Sunday, December 31, 2006

A big score at the Salami Club

Whew. Vindication at last. I've never had a decent score at the Salami club. I've usually finished up but only by a little. $60 here, $85 there. Tonight, I played for two and a half hours and left at 3AM with a $435 profit. I know that isn't a lot for guys like Paul or Wendy, but it's an impressive number to me. The best part is that most of it came from a single hand.

I had dragged a couple of nice medium sized pots and was up about $150 when the big hand came. I was in the big blind with 44. A big stacked player, who had been mercilessly raising pots, came out with a weak $12 bet. Everyone folded except for the small blind and myself, who both called. The flop was a scary 3s4c5s. I had hit my set but there was a straight already on the board with a flush draw on top of it. The small blind checked and I bet $25 which knocked out the original raiser. The small blind called. The turn was 9c. He checked and I bet $50. He then re-reraised to $150. He only had about $85 more so I figured if I wanted to call than I needed to put him all in. There were a few hands that beat me but I had plenty of outs to improve with my set. The only thing I was truly worried about was 67, A2 or 55. I went all in and he sighed visibly saying "I'm behind right now". That made me MUCH happier. He was obviously on a draw of some sort. He was pot committed to the bet and called the remainder of his chips. The river was the Ten of Hearts which couldn't possibly have hit him. I showed my set of 4's and he flashed me a 5c. I didn't see his other card so I initially assumed he had top set of 5's but when he mucked I realized it must have been 5c6c, which he confirmed. He risked his whole stack on an open ended straight draw which turned a flush draw as well. So he fed nearly 50% of the pot on what turned out to be only a 30% shot. Cest La Vie. I happily raked in the biggest pot of my life and he left in disgust.

I stayed for a few more hands, even folding AK in the small blind into a big preflop raise, before taking off and pocketing my winnings. Winning is SO much nicer than losing. On a separate note, my winnings from tonight and last night at our league table make up for my loss in Atlantic City. Score one for the good guys!

Friday, December 29, 2006

I cashed in the tourney at The Salami Club but I missed a big payday

Around Noon today, I get an email from Dustin, copying Darko, Matt and a few others. “Who wants to play at Salami tonight”? Tonight is free for me, so I’m in of course. Darko, Wendy, Matt and Myself all ponied up the $60 buyin to get into the tourney. There are rebuys for the first two blind levels and I have to do it. First, I call a loose player’s small stack all in with As7s. He has 88. He had just been crippled by calling an 88’s all in with his QhTh so I figured it was time for the overcards to come. But they didn’t and I was down to 500 out of my initial 2000 buyin. Next hand, I get 88(!) which is the 3rd hand in a row. The same guy calls my all in with KhQh and flops a flush draw. He doesn’t make a flush, but the board comes with two pair, Aces and 9’s which counterfeits me and I’m out. I call for a rebuy and this time am able to take out the same guy when my AT beats his 24 all in (huh?). I’m now at 4000 chips, which is the equivalent of buyin in twice. I play pretty tight and only take down two or three pots on my way to the final table. There were only 15 players but I was around middle stack when the final table hit. That changed when had KJ offsuit in the 4th seat and the UTG made it 3X the BB to go. I made a semi-loose call and two other people called. The flop was KhJh6s. I had flopped top two. The original raiser went all in and I made the quick call. He had AhTh for the flush draw and a straight draw, but he missed both. He was a pretty deep stack and the double up made me chip leader at the table. I played pretty tight, surviving Wendy and Matt who both made the final table with me. With 4 players left, and 3 places paying, we all agreed to throw the 4th place finisher $20 each from the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place pots. At least I was know guaranteed some money. I stole one or two pots with aggressive semi-bluffs and maintained my lead when the smallest stack went on a 3 hand tear that saw him take out the 3rd place stack and massively dent the 2nd place stack. It was now a 3 way race and I was in second by a good margin. I picked up QdJd in the small blind and the small stack folded UTG. The small blind big stack raised to 3000 with blinds at 500/1000. I had a marginal hand but a good flopping hand and the 2000 extra to me was only 15% of my stack. The flop was beautiful. Qh9d6s. I flopped top pair with no danger of the flush draw. He had raised pre-flop which means he probably had an Ace or King or a pair, most likely smaller than a Queen. The only hands that worried me were AQ or KQ. Since I put him on a range of hands, and the likelihood of his holds the exact two hands that beat me were small in that field of possibilities, I surmised I was good here. He led out the betting with 4000 and I immediately moved all in. I had made this move on him a few hands earlier (with AQ and a Q high board with a flush draw). I hadn’t shown him my hand that time so my thought was that if I move all in on a big bet on his part, he might read it as a bluff attempt to steal a big pot. It worked perfectly because he hemmed and hawed but finally called with pocket 8’s. I showed the QJ and he looked crushed. The turn was a 9 which gave me two pair and the river was…an 8! OUCH, OUCH, OUCH and OUCH!!! He hit his two outer to felt me. If I had won that, I would have outchipped both opponents by nearly 8-1 and I am sure the tournament would have been mine. First place in the tourney was 780, 2nd place was 300 and 3rd was 120. Since I bought in twice and we gave $20 to make a fourth place prize, my winnings were $100 where they would have been $760 had that last card been anything but an 8. Essentially, I lost $660 on one turn of bad luck. It was have erased all my losses from this weekend in Atlantic City. When the card came, I reacted violently in shock, getting up and slamming the wall with my open hand. I was very happy I had played well, and you can’t control the cards, but that money would have been helpful. Oh well, such is life. I was in too much of a shock to sit down to play cash and I was afraid I would keep thinking about it, which I am, so I left.

