Friday, August 31, 2007

A Horse is a Horse, of course

We had our first HORSE rotation cash game last night, and it worked out much better than I expected. And we had some surprise bonuses too. Wendy and Darko, who weren't on the YES list, showed up to the game. Congratulations Wendy ont making your basketball playoffs! Even Carol ended up playing, along with her boyfriend Marcus, fresh in town from Nevada. Marcus is playing in a celebrity tourney sometime in the next few weeks (the perks of former athletic stardom I guess) and he needed to learn how to play! In true WSP tradition, he made money, even if he was playng with profits off of Carol's stack.

The HORSE play (HA) was very enjoyable, but way too short. We only did 40 minute rounds of each game, leading up to a few hours of NL HE. But at the end of the 5th round, Brian asked, "Wait, is that it"? Yeah, that's all for now, but I intend on adding much more limit play and rotation games to our repetoire. It was a refreshing change of pace from NL, and a profitable one at that. For all my ups and downs in NL HE, I'm still a better limit player, when I concentrate and stop screwing around, than I am a no limit player.

The proof was in the pudding as I finished the HORSE rounds up about 85 dollars from a 100 buyin (2/4 limits) and cashed out of the night minus 200 after NL. Not that I played particularly poorly, but I couldn't catch a single draw I was looking for. And these weren't 2 outers either. I was in 3 big pots where I flopped or turned OESD with a 4 card flush draw to go with it. Jesse will vouch for me since I flashed him my cards each time and cried him a river.

I was met with little sympathy.

And there was a little incident which put me on tilt. To wit: I had flopped middle pair on a ragged board of 79Q. Darko and I took turns leading out the flop and turn bets. On the river, I checked and Darko came out with a perfectly sized 18 1/4 pot bet. In fact, it looked so much like a bet begging to be called that I got suspicious that he hadn't missed his draw and was bluffing a "value bet". I picked up my chips and my hand was in the air on the way to the felt when John turned over his card and said, "I have a straight". But my hand hadn't hit the felt yet and I never said "call". So I held my chips back and mucked my pair. But when John revealed his cards, he had an 8 high. I protested that the pot was mine, citing the rule that if a player deliberately misrepresents his hand in a way that makes another person muck, the player who mucks can be awarded the pot. John countered that I hadn't fully called the pot and was therefore not entitled to the benefit of that rule. We ended up chopping, which was a fine solution and that's the end of it.

Except, that I will be forced to completely clarify this rule now that it's been blogged. The former situation is not up for debate since that's history and over with, but in the future....

Please make every attempt to not interfere with a player as they are making an action. Talking about your hand is fine(in heads up cash play only) but talking and action have to stop once a player starts an action. Also, cards speak and we are all experienced enough to know what hands we have. Misrepresentation of hands on showdown, causing another person to muck will be dealt with on a case by case basis by the house. Hopefully though, this situation will never come up again.

Oh yeah, back to my (now tilting) NL play.

A few hands after "the incident", I got big slick suited UTG and raised to 4. About 4 people called and Brian, on the button, put 30 on top. This play could have been interpreted a number of ways. Brian is a very aggressive player and could easily been stealing a bunch of limp calss into a smallish raise. When it got to me, I only had 90 more behind. I figured there was about a 10 percent chance Brian had one of the two hand that crushed me (KK, AA), a 25 percent chance he had Ace witha big kicker (AK,AQ), another 25 percent chance he was stealing a $20 pot with junk, and the remaining chance he had a pair of Queens or lower. So, in my estimation, I had only a 10 percent chance of being dominated and a 90 percent chance of being 50/50 or better (perhaps dominant. Plus, if I made a strong move by moving all in, there was a chance he would fold. It seemed like the right move with a shortish stack, so I pushed. Brian called and showed my 10 percent nightmare, KK. He blessedly let me run the board 3 times and the 3rd run made a straight so I took 1/6 of the pot. I still think I did the right thing.

I reloaded and got rewarded with AhQh. I made it 8 when it got to me and got called by Carol and one or two others. The flop didn't hit me, but it gave me a flush draw. I bet out again and Carol called. No heart. The turn came, no heart. I made the same bet as the flop, and Carol raised 24 on top. There was about 100 in the pot now. I was getting 4-1 to make the call for a river draw that gave me what I thought was 15 outs. It turned out to actually be 12 outs since Carol had a middle pair and also held my Queen, but even 12 outs is the right number to make that call, so I did. And got rewarded with bupkus on the river. Jesse lit into me. LHow could you make that call? If a Queen had come, you would have been killed.". I told him I know bwtter than to overvalue top pair into a raiser. I knew the Queen probably wouldn't have been good. I was hunting for the flush or, maybe, the Ace. He even admonished me for overvaluing my big slick agaist Brian, but Carol defended my call against her, eventually conceding that she hadn't raised enough and I was getting proper odds. Gratifying, yes, but Sklansky dollars does not the rent pay.

It went on like that. Eventually, with 30 left in the last button rotation of the night, I limped with 2c7c, hoping to win at least one pot with the hammer (the last refuge of the desperate). I flopped a club, got a free turn card and saw another club. Marcus, Darko and I did a 3 way all in on the turn and the river produced something not resembling puppy toes. Wendy looked at me from over her huge chip stack, her eyes welling with what appeared to be pity (but was probably straight up condecension) and remarked that I should be mindful that "God hates me". (Sigh).

I am on a bus to AC as I am writing this, the bloodbath of last night far from my thoughts. My spirits are now focused on one thing. King of the Moutain baby! Season 3 begins tonight. The crew is down there now, having gotten off work earlier than I, and I might already be the winner! ;-)

We're going to be trying some low limit Omaha tonight to get our feet wet. I anticipate joy, laughter and a little pain. At least for 20 minutes. After that time, Wendy and Darko, their appetite for bloodlust not sated at limit, will curse the concept of limit and move back to the knife fighting of NL HE.

~So this is Thriller, Thriller night, and no one's gonna save you from the beast about to strike~

Thursday, August 30, 2007

~Raids, raids, go away~

A little red-headed birdie told me that:
1. She cashed in the tourney at the Good Look club and then tried to play in a cash game when an announcement went out that they were about to be raided. She was able to skip out in time, but the bulls were serious this time around.
2. The Extra Big Blind (with an option) club also got similarly hit.
3. The Salami club shut down as a precaution.

Does anyone have any other details? Is this the end of the club scene as we know it? Does anyone know what precipitated this ridiculous action by the police (who don't have better things to think about?)? Was it that right field squirrel at Yankee Stadium last night?

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Run, squirrel, run (non-poker content)

It was 5:30PM yesterday and I had had a particularly brutal day at work. You know, one of those days where there’s a pile of things to do and each one is more important than the next and each different person who gave you those tasks is uncharacteristically snapping at you because the person who gave *them* those tasks is snapping at them? Yeah, one of those. And to top it off, I had to be in work at 7AM the next morning to cover the traders coming in early, so I was looking forward to restful night of doing not much of anything and hitting the sack at 11PM.

Then Carol called me.

When I picked up the phone, she said, “Whatcha doing tonight”? I stammered a bit, because I really didn’t feel like going to the Good Look club that night. But that wasn’t why she was calling. “I have an extra ticket to the Yankee game tonight. You want it?”

God bless you Carol.

After the crappy day I had on Monday, this was just the pickup I needed. It turns out Carol’s friend, Alyssa, has some family tickets and she was giving them out. I don’t know why there was an extra (who drops out of a Yankees-Red Sox game?!?) but I wasn’t about to quibble. I knew I wasn’t going to be able to get out of work until about 6:00 or so, but I managed to make it up to Yankee Stadium at 7:10. I found Carol, and her friends Alyssa and Jill (their friend Sarah showed up later), standing in a row outside the Sports bar near the bowling alley, each one prettier than the next. I tell you, I felt like a billionaire walking in with them. Life can be good sometimes too.

The seats were up in right field and we had a great view of the action, except for the extreme right field corner. Nothing happened there anyway. Carol’s friends are very cool and we had a great time chatting, eating hot dogs, and debating about the best way to get the peanuts up to the top of a bag of Cracker Jacks. There was some good baseball action too. The Red Sox second baseman astounded us with his playmaking abilities and .318 batting average. Jill, who was the token Sox fan, was thrilled to see him turning fantastic double plays, but she was never obnoxious about it when the Sox did well (like when Manny hit a solo HR).

Around the 4th inning, the stadium started to erupt in cheers, from all over, but there was no obvious action on the field. We finally caught on to what was happening when we spotted a squirrel climbing the right field foul pole fence! He had made it about halfway up and the whole stadium was rooting for him to get to the top, which he eventually did. Perched up there precariously for about 3 innings, the squirrel made some feeble attempts to come back down but each time he turned back around and scampered back to his perch. The stadium became very interested in the drama of whether he would ever get back down and it was the best show in town, other than the drama unfolding on the field.

The Yanks were leading 3-2 in the 6th, when Andy Pettite gave up a solo homer to Jason Veritek, tying the game. But Johnny Damon hit a 2 run HR in the next inning, which BARELY cleared the right field fence, to put the Yanks up for good. Jabo Chamberlain came in in the 8th to give middle relief and Rivera put together a fantastic 1-2-3 9th innning to notch the save.

