Monday, February 25, 2008

Vegas is goooooot!

It was a pleasant enough flight to Vegas this time around. I left work at 3:30 on the dot so I could make it to the airport in time and it was a breeze. When the subway/airtrain combination is running well, it's the best $7.00 you could spend to get to JFK.

The flight was long at 6+ hours, but I was soon in the land of dreams and any discomfort I had washed away like a baptism when I spotted the Venetian out my taxi window. I got to the counter and got the keys to the suite. CK and Thomas G. has been here since the morning and I was going to find them on the gaming floor when I dropped my stuff off in the room. A note on the room; it was *pimping*. A big room with a step down living room and 2 queen beds with a huge bathroom that had a TV in it. Hooyah. Thank god for poker rates, right?

CK and Thomas were huddled around the Let It Ride table (where else?) waiting for me. We hooked up and went over to the poker room to check out the Friday Night action. I was pretty tired actually and the lines to get on the table were long, so we decided to hit the Grand Luxe instead for dinner and then see how we felt afterwards. After some catching up, the trip started to hit me and I called it a night. No poker yet, but there were plenty of more days to come for me.

I got up early (about 9:00a) and was sitting at a 1-2NL table at 9:50a. Thomas was on a military schedule the entire trip and he was normally up at 8:00a every morning! CK, on the other hand, slept through each morning as if she had been mainlining Ambien. Man, that girl can sleep! The action at the 1-2 table was pretty stale and I ended up ekeing out a tiny little profit, but I was jazzed to play. CK, Thomas and I hooked up for lunch and decided to blow off the Venetian for Caesars. I was happy to hop rooms during the trip because I needed to book official 'visits' for my "I'm playing in every poker room in America" tour. I've been to Caesars before, but never played there, so I was looking forward to it.

The room at Casesars is cool because it's behind the sports book in a completely closed off room that has no access to the casino. It's its own entity, which makes it very quiet. When we got there, there was a celebrity tourney going on, with Rollie Fingers, Bobby Slayton and Carrot-Top all in attendance. I put my name on the 1-2 NLHE, and the 4-8 O/8 lists and wandered over to celebrity-gawk. Carrot-Top and Bobby Slayton walked right by me and let me tell you, Carrot-Top looks 3x as freaky in person as you would think he does. His eyebrows are shaved and he has them drawn in pencil and his years of steroid abuse have him hunched over like a cartoon caveman. Just scary. But everyone at the tables I talked to said his show is great. Um...yeah. I'll wait for the HBO special.

I got sat a few minutes later at the 1-3 NLHE table, with Thomas and CK playing the same game at different tables. CK and I were both waiting for the O/8 game to start up and we kept calling out to the brush desk everytime they asked for confirmation of the list of players! My 1-3 NLHE play was not going so well and I lost half my buyin chasing a flush, but that was beside the point. I started the get antsy and got the stones up to go beyond my comfort zone and put myself on the 1-3 Pot Limit Omaha list. We were getting into tough territory boys and girls. Of all the games I was waiting for, wouldn't you know it? The 1-3 Pot Limit Omaha game was the one that got off! I was so nervous when I sat down for $300 at this game. CK was to my right and everyone at the table seemed to be licking their chops looking at me. It was comforting to be with CK but I was jelly inside.

Then something wonderful happened. What I like to call the "discomfort effect". Instead of being outplayed and brutalized, the higher limits actually forced me to tighten up and wait for premium hands. I didn't waste one or two small bets with marginal starting hands, so I kept my stack up. When I had great hands, and flopped well, I pushed hard. In the end, we played for 2.5 hours and I was up at the end of the session! I even attempted a bluff, which didn't work unfortunately. I had a wrapped straight draw to Broadway but missed every street. I had bet the flop OOP, but checked the turn and my opponent checked too. When the board paired on the river, I fired out $50 into a $75 pot. He hesitated, counted out his chips and nearly folded, but then said "this is such a bad call" before making a great call. He had top pair, top kicker. Bleccch.

The game was volatile and people were busting out quick. Each time, we would try to recruit new players from the brush desk but people were skittish about Pot Limit. So we made a deal at the table to try doing a mixed game of 1-3 Pot Limit Omaha Higha and 5-10 O/8. But when people started coming over, we found out that Pot Limit was still not attractive, so we ended up dropping it entirely. CK was actively trying to recruit from a nearby 4-8 HE table and she got the attention of two loud guys who seemed to more interested in her "rack" than her rack. She kept trying to get them to sit down and prove their 'manliness' but they declined unless she "sweetened the pot", so to speak. But she got in the zinger of the night when they finally picked up from their low limit HE table and made one last crack at her. She yelled out as they left, "I hope you shrivel up and die". The ENTIRE room burst out laughing and they left with their tails between their legs. Score one for BWOP!

We had a great time telling the table that they weren't going to get any Jewish players to come play "PLO" but even though they called it properly ("Pot Limit Omaha"), we still had to switch to a full 5/10 O/8 game for another 4 hours or so. I ended up being slightly even there but had such a great time that I didn't care. We went back to the Venetian where we starting playing table games and doing a little drinking before calling it a night. Pai Gow was brutal to us that night. After dropping a bit at my wheelhouse table game, CK suggested we try her game, Let It Ride. She's been telling me for weeks that she doesn't lose at this game, but somehow I didn't believe her. Well, I basked in her ruckbox aura that night. CK, Thomas and I all ponied up $300 at the $15 minimum table and proceeded to lose, hard. Even the drink girl never came around. I mean, what's the point of playing a negative EV game if you can't make up your losses in alcohol. The tables behind us had a girl who made FOUR visits to them before we even saw one person. We called the pit boss over and complained but he told us, under no uncertain terms, to go fuck ourselves. So CK organized a "sit-in". We refused to play a hand until we got drinks. That did it. The girl appeared and rudely took our double orders (in case we never saw her again). I had a Mojito, and it was pretty good, being my main drink these days. I was down to my last $45, just enough for one hand, when CK told me that I had to play my last hand "blind". No pulling back bets, and no looking at my hand. What? Are you serious? She was, deadly. Well, I tend to wither under her gaze so I did what she told me. The dealer flipped over 8s2s and I moaned that I would need to pair up in my hand or hit a miraculous two pair to make money. I had already lost the money in my mind. The dealer flipped my cards and spread them ever so slowly, with dramatic flair. The first card I saw was Qs. Hey, an overcard! Good stuff. The next card was 9s! Hey, getting better. I prayed for a Queen or a spade and the last card....3s! FLUSH!!!! We screamed and gave each other high-fives like we had just hit the Mega-Millions!! Wow, what a win. 8-1 on my $45 = $360. I played four more hands, none of which hit, and I walked away even on the Let It Ride session. The BWOP 'aura of ruckboxiness' had held and the legend grew...

