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Howard Lederer Fantasy Camp

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  • Howard Lederer Fantasy Camp

    Forewarning - Long post:

    Thursday, Dec 1, 2005 – We (my girlfriend Evynne and I) leave for the airport on a rainy Reno morning. Our short flight to Vegas is uneventful. We meet my online friend “FerricRamsium” (Eric) at the baggage claim and take the shuttle to our hotel, The Palms. Beautiful place, definitely designed for a “hip” crowd.

    We check in to the room and take a nap in preparation for the opening of the Howard Lederer/Annie Duke (Fantasy) Reality Camp. I won the $4000 trip, which included the hotel, camp entry ($3000), most meals, 3 freerolls ($112,000 prize pool total), and $750 for travel by playing a satellite on UltimateBet. It was a $20 buy in (rebuys) and had 79 players. There was ONE seat up for the winner, and I took it down. 

    After lunch we head to our room. I get a short rest but the excitement gets me back downstairs early. I find a 2-5 NL game in the “High limit” poker area (LOL). I have only about an hour. Eric is there too. I play very conservatively knowing if I “get stuck” I will not have time to get it back. I play for 45 minutes, make about $80, and decide that is enough for now. Check in is open and we headed to the convention room for registration.

    At registration I find the remainder of my “Pack”, Dallas Jenkins (JenkinsEnter). Dallas, Eric, and I have been playing together for about a year now, this is the first time we have met in person. I have been mentoring them…..and also learning from them.

    The first night was a very nice buffet dinner and then the introduction of the attending pros by Howard Lederer. They were: Clownie Gowen, Huck Seed, Andy Bloch, Amir Vahidi, Mike Gratz, Marcel Lucske, Phil Gordon, Kristie Gazes, Eric Siedel, Freddie Deeb, Robert Williamson III, and of course, Annie Duke.

    After the intro they started Sit and Goes. Buy-In’s were from $10 to $200. There were 12 tables 6 of which were dedicated to the $10 buy in players. There was a $0 entry fee on all sit and goes. The sit and goes started with a pro at each table. Pros watched each hand, and also “held” their cards after folding to show what they had, how they played it and why. Also they critiqued your play. Sure it slowed down the sit and go…but who cares?!

    I grab a seat on a $10 with my “Pack” and our pro is Amir Vahidi. I draw the seat to his right. His insight to the game is phenomenal. He described his style of play as, “I’m an opportunist”. He “breaks down” hands out loud so you can experience his thought process, just awesome. After about 1 hour of play, I win this Sit and Go.

    Our table breaks and the next $10 to start is with Annie Duke. I am fortunate to get a seat here. It is nearly comical to listen to her critique your play and the play of your opponents. ½ the time you are thinking, “God…HOW did I not see that?”

    I make some mistakes (which of course Annie is nice enough to point out to the group) and bust out about 6th. I sit for the remainder of the tournament. Her teaching style is just awesome. I gained insight to the game I did not think possible.
    The night ends at about midnight. Some head off to the poker room, but I head to my room because breakfast starts at 8:30 am and the seminar begins about 9:15.

    I am so excited about the first few hours of this camp, I can barely sleep. Finally at about 130 am I drift off. I am up bright and early at 8:00.

    Friday, December 2, 2005 - I head downstairs and meet up with Eric. We head to the theater where breakfast is being served and where the seminars are being held.

    The first teacher is “Dr.” Phil Gordon. We get a picture of the “Pack” with Phil. He teaches cures for your poker “diseases”. His cures are things like, “betright” for the disease of “minibetitis”. He talks for 90 minutes and then does a Q and A session. Just priceless! This session alone is enough to plug holes in your game which are enough to make a losing player a break even player…and a break even player a winner.

    Next to speak is Marcel Luske. He has a heavy accent, but does well talking. He discusses the various stages of the tournament, betting on the flop, turn, and river; and play of the short stack. He discusses adversity in life as well as in poker. He finishes with a Q and A session. Again, his insight is just wonderful. To get to hear how the pros “see” the game is amazing.

    We break for a buffet lunch in the ballroom. Great stuff. They really did not skimp on this program.

    The first tournament, the 60,000 “freeroll” begins at 1:30 pm. There are 185 players. I draw a table in the corner, seat 1 (bleh). Nothing notable occurs. I apply what I have learned, and make fairly far in to the tournament, busting out about 70th.

    I am tired and head up to the room for a nap before the 8 PM freeroll for UB qualifiers. One prize only, but it is a seat and expenses to the 2006 WSOP Main Event. There are bounties on Annie Duke and Freddie Deeb of $500 each.

    I take my seat and who should sit down across from me but Annie Duke herself! Very interesting because she cannot win the seat and she was still “teaching” after the hands are over. I last to the top 25 in this and then get crippled with KJs v. Annie’s AK. Annie and Freddy say calling the re-raise was a good call because of the $500 bounty. Funny part is….when Annie moved in, Freddy came over and said, “CALL…no matter what CALL because you can win the bounty.” I say, if I am dominated then I am crippled and am in trouble to win. Freddy still says, “Call – worry about winning later – take a shot at the $500 now”. So I do, and the board rags off, and I am hurting. I laugh and say, nice hand. I get busted a couple hands later when my AJ on the button runs in to AQ in the BB. I did get a very nice UB chipset in an aluminum case, a black leather UB duffle bag with shirts, money clip, and a mouse pad.

    I move to the Sit and Goes which are still being “manned” by the pros. I draw a seat to the left of Andy Bloch. Andy does not talk as much as Annie or Amir, but what he has to say is quite good. For those who don’t know, Andy was a member of the now infamous MIT blackjack team. I bust out here when I re-raise all in with KK and my opponent calls with AQo. Andy says, “Nothing you can do when you get it in with the best and they suck out on you.”