The whole affair was spectacular and mother nature treated us to some of the best baseball weather you could ever hope for in the late summer. I want to thank Carol again for feeling so guilty about not making it to Thursday’s HORSE cash game in her honor that she thought of me first when she had the extra ticket. J

P.S. When we left the stadium, the squirrel was still up on his perch. You can see the squirrel in the New York Times write up of the game:

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Observing Nature (non poker content)

Steve Irwin would have been proud…

As I slithered into work today, walking through the galleria of the World Financial Center, I noticed a particularly attractive specimen of the elusive species (Confusedes Humanes), or "Woman", in common parlance. This species is the feminine counterpart of Gasseous Emmiteous, or "Man", but has a few paculiar habits. Namely, this species has never been known to excrete bodily digestive gasses (verb: "Fart") in the wild. In fact, domesticated species are rarely observed to partake in this bodily function either. So it was with particular interest that the following occurred:

Walking along to my workplace, this fine specimen, with long flowing red hair, a short tight white dress on and sparkling clean white high heel shoes, was walking 5 feet in front of me and 2 feet to my right. I was observing her, purely for scientific reasons of course, when she turned a slight corner. My estimation is that her foot must have planted in such a way as to trigger her stomach muscles to relax suddenly, and when she did, she let out a perfectly loud and perfectly short fart. It was audible at 10 feet, easily. The young lady didn't break stride at all, but simply looked over her shoulder to her left to see if anyone had observed this particularly rare natural occurrence. She saw me and then turned her head and walked towards the nearest exit. My guess is that her face was probably about as red as her hair at that point.

Frankly, I didn't think this was possible to see in nature. And without film evidence, I fear this sighting will be catalogued with the Yeti (or his North American cousin, the Sasquatch) as a case of "still waiting on more proof". But I tell you, my friends, every word of this is true.

One of the worst days I ever had (Very little poker content)

Hmmm, let's think. How bad was today? Well...

1. I had a misunderstanding with a dear friend of mine. We have since, I hope, come to a resolution, but that didn't stop me from being distressed about it all day. Misunderstandings between those who should be friends is an awful thing to endure.

2. But not as bad as what's behind curtain number two. What's that, you ask? Well, do you, my loyal readers, remember how I have been hospitalized twice in the last year with what I thought was Acid Reflux/Gastritis? Well, I got an abdominal ultrasound a week ago and it's results were read to me over the phone by my Gastroenterologist who let me know that Acid Reflux was not the cause. No, it was gall stones. Well, you ask, what's so bad about that? Well, it turns out that for those of us who have symptomatic gall stones (meaning you get attacks like my last two), the most common 'cure' is to REMOVE THE GALL BLADDER!!!! Yes, you heard it here first. Yours truly, after a second and third opinion has been obtained for safety reasons, will most likely have an organ REMOVED FROM HIS BODY. Now it's true, they've done wonders these days with surgery and they won't have to slice me completely open to do this. No, they can do it laproscopically now, which means a few puncture wounds will be made under my right rib cage and tubes and cameras and scalpels and such will be places through them. Also, a puncture wound will be made THROUGH MY BELLY BUTTON, and my gall bladder will be sucked through it!! Holy fuck!!

I spent the rest of the day in a cold flop sweat.

3. But it doesn't end there. Oh no. I called my parents to apprise them of my situation. My dad picked up the phone, and without me even saying a word he launched into his major issue of the day. Namely, that a close family member of mine had been forcibly arrested today by 5 police officers on the charge of Grand Larceny. This person is a saint and has never even stolen a piece of gum, let alone the charges leveled against him. But the charges have been trumped up by the President of his condominium board for which HE served as President in the previous administration. My father was quite distressed and it was only because I was equally distressed about my own situation that I had to even bother my parents with my own details.

4. And finally, I bubbled in my own tourney tonight. Not the biggest deal, I know, but after busting out Wendy AND Carol when my AT rivered a Ten vs. their AJ and AQ, I thought I would be able to ride into the money. However, I was left with a middle stack against Jordan, TripJax and Brian and I simply got outplayed. Jordan raised every blind we were in together and I never really had fighting cards. By the time I had Ah2h in the SB, I raised and got re-raised from TripJax. Finally, I pushed a few times and finally called Jordan's all in with my K8. He had QT. I flopped an 8, but he turned a Queen and I couldn't improve. Jordan and TripJax chopped for the money and TripJax, with a slight lead, took down the tourney. I couldn't play in the first tourney, because Toby had showed up without signing up for the Evite. It was confusing because he had signed up for the second tourney, but not the first (I guess he was confused by all the Evites for the same night) and he ended up taking my seat (Gracious host I am). Anyway, he busted out on the FIRST HAND, when he, with AT, saw a flop of ATJ. Paulie reraised him all in with KQ for the flopped Broadway and it held up. To make matters worse, Toby didn't stay for the second tourney. Bad vibes, I guess. Oh yeah, and I made a good move laying down AhJd in the SB in the second tourney when UTG raised big and got a call from MP. I flashed Carol the cards and said, "How's that for a laydown"? No sooner had I said it then the flop came, KdQdTd. Oh yeah, what a laydown....

What a fucktarded day.

Jordan has a good post about the game.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Lazy weekend but pokerlicious

The IHO tourney was Friday. Despite my reputation as being the “rebuy-master” (a dubious but effective honor), I was completely card dead for 3 hours straight. By the time I got to the point where I had to steal blinds to even survive, I had 7d8d in the BB and it checked all the way around to Dawn, our illustrious host. Well, suited connectors seems like a good time to push, so I did and got insta-called by QQ. Damn you Dawn! I will crush you….someday. So I was out, but the camaraderie at the table was too strong for me to just leave. I dealt for a while and then, when Dawn finally busted out (an inevitability, HAH!), she suggested we play heads up Stud/8. Why Stud/8? Because that’s the game she sucks out on best! We played on the balcony in pitch blackness (uh, get a light Dawn) and true to her reputation she sucked out on me for half my starting $20 stack. I will defeat her in SOMETHING one of these days. Maybe she’ll agree to an archery tournament? Nah, she’ll probably end up being a former state champion or something. Oh, I played cash afterwards but my heart wasn’t in it. The blinds were only .25/.50 with $25 max buyin, so I promptly played around with two buyins and lost them in spectacularly bad fashion. Granted, I got KK on the very first hand and let T8 limp in. He flopped top two and turned the boat. Goodbye first buyin!

Even though I really didn’t want to wake up late this weekend, I woke up at noon and puttered around the house relaxing. Carol had mentioned she might want to go to AC at 4PM, but when that time came and went, I wasn’t feeling it. I was firmly ensconced on the couch, watching Man of the Year (interesting premise but not good) when I got an email from Darko at 6PM. He asked simply, “Are you coming to AC tonight”? I texted him back that I probably wasn’t but if he was going I just might. But when I called him to see what was up, he was ON THE BUS ALREADY! 30 minutes out of the city!! WTF?!?! Thx for the heads up, moron-boy. I got the last laugh though, because an hour later, Carol called me and asked me to meet her at the Good Look club.

“Uh, aren’t you in AC”?
“Nope, I didn’t feel like going”

So Darko went down, possibly alone. Sweet justice prevails. :-p

I met Carol at Good Look and the place was…dead. There were only 5 tables going. One Omaha/8, One 2/5 NL and Three ½ NL. Carol was already there tearing up the Omaha table. She makes a great table presence because she’s fun, talkative, easy on the eyes and a great player. Oh, there I go gushing again.

I sat at the ½ table and promptly called the list of people who might join us at 8:00 PM on a Saturday. Only Wendy (The Hurricane) made the trek. My table was good for my purposes. I knew some of the players and all of the loose ones (save one) were on my right. There were a few new faces and I made sure I played slowly so I could read the texture of the play. It was mostly a limping table with some pretty strong moves post-flop. Perfect for what I like to play. Of course, it would be nice if the cards cooperated. I did make about $70 on a hand early on when my KdTd hit top pair on a ragged board. I bet the flop and the turn and was check called each time by a strange looking guy in seat 6. On the river, I checked when a 3rd club hit the board. It was runner, runner to make the clubs so I didn’t think he had it but I was curious why he kept calling my increasingly stronger bets. Was he slowplaying a set? I only had top pair by the time it was over so I didn’t feel like losing too much. He bet the river, $20 into a $120 pot! Are you kidding me? There was no way I wasn’t calling that with top pair. I called and he turned up As8s. He hit the 8 on the flop but never improved. I filed away his actions for future reference (check call all the way and fire out on the river). I got your number buddy.

So I was up a bit and it gave me ammunition to at least see a few flops with a pre-flop raise. I did just that with some medium pocket pairs but could never connect post flop. Then, after I had lost a pot after making a raise with AK, I got QQ in the very next hand. I HATE getting big hands two hands in a row. My issue is that if you raise preflop twice in a row, you’ll probably be believed and not get any action. Yeah, maybe somebody will put you on a steam raise, but that doesn’t happen, in my experience, as often as people believe. Usually, people just fold to you. So I decided to mix up my betting pattern and limp with the Queens. I even limp-called to a raise to $12. A mistake, I know, but QQ is too easily beaten. I’d rather see the flop and check out the action. The flop was a craptacular K99, with two clubs. I had two red Queens. Ok, right now I had crap. What I *did* have though, was good position in the cutoff. When it checked around to me, I put out a $25 feeler and got one caller, Mr. Strange who was two to my left. Aha! Now I’m gonna get paid? I hoped. The turn was a rag. He checked. I bet another $25. At this point, I put him on a flush draw. The river was a beautiful Qc, giving me Queens full of 9’s and completing both a flush draw AND a straight draw. If I was lucky enough, he might even have a 9 that he’s slowplaying. So when he checked to me, I bet out $35 into a pot of about $150. He mucked! What?!? Why did he donk off $50? What was he calling with? It’s a mystery for the ages…