In the morning, Thomas and I had breakfast at the Luxe, with CK sleeping hard. We decided to walk around a bit and hit some other casinos, especially as the $550 deep stack tourney had taken up all the cash tables at the Venetian. I *almost* registered for the tourney but ended up not doing it, convincing myself that I would do better at cash. We walked out into a seriously nice day out on the strip. Temps must have been about 75 degrees or so and we made our way over to the Bellagio. The room at the Bellagio is storied, but overrated in my opinion. The only good thing about it is the action. 2-5NL is the smalled NLHE game they spread. I wanted to play middle limit, so I got myself seated at the $8/$16 game and proceeded to CRUSH it. Two hours after sitting down, I was up $400+ and Thomas and I left to head back to the Venetian. It feels good to rack and run. :-)

On the way back, we called CK, who was still in the process of getting herself acclimated. We passed by the Imperial Palace on the walk back and decided to see what all the fuss was about. Dawn is always raving about this place and it *is* a fantastic location for such a mediocre looking hotel. It's a few hundred feet from The Venetion, Bellagio and Mirage with a very short walk to Treasure Island and the Wynn. Good company. The poker room was less impressive. 8 tables in a smoky and loud area, with two 1-2NL games and 2 $4-$8 games going. What popped my eyes, though, was the size of the stacks at the NL game. The average stack size was about $600, with one guy sitting on nearly $2000! At a 1-2 game! Thomas and I sat in with very puny $200 stacks. I sat patient for a few hands and was treated to some sick sick action. There were three canadians at the table, two twins and their chubby friend, who were pushing the table around. A young gun at the end of the table (no Crasians amazingly), finally got sick of the bullying and made a sick play at a big pot. The betting pre-flop was something like a raise to $25 and 3 calls. Bully twin fired a $100 bullet at the pot on a King High and got called by young gun. Turn was a brick and twin fired another $100. Young gun came over the top for $250 more, which left him $100 behind. Twin bully folded after going into the tank and young gun flips over Queen high. OMG, I was so hoping to take a slice of this action. It was hard, though, with a short stack because I couldn't fire any real bullets. I made some money on KK, but sat tight otherwise. Thomas, who should know better, lost a chunk after flopping a set on a 3 flush board and then calling all the way down when the fourth club hit on the turn. We left quickly afterwards because we were frankly outmatched and outstacked. Better to move to easier climes. But boy I want another crack at the cracked out table. Go IP action!

We made our way back to the Venetian and got a light dinner before heading up to the Wynn. There was a juicy 10-20 O/8 with a half kill going and I put myself on the list. I called up CK and convinced her to come over, which she did and sat with me until the game broke just past midnight. It was a good session for both of us as there was a known calling station at the table and he paid off every hand he was in. There was one hand where it folded around to me in the small blind with calling station on my left in the BB. I asked if he wanted to chop and he refused. "Nothing personal," he said. OK. I know some people are like that, but I tend to win these hands when people don't chop. I had Ad 8s 3d 6d. Not a terrible hand. I called and he promptly raised. Ok, buddy. You're in for it now. I called and saw a flop. 4d-5d-7s. Hello nut straight! "Uh, oh," I said, "I flopped it". I bet out and he called. Turn was 2c. Hello nut low! HAHA!!! "Uh oh," I said, "I'm even better now!". He didn't believe me and called another bet from me. River was Kd! Another nut high! Nut/nut feels good, don't it? I bet one more and he called again. I showed him the bad news and the table laughed it up at the guy. Teaches him to raise my SB, the bastard. :-)

It was a great day for me, and I'm glad it was, because it would be the last good session I would have that trip. I went back to the Venetian and accumulated a few poker hours by donking it up at 4-8 HE before going to sleep. When we got up in the morning, the $330 Deep Stack tourney had, once again, taken up all the cash tables. Note to self, don't try to book the poker rate during a big tournament series! Thomas and I hopped a cab over to the Orleans just in time for me to enter the O/8 tourney, the best Omaha Hi/Lo tourney in Vegas! I did really well up until the second break and then I missed two big draws to get chopped. I was all in with 30 players left (out of 95 to start) with AA27 single suited, but couldn't hit a thing. I couldn't get onto a cash game because the waits were so long so I played Multi-Hand Blackjack for a quarter a hand on a slot machine while waiting for Thomas to finish up his session. The way the Multi-Hand game works is that you get 7 hands to the dealer's one. It's like you're playing a full table by yourself. The button for hit and stand are right next to each other so you're constantly using your middle finger and index finger to flip quickly between the two. I was up about $2.00 when I made a big mistake. Instead of hitting the HIT button, which deals a new hand, I hit the STAND button, which is the same button for MAX BET! Oh crap! Before I knew it, I had bet $90 on one frickin' set of hands! Damn it. I played slowly and carefully, getting good hands for 6 out of my 7 dealt hands and one black jack. The dealer then proceeded to bust with a 26! SWEET!!!! I won a $65 profit, nearly paying for my O/8 tourney buy-in!! Sweet lady luck. I cashed out immediately and Thomas and I headed back.

At the Venetian, my good streak came to an abrupt end when I lost a chunk playing in a short handed 4/8 O/8 game and then donked off a whole bunch more playing 4-8 HE for 5 hours late into the night. I blame the 4-8 HE loss on the very very hot asian girl who sat next to me for the whole night chatting me up. She didn't win either but we had a great time talking. I was *shocked* to find out she was turning 40 next month because she looked 27 at worst. You can see my distraction....

Thomas left on a plane that evening and CK and I were leaving the next evening. We got up late to check out and ended up having a nice dinner and a last cash session at the MGM Grand, a tradition for BWOP. I got up the nerve to sit at the 2-5 NL table for the first time ever. It was relatively mild, and if it hadn't been for me chasing a relatively cheap draw with two overs and the nut flush draw, I would have been up for the session. We got to the airport in just enough time to check in and get to our gate.

The flight home was uneventful except that I probably made a mistake taking the redeye. It was the first time I had done it and the morning after was brutal to me. I'm scheduled to take the redeye back from my Southern California trip in May, but that's probably the last time I'll try it. Too hard.

Vegas was awesome, as always. Don't know when I'll be back, but I'm itching already.

Friday, February 15, 2008

This Lemonade may be a bit tart

Maybe there’s too many lemons in it?

I was up late last night loading up my new ‘rental’ IPod Nano and when I finally looked up, it was 2AM. Probably too late to pack, right? No problem, I thought. I’ll just wake up and pack in the morning. I’m only going to Vegas for 4 days. How much time do I really need?

So I went to sleep.

When I got up in the morning, I showered and cleansed myself, pulled on some work clothing, and went about the task of choosing stuff to bring to Vegas. I pulled my suitcase onto my bed, opened the zipper and flipped open the cover, and started putting stuff inside. 2 pairs of Jeans, check. 2 Belts, check. Bag of sundries, check. 4 T-shirts, check. One Sweater, check. One light pullover jacket, check.

What’s left? Oh yeah, Underwear and socks. Hey, look at that! I put my underwear and socks in the laundry on Monday just so I could get it back on Thursday in time to pack for Vegas! How thoughtful I am. A little back story first, though.

I have a blue laundry bag. When I picked up my laundry the last night, I had gotten a black bag back. I thought to myself, “that’s odd”. But did I look inside to check the actual contents? No. Instead, I just assumed that my bag had ripped and the laundry had provided me with…a new black bag! Wow, am I dumb. If I had opened the bag, I would have discovered the laundry inside wasn’t mine. If I had even bothered to examine the OUTSIDE of the bag, I would have discovered the apt. number 1603 written. That’s not my apt. number, needless to say.

Back to our packing story.

I’m now sitting with a bag of laundry that isn’t mine. Luckily, I have backup boxers that I keep for just such an occasion, but that would only help me get to work this morning. I still need undies and socks for the trip!!! I went downstairs to return my laundry and they’re now checking into it, but it won’t be resolved before I get on a plane. So it looks like I’ll be making a quick trip to Century 21 before the flight. Grrrr….

I’m hoping this is my last LEMON for the month.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

How to make Lemonade

Well, first you need lemons:

Lemon #1 - My beautiful IPod Touch has not yet arrived. The FedEx tracking page told me it was supposed to arrive this morning but it's just sitting in Newark. Seriously, it doesn't want to be in Newark anymore than I do. Why isn't it here? Why? Why? Why? And my Vegas flight is tomorrow at 6:30p. I CANNOT play poker without music. That would suck big time. And the worst part is I paid $10 extra for expedited shipping! How come it can get from China to Newark in 1.5 days and it takes 2 days or more to get 15 miles to my home?

