players (and here's the rub- I couldn't get their names and hometowns... but if you want to know, send me an email tomorrow and I will send you the list of final table names and payouts)each had an equal amount of $10,000 chips, about 50-60. They decided to "chop" the money. What that means is that rather than any one of them taking a chance on getting third place ($5600)... they take the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place money and divide it up evenly. So the final three (out of a total of 238 players)each got about $13,000. They then played off to see who would have actually been in 1st, 2nd and 3rd places.
The very last hand when the two players remaining both went all-in was this:
Player A: 8-9
Player B: 2-2
Flop: 8-8-9
And that was all she wrote.
Overall, it was agreat weekend of poker at The Second Annual Dick Van Patten Poker Tournament.
The casino did a fine job, the new layout of their poker room (open to the Sports Book), the new poker room manager, all contributed to a fabulous event. I'm signing off now- it's been fun, and I hope to hear from you. jill.cohen@thedesertsun.com
Thanks for staying tuned.
Until next time... I am your
Queen of Hearts
-- Jill Cohen

Charmaine is the last lady
November 12, 2:27 p.m.
She goes out 14th. She did great. Her husband Steve is till in.
-- Jill Cohen

Back at the ranch
November 12, 1:39 p.m.
Meanwhile the tournament goes on... Minnestoa Dave is out. But at my table, I just won a $100 pot.
-- Jill Cohen

Down to 2 tables
November 12, 1:28 p.m.
The tourney is down to two tables now. Next 9 people out each gets $952. Then the bg money starts.
-- Jill Cohen

Still in
November 12, 1:27 p.m.
My "horses in the race" still in are Charmaine and Steve, and Minnestoa Dave.
It's really exciting here because the action is in the regular poker room
Sooooo, I am in a game of (non-tourney) no limit, watching the tournament and blogging. Unbelievable multi-tasking.....
only prob;em is I am not getting any better cards here than I did in the tournament this morning.
So I am working and playing my ass off and losing money :-(
-- Jill Cohen

The Finals Begin
November 12, 1:14 p.m.
3 Tables, 27 players.
15 minutes in
21 players
B;inds are $000 and $8000
Anyone with a small stack is going to get knocked out fast.
Soon it'll be the big stack palyers only
-- Jill Cohen

Like it?
November 12, 11:18 a.m.
If you've been reading this blog, I'd love to hear from you. The way we have it set-up, it's not interactive. In other words, I can't communicate with you until Monday when I get to the office and check my email. And, of course, I will reply to every email I get (jill.cohen@thedesertsun.com), I always do.
But anyway, I'm dying to know if anyone is participating in this experiment with me, so PLEASE WRITE if you;re reading.
This is hard work, but if you folks like it, we;ll do it again.

-- Jill Cohen

The Mad Hungarian
November 12, 11:13 a.m.
Correction, he is still in. I didn't see him, so thought he had busted out, but he's back and very much in it.
-- Jill Cohen

What;s next?
November 12, 11:11 a.m.
Here at the Dick Van Patten Celebrity tournament, the 40 players still left will play down to 27 (3 tables). Then those 27, at 1:00, will move from the Fantasy Lounge to the main poker room. For the Final Round. They will all be in the money ranging from $300 to $21,000.

What's next for me is the Coachella Valley Poker Championship being held at Spotlight 29 last weekend of January. I have already won my ($1000) buy-in to that.
-- Jill Cohen

In/Out
November 12, 11:07 a.m.
Randy Cohen is out. The Mad Hungarian is out. Tex is out. Both Van Pattens are out.
Minnesota Dave is still in. Charmain and Steve are still in.
Is anybody out there? Does anybody care? Is anybody reading this?
(This is me when I've just gotten knocked out of a big one)
-- Jill Cohen

Finals continue
November 12, 10:52 a.m.
Today's finals started with 75 players. I got knocked out within the first hour. They've now been at it for two hours and there are 50 left.
First prize is $20,000+
-- Jill Cohen

Blogging and defogging
November 12, 10:41 a.m.
As you know, this is my first blog, and my upteenth poker tournament. It's hard to do both when I just want to crawl under a rock.
But I know I need to recover enough to keep reporting.
-- Jill Cohen

Like Marie Antoinette
November 12, 10:36 a.m.
The Queen has been beheaded. I am out. This is the painful pary. After all the build-up, all the anticipation, and all of the hopes of getting 10% for the Marines and 90% for me, it's over.
-- Jill Cohen

Good Morning
November 12, 08:49 a.m.
The 9AM final round is just beginning. Come down to see me play. $20,000 first prize.....
-- Jill Cohen

Fallen Angel
November 11, 8:55 p.m.
Johnnyangel is out. But he played valiantly, I'm proud of him. Feel kinda bad about being hard on him after the last round.... but he played much better this round, just didn't get the cards he needed when he needed them.