So now I was up again. And then I was down and then I was up. But never by more than $75 or so. It was a long session where nothing really happened. And then it happened. I had KdTd (again) in the cutoff (again). I raised to $10 when it limped to me and I got 4 callers. The flop was a very awful AcTc4c. Yeah, I got middle pair with best kicker but there were too many ways I could be beaten here. It checked to me and I put out another feeler type bet of $25. I got one caller from the one loose-aggressive guy to my left. A sidenote here about players. Generally, guys who have prominent tattoos are looser and more aggressive and more willing to bluff than other guys. Add to that a pack of cigarettes in front of him on the table, and an unlit cig in his mouth and you’re talking about a natural bad-ass. Now, back to the action. The turn was a rag and I said, “Same bet”. He called. At this point, I bet the same amount since I’m trying to control the bets. I’m hoping to improve as cheaply as possible. If I check on the turn instead of betting, I’m inviting *him* to take control of the action and he could easily bet me off this hand. Now that he’s called twice in a row though, my hackles go up. The river is a blank and I check, figuring he either has it or he doesn’t. Then I notice something interesting. In previous hands, when he’s given up a hand that was obviously tough to lay down, he would grip his cards very tightly while making his agonizing fold. This time, he started to grip his cards but then put them down and went to his chips. He very thoughtfully carved out $85 and bet it. He did this in a longer span of time than he usually bet. So now it was $85 to me, which was about 90% of my remaining stack. I thought about all the information and tried to figure out what would make a guy check call two bets and then fire on the river (like Mr. Strange, except this guy was a better player). I decided that a flush draw would do it. Trusting my instinct, I made the call and heard the sweetest sounding two words in poker, “Nice Call”. He showed Kc5d for the busted nut draw. I showed my middle pair and got immediate respect from the players around me. That felt almost as good as raking in that pot and doubling up my $180 buyin.
It was 12:30am at that point and I decided to play my courtesy hand and leave with my profit. I did stay long enough to watch Wendy double up when she flopped bottom set with 99 and a board of KQ9. Her opponent moved all in on her big raise and she called. He had JT for the flopped straight, but the board turned a K and she boated up for the win. Yay Wendy! Carol also texted me to tell me she was doing well at Omaha/8, at 8:30 in the morning!!! I feel sooo inferior.

Sunday morning, even though I got to bed at around 2AM, I managed to wake up at 3PM! Wow, what a sleep. I haven’t had that kind of sleep in a while. I hope it lasts through the week. J

Friday, August 24, 2007

Bad blogger! Lazy blogger!

I admonish myself.

The last few days have been full of poker, but no details have been posted to you loyal readers. That could be because I played so much damn poker that I haven't had time to do a write up! Add to that the fact that my workdays have been insanely busy I couldn't even do the blogging from work. I mean super busy. Like, "wow, I just looked up for the first time today and it's 5:15pm" busy.

So I'll try to give some highlights of the last few days, with the understanding that the details are hazy and scarce.

We had 2 tourneys on Monday, followed by a cash game that went until 3:30AM. I did terribly. The big loser of the night, I lost $200 large on 3 buyins. As Carol said, I wasn't playing poorly, just getting cold-cocked by the deck. A good example...I have QT and the flop comes T74 with two spades. I push with my short stack and get called down by Edwin, a friend of Carol's who is in town for training. He turns up 8s7s. I have him crushed, but I feel I should protect my profit and off to do business. He has no idea what this means but we explain and he grasps the concept immediately. So he accepts and we run it 3 times. I win the first one, he spikes a 7 on the next one and then he goes runner runner for a flush on the 3rd one! Yes, I lost twice while 'protecting' my profit. But at least I made my money last a while. Poor Walnuts got 55 against Carol and the flop was AT5. Carol bet big and Paulie smooth called. The turn was a Ten. All the money went in on both sides and Carol flipped the heartbreaking AT. Yeesh, what a cooler.

Blissful rest

Wed: (Shortened because I can't spell Wed. in full)
The 'Midtown West' game. I have heard whispered tales of this game, run by someone Abbie knows somehow. I was invited a long time ago, but I've never gone because I have enough poker the rest of the week and Wed.'s are 'me-time'. But I felt obligated to at least check it out, so I went. The apt. is on the west side near the Lincoln Tunnel. They normally play out on the roof deck of the building on nice days, but the seats were wet so the game was held in the apartment. Too bad for Abbie though, since the host's cat meant that her allergies wouldn't allow her to sit, so she left. When I showed up, the game was in full swing. Walnuts, in attendance, gave me a knowing nod and I sat down for the full buyin, $50. It was a .50/1 NL game, so the buyin was small but the game played pretty small and it wasn't an issue. Unlike Monday, I couldn't do wrong at the table. I hit sets and got paid off on them. I hit flushes, I hit top two pair. I even hit middle set vs. a bottom set for the biggest pot of the night. In the end, I walked away with $176 profit. Of course, I almost got myself kicked out by knocking over the host's glass of whiskey onto the floor, but we were having such a good time and she was drunk enough not to care. Good thing too, because the glass was from Ireland and if it had broken, wouldn't have been good. Sometime during the night, Andrew walked in and we looked at each other. I never met him before, that I know of, but he looked oddly familiar. I ignored it but 10 minutes later he said, "Jamie, don't I know you from somewhere"? I assumed he had been to the Wall Street game, but he hadn't. Then it hit us, "Hewlett High School"? That's it! Andrew graduated 2 years before me and as we caught up we remembered where we knew each other from. We had both been in the Marching Band (I played cymbals and was in the color guard) and also on the Archery team. Yes, yes, laugh if you must, but I can kill you from 35 yards. We spent a good 30 minutes talking about the various people we knew. It turns out, by the way, that yet ANOTHER Hewlett Grad plays in this game. He was a year ahead of me at Hewlett and I knew him (it's a small school) but he wasn't there that night.

In short, I was up big, I ran into an alumnus and Paul even made some money too. I went home at midnight on the 2/3 train with Paul and Shannon, the host's 19 year old cousin. Paul 'protected' her on the dangerous 2 train all the way to Clark Street, Brooklyn. What a gentleman!

Another Wall Street game. This time, there was a new format at the game. One tourney followed by cash. I have to say it worked out pretty well. Only Toby, from the game the day before, actually dropped out of the cash portion of the night. Everyone else stayed to play cash. Oh, Liezl won the tourney (brilliantly), while Thomas placed second and Stephane placed third.

Cash was wonderful for me. There were 11 people at the table after Darko showed up and we played for about an hour when I doubled up with A9 and the flop came K99. David R., with AK, went the whole way with me. No sooner had I doubled up than Carol and her friend Jesse showed up to play. Oops, not enough room! I dropped out to make room for one of them and then Wendy decided to go running in the meantime. Carol took her seat. Then, Thomas, who had been doing poorly, ended up busting out of two buyins and had to leave before he lost more. Darko left with him, intending to return after they had had a few drinks. So there was room for me to play after all! It took a few minutes more, but I took the spot. Incidentally, Darko provided some fireworks the moment he sat down. On his FIRST hand of his first buyin, he lost his entire buyin of $100 to Vivian. I forget the hand exactly, but Darko didn't show anyway. TWO hands later, he took the same hundred back from Vivian when he got AA and pushed all in after the flop! I told him, if he wanted to buy in for $200, he should have just said so. :-)

So, while Darko and Drama were gone, I availed myself to more of David's chips when he doubled me up again. I had Kc9c and the flop was Ac7c5c. Hello Nizzuts! Now it was just a matter of extracting the most chips possible. This turned out to be easier than I thought because David had also flopped a flush. He never showed me this hand, but I believe him based on the betting. I was accumulating chips at a good pace. Darko and Drama returned an hour later and started splashing around vigorously. Scott St. G. was a benefactor, taking lots of chips off of Darko. Carol, who normally excels in these situations, just wasn't hitting it like she's used to. She got double whammied actually. Not only did she finally get felted (by me. Yay!), but her blog name, BWOP, was the source of much amusement during the night's festivities. 'Nuff said on that subject (It's not for the kiddies). Even Wendy said she wasn't getting cards but she was having such a good time she didn't care.

As for me, let's just say that winning is MUCH more fun than losing. +296 in the cash portion for me erases all my anxieties. I love this game.

There's a Crackhouse tourney tonight that is sure to be a blast, as usual. More fun blogging to come...

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

The Bachelor party that wasn't (Weekend wrap-up)

After my cash at the IHOS 'gimp' tourney on Friday, I shared a cab home with Karol. She is having an insanely good summer. The beach, new clients, clubs, music. She's got it all, no question. But I had a comeuppance, didn't I? I was getting up in a few hours to catch a train out to the Hamptons for my friend Gary's bachelor party. Oh yeah, top that!

A bit of background first. One of my friends is dating someone new. They're *very* cute together and I'm very happy for him. He was going to take her out for a date in the city on Saturday which involved them being able to shower up afterwards (I think they might have gone sailing). Since I'm so close to the Marina, he asked if he could use my place to wash up. Oh, and could I make myself scarce too? Always being one to help out my fellow man, I had arranged for my cleaning woman to come and get the place tidy so they wouldn't be in a pit of squalor. Wouldn't you know it though? My cleaning woman called me Friday afternoon to tell me that she had gotten a food allergy of some sort and wouldn't be able to come until Monday. So instead of getting up at noon and casually getting ready to go out to the Hamptons by about 7PM or so, I woke up earlier to clean up as much of the apartment as I could before my friend showed up at about 1:30.

So here I am, in a frenzy of activity when 1:30 comes and my friend calls me up to say that he is going to the street fair on Water Street with his girlfriend. Do I want to join him? I looked around at the apartment and it looked fairly neat. Not perfect yet, as there was still some dusting to do, but not too bad. The last thing I needed to do was change the sheets on the bed (Hey, I ain't no fool) and I could join them for one of my biggest temptations. Roasted street fair summer corn! Mmmmm.... My taste buds were tingling with delight. I figured I would change the sheets, throw together an overnight bag, meet my friend for some corn and then make my way directly to Penn Station. Oh, I'd better hop online to check the train schedules though. I needed to go out to Mastic-Shirley, which is about an 1hr 45min train ride. I figured that I could take a train around 4:30 or so and get there on time with no issues. Oh lord was I wrong. When I got onto the LIRR web site, I discovered that there was only ONE afternoon train out east!!! The next train wasn't until 7:30 and the next train was in...wait for it...30 minutes! OH CRAP!!!! There was no time to do everything I wanted to do, so I packed the overnight bag (quickly) and hurried out the door, intending to phone my friend on the way with an explanation (and directions to where to find his clean sheets). As I opened the door to leave, I nearly crashed in Alex, the maintenance guy who had come to fix my bedroom air conditioner unit. I pointed to the bedroom, told him to let himself out when he was done and flew downstairs to the train. On the way, I called my friend and offered my hurried apologies. Oh shit, oh shit, oh shit... Only 26 minutes until the train left Penn Station.

