Friday, March 30, 2007

I might be a degenerate, but I'm not a dick like Phil Ivey over here

I hosted a game last night where the drama was high. With approx. $330 at stake to go to the winner of this season’s League play, Michael B. was in great shape to knock off David R. as the season’s leader. David wasn’t even there and Michael had to place relatively high in both tourneys to win the whole shebang. He played fairly well in the first tourney although he went out in 4th only because he donked off a large chip stack towards the end. But in the second tourney, of which he only had to tighten up and place 4th to win the $330, he went out first because of impatience. He eventually risked his dwindling chip stack by calling by $400 raise with AK. I also had AK and Matt called with J5. The flop was AJ5. Everyone’s money went in and Matt took us both out, going on to win the tourney outright over Sean.

It was 11:30p at that point and John and I decided, since there weren’t enough people to play cash at my place, that a trip to Good Look wouldn’t be out of line. So we hopped a ride with Matt and after much confusion about whether it would be Good Look or Salami, we found ourselves going up the FDR. The only reason Good Look was the winner was that Vivian had told Darko she might be there. The Good Look club had 6 or 7 tables going but there were plenty of open seats for us. John and I sat at table number 1, with David R. also in surprise attendance. His wife had fallen asleep at home and he snuck out of the house to get his poker fix. Evidently, my name will figure prominently in the divorce proceedings!

The table was full of relatively tight people, and I played somewhat tight as well. I *did* end up raising to $22 later early on and taking down a few limpers with a flashed 2-5o (“the Darko”). I made a nice little stack for myself relatively early on with the strangest hand. I had 88 on the button and I called someone’s $12 raise. There was about $60 in the pot preflop. The flop was 456 rainbow. I had an overpair and the gutshot straight draw. Wanting to take the pot down, I bet $40 but got two callers! The turn was a 9 and we checked it around. The river was a Ten. The first caller, in early position, put his hand up and sort of facing the table and gave the hand up and down motion. His palm was open and his fingertips were somewhat up. The dealer, and everyone else at the table, thought he was checking. The second caller checked and I checked, opening my cards because I was last to act. Then, the first caller says, “I didn’t do anything yet”. Evidently his motion had meant, “give me time to act”. When he did the motion itself, it made sense but the dealer had seen it as a check and motioned for the second person to act. We didn’t have to call the floor because it was obvious he was wrong but it didn’t matter anyway. It was now his turn to expose and if could beat a lowly pair of 8’s, he would win the pot. The second caller could not beat my hand and the first caller said he had two pair, but wouldn’t expose! I took the pot but was a little wierded out. He claimed to have won but, “didn’t want the money”. So odd! I wasn’t about to be picky about it!

I was now up about $175 but the profit was lost in two hands when I lost to two pair twice, both times when I was ahead going into the turn. So I was back down to even. Vivian finally showed up at about 2:30am and things started to liven up a bit. I went card dead for about an hour and was going to leave at 3:30am when I picked up Q9 UTG. A guy at the end of the table, who was quickly making an ass of himself with his antics, had made a small preflop raise which a bunch of people called. The flop was 278 and it checked all around. A 9 came on the turn and I led out with $18, getting 4 callers. A Queen fell on the river and I made a weak $15 bet. Everyone folded to the ass at the end of the table who tried to make a move by raising to $45 but I quickly called. He announced, “I have a 2” but wouldn’t show and got all pissy when I made him expose his 26o. It was his turn to act and I had paid to see it so the “you’re slowrolling” accusation he threw out is null and void. Fuck you my friend! I dragged a nice pot from a moron and I was up again. He had singled himself out earlier by being loud and obnoxious for such a young kid. He had bet large on a flop a while back and dragged the pot saying, “That’s the way Phil Ivey plays. Take it down on the flop!”. John and I riffed back and forth with it. “Who’s Phil Ivey? Is he the one with the long hair and the beard?”. This guy was such a dick. Three hands after I won the top two pair pot, I pick up QQ on the button. The same guy raises to $12 and I reraise to $50 with the blood still bad between us. I’m trying to goad him into making a big steal attempt but a short stack beats him to it by moving all in for $65. Phil Ivey folds, unfortunately and I call. The short stack shows AT and a Queen flops, killing any hopes of his winning. I cashed out two hands later for a $172 profit. Not bad. Darko and Vivian were still going strong when I left, with David having cashed out 30 minutes prior.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Of maniacs and heart attacks