Lemon #2 - I canceled my Anti-Valentine's day tournament tonight because my friend Lauren was throwing an Anti-Valentine's day party up at The Fat Black Pussycat. She assured me there would be many single girls there. Well, I got out of work late and by the time I showed up at 8:15p (for a 6:00p start time), I caught Lauren leaving the club to grab a taxi! "Hold up," I said, "why're you leaving?". She explained that no one had shown up until 6:45p and she was afraid the whole thing was going to be a bust so she made back up plans with a friend. But there were people inside and I should go in. I opted not to go in, though, because without Lauren as my context, I would just be the older single guy whom no one knew.

Lemon #3 - As I left The Fat Black Pussycat, at West 3rd and 6th Avenue, I decided that I can't go to Vegas without a working IPod of some kind. My plan, formulated on the spot, was to walk to the nearest Apple store and buy an IPod NANO, use it for the trip, and sell it on Craigslist for near what I bought it for. For a 4 or 5 day old NANO, I should be able to recoup most of the cost. I'll call it a rental. So I was midway between 2 Apple stores, in SOHO on Prince Street and the one in the Meatpacking District on 14th and 9th Avenue. I opted for SOHO because it was in the direction of home. So I started walking there and on the way, I passed the Salami club. Hmmm...It's been a while. Wonder if there's a game going on? I called up W, who despite having a steady boyfriend for 15+ years, was not doing anything tonight, to see if she might want to join me. She was doing laundry, or something equally unromantic, but she said she would call Salami to see if a game was on for tonight. So I waited in the cold for her to call me back. No game tonight. I kept walking to the Soho Apple store. When I got there at 9:20p...

Lemon #4 - ...They were closed. Oh yeah, the Soho store, like the rest of Soho, closes at 9.

Lemon #5 - So I was forced to pay for a cab to go back to the MeatPacking District.

A Scoopful of Sugar - I told the clerk who helped me that I wanted to buy the 8GB Nano ("for my niece who's finicky about gifts, wink, wink"). I asked what the return policy was and I got the answer I was looking for. Return within two weeks with the original packaging and you're subject to a 10% restocking fee, even if the gift is open. And they took my Merrill Lynch corporate discount too. So I bought it. It came to $202. So when I return it next week (I'll blame my niece), it'll have cost me $20 to rent it for the trip.

Mix well with water - I'm loading up my new Ipod NANO as I type this.


Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Friends, Romans, Countrymen

Lend me your ears. I come to bury my IPod, not to praise it.

My 3rd Generation Ipod is dead. Officially. Dead as Julius Caesar.

It was a good run and I got another few months of life from it by replacing it's hard drive, but in the end it just gave out. I was at work today this morning and the hard drive just stopped, cold. I'm sure it's just the battery, but I don't want to take the hassle of replacing it.

Normally, with something that given me so much pleasure, there'd be a respectful mourning period before I went shopping for a replacement. But in true Jewish fashion, the funeral was all too brief. My IPod died at 9:10am this morning, and by 9:45am, I was on the Apple website looking for a younger, sexier model.

In the end, I gave in to my overwhelming techno-lust and purchased the brand spanking new (less than 10 days old) IPod Touch, 32GB model. Oh my lord I can't wait for it to arrive.

Incidentally, I have to commend Apple for it's incredibly quick turnaround. I ordered the thing, WITH CUSTOM ENGRAVING, at 10:00AM and it was shipped out tonight at 12:30AM. Impressive.

The engraving, which will adorn my wonderful new device (which is much better than anything YOU have) is:
Powered by Negative Ken
Groupies Welcome

It was worth every penny. I want to give a shout out to the good folks at the Borgata Poker room, who were kind enough to give me a 90% discount on this very expensive piece of music heaven. BWAHAHAHA (And you thought there wasn't going to be any poker content...)

Monday, February 11, 2008

The Borgata gives back

I’m going to Vegas next weekend (Venetian Baby!) but before I do I thought it would be nice to do a weekend in AC, which I haven’t done in months. W had a poker room at the Borgata, which I took advantage of Saturday night, but Friday night we all stayed with PP in his parent’s place. W took the bus down at 6:30 and PP and I were only 10 minutes behind her in his car, leaving from Brooklyn. When we got closer to the wonderfully shabby city with all the lights, we called W to arrange to pick her up from Trump Marina and drive her over to the Borgata, one hotel over. Her bus was supposed to stop at the Marina first, but through some miraculous screwup, it went to Resorts first on the boardwalk. W told us her sob story about the bus going to the wrong place and how she was going to be 45 minutes late to the Marina and could we go the Marina and wait for her. PP and I, 5 minutes from Borgata poker room, laughed heartily into the phone.

So 5 and a half minutes later, PP and I were getting chips at the Borgata window while W waited patiently for her bus to take her where she needed to go. It would be the first of may lemons for W and the first of many cherries for PP and I.

PP, skittish from the losing month he’d been having, decided to grind it out at 5-10 limit for the evening. I took stock of my own ambitions. I had gotten up at 7:15 that morning and worked a full day and just gotten off a 2 hour car ride. Maybe No Limit wasn’t the best thing for me. So I sat at another 5-10 Limit table and started a very enjoyable session. I was at my 5-10 table for about 10 minutes when the seat to my left opened up and I motioned to PP to come take it. He waved me off. Seriously? You’ve been at your table for 10 minutes and you’re attached? Ok, whatever. So who does take the seat? A fat Korean kid, fully decked out in poker regalia. He had a Borgata black card, a Borgata T-shirt, and an obnoxiously loud red leather jacket from Full Tilt Poker.Com. He had player written all over him, right? Well…. I remember seeing Annie Duke once on one of the World Series of Poker broadcasts saying how anyone who had a poker tattoo has absolutely no game, whatsoever. I think the same goes for Full Tilt red leather jackets. In fact, I’m sure of it. When the kid sat down, I assumed he was going to be an aggro monkey (on my left no less) but he folded nearly every hand. A few minutes later, it folds all the way around to me in the SB. I offer the standard blind chop to him and he says, “No, I never chop”. I must have had a look of incredulity on my face, because he added, “I have a reason I never chop”.

“Ok,” I said, “let’s go”. I completed the blind and he called. I had 7h9h. The flop came down JhJs3h. Oh, sweet. Flush draw. I lead out for $5 and I’m hoping his ego lets him call, but he folds instead, not wanting to get trapped. I turned over my semi-bluff and I say, “I don’t mean to be a dick or anything, but why don’t you chop?”

He says, “Because I assume I’m better than anyone sitting to my left or right, so in the long run I’ll make more money not chopping”.

New name for him: Biggus Dickus. Or maybe Douchbag Enormi.

About 10 minutes later, a seat opens next to PP and HE waves me over? What? Really? Oh, fine. I sat down at his table, and then proceeded to crush it. I mean run over it. I was hitting cards, trapping for big bets and bluffing pots. It was beautiful. When it was all over at 2AM, I had won $380 in profit. A beautiful start to the weekend.