Wendy, Darko, Dustin and Matt all played though, and I only saw some of it. Matt lost his buyin when he came in with K9 and flopped KJ9. He and his opponent went all in but his opponent had flopped KJ! Yeesh. Dustin ended up giving most of his money to Wendy on one hand when his AQ flopped QT9 to Wendy’s pocket Kings. Wendy kept calling and not raising, trying to be nice, and Dustin kept betting into here. She finally rivered a King to insure the win and took down a largeish $175 pot. She was up $270 when I left.

Also, the egg sandwich there is to die for. J

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

AC in Christmas (or How I got Clubber Lang'd into submission)

AC is a wonderful place. It has everything Las Vegas has, minus the shows, glitz, good food, pretty drink girls….uh, what was I saying again?

So we had the annual Christmas in AC pilgramige to AC this year with many Wall Street Poker members taking part. Sean and Tae were staying at the Showboat, playing in two days worth of tournaments. Wendy and Paul stayed at Paul’s parents condo about a mile south of the strip. Matt and I stayed at the Tropicana. Even Dustin and his father made it down for a two days. The weekend started off on a good note as Matt and I, along with Paul and Wendy, got off of work on Friday and made the trek down. There was some traffic, but not an intolerable amount. When I got to the hotel, I was given a room in the North Tower. The woman at the front desk then gave me directions on how to get there. “Go through the casino floor. Find the North Tower escalators and then go over the walkway to the North Tower elevators”.

Whoa. Stop right there. Did she say “walkway”?

“Did you say walkway”?

“Yes, I did”.

“Is there any room closer to the poker room”?

“The South Tower is the closest to the poker room”

“Is there any chance I could get a room there”

“Sure.” She clicked her keyboard for a bit. “Here you go. Room 1562, Oceanview”.

“Thank you!”

The South Tower elevators, it turned out, let you off about 10 feet from the poker room, so my weekend was starting with a bang already! Of course, as you will find out my gentle snowflakes, this was the highlight of my weekend.

So Matt and I get to our room, unpack and then head directly for the poker room. I was a little tired from the trip and it was nearly 11:30pm when we got downstairs so I didn’t think No Limit was the game for me. I sat down at the 4-8 table and played until 2:20am, playing particularly well and dragging $173 in profit. Matt got up around this time as well and we headed off to bed. Wendy and Paul, who joined us shortly before midnight, ended up staying until 6am! This pattern would be repeated all weekend which made for some pretty late breakfasts, I have to say. But at least I was up a bit and tomorrow was another day.