Darko went to Toronto for a long weekend, but when he got back to New York, he was itching for some real poker. So he texted me last night and got me to come to the Good Look club. We showed up at 6:30 and sat down at a table next to each other with $160 each. My second hand, I lost $70 when my KhJh hit a Jack high flop and an AJ took me for a ride. 3 hands later, I get KK and play it great, getting a JJ to go all in after a junk flop. He sucks out on me, but not by hitting a J. He hits running clubs to make a flush! Grrr…. I reload for $200 and 6 hands later get QQ. I flop a set with 2 spades on board and min-raise a $30 flop bet. The raiser calls and I think he’s on a flush draw. I know I’m in the lead and he checks a blank turn. I bet another $60 and he hesitates for a while before calling. The river is the spade and he puts in his last $40. I have to call and he shows Js3s. He called a pre-flop raise with that crap and went all the way with it! Oh well. I’m down $360 in a matter of 10 minutes. I reload for another $200 and finally catch some luck when I more than double up after flopping a set of Jacks and they finally hold up to a flush draw. John, the very hand before, said to me that I’d probably fold a top set of Jacks if I get them and I got them the very next hand! Funny… I left down $150 and John left down about $200 when we went to go get dinner and hit the Salami Club. We sat down to Salami with the place in full swing and 3 full tables going. Two of the tables were 5/10 and a juicy 1/2 table. I bought in for $200 and played a few flops but couldn’t catch anything. John, meanwhile, got felted twice more and kept having to reload. It was brutal. Finally, John gets JcTc and calls a pre-flop raise with a few other callers. He flashes me the cards and says, “I wonder if these will stand up”. The flop is AA3 with two clubs. John bets out on the flush draw and gets one caller. The turn is a blank 6 and John checks. About a millisecond goes by between the time that John checks and the time the caller moves all in. John would be all in for $130 on this call and he thinks about it before saying, “Fuck It” and calling. Clearly a frustration call. John shows and the other guy shows QJ for a bluff! It happens to be leading at this point but it was a stone cold bluff and a good read from the guy who knew John didn’t have the Ace. Meanwhile, there’s still one card to come and it’s a club! John make his river flush and drags a $500 pot. Crazy… A little later, I have only $120 in front of me so I can’t afford to see any more expensive flops. And since they’ve all been raised pre-flop by Bryce, a maniac player on a ridiculous rush of cards (boat, boat, flush, straight was one sequence), I have to sit tight. My patience finally pays off when I look down at KK UTG. I limp for two, knowing *somebody* will raise and Marcello, a silver haired loud Italian gentlemen obliges by raising to $25. John calls, unfortunately, and I move all in, hoping to give John the signal that I’ve got the monster. Marcello calls and John, ignoring my non-verbal communication, calls too. The flop comes as a bunch of low blank cards. Marcello checks and John bets heavy. Marcello folds. I immediately offer John to run the cards twice and he accepts, showing 88. Neither run helps John and I win my hand, going up about $80 for this Salami session. I would be witness to one more hand from John before having to leave at midnight. John, with QQ, raises pre-flop to about $125 after some heavy betting by Bryce. Bryce, ever the maniac, calls and the flop is 334. John immediately moves all in for his remaining $219. Bryce thinks for a good long while, asks somebody for a coin and then flips it on the table. It comes up heads. “Call,” he declares. He flips up AhJh. Ace high with no flush draw! John’s QQ is good but Bryce wants to do business and John accepts. Bryce wants 3 runs but John wants 2. They run it and an Ace pops on the river on the first run! John wins the second run, chopping the pot. If John hadn’t offered to run the cards, he would have lost the entire pot! In hindsight, it would have been better to run 3 times because John would most likely have won 2/3 rather than ½ of the pot, but if he hadn’t run at all, it would have been a bleak moment with a $1000 pot.