Of course, I missed the uptown 2 train by about three steps, but there was one right behind it. The MTA runs the red line locally on weekends and I sweated the whole trip but somehow made it to Penn with about 3 minutes to spare. Just enough time for me to run to the platform, get my ticket and get on board just as the doors were closing. Whew! The trip was uneventful, I even napped a bit while also getting some reading done (Harry Potter, thank you very much). I met Gary's cousin Aletia at the train station and she drove me to her home. Since the train got in much earlier than anyone had anticipated, there was nothing we could do but wait until 7PM, when everyone was supposed to get together. I figured we would hang in her place and watch TV or something. I was even holding out hope of being able to do some more napping, but Aletia had other plans. She wanted to make a peach cobbler for dinner and could I peel and slice the peaches? I sprang into action, handling the paring knife with even more expertise than I had expected given that I haven't done anything remotely resembling cooking in nearly two years. With the peaches expertly peeled and chopped, the cobbler went into the oven and we took a trip to the supermarket for some more 'party' stuff. Beer, cheese, crackers, etc.... Good times. :-) By the time we got back, the cobbler was done and it was time to go. We packed up the goods and made our way on the road for the 25 minute drive out to East Quogue where Aletia's brother lives. Her brother, Tony, lives in a beautiful house with a beautiful plot of land and beautiful children and a beautiful wife and beautiful pets in a beautiful part of town. I was almost sick with envy. My measly 700 Sqft apt., as cool as it is, is only cool in comparison to others 500 sqft. apts. And that kind of Schadenfraude, I can do without.

Tony and his wife were completely gracious to us and we hung out and waited for Gary and his fiancé Karen to show up. Actually, I was looking around at the place and expecting more people to be there. "When is everyone coming?," I asked. "Uh, it's just the 6 of us.," was the reply. Really 6 people for a bachelor party and the fiancé is here too!!! To be fair, Gary and Karen live in Boston so if he's going to make the trip, they might as well visit family while they're at it. Ok, so it's a nontraditional bachelor party (no boobies I expected), I can still enjoy myself. When Gary and Karen showed up, we made our way onto the deck and had an incredible meal. Aletia's tortellini salad was not to be believed. We chatted amiably and I even threw out some good jokes. Thanks Dawn for the 'black' joke. It went over huge.

Oh, for those of you who don't know the 'black' joke, here it is in all it's glory:

Question: "What do you call a black guy who drives a plane?"

{Stunned silence from the audience who are now giving you looks that would make a Nazi feel politically incorrect)

Answer: "The pilot, you racist"

{Howls of laughter when the audience realizes their own prejudices have been turned on them}

So after some good natured stories and jokes, we made our way on the road for some Hampton-style partying. Bar after bar we went to, doing shots, drinking longnecks and generally having a good time. I don't remember too much other than that I should really think about making the trip out there more often. The women in the Hamptons are HOT! Yes, they're trashy hot, but every bar we went to was populated with at least a dozen head turners. Great great eye candy. Gary was on his best behavior, of course....

When the night was over, in the wee hours, we went back to Tony and Laura's to crash. The kids were away and I was given the choice of sleeping in the son's room or the daughter's room. Hmmm...I'll go with the son's room. I was led to a bedroom near the kitchen and I flipped on the light. Shock hit me in the face. Tony's son sleeps on a race car bed. With Spiderman sheets. I imagined myself sleeping peacefully and Gary sneaking in in the middle of the night and snapping a picture. Said picture would find it's way on the internet and my dreams of becoming President of the United States would vanish in a flash.

Uh, I guess that means I'm sleeping in the girls room. While she did have a normal bed, it probably isn't any less embarrassing being surrounded by posters of various Disney Princesses with everything tinged with glitter. Luckily, Gary was too tired to take any incriminating photographs....

The morning was a hurried affair, with everyone up way too early for Sunday. Breakfast was done in exactly the wonderful country manner you'd expect from a woman who dreams of retiring one day to run a B&B. Perfectly made scrambled eggs with fresh bacon and English muffins along with coffee and OJ. Too bad we had only 20 minutes to wolf it all down before Tony had to go to work, Gary had to get his ferry back to Boston and I had to be at the LIRR. But everyone made it on time. When I got back home, I flopped on my couch and promptly set about wasting the rest of the day napping and chilling out. It had been a frenetic few days and I needed to detox. Until next week that is...

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Smoking at the Crackhouse

Dawn is gimpy these days. Some sort of foot surgery. So to make her feel better, she invited everyone over for an impromptu tourney at the Crackhouse. It was an interesting format. Sort of, make the rules up as you go along. Blinds were 25 minutes long and they went up at a relatively slow pace. In addition, you were allowed two re-buys if you were felted. In attendance were Karol, Dawn, Mary, Alceste, Ari, Chugarte and his wife and some new players I never met before, Kerns and Woody. Woody is from Dawn's Scrabble club and he talked to himself a little too much. I was frightened. Joining us later on was Karol's brother and two of his friends. Given that everyone was allowed 3 total buyins ($10 each; friendly), the pot eventually grew to $270.
At the start of the game, around 8:30, I immediately donked of a whole bunch of chips (all of them) to Alceste when I got QQ in relatively late position. The blinds were 25/50 (first level) and there was a pre-flop raise to 175, which 4 people called! So instead of raising, I called hoping to see a flop. Yes, I should have thinned the field, but I was hoping, with so many callers, that there were so many Aces and Kings out there that the board would miss everyone. Alcests ended up raising for me to my left. He made it $1000 to go. Everyone folded (uh, ok) and I called, eliciting 'ooohs' from the gallery. The flop was TJK, rainbow. I moved all in. My line of thinking here was that I had flopped the OESD and I might very well be winning against a middle pair. In all liklihood, though, I knew Alceste probably had a good piece of that, but if he only had AK, I might be able to convince him I flopped a set. No such luck. He squirmed a bit, but called with AK in his hand. I had 9 outs to improve here, but none of them came and I called out for my first rebuy.
My second stack didn't fare much better than my first stack. I bluffed off a bunch of chips with AJ. My board didn't connect but Kerns called my huge bets with 9c5c when he connected on the 9 high board. I didn't improve and I was down to my last 600 of that buyin. I managed to scrape together about 1300 when I got felted by Karol. I had A7o in the BB and it folded all the way around to Ari, who flat called. Karol completed and I checked my option. The flop was A95. I didn't know if I was the only one with the Ace, but the action certainly suggested it. But just to make sure, when Karol checked the flop, I checked too and Ari fingered her chips but checked. Ok, I think I'm good here. The turn was a 6, giving me a gutshot as well as top pair. Karol checked again and I bet 600. Ari folded and Karol says, "all in". I assume she's coming over the top on me in an attempt to get me to lay down. Are you kidding me? I call, you thief! I turn over my top pair and she...turns over A9! She limped in the SB with A9 and then slowplays me to perfect when she flopped top two!!! I berate you Karol!! I didn't hit my gutshot and I was felted. REBUY on table 1!!!
I promised myself I would play my last rebuy tighter, not that I was really loose with the others, but I obviously pushed in places I might not normally have because I had the luxury of coming in again for only $10. In late position, in my 3rd hand of the 3rd rebuy, I look down at 3s4s. Everyone limps around to me (maybe 4 callers) and I inexplicably put in money with the small suited connectors. Thankfully, no one raises and there are a lot of callers so it's a juicy pot already. The flop is nearly as good as it gets for me, 348, rainbow. When it limps to me, I bet out a 3/4 pot bet. Alceste calls and then Chugarte's wife goes all in! In my mind, I'm assuming at least one of them hit a set (probably 8's), but I can't lay down 2 pair. I'm just not that tight tonight. I move all in and Alceste agonizingly (but correctly) folds his middle pair. Chugarte's wife (sorry, I forgot your name so this is what I'm calling you), turns over a pair of 9's and I flip over my monster. Now, it's true that she has some outs but she basically needs a 9 or an 8 or runner runner pair on the board to counterfeit me. The turn is harmless and I sweat the river but it's a 4. Chugarte's wife protests when the chips are pushed to me ("I have 9's and 4's") but we point out that I have a full house and all is well in the world. Just like that, I triple up and I'm a force at the table. I have a few more big hands until I'm actually the chip leader in the middle of the tourney. As time wore on, and more buyins came into the tourney though, I wasn't able to grow my stack anymore and Mary and Karol started accumulating chips at an alarming rate. I got a big opportunity to jump out in front though, but lady liuck cursed me. I had AJ in the BB and it limped all around. I *hate* raising from the BB, unless I have AA or KK. You're out of position and very vulnerable to a slowplay from seats 3, 4 and 5. Sometimes, with moderate hands like AQ, AJ, QQ or JJ, I might throw in a small raise just to sweeten the pot, but that's in cash games. In tourneys, I want to see the texture of the board. How's this flop then? JJ8? I flopped trip Jacks with the best kicker. It limps around to Chugarte who stabs at the pot with a half pot bet. Folds all around to Ari, who raises about 2000. I have the 3rd nuts right now, so I'm confident that Ari has a Jack, but not the boat. Her raise tells me she doesn't have the nuts (I hope). I move all in at this point. Chugarte folds, Ari calls and she shows QJ. I show my monster and she says, "I *knew* someone was going to have AJ". The turn is a King and the river is...a Queen! Ouch, she hits her three outer and severly dents my stack. Nothing I can do there. I still have about 6500 in chips left, and I have to play them tight or I have no chance whatsoever.
I start folding hands until, in the big blind, I get AK. I have about 4100 in chips left at this point. One of Karol's borther's friends moves all in over a limped bet. Dawn moves all in with a shorter stack. I move all in. We all show down and Karol's brother's friend has QQ, I have AK and Dawn has A4s. It's looking like about a 60/40 draw for me, on the 40 side. The flop is harmless but the turn is an Ace and my hand holds up to take the whole thing! Just like that, I'm back in the game. There are 5 players left at this point, Mary, Karol, Chugarte, Alceste and myself. I'm in a comfortable 3rd place, with the top 3 players playing, but the blinds are whipping around fast and at 300/600, they're eating us up quickly. Alceste, on the short stack, is turning into a "push monkey" (Dawn's phrase) and I know he's gonna get caught eventually. He does, and he goes out in 5th place. So now it's me, Karol, Mary and Chugarte. Chugarte has a very low stack and I'm just waiting for him to bubble so I can make a run at improving over 3rd place. Well, I get A3 in the BB and when it limps to me, I check. The flop comes K32. No one bets. The turn is a K. Karol bets out at it and I contemplate what's going on. I probably have the best hand here, BUT Chugarte is very small stacked. If I donk off chips to Karol, *I* might be the one to bubble! That would suck. So I fold, showing the 3. Karol smiles because she knows she put me off a hand with nothing (Queen high she said and I believe her). But I'm playing the passive game, not trying to mix it up with the big stacks (scared money anyone?). So I'm happy that on the next hand, Karol limps on the button and Chugarte calls in the BB. The flop is 57Q. Chugarte, first to act, moves all in. Karol insta-calls and says, "I have Aces". She does indeed and Chugarte slumps in his chair, not even turning over his cards. His wife deals the turn, a blank and then the river, which catches air and flips upside down on the table. "Was that a six?" asks Chugarte. How silly, how could a six help him I'm thinking. I'm in the money now. Why isn't he leaving?!?! The river is indeed a six and Chugarte exposes his hole cards, 34o! He bluffed the flop but ended up hitting his gutshot for the straight! NO!!!! I'm not in the money. Dawn is in the corner cackling at the turn of events.
A few hands later, the big stacks mixed it up when Mary, in first place, doubles up Karol of all people! The action had all been pushed preflop with Karol eventually moving all in with AKo and Mary agonizingly calling with AQs. A King flopped and Mary lost most of her chips, putting her into an improbably low 4th place. I did the honors of finishing her off when I called her all in of 4300 with my QdJd. I was in the big blind and already comitted to 1000 of the pot. She had A6 and I flopped a Queen. Syonara Mary. Sorry it had to end like this. So now I was in 3nd place, nearly tied with Chugarte, with Karol in a strong 1st. Play went back and forth for a few minutes when I made a raise UTG with A7o. Chugarte came over the top on me for an extra 2500 and Karol folded. He had made this play on me twice before and both times I held similar hands which I folded. But this time, I studied his body language. Unlike the last few times, he was not relaxed. He started breathing heavier and stared straight ahead, not moving an inch and refusing to make eye contact with me. I remembered my Caro, and this is the classic sign of a guy who DOESN'T want you to call. So I trusted my read and came over the top all in on him. This would just about put him all in if he called as it was another 6500. He looked somewhat defeated, but called, showing A6! I was very happy to show my A7. True, we would probably chop the pot, but I made the right play and I was happy with that. The flop was KT8. The turn was a wonderful looking 7, giving me nearly a lock to go to second place. Oh, but the river, cruel river, was a 9, completing the gutshot straight AGAIN for Chugarte! It stung, but I was happy to take 20% of the winnings.
Chugarte's wife, who had busted out long ago and was kind enough to deal, didn't seem happy that he won the hand. She had been looking to go home for a long time now and had been making it clear. So when Karol refused an offer to chop for less than 50/50, the mood at the table was tense and fraught with possibilities. Karol was badly outchipped at this point, but she ended up doubling through a few hands later. Karol, being a heads up specialist, isn't likely to chop when she's ahead, but the pressure of marital strife laid out bare in front of her finally convinced her to give it up. Congrats to Karol and Chugarte! And little old me...
One last point I want to relay about friendship and being good people. Karol and Dawn slaved over a hot oven to bake me a birthday cake, which they presented at the first break. It was a sad looking sheet cake, with frosting glopped on in a haphazard way. But to my eyes, it was the greatest cake I had ever seen. Just to know that someone thought enough of me to take time out of their day to actually make ME something, is a memory I will never ever forget for the rest of my life. I'm awed and humbled to know the IHadOuts girls. They are the cream of New York poker.