I got up around 10:30 and tried to rouse Matt but it wasn’t happening. We finally woke up and ambled over to the Taj Mahal, where Matt’s always wanted to play. The room was crazy busy with tables full as far as the eye could see. Matt and I both sat down at separate 1-2 No Limit tables and the game was on. The table I sat down at was awful for me. I got no cards and when I did I was check-raised incessantly. I never had even close to the nuts in those situations and I had to give up my hands. I stole one or two pots, but not enough to keep ahead of the pace at which I was bleeding chips. In my mind I was thinking “Salami South” but I just wasn’t hitting what I needed. After giving up all my profit from the day before, I decided to get up and go back to a limit table. I got into a 5-10 limit game where my cold run of cards continued. In two hours, I gave up nearly my entire buyin of $200 and I decided to go next door to the Showboat to find Sean and Tae. Wendy and Paul, having gotten up at around 2pm, met us at the Taj around 4pm and played 1-2NL. When I left the Taj at 6:30 to find Sean and Tae, both Paul and Wendy had big stacks in front of them. The night before as I found out, both Paul and Wendy didn’t leave until 6 or 7 am because they were on fire, dragging dragging nearly two thousand dollars between them! Sean and Tae were at the Showboat where Tae was deepstacked in an 83 player tourney. She eventually busted out 16th there but she did pretty well. Sean and I chatted and I tried to sit in a low limit 2-4 game while waiting to be joined by the rest of the crew. Matt finally wandered in a bit later but Paul and Wendy never made it. Turns out they game up some of their gains for the night before, but not too bad. I, on the other hand, was busy making back my losses. I got a long rush of cards which let me take $200+ in profit from the 2-4 table. Sensing I was on a streak, I moved to the higher limit 3-6 table and made another $200. Boom, just like that I was up for the trip again. It would be the last of my winnings.

We all had dinner back at the Tropicana (HOOTERS!!!), where Wendy and Paul announced they were tired and going home. It was 2:15am and Matt and I went upstairs to sleep. Wendy and Paul, like petulant children too close to the cookie jar, snuck into the Trop poker room and played until 6am again. It was a bad decision as they both suffered significant losses (Wendy more than Paul).

I got up at around 9:30 to meet Sean and Tae downstairs for brunch. 9:30 is an ungodly hour, I know, so it was just the three of us. Wendy and Paul slept in again while Matt got up around 12:30. Brunch at the buffet, by the way, is not it’s cracked up to be. After breakfast, Matt and I hit the Trop poker room again where I managed to eke out a small win at the 2-4 table after sitting for 4 hours. At 4:35p, though, I got curious about where Wendy and Paul could be. Turns out that Wendy wasn’t feeling it at the Trop after her slaughter from the night before so they went to the Hilton next door instead. I convinced Matt to come there with me so we could all be together.