A crazy night. The burgers at BURGR are killer.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Recent Vegas Trip, or How I came to respect the Pooh

Las Vegas – The happiest place on earth

It was Thursday morning and I got up at 9AM, just itching for the flight to Vegas. It was going to be me, Paul, the Slayer, and one of Paul’s friends from college. I got to the airport via the AirTrain (god’s gift to airport travel) and the security checkin was surprisingly light even though my plane was completely full. This was March Madness weekend as well as St. Patrick’s day weekend so the trip was sure to have some fun to it. I got onto the flight without a problem, thanking my own foresight of getting the exit row, stretched out and promptly fell asleep. I woke up 3 hours later and read a book the rest of the way. Not a bad flight, but my heart was pumping with excitement as we headed down to McArran airport. I could see the lights of the city below me was we touched down, spotting the famous Luxor pyramid and the Stratosphere Tower, where I would be staying.

As I shuffled off the airplane, I made my way to the tram to take me to the baggage carousel. I’m constantly amazed at how many people go through the Vegas airport and how efficiently everything runs. JFK sucks balls in comparison. I got my bag without a problem, got onto a bus to take me to the Avis Car rental center, and climbed into my Chrysler PT Cruiser, ready for the trip to finally start already.

As I drove from the airport to the top of the strip where the Stratosphere is, I encountered some heavy traffic. I decided to play the smart New Yorker and get off to take a side road, but that road led to a parking lot of a hotel! Welcome to Vegas! Everything here is parking lots, BUT they’re all connected! You can, in many cases, drive through three or four hotels’ parking lots before being dumped back out onto a main road, which is what I did. Finally, the traffic broke up towards the North End of the strip and I got to the hotel. I immediately checked in, dropped off my bags and went downstairs to the casino floor. I called Paul, who had already arrived a few hours ago and cashed in a 1PM tourney to boot! We met up in the poker room at the Stratosphere and played for a few hours. It was a relaxing experience for me after the long flight. The Stratosphere poker room is small, only 6 or 7 tables, but it’s comfortable and the players aren’t all that good. I made a couple of bucks before heading out to dinner with Paul and his college friend Shira. We at the The Top of the World, which is a revolving restaurant at the top of the tower. The views are magnificent and the food was excellent too, if a bit pricey. It was worth it, however, and the meal was a great start to the day. We headed back to the poker room afterwards where I cleaned up nicely in 1-2 NL, getting paid off well on my value bets. By 1AM, the time difference was getting to me. Matt was supposed to have come in already, but his plane was delayed so I left his key with the hotel concierge and headed to be. No sooner had my head hit the pillow than Matt walked through the door at 2AM. I stayed up a little longer, getting him acclimated before we finally went to sleep.

In the morning, we were up at 10:00AM, and we were out the door at 11:00 to go have breakfast at the Peppermill, which is the famous diner featured in the movie ‘Swingers’. The breakfast was excellent, although they’re very liberal with the use of butter out there. I dropped Paul and Shira off at O’Sheas where Paul had heard you could get a free T-Shirt just for playing poker in their one outdoor table. Matt and I drove off to Blue Diamond Road to hit the Las Vegas Gun Range and Rental Center. We had talked about this before the trip; this is the range where you can rent automatic machine guns for firing. Matt pulled out his Tom-Tom GPS navigator and we got to the range with no problems at all. The shop is a little tiny place about 4miles outside the strip with the words, “FROM PRACTICAL TO TACTICAL” written on the outside in 4 foot high letters. Inside, however, is a gun lovers dream. Every make and model you can imagine of machine guns, handguns, rifles, shotguns and even military grade sniper rifles were there on display and every item was for sale. The .50cal Barret sniper rifle, a live round of which Matt bought for $5 as a souveneir, went for $11,500. The salesman told us that the rifle fires supersonic speed rounds which are so fast that even if they miss within 6 inches, the concussive force has enough power to knock you unconscious and sheer the flesh off your skull. Clearly, we were in the right place!

