Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Busting out Season 6

Last night was the final night of Season 6 of Wall Street Poker. With all the drama that's been going on in the markets lately (Banks failing! Dow falling!), you'd think that all of the luck had run out. But it was all coming my way last night. I took a bunch of shots and only missed once. Here's the breakdown:

First tournament, I hit a set of 10's vs. Lee's AA to bust him. In my defense, I had a decent stack at the time and he was a shortie. I also hit a set of 9's vs. Liezl to double up early. My stack dwindled on a few raise-reraise situations where I had to give up my hand and I was down to $1900. I had Th8h and I had a limper to my right (Kearns). Blinds were 150-300 and I decided to limp, thinking I might have two live cards vs. any caller. But someone to my left raised to $1000 and 4 people called! By the time it got to me, I was getting more than 6 to 1 on my money! I said, "I've got the pot odds" and with waht Christine described as a 'pained look on my face', I made the call. Flop was AKJ with two hearts. I wasn't worried about the made straight although I was sure the draw was out, but my flush draw was pretty good. Kearns bet out and I went all in for less. I think two more people called. With this many high cards, I knew I was gonna see some action. The turn was the prettiest Queen of Hearts you ever saw, making me the flush. At this point, everyone who was in the hand was all in. I turned over the hand that was in the lead, but someone had an Ace of Hearts, I believe, and someone else had KJ for two pair. The river bricked and I scooped the majority of the pot. Kearns said, "Ooooh, you're running so bad today". Ha!

A lot of lucky hands came out last night though. Liezel, with AA in her hand, limps for 200 after someone min-raised. Art came in for another 100 on the BB. The flop was A88. Liezl checked her monster and Art bet out. Liezl raised, Art re-raised all in and Liezl snap called. Art showed K8 (dirty flop!) and Liezl stunned the crowd by showing the nuts. Ummm...the second nuts. I was dealing and I said, "Liezl wins! Probably..." No sooner had I said it than my magic powers turned an 8 on the turn to give Art the Quads! Even now, stunned into silence, Liezl had an out in the deck, but that kind of lightning only strikes once and the case Ace did not materialize.

As the tourney wore on and my lucky powers became evident, Darko starting counting my suckouts. "That's 4!", came the cry. I made it into the money with the shortish stack at the table, but still healthy, after a string of bad starting hands. I looked down to see A9 with about 5500 behind in the BB. Darko, acting first, went all in. He had me covered barely but I called and he showed down Ad5d. My A9 was ahead and the flop was 983! W00t! Top pair! Visions of a first place finish were swimming in my head. Turn was a 2 and I said, "Ship it!". No sooner had I shouted out prematurely than the ghost of Dawn Summers entered the room. In haunting fashion, she cackled with glee like that Fruma Sarah scene in Fiddler on the Roof and sang, "Only Assholes say Ship It! Only Assholes say Ship It! I doom you to a river of insufferable pain!".

4 on the river.

Damn you Ghost of Dawn Summers! Damn you to hell!

I was out of the tourney and my only response was, "That's 1 John. That's 1."

Viet and Darko chopped for 1st and second and we started up the second tourney quickly. Kevin had come by and met Christine for the first time....in 10 years. Yes, it turns out that Kevin and Christine (who knows EVERYBODY!) had gone to Junior High together right here in Manhattan. Wall Street Poker - ~Where everybody knows your naaaame~.


AJ had also come. AJ is a guy from Andy R.'s game in midtown and he's a solid, aggressive player. He also likes to talk smack. I raised in round 2 with Ah-Kc and got calls from AJ and three others. The flop was Ad-8c-3c. That's as good a flop as I can expect from AK, so I bet out 2/3 the pot. AJ called and everyone else folded. Turn was a very very dirty Ac. I know had the nut flush draw and trip Aces with the best kicker. Was there any doubt as to what I was doing?

"All In," I said. A millisecond later, "Call" from AJ. He has 2c6c for the flush. Like I said, Dirty. If ANY other club comes on the board, I can get away from this hand, but the Ace of Clubs got me too emotionally charged. I have 17(!) outs on the river to win here. The case Ace (1), any remaining club (7), any remaining King (3), any remaining 8 (3) and any remaining 3 (3) = 17 outs. I was fully expecting Darko to say, "That's 5!", but my luck had run dry and I doubled up AJ when the river bricked.

I was steaming. A hand later, AJ was trash talking how his 2c6c was goooot! I folded and AJ called the hand.
"How about a last longer side bet," I asked.
"Sure," he said. And why not? He outchipped me 2-1.
"You have to give me odds," I said, "you have me way outchipped. $20 to my $10".
He said yes and then I realized, when he raised while saying this, that I should have waited until the hand was over. AJ showed a pair of Aces to take down another 2000 in chips and outdistance me even more. We pooled our money together and he smiled broadly. Bastard.