The Hilton sucks, by the way. This is not a statement of conjecture either, no matter what Wendy and Paul say. The only positive about the poker room at the Hilton is the big beautiful bay window which no other poker room on the strip has. The negatives abound, however. The dealers are rude and clueless and the room is run poorly. It’s no wonder that there were only 4 tables going when we got there! The Trop, next door, had about 40 tables running!!! As a result, the Hilton only had 1-2NL or 2-4 Limit to offer. I put my name on a list of interest for 3-6 Limit but we were never able to get enough people to start a game. So instead, Matt and I were forced to wait more than 20 minutes to sit at a table. I was going to play either game, depending on which one came up first and 2-4 was the winner. After 4 hours of limit, I managed to drop $75 and played in the $50 tourney with Paulie. This was the beginning of the end for my weekend. The tourney structure is set to go long, with 15,000 in starting chips and 15 minute blinds starting at 25/50. About 20 minutes in, I look down in 4th seat at pocket Aces and proceeded to give a clinic on how NOT to play Aces. Paulie was to my left in 5th seat. (Note: As I tell this story, see if you can spot all the mistakes as they’re being made by me. Play along at home!) The guy in 3rd seat made a 3x the BB bet and I smooth-called. Paulie called along with 2 other and the flop came KJ6 with a spade draw. I had the Ace of spades in my hand. The original raiser bets 600 and I decide to drop the hammer and bump it to 1500. Remember, blinds are 50/100 right now. Paulie raises to 3000. Or at least he tries to raise. He puts out 3 chips and the dealer incorrectly says it’s a call because Paulie didn’t say anything. Everyone at the table, including me, told the dealer that it should be a raise but he didn’t budge and time was ticking so we dropped it. The other guys get out of the way, except for the original raiser who calls. The turn is a blank. The raiser checks. I bet another 1500 and Paulie raises to 3000 again, this time calling it out in a loud and steady voice. The guy to my right calls. I call. The river is a J. The board is now K-J-6-rag-J. The guy to my right checks, I check, Paulie bets 5000. Guy to my right folds and I call. Paul has KJ for the boat and drags a monster pot. Ok, did you spot all the mistakes I made in that hand? If you did, good for you! Don’t f*cking do it like I did, ever! I was a bit tilty as you can imagine, but my next hand UTG is Ad8h. I call the 100 and a few other folks limp in with one pre-flop raise to 200 getting calls all around. The flop is 689 rainbow. There’s about 1400 in the pot right now and I decide to take advantage of my steaming table image (since I had shown the cracked Aces the hand before). I move all in with my remaining 4100 saying, “Might as well take a shot”. It wasn’t a complete lie since any 9 or any over pair beat me. I get a call from a guy who says, “Yeah, might as well”. He had taken a big hit early as well and only barely outchipped me. Everyone else folded. Doubling through here would put me right back in the hunt so I was VERY happy to see that he had 77 for the outside straight draw. I was ahead 2-1 in this scenario but a Ten on the turn and then a 5 on the river crushed me. The guy laughed and said to me, “Hey, I made it both ways. Which way you wanna lose?” That hurt. So I say to the mean man who bet his tourney on a 1 in 3 shot in the second round, I hope all your teeth fall out except one and may that one hurt like hell. Paulie used my chips like a champ and eventually chopped 3 ways for the tourney win and a $400 payout. Seriously, he was on fire the whole weekend.

My pain, on the other hand, was just beginning to grow. I was so steamed from how stupidly I played those Aces that I had to go downstairs and sit amongst the slots for 40 minutes just to cool down. When I finally did make it back, I dropped $200 on an awful 3 hour run at 2-4 limit. It clearly wasn’t my night. I went to bed angry that night my friends, like an old man trying to send back soup at a deli.

Wendy made back her losses and then some at the Hilton and took a bus home that night to be with Breck for Christmas day. The jews went off to bed and woke up Christmas morning for more poker at the Trop.

I tried 1-2 NL again, but got killed for a hand where my top two pair were outdrawn for a flush. So off I was again to find a limit table. Why is it called “limit”? Because it limits your losses as it turns out. Instead of hitting the 4-8 table, my curiosity got the better of me and I tried for the highest limit game the Trop offers, $7.50-$15.00. They call it the “Pink Game” because it uses $2.50 chips which are pink in color. I got a rack of Pinks ($250) and sat down. The Pink Game has the feel of being the featured table at the World Series because it is the most prominent table in the room. It’s the first one you see when you walk in, right next to the brush desk and there are always curious railbirds looking on. I held my own for a while, dragging some pots, giving some up and eventually climbing into a small $75 profit. But then Paulie sat down with me after giving up on his own 1-2NL table and it was all downhill from there. Here’s an example of how things went for me. I went to the bathroom and missed the blinds and when I got back, 2 other people had also returned. I opted to post my missing small and big blinds ($12.50 total) as did the other two players who returned. After you count the big blind and the small blind, who will definitely complete his bet no matter what he gets, you’re looking at $50 in the pot before we even get dealt cards! I’m hoping to walk into a monster but get dealt 2s5s instead. Okay, not bad for a cracking hand. The big blind pumps the action by raising and everyone completes their bets. There is now over $100 in the pot pre-flop. The flop is beautiful for me, but a bit scary. 2h4d5h. I have two pair but there is a flush and straight on board. The big blind bets again and I two bet it, hoping to drive people out. A few fold and a few call. The turn is an 8s. The big blind bets again and I call. Everyone else folds. The river is a rag. He checks, I bet, he re-raises me! What does he have? A flopped straight? A set? He DID reraise pre-flop so I just call and he shows…82 off-suit. He pumps the action for fun and walks into two pair. I was livid. That was the biggest pot of the night at nearly $200 and it didn’t go my way. Instead, some idiot gets rewarded and I feel like an ass. I would shrug it off except that the entire weekend consisted of similar scenarios. Me flopping monsters only to get outdrawn by trash. I felt, and still feel today, like a punch drunk boxer. I dumped $370 into the Pink Game before I called it quits and drove home with Paulie in the rain. The weather matched my mood but I couldn’t be too upset because I got picked up by a dealer (a woman too as Paulie likes to point out). Here’s the story to end this sordid tale.