Matt was like a pig in shit as we perused our rental options. There were multiple packages available and Matt didn’t hesitate to choose the most expensive one, “The Big Shot”. For a mere $400, you get to choose 5 different machine guns, 3 different hand guns and an automatic shotgun to fire. The package includes targets and 2 full clips of ammo for each gun. We chose the MP5, the M3, the UZI, the Tommy Sub Machine gun (like Al Capone used), the M16, a .45 ACP handgun with silencer, a .44 Magnum (Dirty Harry!), a .50cal Desert Eagle and the aforementioned shotgun. My personal favorite was the UZI because of it’s high rate of fire and it’s ease of handling. The recoil was almost non existent and I felt a great deal of satisfaction putting a small and tight grouping in the center of the target with it. The auto-shotgun was insanely powerful but it left us both with sore shoulders for the rest of the week from the kickback! The most intense experience was the .44 magnum and the Desert Eagle handguns. Powerful is not the word for these things! When I fired them for the first time, ever so tentatively, I nearly dropped the damn thing!! At the end of the shooting time, we reserved the Desert Eagle for a contest between Matt and I. 3 shots at a distance of 10 yards. The winner would get $20 and bragging rights. Matt was first up. His first shot was up near the neck area of the target. The next was just outside the target and the last was about dead center. My turn. I first the first just outside the center and then two right down the middle. Winner, winner, chicken dinner.

After 2 hours of firing automatic rifles, the testosterone was flowing heavily and we cruised back onto the strip looking for some poker action. We stopped into the MGM Grand, the United State’s largest hotel (, to check out the live poker action. Inside the hotel are live lions, which we saw as we made the enormously long trek to the poker room. When we got there, a full 40 tables were in swing and we didn’t have to wait long for a table. But the room was cruel and Matt and I did poorly. We left a few hours later to try our hand in Excalibur, across the street. The Excalibur room is smaller and noisier, but the competition is not as good. That didn’t help us though as we both got felted. We ended up eating at the steakhouse in Excalibur where I DIDN’T get the Prime Rib I wanted, but had an excellent Porterhouse instead. Sated and full, we were about to end this manly day with a trip to a strip club, but my throat was starting to bother me. We headed back to the Stratosphere instead, where the poker room chewed me up. A bad day for poker but a great day otherwise!

Saturday, I woke up early and had a fantastic breakfast burrito with Paul and Shira. Afterwards, we spent a couple of hours playing limit in the hotel and having some fun. That night, we were going to be having dinner downtown at the 4 Queens hotel, so we made our way over there to play at Binions in the meantime. It was St. Patrick’s day and Fremont Street was in rare form. There were thousands of drunk couples, staggering around with a definite college fraternity vibe in the air. Drinks were being sold out on the street in plastic footballs, and people were throwing them around, with the drinks still inside! The four of us met up with Jodi, Paul’s cousin who lives in Vegas and Norit, Paul’s college roomate’s younger sister, whom he has known since she was 8. It was her 30th birthday, coincidentally, and she chose to celebrate it with us. Dinner at the 4 Queens was great. I had veal medallions in a creamy mustard sauce. Norit, who is a strict vegan, had to console herself with salad. Norit is quite cute and Matt was smitten, providing most of the entertainment as the Uber Meat Eating Republican, tried to get the attention of the anti-meat PETA member Norit. Sparks flew and tensions rose as they argued over who was at the top of the food chain, but a round of dirty jokes eased the tension. In the midst of all this, a nice nugget came out. Norit, leaned over to Paul and said, “Pooh, pass the salt please”. Pooh? Had I heard that right? Questions were asked and answered and it turns out that an old bright orange Florida Gator sweatshirt had engendered the nickname of Pooh for Paul and it had stuck with Norit. Giggles were the order of the day.

After dinner, we played some more at Binions and then, at 3AM, tried to hit the Rio for a very late night session. But when we got there, the room only had two tables going and they were full. Oh well, off to bed we went.

