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At Fallsview, A Man's Best Friend

by Roy Winston |  Published: Oct 09, '08


It has been a while since I have blogged and I would like to tell you I was really busy for some good reason, but I can't make that claim. As it turns out my dog Falko died and I have been more bothered by that then I would have imagined. It's really a little strange because I knew he was getting older and this would be the inevitable conclusion, but until it actually happened, I never realized how much I loved that dog.

Growing up my family always had at least one dog. Usually a German Shepard along with another breed. I always felt a sense of attachment to German Shepard's, their intelligence and strong loyalty is compelling, and I like a big dog that you can play rough with. When I first moved to California I became friends and played golf with a great guy, successful businessmen, and German Shepard owner whom I became close friends with. His dog Lars was a highly trained, extremely intelligent animal. He would often bring Lars to the driving range and Lars would lay their while we hit golf balls and talked. I quickly realized I had to get a dog, and not just any dog, it had to be a German Shepard. A couple of years before this I remember talking with Steve Wynn at his golf resort Shadow Creek and he had two trained German Shepard's that accompanied him almost everywhere, they were beautiful, well trained and just like my friend's dog Lars. It turns out that their source for dogs was the same. Coincidently, he told me about a great dog that just became available, he was actually the brother of his wife's dog and was a protection trained German Shepard. He was a three year old male called Falko, who had just finished his training and was supposed to be a great dog.

I picked Falko up at the Las Vegas airport where he was shipped to me with a pamphlet of instructions and commands in German. The trainer spent several hours on the phone with me, but I was a little apprehensive. I had never gotten a dog that wasn't still a puppy. One of my close friends at the time said I was crazy to be picking up a trained attack dog; what if he didn't like me and decided I was the enemy? Luckily that wasn't the case and we bonded very quickly and went everywhere together. In those days I was doing a fair amount of hiking and running which we would do together almost every morning. One morning after a run I was taking a shower and he started barking. He almost never barked and I was concerned so I hopped out of the shower and heard noise in the house. At this point in my life I lived alone, and it was 6:30 am, so there was no good reason for anyone to be in my house uninvited. I called 911 grabbed a gun, and threw on some clothes. I yelled out "I have a gun and an attack dog and am coming out shooting." The intruders fled and were arrested by the police. So, Falko may have saved my life, or at the very least kept me from harm. I don't think I would have fared well if they walked in on my in the shower.

Falko, in addition to being well trained, had a great disposition, and was very gentle with children. A friend of mine once remarked that if his first wife was as well trained or as nice as him he wouldn't have gotten divorced. I won't go that far, wait a minute, as I think about it maybe I will, but in any event he was a great dog. The combination of unconditional love and companionship is hard to beat. This last week I spent at my house was the first time in nine years that I spent a night in the house without him and I didn't like it, I miss him terribly.

I am again on a Southwest flight headed to Niagara Falls for the WPT event at Fallsview. I am excited to return there. It is a great facility, with one of the best tournament rooms, and a great staff. One thing I love about the place is that the whole casino in non-smoking. Something that it's about time Vegas, and the rest of the world for that matter should adopt. Hey if you want to smoke and poison yourself I am not trying to interfere with your right to do that, but why should I have to breath it in.

The Niagara Falls location is one of the best of all the tour stops. The Falls are breathtaking and there are many great hikes and walks all around the area. There are also restaurants in some of the towers that have sensational views of the Falls. I am captivated by their beauty and can only wonder what the first explores must of thought when they happened upon them. Hopefully they didn't come by boat from upstream.

I stayed at the Commerce last night and played in a good no limit holdem game. It was the usual suspect with a few new faces. There is one guy that has joined the game the last few months who has come over from high stake limit holdem and has just killed the game. Now don't get me wrong he is an extremely solid player, but he keeps getting good situations. For instance shortly after sitting down, I pick up pocket 4's in the big blind. He makes a standard raise to $180 on the button after 2 limp in front of him for $40 each. I call as do the two limpers. In a deep stack game such as this where most players are well over 200 big blinds deep, flopping a set can be very rewarding. The flop comes K 7 4, and shazam, I flop a set. There is $740 in the pot and I open with a $700 bet. The two in mid position fold and the limit player raises $2,000. He is a very skilled player and I think for a minute, running through his range of hands. He likes to raise his button and play his position and he could certainly have AK, or something like 7 4 suited is in his range and worst case would be 77 or KK. I call the 2k, but the voice in my head says "danger Will Robinson, danger." The turn brings a blank and he moves all in for about 15k. We have about the same size stacks and I try and get him talking to perhaps give me a read. I said I think I'm ahead, and can beat AK. I know full well he doesn't have AK and with one to come he's not doing it even with a flush draw and AK. So, I fold and show him 4's, he then shows me kings and I let off a sigh of relief.

I got to return the favor to him a few hours later when I played a suited A6 from the small blind in a 5 way limped pot. The flop comes 345 with 2 of my suit. I open with a $200 bet into the $200 pot. I get a caller in mid position and the limit guy from the cutoff. I am referring to him as the limit guy, but he is a very solid no limit player as well. Anyway, the 2 falls on the turn, giving me the nut flush, and just for peace of mind, I had the straight flush blockers as well. I bet $600 into an $800 pot and he calls after the other player had folded. A king comes on the river and with $2,000 in the pot I bet $1,200 and after the mid position player folds, he raises me $1,500. I felt it was clearly a value raise not meant to bluff me, and I tried to calculate how big a raise he would call. I raise $2,800 and he calls without much hesitation. I guess he might have called more as he had the king high flush, but I feel good about the hand. I always hate it when someone wins a pot and complains that they could have gotten more. About ten hands prior to this I did show him a bluff which may have helped the situation. In general I don't recommend show hands. I use to show my hands way too much, until one day Layne Flack got on me about it. I always find that the players that NEVER show a hand are in general tougher to get a read on than those that show. Everyone always seems to have a good reason for showing, but I have gone to the side of hardly ever showing. Often you can confirm a read when someone shows; in fact if I see something and think I have a read on someone I will often times try to get them to show me their hand. Think about it, all things being otherwise equal, isn't it more frustrating to play someone who never shows versus a player that will sometimes show a hand? Why not be that player that is tougher to play against. Just remember, when playing against me I will waive the "no show" rule so you can show me your hand. That being said I just told a story where I showed two hands. So do what I say not what I do, and I guess I'll try harder myself to keep my cards face down on their way to the muck.

For more information on Roy Winston, you can visit his website: or send him an email. The contents presented herein on this blog are purely the opinions of Roy Winston, and are not intended to reflect or promote the opinions of any other person, group, or entity. If you like what I write than thanks for reading, and if not well, thanks anyway.

Roy Winston finished 16th in 2007 Card Player, Player of the Year race. He won the WPT Borgata Poker Open and finished the year with well over $2 million in tournament poker winnings. Roy plays online exclusively at Full Tilt. For more information on Roy Winston, you can visit his website: or send an email to: with your questions or comments. The contents presented herein on this blog are purely the opinions of Roy Winston, and are not intended to reflect or promote the opinions of any other person, group, or entity. If you like what I write than thanks for reading, and if not well, thanks anyway.

Any views or opinions expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the ownership or management of
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