A few hands later, I have AK again. I raise and Art, to my left, goes all in for $1400. Cheryl calls and I only have $1600 total. I guess this is it then. I kissed the money, shipped it to AJ and went all in for $200 more. Cheryl called and we all showed down. I had AK, Art had AQ and Cheryl had Ace-Jack! I was ahead! Even more miraculously, a King flopped. I won the pot, knocked out Art and managed to triple up. AJ and I were now on equal footing.

I played tight from that point on, winning a few pots but nothing major. AJ managed to spew his whole stack on two hands, neither of which was his fault. First was A-high card where he flopped top pair and someone else flopped two pair, I believe. And the next hand, he was all in with QQ vs. KJ and a King flopped. Just like that, I won $20 on the prop bet and, immesaurably better, complete satisfaction. I went on to win the tourney when, in the money round, I raced my AK vs. Kearn's TT and flopped a King to take him out. I outchipped Cheryl nearly 2-1 at this point and offered a chop with her to take down the last tourney of the season! {smiles}

The 'losers' tourney is this Sunday, with $627 going to the winner. Should be lots of fun and an update will be presented shortly afterwards. I'm postponing the next season of official WSP tourneys until I can get my apartment set up with 2 tables. Should be the beginning of November.

Rocky "Oh The" Horror

I got an email from PP a few months ago that there was going to be a showing of The Rocky Horror Picture show down at the Showboat, this past Saturday. I wouldn't say I'm a 'big' Rocky Horror fan, but I've seen it a few times in the theaters and I love the soundtrack, so I thought it would be fun to go. I didn't expect Ali would want to go, but she was on board big time. Lisa joined us as well and PP drove us down Saturday morning.

We arrived at noon, had a nice breakfast at the Showboat coffeeshop and PP and Lisa went off to play in the 2PM tourney. The movie wasn't until Midnight, naturally, so Ali and I started wandering. She had never been to a casino before and rather than drag her to the poker room and put her in a chair behind me for hours on end (I *cringe* when I see that), I decided to take her on a tour of casinos and table games. We started with BlackJack at the showboat. $10 minimums and Ali was a pretty quick study, though I was mostly coaching her on what to do. Her stack kept increasing while mine kept decreasing and after we finished a show, she was up $25 and I was down $40. She seemed pretty happy about it.

Next up was a quick walk on the boardwalk to the Taj. We found a $10 craps table and rolled a few but Ali didn't like this one as much. I don't blame her since it was early, the crowds were thin, and it takes a big bankroll to play craps correctly, even if you just play the Pass line. A few rolls was all it took for her to tire out and we left again. We walked over to the Taj poker room, just to observe, and then over to Resorts to play Roulette.

Ali hit numbers early on while I watched and then played with her profit until she was back to even. She always played 23, for her birthday, but it never came. Still, we were having fun. We walked down to Caesars and played some slots and before we knew it it was 6:30p. We needed to head back to the Showboat to eat dinner with PP and Lisa. We wanted to have an early dinner so we could get a nap in before the midnight show. I grabbed a rolling chair, sat Ali down like we were the King and Queen, and took a decadently long time to get back to the Showboat. On the way, there were people walking in the center of the boardwalk, which is usually reserved for vehicles and most people were cognizant enough to get out of the way of the chairs. Somewhere along the way, we were behind two women and a guy who were walking slowly and seemed oblivious. Something about one of the women seemed familiar.

Let's see...
Red curly dishevelled hair. Check.
Long, thin, gaunt body. Check.
Small and ugly looking multi-colored backpack. Check.

"Hey Rubin," I shouted, "Get out of the way!"

Sure enough, W turned around with a look of surprise. It's not a stretch to find W in Atlantic City most weekend, but it was a bit of a coincidence to find her on the Boardwalk and not in the Borgata at the same time I was on the boardwalk. She was walking with her friend Alex and another friend on their way to the Showboat for the 7PM tourney. We were going the same way so I invited them to ditch the tourney and join us for dinner. They agreed it would be a fun idea and we all arrived together.

We all arrived at Casa Di Napoli, after also hooking up with Michael Brown (say it as one word) who was there for the day. We had a reservation for 5 already, but when we tried to expand it to 8, they refused. Adamantly. Alex, who is a Seven Star member (evidently, the highest roller the casino has), whipped out his card and tried to pull some rank. Still, they were having none of it. They said they simply didn't have the room. They did offer to give us reservations at the steak house next door and after perusing the menu and having some debate about it, we agreed. When we walked into that restaurant, we tried to get seated and there was a wait. Again, out came the Seven Star card (and heavenly angels and a choir) and this time it worked. Magically, a table opened up and we were seated immediately. Score!