Towards the middle of my run at the pink game, a woman dealer sits down to deal and chat with us. She’s a heavy-set latino girl, about 25 or so, but with a cute face and fun personality. Paulie and I are kidding around with her, joking that she should come up to Manhattan with us for New Year’s. I tell her to take a bus to meet us and Paulie says that he’ll come down and pick her up personally! Anyway, we have a nice little flirtation going and she leaves to go home when her dealing shift is over. We all wave good bye to her and I get back to the game. 30 minutes later, a floor man taps me on the shoulder and says, “You have a phone call”. “Who me?,” I asked. “Yes, you”. I pick up the phone and a woman on the other end of the line who sounds vaguely familiar says, “Hi!” very enthusiastically. I have no idea who it is. We go back and forth with “Who is this? Who is THIS?” when it finally dawns on me that it’s this dealer. She doesn’t know my name so she can’t say who I am but she called up the room after she had left and asked for “the guy in the pirate hat that says ‘the beatings will continue’”. She was friendly enough on the phone and asked if I was spending the night at the hotel. Unfortunately, I had to leave that night to work tomorrow, but who knows what could have happened. Maybe I’ll call the room at the Trop today and ask for Christina…. J

Signing off for now…

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Saturday at the Salami club

Is it me or is Salami starting to feel a bit like home now?

I dropped in on Darko at the club around midnight and ponied up $300. John had around $350 in front of him and the guy to his left, whose name is also Jamie, had about $1400! I dragged a few smallish pots, including chasing everyone out in the small blind with KK. I don't like to muck around in the small blind with a big hand so instead of limping, I made a $10 raise and all the limpers dropped. About 20 minutes later, I see AsTs in the small blind again. This time, a few people limp and I again make a smallish pre-flop raise to juice the pot. I get two callers, including Darko, and the flop misses me completely. KJ4, with no spades. I contemplate making a continuation bet but I think that might be wasted money if somebody hit the King with a good kicker. He's just going to re-raise me and I'm going to have to fold. I still have good draw though, I believe if I hit my Ace I'll be good and I have the inside nut straight draw as well with a Queen. I figure the only way I'm going to win this is if I represent AK (I DID raise preflop after all) or if I hit my draw. I decide to try a cheap draw and I check. The player to the left of me checks and Darko fires 15. It's a fair bet. I weigh the odds in my head and decide that the implied odds are too good to ignore. I call and the player to my left calls. The turn is a blank. I check again, the player to my left checks and bets another 15. My pot and implied odds are now even better for this call so I make it. But the smallish bet has me wondering. Could they both be on draws? And why is the player to my left acting so passively? Why is Darko making a very small continuation bet? The river is a blank and I see my opportunity. I think for a minute and carve out a stack of chips. "$125," I say, trying to keep my voice impassive. I'm fairly convinced at this point that both players are weak, and as much as it pains me to bluff at Darko, I have to take a stab at this pot. I know there's no way for me to win it with Ace high. True to my instincts, the player on my left folds and John, who thinks for what seems like hours, finally folds too. It turns out later that he had a Jack so the bluff was the right play on my part. Sorry Darko! :-)