-- Jill Cohen

My Pledge
November 11, 8:53 p.m.
This day is coming to a close. I'll be back in the semi-finals tomorrow at 9AM. I definitely belive in collective energy, so between 9 and 11 tomorrow morning (hopefully while you're in church) think good thoughts for the Queen of Hearts. Tell ya what I'll do....10% of whatever I win will go to the Marines, along with the donation that the tournament is making.
See ya in the AM.
-- Jill Cohen

Blogging Question
November 11, 7:54 p.m.
Is that how you fix your blog? See below.
I've never done this before, and I'm having a grand time with it, but I don't know how to fix typos :-)!!!
-- Jill Cohen

Typo
November 11, 7:53 p.m.
I mean the "stakes" have been raised.
-- Jill Cohen

Serious Business
November 11, 7:51 p.m.
The second chance round is serious business. These players are borderline grim. They have been knocked out once (to the tune of $300) and now they've paid another $300 to re-enter. None of the has any intention of giving up all their chips. It's very serious and VERY DRAMATIC. The stales have been raised.

Johnnyangel is hanging in by a semi-thread.
-- Jill Cohen

Second Chance Round Now Running
November 11, 7:34 p.m.
The second cance round (for players eliminated in the earlier rounds who are willing to buy-in again) has just begun.
My boyfriend John is in it, so I am highly anxious. He is a champion poker player, holder of a World Poker Open bracelet, who didn't play his best cards in his first round.
I gave him a pep talk/scolding/cheerlead and he's back in the swim. I'm going to go watch.....
-- Jill Cohen

BAD RULING END OF ROUND THREE
November 11, 7:28 p.m.
Round Three here at the Van Patten was non-eventful until the last table, last hand. There was a problem, the floor supervisor was called, and HE MADE A BAD RULING.
In poker, like in any game where the umpires ruling is unchangeable, the BAD RULING stood, but it resulted in the wrong player making it to the finals.
Anytime any players card hits "the muck" (the pile of cards no longer in play), the whole hand is dead. In this case, a card hit the muck, the player pulled it back, the hand should have been declared dead. But, for whatever reason, (I suspect it was because this last table of the round was running late) the floorman let the cards play.
The old man who'd had too much to drink (but should have won) was thusly knocked out, and the third round ended.
There are bad calls that throw games one way or another in every sport, this was just an example of one in poker.
-- Jill Cohen

Debbi Does Vincent
November 11, 3:02 p.m.
One of the poker playing ladies from here at Fantasy, Debbi, just stopped by. She came to apologize for knocking Johnnyangel out, but then told me that she also knocked Vince Van Patten out. FOR THE SECOND YEAR IN A ROW. She's a pretty young lady, but I'll bet he's getting tired of seeing her across the table.

Anyway, I'll check back in during the 4PM round. You've still got 45 minutes to come down and register!
-- Jill Cohen

GOT A PLAN
November 11, 2:56 p.m.
Boy, have I got a plan.....check this out.
Tonight at 7PM is the "second chance tournament".
That means that everyone who was knocked out in the earlier rounds can re-buy and try again. So the people that don't win in that are TWO TIME LOSERS. I figure that they are going to head straight for the poker room, already ON TILT, in a frenzy to recapture their losses. I will be there waiting to outplay them. I could do very well with that scenario. Even though I have to play again tomorrow at 9AM, I did good today on not enough sleep.
-- Jill Cohen

Round Two Finishing
November 11, 2:37 p.m.
Round two is just finishing up. All of the celebrities are out and only our tough local players are still standing. The only horse that I've sill got in the race, Randy Cohen, is still galloping.

Next round is at 4PM, when another hundred or so will compete. Not too late for you to come down.......

-- Jill Cohen

JohnnyAngel is out
November 11, 12:51 p.m.
Bummer. My sweetheart Johnnyangel just busted out less than an hour into the tournament. He is not happy...fortunaetly, there is a "second chance tournament" tonight at 7pm. Those folks who bust out in the earlier rounds, can play again at 7. That's a good thing. Poker players live on hope. I HOPE he wins his second chance.
-- Jill Cohen

EIGHT IS ENOUGH
November 11, 12:38 p.m.
At 77 years old, Dick Van Patten is a national treasure. Meanwhile, the old codger just won the first pot at his table by betting $800. Everyone folded, and EIGHT WAS ENOUGH!!! hahaha
(Cracked myself up with that one).
Anyway, he's a beautiful person.
-- Jill Cohen

Round Two Off and Running
November 11, 12:36 p.m.
Round Two is off and running with 90 players. Vince and Dick Van Patten are in, soap star Eileen Davidson is here, as well as "Legends of Poker" champ Bobby Thompson. Also some lesser knowns (that I love) Randy Cohen and John Trudeau. It's going to be quite a show!

