Monday, August 25, 2008

The itch must be scratched

With Ali recuperating in Ct. from her recent wisdom tooth removal (poor girl), the lure of AC and the 10-20 Two Way game was strong. I made calls to the usual suspects to join but only got good responses from Dawn, KJ and Bacini Mary. Oh, but this is a good crew to go with.
Dawn got us all on the road by 8:10am, only a few minutes past our scheduled departure time. Seriously? Dawn was on time? I made a mental note of the date for the monument to be built later. (I brace myself for 'assface' comments)

We had a good drive down, not that I remember. I had taken my pillow with me and it proved useful to wipe away about an hour of the trip. Sweet! I fell asleep to the sounds of Dawn's legendary IPOD playlist, which includes a wide mix of hip-hop, R&B and showtunes. Bacini Mary, an avowed enemy of all things Broadway, was rolling her eyes with fierceness. She was sitting in the front and I was in the back, but I could feel the eye rolls from back there, I promise. Soon enough though, our happy place was in view. The Borgata! Everyone seemed excited to play and Dawn, KJ and I were sitting at the 10-20 OE game at 10:45a.

I was hit by the deck in the first hour. Wolloped.

In about an hour's time, I was up $650. I entertained the thought, briefly, of getting up and calling it a day, but one hour is just not enough time. It's just not. I played very tight and aggressive when it warranted it and added another $140 to my profit to peak at $790. Dawn, on the other hand, was taking brutal beat after brutal beat. She lost multiple large pots on the river to people who were usually going low and backed into a high, or vice versa. Just really bad luck. After two buy-ins were lost in this manner, she stormed off to collect herself at a $1-$2 table. I'm not quite sure she did particularly well there either, given that I spotted her watching a Simpsons episode on her IPOD while she played. Not a good sign. KJ was doing all right, sitting to my left. After an initial rough run, he went on a streak of $500 to finish up a few hundo by the day's end.

As the day wore on, I lost a few big pots that started to get me nervous. My big profit was starting to dwindle down and I set a cap to myself of $500. If my profit wore down to $500, I would get and leave and lock it in for the day. I was down to $550 when I scooped a pot to bring me to $650 but then I lost a heartbreaker. I had JJA5 in my hand with a suited Ace of diamonds. The flop was J56. I bet and actually got raised! I re-raised and a few people came in. This was a kill pot so I committed a lot here. The turn was a blank, maybe a Queen and I bet again. In addition to my set of Jacks, I now had the nut flush draw. This time, two callers came in. The river was the 4 of hearts and my soul crushed when a woman in early position, who had been limp calling the whole way, bet out! I looked at her and she broke out into a nervous smile and said, "I'm sorry, that was dirty. I can't even hide it". The woman in front of her called and KJ and I looked at each other. He said, "Oh my god, that was the worst card". I mucked and sure enough, the woman showed 23 for the straight to the 6 and 65 low, scooping the $400 + pot. THAT. ONE. HURT.

But not as bad as the one that got Dawn off the table. She also had JJ in her hand when the board went J65. She bet the whole way, into a multi-way kill pot with multiple callers that might have had $700 in it before all was said and done. Turn was a T. More betting and Dawn was all in. Dawn turned to me and said, "I need a Jack to win". Her luck was so bad, she was calling for the stone nuts to win! River was the dirtiest Queen you ever saw. Some guy with A2KT, looking for the nut low, probably to get sixthed, backed into the nut Broadway straight and scooped the entire thing. UGLY.

We left at 5PM, early because our driver said so and that's that. The ride back was somewhat uneventful, punctuated by the late revelation that Dawn has NEVER heard the song "Stairway to Heaven". EVER. Mary and I couldn't and wouldn't believe it. We played it for her and she dutifully sat and listened to the whole thing, only commenting once that "Styx is better". But at the end of that long and glorious guitar solo, as the last haunting note faded away, she gave us the bad news.

"Nope. Never heard it."

I made a possibly racist comment about Blacks really having their own culture, but she ignored me. So I changed tack.

"I bet you've heard Kashmir. P.Diddy used it in his song 'Come With Me'"
"Are you saying I would know P.Diddy because I'm black?"
So I played it for her. After a few seconds of the opening riff, the judgement came in:
"Oh yeah, I have heard this before"

Saturday, August 23, 2008

The danger of watching late night TV

Man, television commercials have *definitely* changed since I was a kid.

Also, I was watching some VH1 show which is showing 80's metal videos. I didn't know Anthrax did a cover of Joe Jackson's "Got The Time" from his seminal album, "Look Sharp!". The cover appears on Anthrax's album, "Persistence of Time". It's not too bad, but more importantly proves that Scott Ian, like all Jewish metal guitarist gods, has impeccable taste.

The Anthrax video here:

Friday, August 22, 2008

Tourney + Cash = Mobneys for me!

We haven't had a bender at Wall Street Poker like last night in a good long time. It was very refreshing, even if I'm paying for it this morning by being really really tired. Seriously, somewhere around 3PM today, I fully expect to break out with a case of QWERTYITIS when I fall asleep on my keyboard.

