I recently received some distressing news about a poker dealer friend of mine whom I have known since I arrived in Las Vegas over 14 years ago. I am not going to go into detail about her illness but I am going to write a Chip Chatter about Pam Vatrano and her tremendous career as a poker dealer in an upcoming issue of Poker Digest. Pam is a trooper and her attitude is remarkable.
Darlene Wood, a mutual friend, came up with the idea of a benefit poker tournament to raise money to help Pam through the (financially) tough times ahead. I had never heard of such a thing in Las Vegas but I decided, nothing ventured, nothing gained. I phoned Donna Harris, the cardroom manager at the Mirage where Pam had dealt for many years, and after some consideration and planning Donna agreed to host the event.
The Benefit Tournament is set for December 17, 2000 at the Mirage Poker Room at 2:00 PM and seating will be limited. The tournament is limit hold’em with a $40 buy-in and multiple $20 rebuys. The prize pool will be split 50% to the winners and 50% to Pam. Of course, if the winners choose to donate their half to Pam, I’ll just have to mention what wonderful and generous folks they are. If we get lucky and I think we will, Pam will make a special appearance at the benefit tournament.
On behalf of Pam, I would like to publicly thank Donna Harris, the Mirage, and the poker community for making this happen. Once again, I am assured that poker people are good people.
Records are Made to be Kept
Let me ask you two questions. First, are you a winning player? Second, how do you know? If someone tells me she’s a winning player, I expect her to be able to back it up with evidence – cold, hard proof. I expect to see data sheets and printouts, or at least hand-scrawled entries in a notebook, indicating her performance and results in every session she’s ever played since, ah, well, the dawn of time.
A lot of people claim to be winning ligaz11 players, and a lot of them are lying. They have anecdotal evidence about the time they crushed this game or destroyed that one, but they conveniently forget all the little (and big!) losses in between. It’s bad enough when they lie to others, but it’s murder when they lie to themselves. Honest records are key to success in poker; you simply can’t call yourself a serious player (or even an anecdotally successful one) unless you keep them.
Look, no one says you have to be serious about your poker. You can play when you want and how you want, and then forget your results as soon as you’re done with the game. But if someone insists that you’re not a winning player, wouldn’t you like to be able to prove him wrong? I can, and I do. When people tell me I’m wasting money playing poker, I open my books. I show them my track record, and put their claim to shame.
Just one problem. Honest records require, well, honesty. If you keep track of your play, sooner or later you come face to face with your own flaws or limitations. My records reveal, for instance, that while I do very well in low-limit ring games, I get killed in tournaments, and killed again when I try to play large. My worst mistake is playing over my head, and thus playing tight and scared, and absorbing over-large losses in over-small blocks of time. It hurts to face a truth like that, but how an I fix a problem if I won’t even admit that I have it? Hard information may be hard, but it’s information just the same. Just be man enough, or woman enough, to face the hard truth that your records reveal and you’re well on your way to improving your game.
So now let me ask you a third question: How do you keep records? What tips would you offer other players for setting up and keeping an accurate set of poker records? Share your information in the PokerPages Forum. Let us know that you’re a successful player, and that you’ve got the evidence to prove it.