I order the Prime Rib, "super rare". W ordered the prime rib as well, "medium rare" and we waited for our food amidst pleasant conversation. At one point, Alex got up to wash his hands and came back a long 15 minutes later. Turns out he had passed the tables and won $4000 in the interim. Aha! So *that's* why he's a Seven Star. Imagine what he could have won if he had to go to the bathroom.

The food came and W and I were highly unsatisfied. The prime rib was medium-well, which isn't even close to how we ordered it. There was no pink at all showing. We spoke up and the waitress went back to the kitchen to tell us there was no rare prime rib available (the ribs are roasted in advance and then cut to order). She would, however, upgrade us to the Ribeye (larger portion) for no additional charge. Ok. I ordered it rare again and this time the food came uot as specified. True, we got it almost when everyone was done, but it was insanely delicious. Probably the best Ribeye I've ever had in my life. It was about an inch thick, super rare (Ali was disgusted) and seriously juicy and tender. W and I pounded our portions (28 oz.) without batting an eye in the space of 10 minutes. Totally worth the wait.

After dinner, we all parted our separate ways. Ali and I went back to our room at Resorts and took a nap. PP and Lisa went to play poker and we all met up at the House of Blues at 11:30.

The place was a sideshow of freaks. Ali described it as a "Rennaisance Faire for Goths" and I laughed. It was appropriate. People were dressed up as all sorts of characters: Magenta, Columbia, Dr. Frank-N-Furter and even Rocky (a guy in a gold sparkly speedo and a spray-on tan and nothing else). Quite a scene. We waited paitently on a long line and were finally let in after a thorough security screening. Our tickets were F3 and F4 and the rows were marked very clearly. We moved up to the front and got to Row F and found it was completely full. Every seat was taken. I looked at my ticket again and there it was in plain English: Seats F3 and F4. A guy in row F, with his arm around his girlfriend and makeup on his face, looked up and saw my confusion. "Forget it," he said, "it's all general admission." I didn't comprehend at first. "They're not seating by your tickets. Go to the back." I protested that I had paid extra for these tickets but I was met by indifference to my plight. Fuckers.

I left Ali there, hoping to find a security guard to roust these bastard squatters from my seat. The security guard had just as much indifference. Maybe more. By this time, a small crowd had formed around the guard, filled with people spouting the same problem. The guard looked like a deer in headlights. He tried to explain, through the shouts and threats, that the promoter had changed the seating to general admission just before they opened the doors. I asked to see the promoter, but she was nowhere to be found, natch. The lights dimmed at that point and I resigned myself to the fact that I had gotten screwed and there was nothing I could do about it. Kind of like when 5 guys rape you in the shower in prison. Not much you can do except relax and try to enjoy the experience.

Ok, that analogy was a little harsh but it seemed to fit my feelings at the time.

We got seats towards the back of the floor and I have to say, it was just as awful as I thought it would be. The stage show was pretty far off and it helps to see the movie to synch it up with the stage show. There were TV's on the side projecting the movie and also a large screen on the stage. But the screen didn't descend far enough. There is a balcony (not open for this show) that extends over the stage which has the unfortunate effect of blocking the vertical view of the poor folks in the back. So the guys up front (in MY seats) got to see the screen, but I didn't. It was terrible.

There were some bright spots. The wedding scene was greeted with throws of rice, which threw Ali for a bit of a loop. The rain scene had the waterguns in full effect. And the audience knew what they were shouting at the appropriate times. It was pretty loud and chaotic and you got the sense that there was something 'cool' going on, but I never really felt it the way I could have if the experience hadn't been tainted from moment one. Ali had had her fill at about the 3/4 mark of the movie so we left and went to bed. A good thing really, because we were exhausted from the day. It turns out that moving around casinos is much more tiring when you're not just sitting there playing poker!

In the morning, we got up and went to Sonsie in the pier shops across from Caesars. I like this place for Brunch, normally, but they changed their menu and no longer have the Strawberry Cream Cheese stuffed french toast that I adore. We got the banana and chocolate chip french toast for Ali and I got the 3 cheese omelet, but it wasn't the same. It looks like I'm going to have to find another go-to brunch place in AC. Any suggestions?

Paul and Lisa had stayed at Resorts to eat brunch at the diner there because they'd been comped because of a screwup on checkin (King bed instead of two Queens). We met up later to drive to the Borgata.