Sunday was more reservered. We got up late and cruised some of the hotels, playing at Bellagio, Venetian and Mirage. The Venetian, by far, has the best poker room I’ve ever been in. The ceilings are 30 feet high, the tables are spaced out so there is more than 6 feet between each one, the seats are luxurious and the cocktail waitresses are smoooking hot! It was a perfect experience. Sunday dinner consisted of a table side meal for me and we played well into the night, ending our session at the Mirage at 5AM. We got back to the Stratosphere are played Pai-Gow for another hour, not able to fully let our Vegas experience come to an end. But come to an end it must and we got up the next day intent on making our travel as painless as possible.

We drove together to the airport, Paul, Matt and I and got on our separate planes. Sigh…. Vegas, you are my secret lover and I will be back to rape, or be raped by, you again.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

The criminal element rears its ugly head

I went out with John last night to Good Look AND Salami, mostly as a test to myself to see if I was feeling up to it. I have to say that I acquitted myself fairly well. I feel awful this morning, of course, but that’s a different story.

Good Look was first and I donked off $45 in the first three hands. I came into the game under the gun with 99 and I limped in. I had to call a preflop raise to $12 but the flop missed me. Next hand was A9 in the BB and again the flop missed. Then came AK in the small blind. I even raised this time, but to no avail. Things floated along until I had Ah9h in late-ish position, which I raised aggressively to $15 when everyone limped. A loose, aggressive player on the button called me. The flop missed me totally, with Q83 rainbow. I didn’t hesitate and fired out another $25. He called. The turn was a 4, which made 2 clubs on the board. I slowed down and checked and he bet $20. It was suspicious and I should have moved all in there, but I just called it. The river was 9c, making me the second best pair on the board. There were three clubs on the board but I wasn’t worried about that at all. If he had had a Queen, I was confident he would have raised me earlier. I moved all in for my remaining $40 and he insta-called with JT for the inside straight! He had called all my bets all the way down and he hit his stinking 2 outer for the straight. Oh well. I reloaded for $200 and went back to work.

An hour later, after getting mostly nothing, I got AA in middle position. After a few limps, I raised to $10, hoping to knock a few people out, but nearly everyone called. The flop was Jd/8d/Jh. A scary board. My loose aggressive opponent from last hand checked and the big blind bet $15. I figured him for the 8 and when it folded around to me I called. The dealer nearly turned the next card but Mr. Loose and Aggressive said “Wait a second, I’m still in!”. He check-raised in the small blind another $50. The initial bettor folded, confirming my instinct he had the 8. It was possible this guy was slowplaying trip Jacks, but his previous betting patterns suggested he had either a big draw (I guessed diamonds) or a big 8 (A8 or K8). I had weakly called the $15 so either hand from him and a big bet was liable to knock me out. I had a choice here. Fold or all in. I thought about for at least 60 seconds and finally decided to trust my read on his patterns. I went all in. He called the remaining $50 or so and didn’t turn over his cards. This made me feel better since I knew he was on a draw now. The turn was a King and the river was an Ace. He shouted, “Ship it! I’ve got a straight”, but he never showed it. I flipped over my Aces for the second nuts, Aces full of Jacks. He mucked and stormed off to rebuy. That pot put me up about $45 for my session. It was the last time I would see profit tonight.

John and I left at around 10PM with John up $150 or so and me about even. We hopped a cab to Salami, where the 5/10 game was going in full swing. Our names went up on the board for the 1-2 table, we ordered 2 plates of pasta from Ricardo and we settled into our familiar surroundings. It was only 10 minutes before 2 seats opened up. John and I bought in and started scouting the table. Dominick was there, along with Elias and some aggressive guy named Brice who was playing table captain. I sat tight for a while and couldn’t make anything happen until I got JT in middle position. John raised it up pre-flop and I called along with a few others. Flop was 893. I had flopped the open ended straight draw with two over cards and I knew I wasn’t going anywhere. I checked and another caller bet out. John made a big re-raise and I called, knowing that if the other guy folded I would be able to check it down with John. If he *did* call, I would be getting the right pot odds for my draw. He did make the call and the turn was a 9. All my money went in at that point and the river was a T. I have some hope that my top pair would take it, but John had KK and scooped the pot. I didn’t feel too badly about that one. The next big hand was when I had AK and flopped A33. All of my money, plus two other players went in and the turn and river brought blanks. The initial raiser turned AQ, I turned AK and the other guy had Qs5s but had rivered his flush. Grrrr…. There was $600 in that pot and I needed that money. I reloaded yet again but walked away even on that rebuy when we left.