Friday, August 17, 2007

I give a get (but would rather take a 'sedagive')

Yesterday was a ridiculously packed day. Way too much activity for most normal humans and I'm feeling it today. So what happened? Hmmmm...Let's think back....

I woke up early and got to work at 7:45AM to take the morning shift at my office. I wasn't supposed to come in early this week, but my co-worker has been sick the entire week (on *his* week to take the early shift!). Very suspicious, I know. Anyhow, I worked diligently until 12:55PM, when I was going to go downstairs to take a ferry to Jersey City to scout out an apartment I had seen on Craigslist (for buying). The ferry was leaving the dock at 1:07PM so I had to boogie out immediately or else I might be late. The realtor had already called to ask me to move the appointment to 2:00PM and I said no because my day was too full. So, if I missed the appointment, I would look like a major league asshole (as opposed to a minor league asshole prospect). That's why Sarah called me just at that moment to confirm our 4:00PM appointment (details to follow). I told her I only had a minute or else I might miss my ferry which was a mistake. The questions started coming, "Ferry? What? Where are you going? Why are you taking a ferry? What for? what are you doing?". I gave quick one word answers and promised I'd explain later and then hung up and ran to the ferry terminal. The NY Waterway ferry terminal is located a few hundred yards away from my building, but getting out of the building is a long ordeal because it's such a huge complex. BUt I made it with a few minutes to spare.

The trip over to Jersey City is only a 5 minute ferry ride that's quite pleasant. The river was a bit choppy and the breeze felt very nice. We pulled into port and I pulled out a map to see how far I was from the apartment on 106 Grand Street. I was happy to discover that it was only a 5 minute walk away. At that very moment, the clouds, which had been darkening and thickening, started to let a little precipitation down. Not a lot, just enough to let you know that the sky might open up later on.

Your ex-wife nearly keeping you from a real estate appointment: $4.50
The apartment itself being in prime commuting location: $10.75
Me without my umbrella as it starts to rain?: Priceless

I stayed as much under the trees during my quick walk to the aparment in order to stay as dry as possible. Finally, the agent pulled up in her car and waved to me. She found parking and we started up the stairs together. The apartment owner met us at the door with her baby boy (about 5 months old) and her little dog. I thought it was strange that she would bring her dog AND baby down but as she started to make her way outside, I realized she must be taking the dog for a walk. But I would be wrong. She said, "Nice to meet you. I'll wait in the car." What?!?! She's going to sit in her car while a strange guy and a real estate agent romp through her house? I can understand taking the baby with you, but what's the point of taking the dog?!? Very confusing...

The apartment itself is in a brownstone building that only had 4 units in it, one per floor. This was the top floor unit. As you can imagine, there was no elevator, but it was only two flights on some rickety stairs (the building is very old) to get to the top. Why only two flights? Because Apartment 1 is on the ground floor, Apartment 2 is on the main level when you come up the brownstone steps and the other two apartments are tow levels up from that. I normally wouldn't do a walkup (even 2 stories) but I assumed there would be roof access since it was the top floor. A big fat NO on that one! So I focused on the apartment itself. At first glance it wasn't too bad. It's not a big place (700 SQ FT), but it's laid out nicely. An open kitchen layout leads to a small dining area which leads to the living room area all in one long room with only a slight abutment of an archway to separate any of the rooms. The living room is walled up on the left side to make room for a second bedroom, which is being used as a nursery. I say 'bedroom' but I really mean a very small study area. I asked about the possibility of removing all of the inner walls and the agent didn't know anything about that. She ask the owners later and was informed the walls were's load bearing. Of course, I immediately went about figuring out where to put the poker table! I regret to say that the aparmtent is only 10 feet wide, and not conducive for the kind of poker parties I'm going to require! The bathroom was renovated two years ago with nice tile and twin vanities. Not too shabby of a job. The main bedroom, though, is very very small and barely fits a queen bed with just a little nook for a small desk. Closet space wasn't exactly huge either, but this problem is somewhat mitigated by a deeded basement storage space and a space across the hall on the landing which is usable as well. What really put me off the apartment though was the price and the taxes. Especially the taxes. The asking price was $419,000 and the taxes were going up next year to about $8100 a year! All this for a non-manhattan two floor walkup in an old building with no amentities. As I walked through the aparmtment, I was counting the number of things I would have to fix or do to the place to make it liveable to me. When my list reached the limit of all ten fingers, I asked to leave. The owner, her kid and her dog, were sitting patiently in their car.

The real estate agent (a very cute chinese woman who used to be in Credit Suisse equity research in Hong Kong but moved to America for the wonders of real estate) drove me back to the ferry and I made the 2PM ferry back, right on time. I worked for another hour and a half, desperately trying to put in some fixes that needed to be done to our code base RIGHT NOW and head out for my 4PM appointment.