Ali LOVED the Borgata. It's the closest thing to a Vegas casino in AC and it impresses newbies, no doubt. We walked around for a while and found ourselved parked in front of the Multi-Play BlackJack machine for about 2.5 hours. Turns out, this is a great way of training newbies on basic strategy. You can play 7 hands at one time for as little as $.25 a piece! Ali played on the same $20 for 2.5 hours and even doubled her money, all the while I was interjecting strategy notes and why you should split/double/hit/stand at certain spots. It's also a great training tool because you can wait as long as you want to make your move. There isn't the pressure of a live table to go already! By the end of the 2.5 hours, Ali was splitting 9's against a 6 like a pro. I was so proud. She got really excited by the game and I heard these magic words:

"I think we need to have more trips to AC in the future. I can play BlackJack and you can play poker!"

I could have died happy right there.

We *did* end up playing some poker, just so Ali could get the experience of playing in a real poker room. We played 2-4 Limit Hold'em and I think it was the appropriate forum. After a few hours, we collected Lisa (PP stayed overnight at his parents) and took the GreyHound home at 8PM. Considering all that happened, it was a nice little trip and will pay dividends in the future, I hope.

Monday, September 22, 2008

MNF blues

I'm watching the Jets get beat up by the lowly Chargers. And it makes me want to puke.

Dawn gifts me mobneys and then writes about it

We had a cash game two weeks ago where I put up big numbers. Dawn managed to blog about it, although she's highly jealous of my luckboxery ways. Still, she managed to leave with a profit so she should probably STOP WHINING.

Life update

I haven't blogged in a while but it's not because of a lack of things going on in my life, but BECAUSE of them. The sheer quantity of things that have been going on since I got back from Florida has been staggering. I can't comment fully on all of them, but I'll take a swipe at listing them.

1. Root Canal - I was having serious pain in my upper left molar all through my Florida trip and the only thing that made the experience bearable was regular dosages of Advil. I initially thought the pain was my impacted wisdom teeth causing trouble, but the pain started to get more localized to the one tooth. Upon my return to New York, my wonderful (and super hot) dentist on Wall Street identified the issue. I made plans to get the root canal and to also get my wisdom teeth removed five days later, but decided the two operations in one week was too much unnecessary trauma. So I had the root canal and postponed the wisdom teeth until next month. Something to look forward to.

2. My relationship with Ali progresses. Not only did her father treat us to the Jets home opener vs. the dreaded Pats (they lost, grr...), but I got to meet her sister as well. Evidently, I made a good impression, because I was invited to her sister's 21st birthday bash this weekend and met the rest of her family for Sunday brunch. It's nice for something to be going smooth in my life. We've been doing great stuff in the last two weeks, including a great Saturday last weekend when we walked over the Brooklyn Bridge, had ice cream at the Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory, dinner at Henry's End in Brooklyn Heights and a quick visit to the MoonStruck house. I'm still the master of awesome dates.

3. Wall Street melts down - Are you kidding me with this shit? In the space of two weeks, every independent investment bank on the street is GONE. Merrill gets bought by Bank of America, Lehman falls and Morgan Stanley and Goldman become commercial banks. Can you imagine a Goldman Sachs local BRANCH?!? What has the world come to? In the meantime, my job is relatively unaffected although I don't hold out much hope for my end of year bonus to be anything more than a pittance. I'm seriously considering alternative careers. Maybe open a bar/poker room in Montana?

Way too much going on in my life. I'm anxious about re-upholstering my new poker table with the suited speed cloth that I got to replace the suede that's currently there. But I have to wait for 5 consecutive free hours to do the work. {Sigh}

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Salami room shutdown: We got art

Dawn has a post about it with pictures

Miami poker room round-up

One of the joys of playing poker in various different locales is getting the local flavor of how the game is played across the country. The game is the same, more or less, but the details differ depending on where you are. In South Florida, as you may expect, the flavor is decidedly Cuban and no place more so than in Miami.

There are 3 poker rooms in the greater Miami area: Miccosukee Casino (an Indian casino), Flagler Greyhound Track and Miami Jai-Alai. I visited them all this past Saturday, and had an up and down time.