PP and I were very nice to each other, poker-wise. It folded around to me in the SB and I had QQ. I said to PP, “See how nice I am? I’ll chop with you”. He said, “Ok, but who’s nice?”. He flipped over AA! Lol. The very next hand, UTG raises PF and PP re-raises in the SB. UTG re-re-raises and PP caps it, but at this point it’s heads up and there is unlimited raising. UTG raises again. PP raises again! I assumed AA vs. AA but when UTG raised one more time and PP just called. I know had AA vs. KK in my mind, with PP having KK. Which is why I got very excited for PP when the flop came down King high! W00t! There was more betting and raising and this time, UTG stopped betting. He check-called the turn and the river and the hands were exactly as I thought they were. Good for PP, but seriously, 5 re-raises with KK? At no time did you think the KK might be beat pre-flop? Hmmmm…. Well, I’m glad it worked out for him.

A little while later, I have QQ and I raise UTG. A few people call, including PP. Flop comes down 775. I continue betting and PP calls along with one other. A 9 comes on the turn. PP raises my bet! I don’t put him on a 7 because I think he would have raised me on the flop, so the only other hand that makes sense to me, knowing PP is 99. I ask him if he has 99 and he giggles. Ok, so he does. I decide to complete the bet as a way of dumping $10 to him because, after all, he did drive and let me stay over his place. But the river came a Q! “Ooooh,” I said, “I sucked out on you!”. PP looked mondo confused. Later on, he told me he was actually trying to imagine a hand in which the Queen could have made a hand to beat him! Lol. It went check-check on the river and I showed him the suckout-resuckout. Poker gods, you are kind!

We managed to pry W off of her table and actually leave at 2AM, getting to PP’s at 2:40a. We got ready for bed but we were all jazzed up on adrenaline, so we stayed up until 4:00a just chatting. PP and I were explaining, in the simplest terms possible, what Call and Put options are and how to use them for investments. We also touched on the geo-political ramifications of the Subprime housing crises and how Credit Derivatives and their valuations were to blame for the onslaught. Oh yeah, it was educational.

Finally, sleep came and we got up for a nice Saturday of poker. Driving back to the Borgata, we first ate in the Borgata coffee shop. I had been the big winner the day before so I offered to pick up the check (ain’t I nice?). We all had omelets and sandwiches with coffee and OJ and felt refreshed and ready to go. I did have one bad experience when I ordered a side of bacon. When the bacon came, W aked why I had ordered the worst bacon in the history of bacon. Ummm, couldn’t you have told me that BEFORE I ordered it? She was right too, it was awful with a capital A.

Getting back to the poker room, I ponied up to the 1-2 NL table. Nothing exciting. I played about 4 hours or so and it was a paint drying session. I dragged $125 profit by just sitting tight and playing smart. It was a tight table though, and I did manage to bluff a few pots which made a big difference in my profit. One rule I had for the weekend was not to draw to runner-runner, and I was right on schedule. Unfortunately, I was also really really tired. I hadn’t gotten much sleep during the week so I took the opportunity of W’s Borgata room to nap. The Borgata, by the way, has really nice hotel rooms with beautiful bathrooms. Just saying.

PP convinced me to eat dinner with him before I napped, which I did, and it probably added 45 minutes to the time I slept. But I was raring to go when I got back. I sat back down at a 1-2 NL table and got a nice table draw. The table was a fun one, with lots of characters. One guy was built like a Mack truck, wearing a really nice silk shirt and slacks and a big diamond pinky ring. He was sitting next to his friend, almost as big and dressed nearly exactly the same. The three of us, along with two or three compatriots at the table, spent almost all the time from 11:30p onwards leering at the waitresses and making commentary about the other women in the room. It was total testosterone night. We had a blast though. The table was super tight, and I stayed even for hours, which was frustrating from a poker sense, but I was having too much fun to leave. I did manage to win a decent pot from the big guy with JJ. I had it in the BB and decided to check my option. The flop came down Ten high and I bet out $15. Big guy raises me $25. I call. Turn is an undercard blank. I lead out $20 to freeze the action. He falls for it and calls. Now I know I’m good. The river is a blank and I bet out $40, which he pays me off with AT. “Oh, that’s it,” he says, “you’re marked now!”. I laughed but I was slightly nervous. This guy was huge and it would take him all of three seconds to kill me with his bare hands. But he was good about it.

Until I bluffed him out of a pot. Do I want to die? Really, do I?

So what happened was, I had QdJd on the button. He had limped and I popped it to $15 when it came all the way around to me. He called and it was he and I heads up. “Oh, it’s us. I’m coming for my chips!, “ he said. “Bring it!”, was my reply. The flop was Td4s7d. He checks to me and he leads out the bettin. I call his $20 bet. On the turn, I pick up the gutshot straight with the 8c. Now I have lots and lots of outs to improve. If he’s sitting on just a top pair, I have two overcards, a flush draw and the nut straight gutter. He leads out another $20 and I come over the top for $45 more. He looks at me, looks at his cards and I say, “Don’t bet with your ego man. Don’t worry, I’ll show you..” That convinces him and he folds, turning over the same AT he lost to before. I show him the semi-bluff and he looks like he’s gonna wack me right then and there. But he breaks out into a broad smile and says, “Good bet!” Like I said, a fun table. It went on like that for a few hours until about 4am.

At that point, the room was thinning out and tables were starting to break up. We were down to 6 players at my table when we got an infusion of fresh blood. A homeless looking guy sits down in seat 8. He’s got an enormous scraggly beard and he has half of a cigarette in his mouth. He’s also sucking down Corona’s like they’re liquid Viagra. He’s sauced, plain and simple. In seat 10, a young Asian kid sits down with 3 full racks of chips in his hands. I do a quick count and he has 1300 dollars. The floor, though, won’t allow him to sit with more than the chip leader has, so he pockets 1000 and sits down with 300. Both players add instant action to the table, raising each hand preflop and C-betting the flops. About 5 hands in, Asian kid raises PF to $11. I call with A9 suited along with a few others. The flop is 9 high. Asian kid bets out $25 and I come over the top for $45 more. Asian kid counts out his chips and announces a raise. $90 more. Uh-oh. He *did* raise in the SB so I assume he has an overpair. I remember Doyle Brunson’s maxim of never going broke with top pair, so I take the wise course of action and lay down my hand, which I don’t show. He immediately flips over Q7o for the bluff. Ok, mister, now you’ve had it. And on my shitlist he went. I managed to drag a nice pot from him later in the night when I rivered a flush and got him to pay me off, but it was slow going otherwise. Meanwhile, he felted the big guy with the diamond ring. At around 5AM, Asian kid makes his standard pre-flop raise and big guy calls. The flop comes TT3. Asian kid checks and big guy bets. I’ve played with him long enough tonight to know he’s on the heart flush draw that is on the board, but Asian kid doesn’t know that. So I immediately start praying for a heart. Almost out loud. The turn is a blank. Big guy makes another bet. Asian kid calls. The river is a heart. Haha! Now you’re going to get it you bastard. Big guy checks and the Asian kid bets $75. Big guy comes over the top all in. Asian kid smiles, almost in defeat and makes what looks like a crying call. Big guy flips over the King heart flush. Asian kid flips over 33 for the flopped boat. He obviously assumed Big guy had made a bigger boat with a Ten, but instead he felted him. One compatriot down. But if I were the Asian kid, I’d be looking over my shoulder in the parking lot!

Asian kid now has $425 in front of him, the new table chip leader. I am, of course, unhappy about this. He wounded me and he must pay, even if somebody else does it! Isn’t that how it works? But I would soon have my revenge, oh yes. Soon, I would be complete.