I have been making some VERY good laydowns in the recent past, recognizing that part of my gut that tells me when I'm beat and I shouldn't be calling. Tonight was no exception. I had KhJs on the button and I bumped the pot to $10 again. The flop was a very scary JhTh6h. I had a King flush draw and top pair, which is not a slouchy hand at all, but the flush on the board made me nervous for the Ah. It checked to me and I fired right out with $25 and got two callers! One of them I wasn't worried about since he was bleeding chips left and right but the other had proven himself to be a very good and smart player. I had a feeling he was on the Ah draw. The turn was a blank and my fears of his draw were confirmed (at least in my mind) when he checked the turn to me. He either had the flush or was on the big draw. I checked as well, a move that some at the table questioned later on. My reason was that if I bet a small amount, it would most definitely have been called by the nut flush draw. If I bet a large amount, it would have also possibly been called! This is Salami, after all. In the end all I had in my hand was top pair and a questionably good flush draw. I remembered the maxim about not going broke with one pair and I took the safe route and checked. The river was a heart. The first guy checked and Mr. Good-And-Smart took five seconds to think about what he was going to do. He bet $60 into a $110 pot. Wow, did I have a decision to make! I had the King High Flush and was only beaten with the Ah. But the pieces of the story were scaring me too much and I ended up folding after publicly agonizing over my decision. The guy to my left folds and the better takes down the pot. He is kind enough to show me his hand, Ah4d, after he surmises and I confirm I had the Kh. What a tough laydown, but a good one and I was proud of myself. Again, I got kudos for the laydown at the table but questions about why I didn't bet the turn. That's a point of debate I guess. I like making good laydowns, of course, because I know I made the right decision, but I worry that it can paint me as someone who can be bluffed out of a pot. I was concerned about that for the next twenty minutes but I needn't have. The players at Salami are generally not that sophisticated. They're not guppies, to be sure, but they think more about aggression than anything else.

So I limited my losses to only $35 on that hand, when it could have been $95 and I looked forward. I got KK in late position and made a $15 pre-flop raise. I got two callers and the flop was QJT. Why do I always get these crappy flops with my big pairs?!?! Both players checked to me and I looked at their stacks. The guy to my left only had about $60 and the other guy had a larger stack. I decided that if I could get Mr. Small Stack to go all in, the other guy would fold. So I bet $100. Mr. Small Stack moved all in and the other guy folded! Sweet! I showed my KK and the small stack showed QT. Uh-oh. But I had lots and lots of outs. An Ace, a 9, a Jack or a King all win the pot for me. Also, runner-runner pair win the pot for me. THe turn was an Ace and the river a blank and it was over. That was a nice way to win $100!

Wendy came in sometime around then and sat down with $300, which she scooped out of her purse in a comical mess of a handful of bills. Get a wallet Wendy! Wendy folded her first hand and then scared the crap out of me with her second hand. Near the button, Wendy called a $15 preflop raise and the flop was Th9c5c. Mr. Good-And-Smart makes a $60 bet (!) and Wendy calls nearly instantly. She has the look of someone on a draw and I put her on the obvious flush draw. A Ts comes on the turn and I’m now worried for Wendy. With a pair on the board and a strong bettor, a boat is now becoming increasingly likely. The guy bets out another $60 and Wendy calls again! Does she have a her own boat that she’s slow playing (maybe with a flopped set of 5’s)? The river was 6c (board is now Th 9c 5c Ts 6c) and the guy at the end moved all in. Wendy called quickly (remember this is her second hand of the night). The guy shows T9 for a full house. I figure Wendy must have made her flush and she was beat to the tune of $300, but she turned over….7c8c(!!!). “Straight Flush,” she said as she scooped a $600+ pot! Wow. She had 1 out to win there and she hit it on the river after calling bets most of us would have laid down to. The problem with calling a large bet with a flush draw against only one player is that if you hit your draw, you might not get the implied odds necessary to make your draw to begin with. For example:

In the above scenario, Wendy called $60 on the flop into a pot of about $120 (the initial $60 from the callers and then the guy’s $60 flop bet). This gives her 2:1 pot odds on a 3:1 draw (assuming she sees the flush AND river). So immediately she’s not getting proper odds. She might be factoring future bets into it if she hits her turn card for a club BUT there is a good possibility he will stop betting if the club comes on the turn! If that happens, Wendy bets out and wins the pot but not for the amount of money necessary to make her turn draw. The only way for her to make a proper call is if she was somehow able to hide her draw, but that didn’t seem possible given the scenario. No matter though. Wendy chased and won with a hand that could very well be once in a lifetime, straight flush vs. the nut full house.

30 minutes later, John was down to his last $80 or so when I got 55 on the button. John, on my right, made a preflop raise to $15 and I called. Wendy called on my left and we got one other caller too. The flop was 582. I flopped a set and Wendy checked. John made a $20 bet which I raise to $40. Wendy called and John went all in for a few dollars more. Wendy and I called and the turn was a 2, giving me the boat. I felt guilty about keeping Wendy in, so I chased her out with a $40 bet and I took the pot down. John had 77 and got unlucky vs. my lower pair.

On the subject of raising Wendy out when I could have value bet for more, I am going to stop doing that. It would be one thing if I got that kind of soft play in return, but she’s been quite shark-like and unrepentant about taking our money (Me, Paul, John, Matt) at the Salami table. I will have to play much harder against her in the future. Sorry Wendy, but you brought it on yourself! Your girlish charms are only going to do so much.

Friday, December 15, 2006

My favorite joke in the whole world

A bear and a rabbit are taking a shit next to each other in the woods. The bear turns to the rabbit and asks, "Excuse me, Mr. Rabbit. I was wondering...Do you have problems with shit sticking to your fur?"

The rabbit says, "No."

So the bear wiped his ass with the rabbit.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

My band's album is out for sale!

My band, Negative Ken, has released their long awaited debut album. Click this link to buy the album. You won't be disappointed and you'll be giving to a good cause (me!). Seriously, this is the product of a hell of a lot of work (but not a lot of money, oddly enough) and we're proud as hell of it.

Also, we'll be appearing at Crash Mansion in Manhattan on Dec. 20th for the CD Release party. There's an open bar, for chrissakes, so you have no reason not to come and have a good time.

Friday, December 8, 2006

Etiquette issues?!?

This isn't poker related but just a view on my world.

I was downstairs just now having lunch at Johnny's Fish Grill. I had the Chicken Pot Pie (excellent) and a copy of the New York Times. I sat down at 2:30 and the lunch crowd had already disappeared. There were empty tables all around me except for a woman having a club sandwich two tables to my right.

As is my usual custom, I read the Times from the inside out while I ate. As I finished each section, I placed it neatly on the table to my left. I had one section in front of me still when a couple was seated two tables to my left. As I was reading the OP-ED page and lifting a fork full of chicken to my mouth, the husband reached over and took the Metro section from my pile! He didn't ask and he didn't look at me. In fact, it was so casual that I didn't say anything at first because I assumed he didn't realize the paper was mine. Although how he didn't realize is a matter of speculation. I was all alone in the whole section of the restaraunt and I still had one section of the paper in my hand! If the entire paper was on the table to my left all alone, I could see how he might have thought it was left by another patron, but this was just a matter of either willful ignorance or incredible rudeness. This happened to me another time on the train when a man sat two seats to my right and picked up half my paper. At least that time he acknowledged the paper was mine but justified it by saying, "you're finished with this, right?".

Anyhow, when I got up after paying my check, I said to the man at the table, "Excuse me...". I was going to add, "That's my paper" but he quickly handed over the section saying, "Sorry". That leads me to believe he knew it was mine because he didn't try the excuse of "I had no idea...". It just bugs me that with newspapers in particular, the whole world thinks that they're up for grabs even if you're still in the middle of reading it! It's one thing to leave a paper behind on the train. That's abandonment and perfectly within your rights to grab it. But while I'm still reading it...?!?!?