    It is now about 10 pm and I am very tired, I head to the room to get some rest. What a day it has been!

    Saturday, December 3, 2005 – I again meet Eric for breakfast and off to the theater for the seminars. The “Pack” sits in the front row. Our teacher is Howard Lederer. His seminar is awesome. He gives each of us 3 of his DVD’s. w00t! It is no accident that Howard is called, “The professor”. What a great player and person.

    Next in the line up is Annie Duke. She discusses play post flop in NL tournaments. Breaking down the hands, texture of flops, position, betting all in, etc. Just phenomenal! I swear if I can remember ½ of the stuff taught I will be in great shape!

    We break for lunch. Off to the Mexican restaurant at the Palms for our private lunch with Howard. This was arranged by Dallas’ Dad, Jerry. We are there for 2 hours and talk about everything from poker to sports to life in general. What a nice man. I knew there was a reason he was (and still is) my favorite poker player. And he answered my question about longevity in the game! (Like I said in my interview w/NewJane)

    During lunch we realize we are late for the start of the 2d freeroll ($40K prize pool). Howard tells us to send one guy to Matt Savage and let him know what is going on. Eric does this and we get the “OK” for a late start. We finish lunch with Howard, get a photo (on the web page), Thank Howard for his time, and head to the tny.

    I arrive at my table an hour late, and discover I am only down 200 in chips from the original 2000. After about 1 ½ levels with no hands, I raise from LP w/K7s on a steal. Unfortunately I get called in 2 places, including from “knklehead”, a respected UB player. The flop however hits me perfect. K75 rainbow. 1st person checks, knk moves in, of course I call (and nearly have him covered). 1st person folds and knk shows J9o. Turn is a 9 and river is a 2. I double up and cripple him. About ½ hour later they move me to another table. I get my stack up to about 12K. Then go on a horrible run. Finally I am down to all-in the BB. I find AQ and over double up because of the antes. We are close to the $$ now (27) and playing hand for hand. Legggggy is out on the bubble. Now that we are in the $$ people start going out left and right. I make it up to 19K, look around, and discover Eric is still alive and we are only 2 players away from the final table!

    Within 10 minutes #11 and 12 bust out, and I make the final along with my fellow “Pack” member! Unfortunately, blinds are up to 2500-5000. I go out 10th when I run in to pocket Kings after ½ my chips are in the pot in the BB. I get $600 for the effort.
    I move then to a $50 SnG with Mike Gratz. It is interesting to hear how this very young bracelet winner sees the game. Again I put my money in with KK and a new player on my right calls the re-re-raise all in with 10-5o. Says, “Thought you were bluffing”. Mike starts to tell him this is a poor play, when the flop hits 10-5-A rainbow. The newbie then starts to argue with the pro that his play was bad. I say, “Good Game” to the table and step back to listen to what Mike has to teach.

    I end the evening watching Dallas play in a SnG with Marcel Luske. Just listening to these pro’s analyze hands and position is awesome.

    I go back to the room and get ready for the banquet. What a great setup! They have a comedian and open bar.  We head back to the room at about 12a.

    Sunday, December 4, 2005 – We have a buffet breakfast put on by the camp. After this is the final Q and A session with the pro’s. There are final sit and goes, and the camp breaks up at about 1pm.

    Overall, a great camp, worth every penny even if it was 2 times the cost. I will be attending the next one in the spring.

    Thanks for reading!


  • #2
    Fantastic trip report Glenn! I felt like I was there with you!


    • #3
      WOOHOO!!! Thanks so much. What a wonderful trip report.


      • #4
        Great Post!


        • #5
          Great post really enjoyed the read.


          • #6
            Awesome report, Glenn, made me want to be there!!! The details are priceless. Thanks so much.


            • #7
              I've been wondering if these things are worth the effort to try to win, I was worried if it was just listening to speakers and such.

              You've sold me. Sounds like a very educational time. Invaluable




              • #8
                Great information.

                I have been thinking of doing a camp like that for several months now. However, when something gets very popular and becomes somewhat of a fad, as poker has lately, everyone tries to jump on the bandwagon of pulling cash out of pockets of the followers of the newly popular, fad of the day. I worried that these camps were just that. A way of pulling cash out of people's pockets.

                Your report has convinced me that a camp put on by a bunch of big pros would be well worth the money. I am starting my plan to attend one very soon.

                Thanks for the great info.


                • #9
                  I am glad this report has encouraged you to go. My game has gone to the "next" level. I see the game in a way I never did before.

                  I cannot speak for other camps, but this one is definately worth the money.

                  During the lunch with Howard he explained the cost of the camp, was nearly the cost to put it on. There is not a "TON" of profit. (Which is why no fee on SnG's)

                  It is designed for the serious player who is "stuck" or needs some more insight to the game. More advanced players (like Pirate) will definately benefit more than a player who is new, as many of the pro's "assume" you are not a super beginner.

                  Many of the concepts taught have been mentioned in books, BUT they are not broken down and explained in the detail needed to be easily understood as they do in the camp.

                  I will definately be attending the next one in the spring and I look forward to seeing you all there.



                  • #10
                    Awesome post Glenn.

                    Sounds like a great time.



                    • #11
                      Awesome post and what a great experience. I'm envious...
                      :lol: . Nice to hear that the camp is worth the money.


                      • #12
                        wow amazing report where are the pictures?

                        Andy Bloch is amazing well spoken player i got to meet him an his wife at dinner with daniel


                        • #13
                          The pictures are on my web site:


                          Thanks for asking.



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