Well, gentle reader, if you've come this far, you'll probably want to know why I needed to have a 4PM appointment with my ex-wife in the middle of a Thursday. The answer is, I needed to give her a 'GET'. What's a 'Get' you ask? Simply put, a 'Get' is a Jewish divorce. But aren't I already divorced? Yes, I am, but only Civilly. What that means is that the State of New York considers me divorced and will allow me to remarry, but a rabbi of the Jewish Religion still considers me to be married and will refuse to officiate at such a re-marriage. In order to get divorced, jewish-style, the husband must give the 'get' to his wife of his own free will and accord. This will allow the wife to be remarried whenever she would like (after a 3 month waiting period). It's an old tradition and fascinating to watch. The 'Get' is done in strict accordance with old traditions in front of a Rabbinical Court called a 'Beth-Din'. There happens to be one a few minutes from my work in downtown Manhattan, so that was the logical place to go. The court consists of 4 rabbis, one of which serves as the main adjudicator, one serves as the scribe and two serve as witnesses. An elaborate ceremony (thankfully held in English) is held which consists of the following steps:

(1) The parties appear before a rabbi learned in the laws of divorce, a scribe, and two witnesses;

(2) The husband requests that the scribe write the GET for his wife, which the scribe then proceeds to do using a special quill pen;

(3) The husband declares that he is giving the GET of his own free will, and a similar declaration is made by the wife concerning its receipt;

(4) At this point, the GET is then signed by the two witnesses;

(5) The parties are again questioned as to whether they are giving and accepting the GET voluntarily.

(6) the husband takes the GET and drops it directly into his wife's cupped hands, stating: "This is your GET and accept this as your GET, you shall therewith be divorced from me, you are untied free and permitted to any man";

(7) She then places the GET under her arm and symbolically leaves by turning and moving several steps away;

(8) The divorcée then returns and the GET is taken from her by the officiating rabbi who tears the GET crosswise; and

(9) Finally, the divorced woman is given a Divorce Certificate to prove her divorced status, and the process is over.

THe divorce document is written out in front of us with an actuall quill feather that the scribe sharpened by using a razor blade to shave the bone! It was then dipped into an inkwell and painstakingly written out in Hebrew. I had a large part of the ceremony which mostly consisted of me saying things like, "I hereby declare that I have made no promise, agreement, oral or otherwise, or have any knowledge whatsoever of any contract, implied or otherwise, that would prevent this Get from being pure and valid. I further deny any future witness who may say that I have entered into this Get of anything but my own free will and I have not made any of these statements under duress, etc, etc, etc..." Wow, no wonder there are so many Jewish lawyers! When you get through this huge speech, believe me, there is no ambiguity at all that you are divorcing your wife and no one twisted your arm! The proceedings, as silly as they were, were obviously tinged with sadness. A divorce, even when mutually amenable, is never a 'fun' thing. Which is why I burst out laughing in the middle of my speech when I heard Sarah start singing this song under her breath:

"Wookin' pa nub in all the wrong places. Wookin' pa nub..."

I lost it. The 4 rabbis, dressed shabbily in very old and worn black suits, looked at me puzzlingly through their thick and scrabbly beards. I couldn't help myself.

After the divorce was done ( if you want more details on the process), I rushed back home with Sarah to get ready for my gig that night. I packed up all of my things, changed into my 'rocking' clothes, and had Sarah drive us to the location (Don Hill's). When we got there, there was another band doing a sound check. It turned out they had booked another band before us at the last minute and we would actually be on 2nd, not 1st. Darko and Vivian were in attendance, as well as David R, the Slayer, Scott L, Liezl and Vera. The crowd was small for us (only about 20 or so) so it lent a somewhat intimate air to the event. When we started up finally, the time we *didn't* spend with the sound engineer shone through. I couldn't hear anything on my monitor for the entire first song and the instruments drowned out the vocals. For the second song, the monitor was brought up but the bass started feeding back. It was only until the 4th or 5th song that we started to find our groove. I thought we were cooking at that point, but audience's are a funny thing. Larger audiences tend to give bigger reactions. Something about crowd psychology I think. You've all seen movie comedies in front of large and small audiences. The larger theater crowds ALWAYS laugh the loudest. Same thing here and the small audience was a bit of a buzz kill. So when it came time for an encore, we weren't feeling it, though the crowd starting yelling for one. Not our best gig, but not awful. The one we did at Snitch was much worse but the one we did at Crash Mansion was the best.

I had dinner afterwards at this great tapas place two blocks away. After ordering way too much food with Sarah and one of her friends (John and Vivan sitting at the next table), we started to eat when Sarah said, simply, "Tony Soprano". Huh? Then I looked over my should and none other than James Gandolfini was walking towards us with what looked like a friend of his. He was dressed casually in jeans and a black T-shirt and he was heading to a small bar next door. That was somewhat exciting. Scott L and his friend met up with us later and when we told him who was in the bar, he went in immediately. Turns out James G. is a hell of a nice guy and he had drinks with Scott and they chatted a bit before James took off about 30 minutes later.

So, to recap, my day consisted of:
1. Work
2. A real estate listing
3. A divorce
4. Playing a gig
5. Eating tapas
6. A celebrity encounter

How the hell am I going to top this during the weekend? :-)

P.S. Bonus points if you understand the reference from the subject line....

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Some vengeance at Good Look

The last couple of trips to the good look club have been unprofitable. The good news is that I've been in good spirits and I've limited my losses by laying down hands when I knew I was beat (except for my flopped Broadway against the turned flush). But generally I've been playing pretty well. I know when I'm in the zone like this that my luck will eventually turn and my good play will reward me with cash. So it was last night. I did everything I was supposed to do, except perhaps I wasn't aggressive enough. The one hand where that kicked my ass (maybe) was when I was dealt KK in early position. I had taken down a 2 of the last 4 pots with somewhat aggressive betting (when I had damn good hands) so I didn't want to arouse too much suspicion. This is why I bet $11 UTG+1, instead of the normal $15 I would have bet in this position. I got a few callers and the flop came T52, rainbow. A pretty perfect board for me. I bet out $16 which in hindsight was a big mistake. It was only about 1/3 of the pot. A better bet would have been nearly a pot bet. Anyone drawing is going to hang themselves and any smaller pocket pairs *should* fold if they're under Tens. I got a caller and then a raise to $40! Whoops. My second mistake comes when I don't re-raise but I was suspicious. So I just called. The 3rd player, a woman who sometimes deals at the club, calls and the turn comes a 9. I check and the woman bets out $50. The raiser calls! Now I'm pretty sure I'm beat. Is there a T9 in someone's hand? I had originally put the raiser on AT, which would complete his story. I'm pretty sure the woman, who had just called the raise to $40 on the flop and then led out on the turn, has me beat with something good here. So I agonize but make the right move and fold my overpair. The river is a blank and the woman goes all in for about $50 more. The man calls and the woman flips up 99 for a turned set. The guy mucks but claims he had flopped two pair. Oh really? With a T52 board you called a preflop raise with T5 or T2? I don't think so. Ace-Ten seems *much* more likely. Either way, I made the right laydown. But if my reads were right, I could have driven the woman out on the flop and then isolated the guy in dominating position. Live and learn, I guess.

7 hands later, in the BB, I would exact my revenge. I get TT and check when it limps all around to me. The flop is T94, rainbow. A *perfect* flop. The only thing to possibly scare me here is a straight draw. I check and everyone checks around. The Ah comes on the turn. I double check to make sure there is no straight on board and I bet out $16, representing a middle Ace. It's my hope that someone with an Ace and a good kicker is going to try to raise me off this pot. My wish is granted when the woman at the table raises me to $50. Cha-ching! I have second nuts here and I really don't think she was going to limp preflop with AA. So when it gets back to me, I reraise to $100 and she immediately moves all in. I call instantly, of course, but stop the dealer from dealing the river and I ask her if she wants to run business. Neither of us shows our cards yet, but she says she doesn't do business. "Whatever happens, happens". Sounds good to me. Unless she has AA, she has, at most, 2 outs to win. She shows A9 for a very good two pair and I flip over my TT. The river is not an Ace and I scoop the whole pot! Sweet!

Meanwhile, DR is already sitting at the table and we're joined by LM who had emailed me earlier to say she might join up. Well, it's a good thing for her that she did. She played tight and aggressive and was able to capitalize on *her* KK when she got them! She doubled up with the Kings and made a whole bunch with AA on the two biggest hands she played. At the end of the night, I was up about $240 and she was up about $300 or so. By 11:30, we were all ready to leave but played our courtesy hands. This is the reason I limped with 9c5c, like everyone else limped with their garbage (so don't be mean to me!). Anyhow, the flop came with 7c3c5h. I had a flush draw AND a pair. Not too shabby. I bet out $10 trying to take down the short handed pot right there, or at least pump up the money in it. Only LM called. The turn was a blank 8. LM checked to me, I bet $10 and she check-raised me to $30! Oh, crap. But I still had a flush draw for outs, not to mention I could hit another 5, or a 6 for a straight or maybe even a 9 for two pair! So I called. The river was a blank 9. I made the worst of my improvements, giving me a good two pair. LM checked to me and I just opened up my cards. I hoped LM had made two pair with her 8, meaning I would have the better two pair with 9's and 5's but she had hit her small set of 3's on the flop. Still, given my outs, calling the small check-raise was the right play. Goodbye, $40! I'll miss you! I finished up a tidy $200 and went home, to dream of more Good Look club moments to come.

P.S. The heat from the previous posts is settling down, although LimitKing is *still* enjoying busting my balls. :-) (His words by the way)

Presidential Aspirations

I just realized a few seconds ago that by turning 35 this past Sunday, I am now legally eligible to run for the office of President of the United States. Therefore, I would like to officially announce my candidacy for this esteemed office. I know what you're thinking, but really, I think I'm just as qualified as the rest of the nimrods who might actually get elected.

Monday, August 13, 2007

The one where our hero turns 35

Yeah, it was my birthday today. Happy birthday to me. I had brunch this afternoon with my parents who flew in from Florida and my brother, his wife and her parents. It was a nice place on the West side near Canal Street called Capsuto Ferer (or some similar spelling). Afterwards, we walked around SOHO where I treated myself to a rather nice birthday present. I got 4 lithographs of a new 'collectors' series from Michael Parkes. The series is a new companion series to the lithographs I already have in my home. I really like them and I'm only in mild post-buying sticker shock.

Here's the new lithos:
The Frog Collector
The Egg Collector
The Puppet Collector
The Seahorse Collector

Now I just have to get them framed, once they arrive, and figure out where to hell to put them...