The best hand of the night was when John had QQ and popped it to $20 pre-flop. He got raised, re-raised and raised again to $500 by the time action came back to him. Looking at 3 raises in front of his QQ, John WISELY laid down his hand. All three players went all in with big stacks and showed. JJ, AK and KQ (huh?). The Queens would have held up, as it turns out, and Brice scooped a $2000 pot! John kicked himself, but I hope he is content with what is a good laydown in the long run.

About 20 minutes before we were going to leave, a scary incident occurred. A new guy walked in the door and 3 minutes later was nearly in a fist fight with a guy at the 5-10 table. He and the guy at the table evidently owed each other money. How much and who owed who was the dispute but the numbers being yelled were in the neighborhood of 10-15 thousand. I’m not a thug or anything, but I’m street smart enough to know that that kind of money gets people killed sometimes. So when the guy at the table stood up, and his pants promptly fell down around his feet, it added a moment of levity to an otherwise scary situation. But the guy simply pulled his pants up and continuted shouting. Elias got in the middle and broke them up but the guy at the table, who kept calling the other guy a cocksucker (he was the bookie in this relationship), said he was going to come back in 15 minutes and ‘settle this’. In gangster code, that means he was going to come back with a gun and kill the other guy, and maybe me too! John and I looked at each other and the message was clear. Let’s get the fuck out of here! True to our nature though, we played for another 30 minutes before leaving. Maybe not the best decision in hindsight, but my adrenalin is still pumping this morning!

Monday, March 12, 2007

Can you really lose if you haven't even been dealt a hand?

I got back from Florida last week and I was excited. Why? Because Karol, from the Crackhouse game in Brooklyn, had told me there was going to be a big happening in Atlantic City that she was going to along with some other poker bloggers from the East Coast. In addition, she turned me on to a great way to get a cheap room on a tough weekend….EBAY! The Fairfield Resorts is a timeshare hotel next to the Taj and owners often sell their weekends on Ebay. With Karol’s help, I was able to land a full weekend for only $301. That’s an excellent price for a suite with a balcony.

I was all excited to go when tragedy struck me. Even though I had been sick all President’s day weekend 2 weeks before, I woke up Friday with a sore throat and by 1:30 PM I was too sick to even stay at work. I went home and got under the covers hoping I’d be good enough to at least take a bus later on. No such luck. I woke up at 7:30AM the next morning thinking I might still make a weekend out of it. But when I stood up, the familiar weakness hit my legs and I was dizzy. Back into bed I go. I juiced up with O.J. and popped Vitamin C but to no avail. Saturday Night came and went and I had to pass on multiple poker opportunties. Meanwhile, my non-refundable hotel room languished and my $301 was a complete loss. I didn't make it down on Sunday either, figuring that I shouldn't take the chance with my Vegas trip just around the corner this week.