Anyway, I took my (full) paper and walked back to work. As I got out of the elevator, I threw the paper out in the trash since I finished reading the whole thing. That sounds like a dick thing to do, but I'm sick of being taken advantage of. Score one for the good guys!

Thursday, December 7, 2006

Florida trip and a note on micro limits

I jsut came back recently from a weekend in Florida to see my parents. Ostensibly, the purpose of the trip was to play golf with my father and brother, and we did. 36 holes over 2 days on two of the nicest courses you're liable to find in South Florida. I didn't shoot too badly either, getting 100 on the public course and 101 on the very highly rated semi-private course. If you're scoffing, those scores are good for me!

Of course, since I was in South Florida, poker in my downtime was a given! I've got my parents trained now to the point where they expect me to go and don't even argue anymore! So long as I see my grandmother and have a few dinners with them, I'm free to play as much as I want. This weekend was no exception and I logged a good 12 hours at the table. I was joined by Wendy, whose grandmother lives in the same complex as my grandmother (small world for jews!). Wendy and I both ended up a little bit down for our trip but I have an observation that I want to share about very low limit tables.

In Florida, under law, the games offered are currently $1/$2 limit, $2/$2 limit and a new game, which I didn't play, of $2/$2 limit with a $2 ante. All the games have their pros and cons but the main feature of all of them is that it is nearly IMPOSSIBLE to force out draws by betting. You WILL get called by a moron holding nothing on the board who will then proceed to hit runner runner for a two pair to beat your pocket Aces. Wendy and I were getting a bit frustrated by this when I switched my gameplan and proceed to win at a quick pace.

What was my revelation which put me on the winning track? Just this: Play a super tight game, lay down cards you know are beat and bet as much as possible with strong cards that hit the flop. That's it. That's all there is to it. Why does this work?

Well, it comes down to where you're going to make profit. Yes, your T4 offsuit can sometimes flop a monster but not likely. So the first place you make money is by not giving it up in the first place! Each $2 bet you put in to chase a monster flop is a negative expectation of profit. So play good starting hands. Good hands in this game are your standard Paint/Paint up to middle position, suited connectors in an unraised pot or pocket pairs in nearly any position. In other words, the same thing you'd play in a higher limit game!

The next thing to realize is that you have to push pots you're a favorite to win even if there is a draw on board. The reason is that you have to maximize your gains as much as possible. If you flop a set and don't push because there's two hearts on board, you will leave at least 2 bets PER PLAYER CHASING by not raising often. Any player chasing will call down to the river because they are pot committed to doing it in almost every case. Therefore, you need to maximize any wins you get when you are the favorite. Raise your flopped monsters and NEVER slow play (there is no need since you'll get called down every time).

The next thing to realize is that you MUST not get married to a hand. When a player has been calling your bets all the way down and finally starts raising on the river when a third suit comes up, you are most likely beat. You should only call if you have a reasonable chance of beating what he/she is representing. I would fold two pair in that instance in most cases and probably trips if there is a straight AND a flush possibility on board.

The last thing to realize is why you shouldn't play junk hands and this one fact will cause your PnL to tip from negative to positive. By playing suited connectors that are relatively high and by sticking to paint/paint when you can, you give yourself a much better chance of grabbing pots where both players have made the best hand. Case in point, I had AcTc on the button and called the bet. Many players were in and the flop was TT5, giving me a set with top kicker. I raised the whole way and even got reraised from one player. I was confident he had a Ten, and he did, but I outkicked him in the end and took a monster pot. He though HE had flopped the winner but my better choice of starting hand (he had T6) cost him money that he was confident he was going to win. In another instance, I played Kh3h in the big blind in a pot that was raised once. I called the $2 raise because it was $2 to win $18 in the pot and I flopped a flush. Another player also flopped a flush but his was 68 and I won another big pot.

By nibbling at the edges and playing premium cards, it is my belief that with strict discipline you can win big at these micro limit (and even low limit like 2/4, 3/6, 4/8) games.