Can't seem to catch a break

I went last night to the Good Look club, my favorite as always. And three nights in a row, might I add. I bought in for my usual $160 though that was a pretty short stack at the table. A player, whom I will affectionately call TM, was very heavily stacked with about 1,400 in front of her. I've seen her play before and she's a great player. She's willing to stab at uncontested pots and she bets nicely when she's got the goods. But last night, she couldn't lose. Seriously, she must have made every single draw she tried at the table. Yes, she fluctuated a bit up and down but she left decidedly up with 2,000. I'm sad to say that of the many players she felted at the table that night, I was one of them (though I got away luckier than most). The 'luck' she was having was in getting the nuts vs. another player with the second nuts. This is how you get paid. A prime example was when she flopped the wheel (45o in her hand) vs. a guy with pocket 3's. The pot had $100 in it when the set of 3's bet $315. TM called with the wheel (duh) and the poor guy couldn't boat up. I was a victim too when I raised on the button with KQo. About 5 people called and the flop came AJT with two clubs. Hello Broadway! I represented an Ace by making a continuation bet of $25. TM was the only one to call. Keep in mind that at this point I had doubled my $160 to $320. Just a reminder. When the turn came with the third club and she checked, my alarm bells rang. I checked and Darko saw a look of disappointment cross her face (I learned this later). The river, cruel river, came with a Queen. Now I had a Queen of clubs in my hand, so her odds of making a flush were slightly diminished. When the Queen came, meaning the board would need a King to make Broadway, she moved all in! The Queen on the river convinced me that she had a King in her hand but had not made the flush. I called, of course, and she flipped 8c9c. She had flopped the OESFD, so given our relative stack sizes, even if I had pushed on the flop, she would have called. Of course, it's stupid to bet your whole stack into what was a $60 pot, but that's another story. The only thing I could have done was stick with my original instinct that she had hit her flush draw and lay it down when she pushed. It was a tough hand all around.

Luckily, I rebought for another $140 and was able to run it to $285 before I had to leave, so I was nearly even on the night. The ironic thing was that I won the majority of the money on two hands where I happened to be behind when I pushed. Hand one, I had KJ and I called a preflop raise to $17 because of insane pot odds when 6 people called behind me. Flop came J high and when it checked to me, I pushed all in for $110 more. The woman to my left, not TM, folded what she said later was AJ that she had gotten in the BB. She was *not* happy to hear she had me beat, but she gave me a compliment on a 'good push' anyway. The second hand was when I had KQ and the flop came with JT. A guy bet out a decent amount and I obviously called with two overs and the OESD. The turn came with another Jack and when he checked to me, I pounced by betting $40 and he mucked disgustingly. Over pair maybe? That's what it smelled like.

Oh, another example of TM's good luck that night. She made a preflop bet to $20 with QQ and got three callers. She flopped Quads, and it checked all around to a poor guy with AA who moved all in. Oh, one more example. She had 8d3d in early position and limped in. There was a raise to $15 and then a re-raise to $40. TM calls with the raisers and the flop comes...ah, it doesn't matter. The point is that she made her flush on the turn, I believe, and then felted another poor guy. Unstoppable, she was. (And cute too). Killer combo.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

The Good Look club gets me

So I went with Darko tonight to get our money back. Once we identified our table/seat and how much we had in chips, we got the money back in cash without an issue. Of course we chipped up with it.

Darko and I sat at the same table next to each other along with a few faces we saw from the night before. I had my familiar $160 in front of me. It was slow going for me all night. For two hours in a row, I broke even by winning a few tiny pots and folding big hands when I knew I was beat. I was making good reads and I *always* made the right fold against monsters, but I was only earning Sklansky dollars. The real dollars would be harder to come by. Darko, meanwhile, got lucky when he called a pre-flop raise to $12 in early position with 23o. He flashed it to me, as if to say "one time", and the flop came 222. Quads! It checked around and a K came on the turn. A perfect card as it turned out. Seat 1 bet out and Darko did a bunch of Hollywood before finally calling. The river was a J, I believe. Again, seat 1 bet out after Darko checked and a third player, who had called the K, called. Darko promptly moved all in for another $80 or so. Seat 1 agonized but finally called while seat 6 folded. Darko yelled "Quads!" and Seat 1 showed a King, mucking in disgust. Seat 1 went on complete tilt after that, losing hand after hand until he was down to next to nothing. I would benefit from this later...

Meanwhile, Wendy showed up and sat at our table. My only good hand of the night had come previously when I was able to squeeze two big bets off of a loose player when i turned the second nut boat with AQ. But it wasn't a monster pot, just a smallish one. Still, I was keeping afloat. Finally, the big hand came. I looked down at KK. The UTG player raised to $15. Another player called. The action at the tale had been fierce, so I decided to call and hope to see a non-dangerous flop. Wendy called on the button and the flop came 9h7h2c. That was about as non-threatening as it gets. The original UTG raiser made it $35 to go. The middle seat called and I popped it, $60 on top. Wendy squirmed but flashed her cards to her seatmate asking for advice and then called! Now I was nervous. If Wendy was asking for advice and didn't raise, she must be on a flush draw. Then UTG guy goes all in! His preflop raise tells me he has a pocket pair. But I've been waiting hours for this, so if he flopped a set, so be it. I moved all in. Wendy, now pot committed, called. The turn comes with a heart and Wendy excitedly shows AhKh. UTG shows TT and the middle seat folded to all the big action. The river is useless, though it *does* complete a straight for TT, which makes my hand the third best! Ouch. I can't blame Wendy for this though since she was getting proper pot odds for her flush draw. She might have even thought she had two overs as well, which makes it a no brainer. I'm convinced that all the money would have gone in regardless of what I did. So I give kudos to Wendy. We were essentially even in odds going into the turn, while we had the TT crushed, so it could have gone either way.

I buy back in for $160 and two hands later I get AQ again. I raise preflop and get three callers. The flop is A23 rainbow. Mr. Aggressive in seat 3, who's been stealing quite a few pots, bets out $30. I raise to $90 and he moves all in. I have about $40 behind, so of course I call. He shows A2 and I don't improve. Boom! Just like that, I'm down $450 total (I had bought some chips from Darko earlier). But Darko hands me another hundred and I promply donk of half of it. I had called a small preflop raise with 78 and flopped the OESD. I moved all in and got one caller who had top pair. I offered to do business and he took me up on it. Too bad too, because I won the first run, but lost the other two. So now I was down to my last 50. And then the wierdest hand happened....

I had KQo. There was a straddle and Darko raised to $10 UTG+1. I moved all in with $50. The middle seat called, and Darko called! Mr. Aggressive at the end of the table asked me to flash the cards to him for good luck, so I did. Darko and the middle seat were still in the hand though. The flop came AA8 with two spades and I got up from the table, figuring I was done. Darko made a big bet, and the middle seat folded 99. But Darko turned his cards and just had KsJs! He flopped the nut flush draw but I was ahead! Amazingly, it stood up and I tripled up just like that. Sometime around this time, Darko was about to leave with Wendy to go to the Queens game and Darko got a loose girl at the end of the table to bluff allin vs. Darko's KK. He's good like that. The flop comes 884 and she turns over 8h9h! Darko's Kings get busted but he still leaves the club up a bunch.

For my part, I stuck around with my $160 and I got Ad8d. I had called a preflop raise to $17 on the button along with 4 other players (a loose table). The flop came 3d5d6s. I had the nut flush draw and two overs. I checked, intending to come over the top, but the raiser in Seat 1 bet $101 to go all in. It folded to me and I quickly called. Seat 1 had been moving all in with flush draws all night so I thought he might have KdQd or something like that. Instead, he had AA. I did't make my diamond, but I DID go runner runner to make the straight. W00t! I left soon afterwards after having won a big chunk of my money back. I am now only stuck $225 for the night after doing quite miserably. There will be other times, I'm sure...

I got berated for my last post

And rightfully so. I'm still new to having this blog be public, and I'm learning, folks. I'm learning.

My last post used to have more detail on the raid. This included the name of the club (though not it's location) and some more detail about how the employees reacted while it was happening. I've edited out these details. In fact, I went back through all of my old posts and edited out the club's name altogether, replacing it with the euphamistic 'Good Look' club. If you already know the name of the club, this will make sense. If you don't, good luck trying to figure it out. And don't ask me. I don't know nothin'!

So what precipitated this bit of censorship on my part? Well, two things. One, the comments I got from people about my last post, when it had all the info, chastised me on giving out so much. Two, I went to the Good Look club tonight to get the money I left on the table, and the manager asked me about the blog. I fessed up to it immediately and apologized profusely. It really wasn't my intention to make anyone feel uncomfortable or to put anyone in an awkward position. So I've redacted all my previous posts. While I'll still be writing about my poker experiences, I will go to much greater lengths to keep innocent names out of it.

I'm very very sorry to everyone and I hope this makes us all square. My next post will tell you all how my karmic betrayal (unknowing though it was) came back to bite me in the ass.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Good Look club raided (or visited...)...I was there!

I had band practice tonight, but I was feeling jazzed afterwards. So I texted Darko to see if he wanted to hit the Good Look or Salami clubs. He texted me back that he was already at Good Look with The Black Widow(BW) and Wendy! So I changed my travel plans and headed directly there, sitting down with $160 at about 9:40p. I played tight and uneventfully until about 10:45 pm. It was at that time that I noticed something was amiss...

The guy behind the counter was looking anxiously at the monitor with the security cameras. Some employees had also huddled by the door and they were whispering to each other anxiously. Actually, it looked like they were panicking. Darko and BW had gone outside for a cigarette break. When they left, two dealers sat in their seats to my left, and then undid their shirts. The pieces of the puzzle started clicking in my head. The dealers were trying to make themselves look non-conspicuous, like...players. And that could only mean one thing.