Asian kid bounces up and down and his stack goes from $425 to $80 and back to $350. It’s now about 5:45am and the big hand of the night occurs. Asian Kid, in the SB calls a PF raise from Homeless guy. I’m out of the hand and I watch with interest. Flop comes down Js5c4s. Asian kid bets out $25 and Homeless guy smooth calls. Turn is 7d. Asian kid bets out $45, Homeless guy announces a raise (between disgusting coughs) and puts $75 on top. Asian Kid thinks about it and re-raises, $100 more. Homeless guy immediately moves all in by shoving his rack forward. Asian kid turns a smile and says, “Oh wow. I have a sick hand. But I have a feeling you have a sicker one.” At this point, given the speech, I fully expect Asian Kid to have the bottom set and he feels he’s up against a better set, probably Jacks. So he sweats it out a bit and after about a minute, he gets up and shrugs and says, “ok, I guess this is my last hand of the night. I call.” So he shoves in the rest of his chips and the dealer turns over the river, a 3d. Homeless Guy turns over 55 for a flopped set of 5’s. Asian Kid looks at his cards, laughs in the sort of frustrated way that only a lost soul can, and throws down his cards, face down. He picks up his backpack and slings it over his shoulder, preparing to leave.

Here’s where it gets interesting. Before the dealer can muck the cards and shove the pot, I ask to see the mucked cards. I’m just curious about this hand (the biggest pot (700+) we’ve seen tonight) and what hand he could have been sweating with. Normally the dealer is supposed to pick up the cards, touch them to the muck to “kill” them and then show them. He forgets to touch them to the muck and flips them over and it’s Ts6s. I look at the board; Js-5c-4s-7c-3d. Ok, he flopped the flush draw, I see that. And then he turned the OESD. So *that’s* why he thought his hand was sick. He had the draw two ways. And then….OH SHIT! HE MADE THE STRAIGHT ON THE RIVER!!! AND HE FOLDED!!!! BWAHAHAHAHA!

There was some drama when the Asian Kid meekly protested that his hand wasn’t technically mucked but the floor came over and made the correct ruling, which is that if a player not in the hand asks to see a folded hand, then it’s automatically dead, even if it technically didn’t hit the much. If Asian Kid had reached forward and turned it up, it would have still been live, but I asked to see them, not Asian Kid. Also, if Homeless Guy had asked to see them, they would have been live, even if they hit the muck. So the moral of the story is that Asian Kid lost a HUGE pot, because of his own stupidity and my own actions rubbed it in! OHMIGOD, what a great ending to the night that was! HAHAHAHAH.

I only stayed a few more minutes because I had just a *little* bit of profit and I wanted to leave with the moral victory of being up for the session. I was actually up $13 and I folded to UTG when I got 22. Ok, I wanted see a cheap flop so I called $2 and it limped all around to the SB, who jacked it up to $15. Dammit! I told him that that was very inconsiderate because I was up $13 and if I called him I’d be down for the session. Dilemmas, dilemmas. I pussied out and folded and saw the flop come out As2h9h. Doh! I grimaced when SB pushed out $30 and I imagined how I would have min-raised him and got him to go all in with his AK. Oh, sweet dreams.

I went to bad happy and got up the next day to find out it was snowing in NY. So I only stayed a few hours at the 5-10 table. I managed to lose $100 in a combination of bad hands, including when the BIGGEST fish at the table (e.g. caps 4 raises with Q7o) got quad 4’s against my AK two pair. Grrrrr…. But It’s all good. PP and I drove back in good time after a rocking meal at the White House sub shop and I’m back home, safe and sound. The Valentine’s day tourney is next up before Vegas.

Come to me Venetian! You’re mine!

Late Florida Recap - Day 4 (Last day)

I got up this morning with one thing on my mind. HARD ROCK CASINO. I hadn’t been able to play Omaha all weekend and I figured the Hard Rock would have it. So I packed up all my bags, loaded up my car and headed out. I got seated pretty quickly at a 2-5 NL table while being put on a waiting list for O/8. I was 4 hands off the BB and I decided to get a feel of the table by waiting for the BB. So I sat and waited and got a few reads on how the table was operating. My first hand in the BB, I get KK. Hooyah! A few people limp around and there’s now $30 in the pot. I raise another $25 and get one caller a few seats down. Everyone else folds. Here’s where the drama starts. The dealer, a young and twitchy character who was dealing about 1000 miles an hour, drops the deck into the muck and starts pushing the pot towards me! The table objected that there was a caller and he called the floor over. I saw the deck in the muck and I assumed the hand was dead. My opponent turned his cards over and said, “Let’s chop the pot”. I said, “Ok” and turned my cards over. He had QTo. The floor came over and ruled that the hand wasn’t dead and that we would still play it out! So I told the guy I was going to check it down with him. The floorperson then admonished us for making deals! Are you kidding me??! So we took our cards back and ‘played’ the hand. The flop came down with a King. I checked, he checked. The turn was a Ten. I checked, he checked. The river was a Ten! Goddammit! If not for this dealer’s fuckup, I would have rivered Kings full to his trip Tens and I would have gotten the rest of his short stack to be sure. I jokingly said, “all in” and waited for him to thrown down his cards which he did face up with a laugh. I threw my cards forward face down. The dealer, unbelievably, started to push the pot to my opponent! He claimed that I mucked! WTF?!?! I said ALL IN! I asked the floorperson, who had witnessed all this, “Did he call my all in?!?!”. Even the floorperson agreed with me. The Dealer was just trying to be a dick to me. I finally got the pot and I’ll be damned if I tipped him. Not only was he purposely prickish to me at the end, but he cost me $40 with his screw up. Not a good start to the day.

I was waiting for the O/8 game to start, and I was on the list. About 30 minutes later, I look up at the brush board and they’re taking names for a running O/8 game! Huh? I didn’t hear my name being called! So I went to the desk and asked what happened. They claimed to have called my name but I didn’t hear it. So I put my name back on and went back to playing. I’m peeved again. I’m UTG at my table and I get AcKc. I limp, intending to possibly check-raise, but someone behind me raises to 15 and gets 5 callers! I decide that’s too many so I just call. The flop is AKQ with 2 spades. I make it 60 to go and get re-raised all in by the guy who raised to 15. What does he have? KQ? QQ? Nut flush draw? It gets to me and I call. He has TdJd. Wow, flopped broadway. I can’t be too upset about it but he gets plenty mad when a King comes on the turn to boat me up. Sweet! Now I’m up to $300 and I’m feeling happier. I go back to check on my Omaha table and my name is off the board again! And there’s an empty seat! WTF??!?! So I bug the brush desk and they say, “Are you Jimmy?” Yes, they spelled my name wrong and then called “Jimmy”. I wonder why I didn’t hear it….

I convinced them that was me and I went back to my 2-5 table to pick up my chips. I’m walking over to the end of the O/8 table when someone says to me, “Don’t I know you?”. He looks familiar. An older fellow hunched over with a…Wall Street Poker cap on his head. Holy Shiite! It’s Paulie’s Dad! At my O/8 table! In Florida! Turns out he lives about an hour away and came for the day to play. Weird. I just think it was awesome that he was wearing a Wall Street Poker hat. The legend continues….

I only played O/8 for about an hour because the table broke up quickly. I was peeved about that, adding to my general malaise. Especially since I lost a bit at the table. So I sat myself down at a 1-2 NL table and this is where my vacation ended on a sour note.