Miccosukee – This dump of a casino might just be the worst poker room I have ever been in. It combined the worst elements of every bad casino poker room I’ve seen so far. The list of bad traits is endless:
1. Out in the middle of nowhere, next to nothing, 7 miles West of Miami Airport.
2. Smoking is allowed in the casino
3. Smoking is allowed at the poker tables
4. The seats are uncomfortable.
5. The tables are dirty and dingy and lack in-table shufflers.
6. The room is run by the Spanish speaking descendents of Nazis. For example, they won’t let you near the tables unless you are playing in a game. I came early to put myself on a waiting list and they forced me to wait outside of the poker room. Inside, there is no place to sit. When I tried to sit at a poker table that was 7 empty tables away from the action, a dealer told me that management had decreed me to wait outside.
7. The dealers are also Nazis. When a player took a handful of chips in his hand and reached out over the table to drop one on the felt, the dealer informed him that he was committed to the entirety of what was in his hand. No warning. It was quite a scene.
8. No phone use is allowed at the table, strictly enforced by the Nazis. I witnessed a player glance at his Blackberry by taking it out of the holster and looking at the screen. He was told that his hand was dead and the dealer mucked his cards (he had a Big Blind in at the time). When he protested, the dealer immediately called the floor to defend his honor. Again, no warning.
9. I meekly lifted up my Ipod to the dealer and shrugged my shoulders. (Music?). I received a smile and a shake of the head, no.

Combine these worst of the worst traits with the fact that “English Only” at the tables is just a suggestion in Miami, and you have the makings for a really bad session. It didn’t help that I had a Cuban calling station to my left. An old man who played every single hand and got very very lucky ended up taking a whole bunch of my money. That and a bad run of luck dropped 3 buyins from my wallet in the space of 2 hours. An awful morning. A list of bad hands that did me in:

I have 89 in a limped pot. Flop is TJx. I call a small bet from a player and Mr. Cuban Calling station comes in along with one other. Turn is a Queen. I’m not worried about AK since no one raised PF and there was plenty of action at the table. To make a long story short, I got it all in against a guy who had K9. Oh, did I mention he was the initial raiser?

I have AcKc. I raise PF to $12. Calling station comes in with me and maybe two others. Flop is Tc9c3h. I make a blocking bet of $15. Calling station raises me to $30. I call. Turn is a 10. I know he had trip 10’s at this point. I check and he gets greedy and checks, like I don’t know what he has. River is Qc. I make my nut flush and I figure I’m going to gut him. I bet out, he raises me all in and I call. He has QT, like you didn’t figure that out already.

My 3rd buyin got dropped when I was able to limp on the button with J4o. Flop is 894. I bet out to see where I am and get two callers. I figure I’m going to need a 4 or a Jack to win this and a Jack comes on the turn. I bet, get a raise, decide he’s not playing QT for a gutshot and shove. He calls with…T7. The river bricks. I keep hitting the exact card needed to felt me and I wisely decide to stop giving this room any more of my time.

Flagler Greyhound Track – I steamed all the way to this room, about 20 minutes away, and was pleasantly surprised when I got there. The greyhound facility itself was a dump, as most pari-mutuel facilities are, but the poker room is actually pretty decent. It’s set on the ground floor with 6 big bay windows directly adjacent to the greyhound track. As the races are run, the dogs get within just a few feet of the windows and it’s really quite something to see them come around the bend right in front of you. A great view with lots of sunlight makes for a pleasant experience. The players here were more of the same of what I got at the Indian place, but they were more pleasant and the room was much much nicer. Clean carpets, no smoking, nice tables and just the hottest Cuban girl hostess seating people at the brush desk. Off to the side, next to the big windows, were six very comfy leather couches with TV’s along the wall so you could watch football or Jai-alai or horse races or whatever while you wait for a seat. Just a nice comfy room that was perfect for locals.

Having said that, these bastards felted me. Over and over. I felt a bit like someone was running a train on me. A Cuban train.

I have AJ and raise to $15 UTG at a 2-5NL game. I get one caller. Flop is AQJ. I bet 15, he calls. Turn is a Q. I move all in for 35 more and he calls with 8h2h, hitting his flush on the river.

I lose a string of successive hands like that before I come in for my 3rd buyin. The hands I’m losing are the kind where the other players apologize to me for my bad luck. Finally, I pick up what I think is a winner. 99 UTG. I limp in and someone raises to $12 behind me. 4 people call and someone re-raises to $40. I call and everyone else calls too. There are now 5 people in. I have $35 behind and I know I have to hit a set to have a chance of winning, but at least the pot is big enough to justify the original call. The flop is 789 with two clubs. Yay! I put in my last $35. The original raiser calls and someone else re-raises, $100 on top! I look at the guys to my left, who have been sympathetic to my plight, and shake my head. “I’m behind,” I tell them, flashing them top set. One guy’s eyes widened and he said, “No, you’re good.” Isn’t it cute when they’re naive like that? The dealer asked to see my cards (informal room, no?) and I showed her. She gave me the look like, ‘don’t worry, you’re good’. Poor girl. The original raiser called all in and the cards were exposed. Original raiser had KK, I have top set and re-raiser has JhTh for the flopped nut straight, which held up. My corner backers were shocked, so clearly they haven’t played poker very long. Hmmmm. That pot would have eased my losses on the day and instead I was down $620 in the span of 4 hours at two different card rooms.