-- Jill Cohen

LOU
November 11, 11:29 a.m.
My great buddy Lou Krieger is here. I think he is awesome. Author of TEN POKER BESTSELLERS, host of Royal Vegas Poker, and the College World Championship, he is the man in the know. Lou contributed some great TIPS FOR BEGINNERS to this week's Desert Post Weekly, so if you haven't gotten your Free copy, better get one now. You can find them on newsstands everywhere. You can read Lou's excellent blog at www.loukrieger.com and of course his books are available on Amazon and at bookstores everywhere.
Thanks for stopping by Lou, and Good Luck today :-)
-- Jill Cohen

There are still three more rounds of play
November 11, 11:26 a.m.
Not to late to come down and get in on the action. Take a shot at the World Poker Tour's Vince Van Patten and everyone;s favorite dad, Dick Van Patten. They will be playing later this afternoon. We're having a ball here in the Fantasy Lounge!!!!!!
-- Jill Cohen

Ongoing coverage
November 11, 11:25 a.m.
I will continue to bring you updates on Round Two whic.h begins at 1PM, so if you can't come down, check back in later. This event is going to get more and more exciting as the day goes on. And tomorrow will be even better with the semi-final and final round. Later
-- Jill Cohen

YESSSSSSSSS
November 11, 11:24 a.m.
I MADE IT!!!!
Hallelujah!!!!!!
The first round just ended and I am IN for the finals. YAY!!!!!!!!!!
I tried to write during the break but experienced a little technical difficulties that couldn't be fixed in the 10 minutes I had. Anyway, at that point, I was not a happy camper. I had $7000 chips at the break, after starting with $10,000. But post-break the cards were good to me. I started getting decent cards and picking up the blinds which were $2000 and $4000. I had only one player to knock out and got POCKET ROCKETS...AMERICAN AIRLINES...BULLETS...AceAce. That was the end of him and I'm in the semi-finals tomorrow at 9AM
-- Jill Cohen

Lou Krieger
November 11, 11:14 a.m.
Lou is here but my computer is acting funny hold on while I do a little test
-- Jill Cohen

5 minutes to go
November 11, 08:45 a.m.
The dealers are in place, players are starting to stream in. ITS NOT TOO LATE TO REGISTER. Registration is open ALL DAY today. Come on down and take a shot at $75,000.
I'm going to sign off until the first break.
WISH ME LUCK.
-- Jill Cohen

Round One in 10 minutes
November 11, 08:43 a.m.
The first round of the Dick Van Patten starts in 10 minutes.
Lou Kreiger, my friend and bestselling poker author, is here. Bill Evans, poker player extraordinaire and General Manager of CBS2 TV is here.
My boyfriend John is on his way with the Starbucks. I could use it intravenously.
-- Jill Cohen

Bleary eyed but sunglassed
November 11, 08:42 a.m.
Morning everyone.
Well, here I am NOT LATE for a change.
It wasn't easy either. Played cards very late last night. Ended up winning a little. But it was a great night in Fantasy's poker room. Lots of players, laughter, banter, loose action.
Anyway got a little sleep, got into my Q of H attire (hot!), and here I am, ready to play hard-core poker in 10 minutes.
-- Jill Cohen

Poker Tonight
November 10, 8:48 p.m.
Fantasy's poker room is cookin' tonight. I am going to get down there and play right now. I'll be back with you in the AM.
I've got to get up early to be ready to play at 9AM. I am not a morning person, so I'm hoping that my foul morning mood will serve me well at the tables.
-- Jill Cohen

Come On Down
November 10, 8:31 p.m.
There's still time to register. You can come down tonight (the party is still swinging) or tomorrow. First round is at 9AM, second round at 12:30, third round at 4:30. COME 45 MINUTES BEFOREHAND to get into any round. At 7PM, there is a second chance round for folks who busted out and want to try again.
It's going to be a blast. Come and get the $$$$$ and the GLORY. Try to beat me like Richard "The Joker" Guzman tried. He failed. You probably will too!!!! I am playing in the 9AM round...can't wait!
-- Jill Cohen

A Poker Patriot
November 10, 8:28 p.m.
Philip Ittleson is here. I love that guy. He and I share the same goal: to promote and protect poker.
Philip is the producer of an excellent documentary about poker called "No Limit". I'm hoping the film gets accepted into the Palm Springs Film Festival. It's available on Amazon.

He is also the founder of letthepeopleplay.org which is a lobbying group dedicated to banning the ban. They work closely with the pokerplayersalliance.com to FIGHT BACK, and let online players play.

-- Jill Cohen

Van Patten Pere et Fils
November 10, 8:25 p.m.
Just said hi to Dick and Vince Van Patten. They are the nicest people. Dick had a stroke last year but is fully recovered and ready to rock the tables. Vince, of course, is a dreamboat. Sooooo handsome. And a really sweet guy. When he looks at his dad you can see the love in his eyes.
-- Jill Cohen

All the Regulars
November 10, 7:58 p.m.
I am seeing so many friends. Lenny, Dick, Barbara, Tom Law.... it's awesome!
-- Jill Cohen

I'm Here
November 10, 7:55 p.m.
Well, I finally made it, and the party is in full swing. Not too late to come down and register. The Fantasy Lounge is the place to be tonight.

-- Jill Cohen

My first time
November 10, 6:47 p.m.
AT my age and experience, there are not too many deflowerings left. So welcome to one of them- MY FIRST BLOG.
I am really excited and REALLY LATE. I am still in Palm Springs and I'm supposed to be in Indio.
GOTTA GO. See you about 8PM.
-- Jill Cohen

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