My 3rd hand at the table, I get KK. Remember now that you have to sit down with no more than $100 at a new table. I raise to $10 in early position, get one caller to my left and a guy at the end raises to $20. Bring it on Biotch! I re-raise to $40 and the woman to my left (who was preposterously beautiful, as an aside) calls. The re-raiser calls and the flop is J53 rainbow. I have $50 left in my stack and I, of course, move all in. The woman folds what turns out to be AQ. The guy calls! He asks if I have a set. I turn over my KK and he keeps his cards close to his vest. I guess he doesn’t have AA. The turn is a ten and NOW he flips over his TT. Holy crap. That was some of the worst play I EVER saw. At which point did he think he was ahead? Was it when I raised and then bumped his re-raise? Was it when I went all in on a fragmented flop with an overcard to his TT? When he called my $50, he was getting a little less than 4-1 on an 11-1 draw. Great play Einstein. He dragged the pot with a smile and I went on insta-tilt. The VERY NEXT hand, I get KK UTG. This time, I limp, hoping someone will raise. No one does and I drop my hand quickly when an Ace flops. Grrrr…. I start losing more chips and I’m down to about $30 when I get QsJs in the BB. Einstein raises to $10 PF, a standard move on his part and he does it to set up steals I noticed. One guy calls and I move all in. Both players call. Flop is KK9. Check-check. Turn is Q. I think I’m good here, but I have no chips. It goes check-check. River is a Jack. Check-Check. Einstein turns over Tc3c! AAAAARRRRGGGHHHH!!!! I feel like Charlie Brown after having the football pulled away from me for the umpteenth time.

To make a long story shorter, I tilt off another buyin and am forced into desperation tactics to chase my money, like straddling. My last hand of the vacation, I straddle UTG and get 8c9c. I’ve got $55 in front of me. I get a few callers and the flop comes 6s7sTs. Wow, did I just flop a straight? Yes, I did. Is it three spades and I don’t have one? Yes. Why does everything have to be so difficult. When it gets to me, I bet half my stack. I get two callers. One is on a flush draw. The other I’m not sure. The turn is a brick and I move all in. The flush draw folds. The other guy calls. “Do you have a set?”. That’s a popular question it seems. It also tells me he doesn’t have a flush. He turns over T7 for flopped top two and is dismayed to see my straight, which miraculously holds up. I take my chips quickly off the table, having almost salvaged the night, and head off to a last diner dinner with my parents.

So I ended the trip down $60 after having been up about $300. LEMON. The one thing I know, though, is that if I had unlimited time, I could easily make a living at this place. My god, this is some bad poker playing.

My flight was delayed 90 minutes and I’m going to get home really late tonight. A full week of ‘stuff’ is ahead of me and we have a Wall Street extravaganza planned for Sunday. I need to work off this tilt somehow.

On another bright note, as everyone knows, The Giants are going to the Superbowl! And Dallas isn’t, more importantly. Don’t ask me why I’ve always hated the Cowboys. Perhaps it’s jealously because they *do* have the best jerseys. But more likely it’s that they’re damned arrogant. Too bad. New York wins. And take it from me, The Giants are going to win. No, seriously, stop laughing. They have a fire in their belly which had been missing from the Pats the last two games. My prediction is Giants 31, Pats 24.

You heard it here first.

Late Florida Recap - Day 3

I woke up at 11:30 the Monday morning, intent on two things. Playing poker and eating crabs. As I’ve blogged previously, my favorite crab house in the world is in Dania, Florida. It’s called The Rustic Inn and it’s outstanding. No pretensions here. No cloth tablecloths either. Just white paper over wooden tables on a dock out on a canal. The dish I *always* get when I go is the “Crab Sampler”, which is a combination of Golden Garlic crab clusters, Maryland Blue crab clusters, Dungeoness crab clusters and Queen crab legs, served with drawn butter and parsley potatoes. Yum and double Yum. My parents came along for the lunch and my mother also pigged out with me on crabs, but my father wimped out and got a crab cake sandwich. I don’t hold it against him, mostly. Afterwards, I dropped my parents off and went off to Best Buy to buy a wireless router. It was starting to peeve me that every night that I wanted to use my laptop at my parent’s place, I have to unplug their internet connection from their PC and plug the cable in. I don’t like to be limited. I also got myself a DVD I’m very excited about. It’s the movie “The 36th Chamber of Shaolin” in remastered form. The movie, widely considered the best of the Shaw Brother’s studio’s Hong Kong Kung-Fu movies from the 70’s, has FINALLY been released for region 1. The Shaw Brothers recently remastered their entire back catalog and it’s going to be a pleasure to watch it finally without the cracks and pops of the bootlegs I’ve been watching for years.

But I digress.

On my way back from Best Buy, I went to play Omaha at the Mardi Gras greyhound track in Hollywood. They didn’t have Omaha though, so I played what they did have, which was 2-4 Limit. BORING. The only exciting hand was when I have Ks7s. Everyone called and the flop was 778 rainbow. I checked when it got to me and when somebody bet out and a few people called, I popped it to $4. That got a few people out except two. The turn was a 9. They both checked to me and I bet out. The small blind raised me! Hmmm…. I folded pretty quickly and when I flashed my hand to the guy next to me, he called me a “fool”. What do you think guys?

Anyway, I ended up leaving pretty close to even and then finished the night at a fantastic Chinese food place with my parents and their friends. This place was actually the closest to Manhattan Chinatown Chinese food that I’ve ever eaten in Florida. It was that good. We has shredded chicken and corn soup, Peking pork chops, clams with black bean sauce, orange prawns and chicken lo-mein. All of it was delicious, other than the Lo-Mein which was just ordinary.

This trip would be perfect if not for two things. One, E is not with me. Two, the weather blows. Although, from what I hear, the weather in New York is COOOOLD.

Late Florida Recap - Day 2

*Sorry for the lateness*

So Darko was down in South Beach with his, uh, lady friend, and it was time for us to go out to dinner.

“Want to meet up,” he asked?
“Sure.”, I said. “Do you want to meet somewhere in the middle?”
“We don’t have a car”.

So I drove down to South Beach.

It’s actually only 13.5 miles from my parents (more good information from the GPS unit). So I picked them up and they gave me a choice for dinner. “Steak or Italian”. Well, I happen to know that steak is expensive. I’m amenable to expensive, but I’ve spent a whole bunch lately and my bonus sucked so if I can save a few bucks, I will. Just out of curiosity, I asked which steakhouse. “Shula’s”.

Make the VERY expensive.

So We went off to an Italian place they found the day before down a little alleyway in South beach off of Washington Street. The place was a bit touristy, but the food eas very very good and pretty authentic. We ordered Mojitos and they came with fresh fruit and large pieces of raw sugar cane to stir them with. Tasty. Thanks again to my gall bladder surgeon for allowing me to drink again. We ordered prosciutto and melon, calamari salad and three pasta dishes to share. All of the food was great and the pasta, especially, was made in the Italian Al Dente style. Darko had been very kind to take me out to dinner as a consolation for my crappy bonus a few weeks ago, so when the bill came after a very pleasant dinner, I felt obliged to pay for them. He tried to object but I wouldn’t be swayed (except for the tip, which is a nice gesture). Keep in mind that a few sentences ago, I WANTED TO SAVE MONEY! Seriously, I’m an idiot. But just as seriously, it was a really really good time and worth every second and penny I spent. The weather wasn’t fantastic, as it had turned cloudy and cool, so we ended up back at their really nice hotel for a few beers out on the veranda. More good conversation ensued. I had to leave after a while to let them retire (their word for it?), but I have to give Darko kudos on his choice of traveling companion. Wall Street Poker approved mightily.