I got up in a huff and went to my car to find the last card room in Miami.

Miami Jai-Alai – After having seen more than 90 cardrooms in my quest to see all of America’s poker rooms (patent pending), they tend to blend into one another. Cardrooms tend to be kind of generic with the same tables, the same cards, the same chips and the same people. But if you look closer, you can sometimes spot little details that make each room unique. At Indian casinos, there are frequently earth-tone color schemes that match tribal colors. Sometimes there will be a specialized logo on the wall. Other times there will be a unique layout of the tables. In other words, if you look hard enough, the local flavor comes through.

In Miami, the flavor is decidedly Cuban. The waitresses and players all converse in Spanish and the menu at the snack bar has lots of Cuban elements (Cuban sandwiches anyone?). In the Miami Jai-Alai room, there were two stamps of Cuban culture that were just a joy to experience.

The first was the Cuban coffee shots being given out by the waitresses. One girl would come around and ask if anyone wanted drinks. Normal. The other would walk around with a cup of freshly brewed café cubano and pour out shots into little plastic cups for you. I had at least three of them over the course of my session and it was a great pick me up. Like espresso except already sweetened.

The second local element was dominoes. The poker room at Miami Jai-alai is nice in comparison to the filthy building and dirty neighborhood it sits in. A real shithole this place is. But obviously, they wanted to make the poker room a little nicer. It’s just a bit above average in comparison to other card rooms, but in comparison to the rest of the facility, it’s like playing in a palace. The room is large and roomy and comfortable and divided into two parts. The front of the room has about 14 tables. The back of the room has another dozen or so tables set up for dominoes. At the time I was there, in the late afternoon on a Saturday, about 5 dominoes tables were going. I didn’t know if they were playing for money or how the house got paid for that, but it was a unique sight I haven’t seen in any other poker room.

The Cuban coffee must have done me some good, because my bad luck turned around nicely when I started playing. I was able to triple up my $100 buyin before leaving at midnight (the place closed down). Some memorable hands:

1. Got lucky on this one. Really lucky. I have AK in early position and raise to $7. 4 people come along with me which is way more than I wanted. Flop is Ac-9c-3c. 5 way pot with three clubs on board? Wow, I suck. I don’t have a club in case you were wondering. The BB bet $10 (weak ass bet on that board) and I raise to $40 because I want to know where I stand. I can get away from it now if someone shoves all in for $100 or so. Well, what happened is the guy to my left (a really nice art dealer from Spain) smooth calls (ruh-roh) and another guy goes all in for less! The turn is a non-club King and I lose my mind. Instead of being scared of the board, the top two pair turn my mind into mush and I decide that I’m good. I shove for $110. In hindsight, this was a brilliant play, but only in hindsight. Nah..forget that. I suck, but I’m lucky. The guy to my left who smooth called my big original raise folds. The BB tanks and then folds what he says later is the nut flush draw. The only other guy in the pot is all in and he shows AdTc but the river is a 9 and my top two are good! The guy to my left, the nice art dealer, slaps his head. Turns out he folded 33 for a flopped bottom set. But he assumed, since I was betting so strongly, that I had flopped the flush. Not a bad read from him, given I was betting like I had it, but he didn’t feel good about making the “right” move, folding the winner, and seeing a $200+ pot being pushed to me. He’s in a tough position with a set though, because anyone with a decent flush draw might call anything he does simply because of the nature of short stacked games. Which means he’ll never know he’s really good until he boats up.

2. I raise PF to 10 with AJo. Flop is JT6 with two hearts. It checks to me and I bet $30. Both players still in call me! Are they both on draws? Turn is the worst card in the deck for me, the Qh. It completes both the flush and the straight draws and leaves me with nothing but middle pair. First player checks, I check and the last player bets $30. The other player shoves for $60 total and I fold. First player calls and shows AK (no hearts) for the Broadway straight! The other player had 8d9d. Can you believe this crap? I bet pot on the flop, the first player calls with two overs (one of which is dead) and a gutshot. The second player calls with the up and down. Never mind that neither player HAD HEARTS so they both had maybe 6 or 7 outs.


3. I call a $15 raise with JJ. BB calls as well and I’m on the button. Flop is Jc-4d-3d. BB checks and the initial raiser moves all in. I call and the BB calls as well. Raiser has KK (no good!) and the BB has 9d2d (?!?!). My set holds up and I drag a nice pot.