And that’s how you lose $301 at poker without being dealt a hand.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Florida vacation - poker recap

I’m down in Florida this week visiting my parents, and of course I’m playing tons of poker. The game is a little different down here, but there’s not much choice seeing as how that’s all that’s available. The only Hold’Em games offered in South Florida are No Limit tournaments (both multi-table and sit n’ go’s) and limit game of 1-2, 2-2 or 2-2 with a $2 ante. The low limit games are nicknamed ‘Bingo’ by the locals because it’s impossible to get anybody out of the pot. The game makes for a relaxing past-time because you can’t win or lose much and you get to play a lot of pots. I like to use the opportunity to hone my poker skills by trying to read players and their hands as much as possible. In the past 6 days, I’ve played about 17 hours of poker and I’m up about $240, which is pretty decent, but that’s a single hand at Salami. Still, I’m having fun and improving my play. The best part about the game is that since everyone predictably stays in for their draws, usually correctly, it’s easy to know when your hand is good. AND, the donkey players down here will call you down, or even raise you, when it’s obvious to any skilled player that they’re beat. Case in point, I have Jc5c in late position and I limp along with about 9 other players. The flop brings two clubs and someone bets out. I raise with my high club draw and everyone calls. The turn is a club. Here’s where it gets fun. The same person bets out and I raise, making it obvious I have the flush since I’m not scared of the third club. I even tell people I have it since I don’t want a 4th club to come and kill my hand. EVERYONE calls anyway! There is now a monster pot. The river is a blank but it puts a straight on the board for anyone who has a 6. An old woman who has been limping the whole way LEADS OUT THE BETTING!!! I raise, everyone else folds and she re-raises. Normally I’d put her on a slow-played nut flush but I’ve seen her do this on other hands when she has bottom pair or low two pair. So I raise, she re-raises and I cap it. She calls and shows the 6 for the straight. I almost, emphasis on the almost, feel sorry raking in her money. Another example, I have AA under the gun and raise. Everyone calls, of course, and I get an A on the flop. I bet, everyone calls and another A comes on the turn. I bet out, most people call and the river is insignificant to me. I bet out and everyone calls. The best hand is Aces and Kings with an 8 kicker. My quads crushes them of course. There wasn’t even a flush draw on board. Why are they calling with two Aces on board into a raiser?!?

Anyhow, I didn’t play a tournament all weekend until tonight. The tourney is a $65 buyin with a $5 addon to give you and extra 500 chips. You get $2500 total with the $5 and the blinds are 20 minutes long and start at 25/50, so it’s a good schedule. I play super tight and double up in the first blind level when my QQ survives against AK. In fact, I only play 7 hands in the first 90 minutes and win every one. Unfortunately, only two are for big pots and I’m not exactly swimming in chips. At the first break, I have about 6000 in chips and the average stack is 8500 with 85 players left out of an initial 185. Oh, I forgot to mention one other notable thing. Michael “The Grinder” Mizrachi’s mother is playing at my table. The Mizrachi’s come from Hollywood, Florida (Look it up!) and the dealer knew her so her identity is unquestioned. She was a super nice woman and we asked her about her sons (they’re doing great!). She was also the second chip leader at the table and she was aggressive with her big hands. She had one tell though, where she would turn around to see what the big blind was and then bet exactly three times that amount. I knew she only had top pair with a weak kicker when she did that but I never had enough to call her with. Finally my patience paid off. I got TT in middle position. Mrs. Mizrachi, with blinds at 300/600, makes it 3000 to go under the gun. She comments that she had meant to make it 2000 (there’s that 3X the BB again!) and I had to make a decision. I only had 4900 and I was going to hit the blinds in a few hands. I figured it was now or never. If she has me dominated so be it, otherwise it’s going to be a race. I move all in and she calls with AK. Ok, it’s a race. She says, “nice hand”, but I haven’t won yet, of course. Someone comments that they folded a King but I’m waiting to see the flop. The flop is a dream. QQT, rainbow. I flopped a boat! I pump my fist and wait to see the last two cards but I have no fear. The turn is an Ace, but I’m still not frightened. Until the river comes, that is. It’s a Queen! Ouch. She counterfeits my boat with runner, runner and makes Queens full of Aces to my Queens full of Tens. She is very gracious about it and the table groans at the bad beat. Just to give you an idea of how bad, Card Player’s odds calculator gives me a 98.08% chance to win after the flop. Yeesh. I wasn’t upset though. I had played as good as I could and just got a bad break. I went to the cash tables and won back by tournament buyin plus $6. Woohoo!

So I’m up a bit for the week and I had a good time. What more can I want?