After I left, I had a choice. Go home immediately and go to sleep, or go play poker. Ok, I didn’t really have *that* choice. The choice was actually between where I was going to play. There is an Indian casino near South Beach that I had never been to, but it’s 30 minutes West in the Everglades. I decided against that and went north to the Seminole casino, which is only 15 minutes from my parent’s place. I ended up playing 2-5NL, which sounds impressive until you realize that it’s only a $100 max buy-in. But who sits at these tables, anyway? That’s right, super agro-monkeys. I sat down with my $100 and immediately got frustrated. Time after time, I got outflopped when I was ahead. I went tilty after getting sucked out a few times and I started playing silly poker. Kh7h? Yeah, that’s a good hand. I stood up to get some perspective and came back to the table in a better frame of mind. After being down $250, I bought in for one more $100 buy-in and went on a good run. Then came the hand which could have made me a ton of money. I had Th9h UTG. I limped in for $5 and there’s a few limpers. A Vietnamese kid who had donked off a $400 stack into $150, raised to $15 and he got 2 callers behind him. I completed my $15 and the flop came down TT8 with 2 diamonds. This is a perfect time to go all in, isn’t it? I did, for $90. Aggro-Vietnamese guy called but mistakenly thought I had put in $70. When the dealer informed him it was $90, he tried to take the bet back, but there is a rule in the Florida poker rooms that once the money goes in, it can’t come out even if you were mistaken. So he completed to $90. Ok, he’s no threat. A woman to his right called. I got her on a flush draw. The other pre-flop caller looks at me and tries milking me for information. He asks if I have a Ten. I say I do. He thanks me for being honest and then calls! Wow! I figure he has me beat but in reality, he was setting up a pretty good play, as I’ll explain later. All I know at this point is that I might be ahead and I’m getting 3-1 on my money. A decent place to be. The turn is Ks. It checks around to the guy who asked me about my cards and he goes all in for $115! I figure him for KT but the woman calls! Aggro-Vietnamese guy folded. The woman is definitely on the nut flush draw, but the guy turns over T2! Wow. So that was his brilliant play. He was playing for the side pot, and for all the money in the pot, he knew the woman would be pot-committed to the flush draw. Genius. The turn was Qc! Not only did that smart bastard get the side pot, he also split the pot with me! So that’s how T9 can make less money that T2 on a KQTT8 board. Class dismissed.

Twice, I got 77 and flopped sets with them. I played both of them perfectly, milking more than $80 profit off of each one. By 4:30 AM, I looked down and found my stack was at $351. OHMIGOD, I’m even! Time to leave I guess. Damn poker monkeys.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Ah, that's more like it

Tonight's limit 3-6 mixed game was nearly perfect. Yes, it could have been a better turnout (damn you Joaquin!), but the 7 players who showed up played hard and fast until 11:00 and we even played 5 handed until 12:30a. On top of that, my limit game was on fire tonight. I posted the best profit of the night, even above the dangerous and beautiful CK, who plays tight smart limit like the monster she is (on the inside).

Someone tell W, by the way, that limit is not "just luck". Please. Tell her. Seriously.

Best conversation of the night:
Matty Ebs: (breathing hard after coming out of the bathroom) I just scared myself to death
CK: What happened?
Matty Ebs: I just cut my hair, so I didn't recognize myself. I thought someone else was in the bathroom with me!
Seriously, I look scary. No one told me I look scary!

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

I lost two tourneys and I don't care

Some sick tourney action tonight. First of all, Thomas couldn't stop hitting huge hands. He had 5 (FIVE!) flopped sets in the second tourney alone. I made a questionable play in the first tourney that I need to go over in my head and to all of you.

Comments welcome.

So I have AJ (Can't remember the position) and I have the 2nd chip stack at the table. When it gets to me, I raise to 3X the BB and Abbie goes all in. Now, I had a big stack, but Abbie went over the top quite large. It was 1550 to call and there was now 2850 in the pot. So I'm getting nearly 2-1 to call and I do because I put Abbie on exactly what she had with a shortie stack, a medium pocket pair (it was 88). I lost the race (hard when she flopped an 8) and I got chastised by W and Abbie both for risking so many chips on what was, at best, a race. Now, it's true that I only had about 600 or 800 invested when I made the call, but if I played that heads up, could I have NOT called? Yes, if I lose the race, I dent my chip stack severely, but if I win I'm in first by a huge margin. I maintain that getting close to 2-1 on a race is the right call and it's only a judgement call about whether you want to coin flip. What say you all?

After I lost the flip, it was about this time that the subject of movies came up. W mentioned that she had seen "Juno" recently and liked it. "Did you know that the same guy who wrote and directed that [Juno] also wrote and directed 'Thank You For Smoking'?" she asked.

Uh, no. A woman wrote Juno. "I'm sure of it," I told her.

"I'll bet you a hundred dollars you're wrong," she insta-challenged.

I thought it over for about three seconds in my head. Yes, I remember seeing some sort of story on the web about the Juno author who used to be a pole dancer and this was her first screenplay, etc...

"Two hundred," I shot back.


Stephen P. looked at me and said, "You just won money".

W bounded over to the computer and looked up the info on IMDB. "Oh, you're right".

And just like that, I was up for the evening. I *love* betting. :-p

Actually, I was just getting W back for a bet she made to me, and I lost, a few months ago regarding bad beat requirements in AC. So this is sweet sweet revenge.

The second tourney went well for me until I ran into two bad situations. The first I couldn't help. W had KK in the BB 4 handed vs. my QQ. The flop came down with 3 unders and I called her all in. But I still had plenty of chips left and got chopped in half when Stephen P. went all in over my A9o raise. Yet again, I got most of my chips back. Then, my AdJd got called with Thomas' TT and the flop was Ten high. I managed to get away from his good bet and I picked up AA a few hands later UTG. I limped, hoping W would seize the opportunity to go all in to pick up 2.5 blinds. She smelled a trap though and just called. The flop was Q44 and I was forced to move all in to which Thomas immediately called from the BB with T4o. Doh! Badly played, Jamie, Badly played.

The tourneys all went off on time today and it was nice to see the night end by 11:05p. We have a nicely oiled machine here.

Oh, I forgot one bad beat that was memorable (also Thomas). Abbie, on a great run starting in the first tourney she won, has a full house with AT and a board of AAT3. Thomas is all in with AQ and spiked the Q on the river to nearly felt Abbie and take the chip lead he would never relinquish. Sick night for beats!

Gossip time

Sarah Silverman is soooo cheating on Jimmy Kimmel

She's brilliant.

"On the bed, on the floor, on the towel by the door". Hahaha!

Sunday, February 3, 2008

The weekend ends on a good note

High C above 'awesome'

After starting off on a spectacularly bad note (E and I are no more), the weekend has ended with unbelievable panache. I decided to hit the midtown game for some fantastic homemade food and poker, as well as intensive super bowl watching. Not only did I win a full buyin, but the Giants stuck it to the Pats like nobody's business. The last two minutes of the game will go down in history as the greatest drive ever executed, and Manning's tackle break and pass which was taken down with a hand and a helmet will be known as the single greatest play ever. Holy shit was that awesome!

Giants win! Suck it Brady!!!!

Friday, February 1, 2008

The Ladies and I

Don't seem to be getting along this week. Next time I get QQ in the BB, with blinds at 400/800 and I've only got 200 more behind me and the stack shorter at the table than me goes all in and it folds to me, I'M MUCKING. Pre-Flop.

Overheard a funny on the radio

In Florida, my rental car had satellite XM radio. Wow, it was much better than I thought. In particular, I spent most of my driving time listening to the comedy channels. Best joke I heard during my stay:

"So, I got my MBA last year. Yep, I went to business school to get a degree and they taught me how to "Buy low and Sell High"....from a textbook that cost $60 that I sold back for $3."