I wouldn’t go back to Miami to play poker again since I’m actually closer to nicer poker rooms in Hollywood, but I’m glad I had the experience. In the end, I managed to not only wipe out my losses from the Miami trips with a 5 hour session at the Hollywood Greyhound poker room but I was even ahead $60. Hey, when you’re down $450 at one point, plus $60 sounds pretty good.

Monday, September 8, 2008

My last egg sandwich

Multiple little birdies, including one eye-witness, have informed me that the Salami club has been shuttered for perhaps the last and final time. The eye witness left $600 on the table, which is quite a bummer, but is nothing compared to the memory of those incredible egg sandwiches.

Shed a tear.

Friday, September 5, 2008


One last note about last night. I had 95 offsuit on the button and called the two crazy aggro guys because I was short stacked. The flop was T52. They both checked to me and I shoved all in for $43. The first guy called. Then, the second guy, whom I had tripled up through his good play and my bad beats (both), asked the first guy, "Check to the river?". The first guy said Yes and THEN he made the call. I was livid. Knowing he was going to see the turn and river for free allows him to make the call and now my small pair is a MUCH bigger dog against two hands. I called for the floor immediately and the dealer, who completely agreed that this was collusion (he even said that to the floor), called for a supervisor. We explained the situation and the floor gave a crappy 'warning' but didn't retract the bet. The turn and river were both Jacks and neither player bet either street (surprise, surprise). The first guy showed AJ for two overs on the flop (WTF?). The second guy showed KQ for the same thing! Ridiculous! So be warned about people who slowplay each other. Don't be afraid to call bullshit if you have to.

And no, I didn't get my money back from them, unfortunately. Another time. {Sigh}

Poker fun in South Florida

Tonight was the most fun, and also the most frustrating, night of poker I’ve had since my arrival in South Florida. After a huge lunch of garlic crabs with the ‘rents at the most wonderful Rustic Inn restaurant (visit next time you’re down here), I trudged over to the Hollywood Hard Rock to play in their new poker room. Poker has been down here for a while, but since the new table games got here (Blackjack, Baccarat, Pai-Gow, Three Card Poker and Let It Ride), the poker room has been moved to another area outside. I kind of like it. There’s 22 tables in the main area and a side room with another 9 or so. Plus, there’s a staircase upstairs to an area that overlooks the main floor, and they have another 15 or so tables up there for tournaments. The concentration of poker players is no longer diluted by passerbys from the main casino, since it’s a separate area, so it feels much more like a den of thieves. Plus, the massage girls are Shweeeet! Ahem… Where was I?

I sat down at the 1-2 NLHE table with my $100 buyin (maximum allowed by law) and proceeded to grind it out to a $50 profit. I took a hit when I called a multi-way pot with a flush draw that missed but managed to triple up through a guy with a lucky hit.

I had been making excellent reads all night (a few of those later), when I got lucky in a big way. I had KQo in early position and limped along with a few other folks. The flop was KK4 with two clubs. I flopped a monster but wanted to build a pot so I checked in early position hoping someone would bet and build a pot. Someone did indeed bet $6 and two other people called. I decided to let one card peel off and called. The turn was the 6s, putting two flush draws on board. This time, a guy behind me bet $12 and I decided to shut it down with a raise to $50. One short stack shoved all in and the guy who made the $12 raise also moved all in! He had $65 more and I called before I really knew how much it was. I asked him, “6’s full?”. He nodded and turned over the bad news. The short stack turned over KT. I wasn’t drawing dead though. I could chop with a 4 on the river or scoop with a Queen. Wouldn’t you know it, the Queen came, giving me the unlikely position of being the one to suck out with 2 outs! Wow! I was now up about $200 over my original buyin and managed to add another $120 in profit when I had 33 and was the 5th caller to a $10 PF raise. The flop was T32. The original raiser shoved for $90 into the $50 pot with AA and I called with my set. The river was a 3 (DQB!). The quads were good enough for a free $75 entry to a satellite tourney which I wouldn’t be able to attend, but I managed to sell it to a guy playing in a tourney upstairs for $50. Hey, free money. So those quads made me good mobneys.

At this point, I was up nearly $330 and it was closing in on midnight. I wanted to leave at midnight but a few new players sat down and I made the very very wrong decision of playing ‘just a few more hands’. Long story short, it was 2:30a when I found myself digging out my 3rd buyin after losing everything I had.

What can I say? I’d been running good and making good reads and then two aggro guys sat down on either side of me and had their way with me like the big guys in prison who school the white-collar criminal who’s in for a weekend. (OZ flashback). My best read of the night was when I had KQ in early position and the flop was QJx. I led out $10, got raised to $20 and a smooth call behind. I let it go AT THAT POINT. Tough laydown but the smooth-call scared me. They both went all in on the brick turn and it was AQ vs. QJ. I gave up 3rd best and was happy for it. My worst reads came against one of the two aggro guys (out of position on me no less) who just killed me. I ended up giving my entire $300 profit to him.