One by one, the players at the tables started whispering to each other. "Raid?" I immediately got up with my chips and headed to the desk, along with about a dozen other players. But the guy behind the desk, wishing to avoid a full blown stampede, told everyone he wasn't cashing anyone out just yet. We needed to wait, "a half hour or so". My eye strayed toward the monitor, and I could see that there was a cop holding the door open to the entrance of the building, obviously waiting for someone. I knew it would just be a matter of time.

The guy behind the desk told everyone to sit back down and keep playing quietly. I took my seat and mucked a few hands. Then the buzzer rang. It was happening. Darko and BW had already returned and we were all sitting together when the first two cops walked in. They told everyone to remain calm, put our ID's on the table, along with our hands. They did a full sweep of the place, looking for god knows what (probably money), but they didn't seem to find anything. The employees had all been frantically calling people on the phone to get instructions on what to do. I guess it paid off.

Meanwhile, I decided that the best thing for us to do was to make sure all of our chips were in perfect view for the cameras. So I stacked my $163 very neatly and made sure my green chips were visible.

More cops showed up and they started doing background checks. They were actually pretty quick about it. In the meantime, we started getting bored after 30 minutes of this, so Wendy and her seatmate next to her, starting playing War. They were in a very spirited game when the two people to their right started dealing Blackjack, for money!! All while 7 cops were in the room! Goddamn degenerates. :-) After another 30 minutes, we were told we could leave, one table at a time. I managed to convince one of the officers to let me get my guitar from the closet, which they did after I was able to perfectly describe the bag's contents. All of our chips were left on the table. I'm fairly sure we'll be made whole, just like the other times the club has been visited.

For the record, all of the dealers and employees were walked out, as well as the players. None of the chips were confiscated as of the time I left and there was no damage done to the place like the last raid. It seems to me that they must have gotten a call of some sort to preciptate this raid. When I left work this evening at 7:00, two cop cars actually closed down the west side highway, right in front of me, and started checking cars. In addition, there seemed to be a big police presence in every train station I was in. And on my way home from the Good Look club, my taxi was caught in traffic when the cops closed the entrance to the Holland Tunnel to do a vehicle check. Something must have been going on in the city today. And with all of that police presence, there must have been some big call made (Weapons?) to get the cops to move their actions to a damned poker club.

I guess this makes me a hardened New York Rounder now. I've popped my cherry and made my 'bones'. I am sooo Gangsta.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

A travel epiphany

Dawn Summers has inspired me, I must say. On Dawn's site is a map of States she has visited. She's pretty high up on the list and only has a few states to go. More importantly to this epiphany, she takes the opportunity to cross off states as often as possible. This is inspiring to me because I feel I have been neglecting my travel in the United States.

All of my life, I've only been to a few states in the U.S. Those places are:
1. New York - Duh
2. New Jersey - I even lived in Randolph for 18 months
3. Connecticut - Multiple times to visit friends or go to Foxwoods
4. Massachussets - I was in Boston over a single weekend
5. North Carolina - One weekend to visit friends
6. Ohio - I visited Case Western Reserve University over a long weekend (It's in Cleveland)
7. Florida - Multiple times to visit family
8. Louisiana - Two vacation trips to New Orleans
9. California - Once for business for a long weekend and once to visit Friends
10. The Eastern Corridor from New York to Florida - I drove to Florida when I was 19 (never again!). I even stayed overnight in Georgia.

This is a pathetic list. I haven't stayed any appreciable length of time anywhere! I've stayed in Europe, for god's sake, longer than any specific spot in the U.S. (save for family trips to Florida).

Here is my European travel list, for comparison:
1. England - One week for business and one week for a vacation
2. Italy - 3 full weeks for my honeymoon
3. The Netherlands - 8 full days for vacation
4. The Czech Republic - 10 full days for vacation
5. Spain - Two separate trips totaling 18 full days

You see what I mean? So the question is, what is going to make me see my own country? The answer, naturally, is poker!

So my epiphany consists of this; From this day forward, I shall make it my goal to visit EVERY legal card room in the country (all 50 states).

A 'visit' shall constitute the following:
1. A low denomination chip, preferably a Dollar, shall be obtained for posterity.
2. At least one round (a full swing of the button) shall be played in a live, raked game at the establishment.
3. A picture shall be taken of the establishment, if at all possible.

As I visit the various casino rooms around the country, I'll mark it on a custom Google map so everyone can track my progress.

This is going to be a looong journey, though, because there are at least 280 cardrooms in the country, with about 80 in California alone! But I think this might give me the fire under my ass I need to finally start flying to places I would normally never visit (Wyoming, anyone?).

Mixed game magic

Our first rotation mixed game at Wall Street Poker was an unqualified success. Ok, maybe I have to qualify it a bit...

We started out with Omaha Hi/Lo 8's or better, with $1/$2 fixed betting limits. When I started thinking about how to set up this night's games, I figured I would start with a limit game to warm people up and then gradually ramp up the betting limits until our last game was good old NL Hold'em. The Omaha game was rousing fun, with 10 players desperately trying to figure out what the hell they had! Luckily, Carol and Brian, our resident Omaha experts, were there to help. I stayed back and played dedicated dealer. For anyone who is interested in listening, I appreciate that you all wanted me to play. I appreciate even more that it was not out of sheer desire to take all of the host's money in a game he's not very familiar with. Most of you seemed to geniunely want me to enjoy the game I was hosting by playing. But what some of you may not realize is that I get great enjoyment simply in seeing the league prosper, and sometimes that means sacrificing. I routinely give up my own seat in order to have new players come in and play. And sometimes I deal if I think a dedicated dealer will make a night run more smoothly. Playing new games (3 in one night!) that we've never had before, definitely qualifies. So I was happy, ok? Let it go! :-p

Back to the action at hand...

The Omaha Hi/Lo limit game was great, with everyone just sort of getting their feet wet. Then we moved on to 7 card Stud, 1 to 5 dollar spread limit. This game was *not* well received by most players. Mostly, I got blank stares at the concept of a 1-5 spread limit betting structure. Even though the structure used to be quite popular in casinos, and is still spread on occassion, a table full of hardened gamblers had never heard of it. I was stunned. But as the game wore on, I think the wisdom of the concept started seeping through, if only barely. Darko summed it up best. "Oh, you can bluff in this game!" Well, yes, though it helps if the limits are somewhat higher. However, the same concept applies even at these lower limits. In normal fixed limit games, where the betting doubles automatically on the turn and river (or 5th, 6th and 7th streets for 7stud), a bet on the flop rarely drives anyone out of the pot since it is only a half bet and people often have pot odds to call. But in a spread limit game, where you can make a full bet on any street, you can drive people out by laying poor odds to the pot. It is still a limit game, and multiple callers will end up offering good pot odds to late position players, but at least you have a better chance of killing draws. We sped through the hour of 7 stud and then moved on to our first "big bet" game.

The game was Pot Limit Omaha. Something new I learned about Pot Limit was that when you raise "pot", the call you make to the bet is included in the size of the pot. For example, if the blinds are $1/$2 and 3 people call before it gets to you, there is currently $9 in the pot (3 $2 callers and the blinds). If you raise "pot", you need to first call the $2 (making the pot $11) and then you raise an additional $11. This is obvious in hindsight, but I never really thought about it before. This is where having a dedicated dealer really came in handy. I was busy counting pots, spreading them out so people could see them, etc... If I hadn't been dealing, this game might have been marred by multiple hands messing around with the chips in the center of the table, and we all know where *that* leads! Since Pot Limit allows the pot to grow exponentially, the pots grew quite large in relation to the size of the blinds ($.50/$1 in this case). The first pot had over $65 in it, and similar pots were dragged for the entire hour we played.

At about 10:30, we switched over to NL Hold'em. All the players, shockingly, agreed to play $1/$2 NL and we further agreed on a cap of $300. No one, through all of those limit games, actually had $300 in front of them, so most players chipped up to increase their stack size. After about 2 hours of play, there was no hugely profitable player, though some showed very healthy profits. Abbie, Mary and Joel all had nice takedowns, with Carol sitting on a decent stack. Paul, Wendy and Darko, the Wall Street regulars, were stuck for more money than they'd care for me to mention here. At around 12:30, most of the players left, but Carol was having none of it. She suggested, AGAIN, that we play $2/$4 limit Omaha and Wendy, Carol, Brian and Myself ended up slugging it out. I warned everyone that 1:30AM was the cutoff, but somehow that time came and went without a sound. (I noticed, by the way, that no one actually reminded me what time it was!). What time did I finally kick everyone out? How about 4AM? I am SUCH a rockstar.

There was a bit of panic at the end of the night when I went to pay everyone out. The stack of money I had in my hand was about $55 short. I was worried, at first, but then I realized that I had taken all the small bills (anything under a $20) and put it in the cashbox. There was easily $55 or so in small bills that had been paid to me, and that accounted for the shortfall. Whew! All is well.

At the end of our very fun, but long, Omaha Hi/Lo limit game, Carol had padded her stack to become the big winner for the night (+~350). Brian had a healthy +150 win as well. I was about even (down $16) and Wendy...we won't mention Wendy.

To all the Wall Street regulars who find themselves being felted by the newcomers, a bit of advice: Play this table like the Good Look Club. These are very good players, whom you don't yet have solid reads on. Respect them!

One other thing to mention. Brian G. made one of the *sickest* reads I've ever seen during the $2/$4 limit Omaha game. He and Carol were mixed up in a pot together. The board was KQ77rag. I don't remember the precise action on all street but they ended up reraising each other a few times on the rag river. Brian finally called without raising, saying, "I have a feeling you've got quads". Carol did indeed turn up quad 7's! What made it more impressive is the hand Brian stopped re-raising with. Pocket Kings for the second nuts on the board!! Given the number of hands Carol could have re-raised with (QQ, K7, Q7, etc...), it is *astounding* that Brian had the read in order to stop milking the pot. Unbelievable.