Request for comment on tournament policy

So I came up with another way of dealing with no-shows. Please let me know what you think of it:

Starting with the next Wall Street Poker season, I propose to take a $30 deposit from each player on their first tournament of the season. This $30 would go into a special escrow account (the Wall Street Poker cash box) and would be used as a financial incentive to get people to come to the games. If a person happens to forget about a game or cancel at the last minute without a valid reason, $10 would be take from that person's escrow account and added to the prize pool for the tournament they were going to be in. The $10 would at least partially offset the fact that they weren't there.

When a person's escrow account reaches $0, they forfeit invitation privileges until they fill up their account again. Arrangements could be made to fill up the account via check or Paypal, if so desired. At the end of the season, all escrow balances would be refunded to the players.

What do you think? I think this provides a nice balance of punitive financial damages, while at the same time allowing people to buy back in if they don't show up enough. Also, it is easy to administer from my side.


And on the 7th day, God created Poker...

...And it was good.

Wall Street Poker has a tourney and a cash game tonight. Though there were a spate of last minute drop outs, there were also some last minute replacements to get a nice table going. Ten people showed up for the tourney and we fielded 9 strong for the cash game. The tourney was a quiet affair, with everyone seemingly getting over a cold (me) or having a real rough week at work (everyone else). There was no music in the background, no TV, just the ebb and flow of poker hands being dealt and plays being made (and bluffs being called down!). For myself, I played solid poker all the way until the bubble. Ok, I *did* make one move. Abbie was down to her last 1800 with blinds at 150/300. I had 6s7s on the button and it folded to me. I raised to 700 to take the blinds and Abbie shoved all in on the SB. The BB folded. It was 1100 to me to see a pot of 2800. Hmmm...2.75 to 1 with suited connectors? I also had a deep stack, so I gambled a bit and made the call. Abbie turned over my second worst nightmare, As9s. Wow. Two overs AND the same suits I had? I'm down to 4 stinking outs here and she can't hit! But the flop was kind to me and a 7h came to save my day. Abbie couldn't hit at all and I scooped the pot. Mary must have been happy because that put her in the running for the standings! So now I was sitting on the 2nd stack at the table (Kevin ouchipped me by about 1000) and playing for bubble. A few hands later, as blinds progressed to 200/400, I picked up JJ UTG. With just four players here, I don't want to be *too* aggressive, so I raised to 1200 to represent a standard 3X BB raise. I was hoping someone would put me on a decent Ace and either come over the top on me with a smaller pocker pair or maybe push with AT or KJ or something similar. Kevin, the big stack, took the bait by calling in the BB. The flop was 973 with two hearts. Kevin checked to me and I bet approx. the pot, 3000. After I made the bet, I realized it was a mistake, because I only had 1100 behind me. Better for me to have bet half my own stack and wait for Kevin to try to push me off. He instantly looked worried about my bet and he said, "wow, I got myself in trouble here". Bingo. I knew he hit something good. Not a set or he would have insta-raised. He either had TT or a good 9. He thought about it for a while and finally put me all in with K9. I called happily, tabling my Jacks and then watching in horror as I dealt myself a 9 on the turn. Bye bye Miss American Pie! I went from big stack to bubble in one fell swoop. But I really felt OK with it considering I had gotten him to basically commit his whole tourney with the worst hand. Hey, it happens.

Kevin ended up riding his big stack into first place, beating Mary in a heads up battle. Mary and Abbie are now less than .2% difference in the rankings. Race on!

A few people left after the tourney and a few more came and we started the cash game at around 9:25PM. Things brightened up for me and I started getting dealt ridiculous cards. Even better, most of them paid off! AA paid off? Check. KK paid off? Check. Set of 5's paid off? Check. Not that I didn't lose some too, but my big wins more than made up for them. I buil my $100 buyin up to about $225 when I got really really lucky. For the second time in a few hands, I was dealt KK. Jesse, UTG+1, raised it up to $3. Matty Ebs called. I re-raised to $12 and got a thoughtful looking call from Jesse. Flop was Js-8s-3c When Jesse checked to me, I bet out $30. Jesse had a big stack in front of him. Nearly as big as mine. So this was treacherous waters here. He looked at me. I'm not sure what he was thinking, but he min-raised me to $60. Ruh-Roh. I tried to get a read on him, staring at him for a minute and then going into the tank. He was giving off a few classic "big hand" signs, but what did that really mean? A set? That's certainly a big hand here and I can put him on that. But AJ is a big hand. So is AsQs or AsKs. So is QQ. Any of these hands are possible. In the end, I put him on a flush draw that he was trying to push. I figured the only way to take it down now was to push all in. I trusted my read and went with it. "All In", I said. No sooner had my tongue left the roof of my mouth to finish the "n" in the word "In" then Jesse was already saying "Call!".
Oh. Crap.
He turned over the last hand anyone expected of him. Jd8d. Talk about your good flops! He played it perfectly, reading me for a big pair, calling my PF re-raise, flopping good and then getting me to shove. It would have been a happy story for him, had the turn and the river not both brought 6's. My two pair beat his and he ended up felted on an awful beat. He took it well though, in the same way I took my beat from Kevin. All you can do is get all your money in with the best of it. The rest is up to the gods.

Jesse was only invested $80 into the game, and he wisely chose to leave rather than playing on tilt. Or maybe he was jsut tired. Either way, we were a player down but still 8 strong at the table. I was sitting on about $475 at this point and I kept hitting cards. Not all of which won. I had JJ which I raised to $10 PF and got 2 callers. The flop was J83 with two clubs. Can you say Yatzhee? I didn't want to scare anyone out, preferring to wait until the turn came, so I checked when it came to me and it checked all around. The turn was a blank 6. When it got to me, I bet out about 15, hoping someone hit two pair there. I got a straight call from Dennis. River was a blank 4. He fired out $25 and I flat called. He showed 57 for the runner runner straight! I got chastised a little for slow playing that, but Dennis only had about $35 in front of him on the turn, so I didn't think he would have folded with his OESD if I had jammed and I didn't want to pick up just a small pot on the flop. Hey, it happens.

I got my money back from him a little later when I flopped a set of 5's on a board of 345 with two hearts. With the straight AND flush draws, this time I did jam the pot. I bet about $30 into a $25 pot and Dennis moved all in. I called with top set and turned a 4 for the boat. He never showed and was felted.

I was a card rack, no question, but I did get another nice chunk taken from me with yet another set. This time, I had 88 and the flop was 68T, rainbow. Matty Ebs proclaimed, "Uh oh, I flopped the nuts. I check." The problem is I've seen this before from him. He might be telling the truth. So when it got to me, I checked to see another card. The turn was a blank. This time, Matty checked and I bet out 10. He min-raised to 20. Was he using the hand against Jesse to crush me psychologically? I had commented on Jesse's min-raise. Was HIS min-raise evoking that memory. I decided to slow down and just call. When the river came with a blank, Matty bet another 10. If he had had a *hint* of how strong I was, he would have bet much more. To my credit, I just called and Matty showed down 7s9s for the flopped nut straight! Damn.

Still, it was a good night. I managed to clear over $300 in profit in the cash game with PP taking over $90 in profit for the next highest total. Viv, who's been 'supping from the Darko trough, lost two buyins playing loosey-goosey. We'll tighten her up before you know it!

Good game tonight. Tuesday is more tourneys and Wed. is the popular $3-$6 Limit Mixed game with HE and O/8 being served up, with a half kill. I can't wait.

Also, I know I've been slow in posting the rest of my Florida trip. It's coming this weekend, I promise.

And one last thing, because I have to say it. If any of you feel inclined to comment on the other blogs about all of the recent drama, I would ask kindly that you refrain from insulting anyone involved. Neither of the other bloggers did anything wrong nor do they deserve the insults and it only adds fuel to the fire.