The worst two hands against him were:
I have Ad3d and call a PF raise to $20 because 3 other people are in. Flop is Qc2d5d. Guy on my right shoves for $90 and I call, getting 2-1. I have the gutshot straight draw and the nut flush draw. He shows AQo. Can’t blame him for doing what he did. I hit a 3 on the turn, giving me even more outs. I have 14 outs to either win or chop but the river is a brick and I double the guy up.
I have 8c4c in the BB and call a small PF raise from the other aggro guy, only because he had been raising nearly everything on principle. Flop is 985. It checks around and the turn is a 4, giving me two pair. I think I’m good here but only call a 15 bet from the guy to my right. We’re heads up when a 6 hits the river. A 7 makes a straight but I don’t put him on a gutshot that he bet out. He reaches for $40 and I read it as a steal. I call and he shows J7. It makes more sense now. It was a double-gutshot he had on the turn and the semi-bluff totally worked. Incidentally, it was offsuit and drove me insane.

So, the long and short of it is I gave up all my profit and two buyins. The second buyin was brutal too. I had 2s4s and I called a PF raise out of the BB because three other people were in. I was a short stack with $46 behind and decided to push if I hit anything on the flop. The flop was Js3c7s. I push with the flush draw and get a call from the original raiser who has AJ. Turn is a J. River is the Ace of spades! I let out a joyous yelp and start to reveal my cards when I realize…he has a boat. Runner Runner boat to counterfeit my flush. Ouch.

This story has a happy ending though. My last hand of the night, I have KsTs and call a PF raise to $10 with $95 behind. Flop is 6c7s8s. I lead out with $10 with my gutshot, two overs and a flush draw. I get one call and a raise to $30 from a smoking hot girl who’s practically poured into her dress. She was there with her husband, otherwise there would have been more flirting from the table, but she knew how to play. When she raised, I assumed she had with the flopped straight or two pair, so I thought my flush draw and gutshot were still good. I got a smooth call from a new player who was drunk and I called. One other player called. Turn was the Js. W00t! I made the second nut flush. I went to bet it but hesitated slightly. Was someone in with the nut draw? I checked with chips in my hand and the hottie woman bet out $50. The drunk guy called with $18 behind (?!?!) and I shoved. The woman let out a sigh and called and so did the drunk guy, for less. I showed my hand, the woman showed 95 for the flopped straight (drawing dead) and the drunk guy showed A6o (Thanks for the donation donkey). I tripled up and finished the night up $100 if you include the $50 I got from the tourney buyin certificate and the $26 I paid for the 10 minute massage that I paid in chips to Stephanie, the really hot massage girl.

Oh what a night!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Lazy blog post

I haven’t had a whole lot of time for updating the blog in the last week or two. With my preparations for my Florida trip and playing poker every day I’m not seeing Ali, my priority hasn’t been focused on writing. Sorry for the delay.

Jordan has a nice recap of the last lowball only night at Wall Street Poker, so go read it. Plus, he gives me mad props over my awesome setup. Who am I to argue? (W00t!)

The other big announcement has been that we’re sending a Wall Street representative to the big show next year (that’s the World Series of Poker). Over the next 8 or 9 months, we’ll be running a series of 10 $40 buyin super satellite single table freezeouts that will result in 10 different winners. Those 10 lucky people will all play in another long format tourney which will result in a $3000 grand prize, to be used to enter into any $2000 buyin event plus $1000 for travel expenses. I’ve got full details and rules up on www.walllstreetpoker.org if you want to go check it out. (Please note that access to that site is for league members only, sorry.)

South Beach with Ali was AMAZING. Going wave jumping in the ocean when there’s a hurricane nearby is a religious experience. Highly recommended. We also had some really nice dinners out (even with my parents) and got some great weather finally on Monday for a few hours. Just a great trip all around.

I’m looking forward to coming back to New York and getting back in gear, but in the meantime, I’m playing lots of poker here in South Florida.

Best conversation I had at the poker table:
Old Man: What do you do?
Me: I write software for Merrill Lynch. What about you?
Old Man: I’ve been a doctor for 45 years.
Me: Do you still practice?
Old Man: Not anymore. I practice one day a week at the Veterans Hospital.
Me: That’s a tough job.
Old Man: Son, I was a B-12 Pilot. *That* was a tough job.

On the next hand of O/8, I scooped him with nut/nut. Respect, dude.