So the night started off with two tourneys. There was some impressive maneuvering in the first tourney but it was capitalized by the simple fact that Cheryl couldn't seem to lose a significant hand. Except once, but more on that in a second. I was having a tough go of it. My bluffs weren't working and I was losing chips at a steady clip. Pretty early on, I gave away more than half my stack to Cheryl with AT suited. I had raised PF and Cheryl had come along with me. The flop was KK6. Cheryl checked and I checked behind. The turn was a Jack. Cheryl bets 600 out and I call. I had two things in my head. Number one, Cheryl likes to bluff at uncontested pots. A LOT. So there was a chance I was good here. Even if I wasn't good, there was another outside chance a Queen would fall, making me Broadway. I put Cheryl on a weak Ace. The river was a 6, pairing the board. So now the board was KKJ66. I had two pair with the best kicker. If the board missed Cheryl completely, I could either win, or chop with her Ace. So when she bet another 600, I did the thinking in my head and called. She showed an Ace all right...with a King for top boat. Whoops.

A few hands later, I was in the small blind with 55. 55 was a good hand for me last night and I won two nice pots with it. In this situation it folded around to Cheryl on the button who limp-called. I had about 700 and I shoved with blinds of 100/200. Roger, in the BB, folded and Cheryl said, "I think I have to call you". She committed some chips and showed down JTo! Really? You need to call an all-in with a hand you know is definitely behind for a smallish pot? Ok, what are you gonna do? My pair was ahead but fate dealt me a cruel blow when the flop came Q98 to flop Cheryl the nut straight! OMG. What the hell, dude? I stood up, ready to congratulate Cheryl and get to work on some PS3 killing time but the board paired on the turn with an 8. Uh-oh, I have some outs now. 4 to be exact. The river? A 5!!! The crowd exploded and I raised my hands in victory. What a ridonkulous suckout. 5's baby, 5's.

Unfortunately, I didn't hold on to my chips much longer. Nobody was busting out and with blinds escalating, I finally had to let it ride with 88 and busted out to KJ's and Roger's all-in. Roger had 55 and came over the top of me when I shoved with my 8's. KJ, who had raised initially and was now faced with two all-in's behind him, was pot-committed and called all-in with AsKs. The flop brought two spades and and Ace and I couldn't believe I was briefly ahead of two all-in players PF. The turn was a brick though and I called out for an 8. "One time, dealer, one time!". The river was...the 8 of spades! I jumped up and down in victory as the pot was pushed to KJ. Why, you ask? Because the 8 completed his flush. But I still jumped up and down and when asked why my reply was, "Because my card came!!!"

It was my fault for not being more specific. :-p

As the tourney wore on, an interesting thing occurred. Not one woman at the table busted out. There were 4 playing, Dawn, Christine, charming Kimberly (the new girl) and Cheryl. All the guys dropped off one by one until only the women were left. Dawn, who had literally not won a single pot the entire tourney, busted out on the bubble. Cheryl, at this point, had a MASSIVE chip lead, maybe 3-1 on her nearest competitor. But that didn't deter Christine who outplayed and outflopped Cheryl to take the lead and finally close it out.

I loves me some feminine final tables!

The second tourney was as action packed as the first. Matty Ebs, suffering from some insane play, busted out first when he moved all in during the first round with an overpair to the board and got called by Cheryl for nearly her entire stack with nothing but the nut flush draw and a single over card (the Ace). Of course, an Ace turned and sent Matty to the rail, muttering. How fast did Matty bust out? We hadn't even hit the spacebar yet to start the tournament timer. Ouchie. Luckily, he did well playing online in the meantime, so the cosmos was set right. During the course of this tourney, I was playing great and managed to become the chip leader pretty early on. I was helped out in the middle rounds when I pushed all in with AK suited on a few limpers and was insta-called by Thomas G, who had a healthy 3500 stack. He had limped UTG and called so quickly that I assumed he had KK or AA. In fact, he had ATo, a stunningly bad play on his part (sorry Thomas, it's true!). Amazingly enough, my hand stood up and I now had nearly half the chips in play with 5 players left, a position I would hold onto for the rest of the tourney. Still even more amazing, all of the girls were still in the hunt! Not one male player had yet busted a female player ALL NIGHT! Girl Power!

Of course, my chip stack could not be denied and when Kimberly was forced to move all in after posting the BB for a mere 200 more, 3 players called her since they had limped. Myself included. I was in the SB with Jd5d and had called the limps because I knew Kimberly would committ the rest and that it would check all the way down. I flopped a Jack and rivered another one and when the cards were turned up, Kimberly had AA! My trips were good and she went to the rail, the first female taken down by a male that night. (Hmmm...I like the ring of that). Cheryl busted out on the bubble when she pushed on Christine and lost (I forget the hand) and Dawn squeaked into the money. I was stil the clear chip leader, although I only had a 3500 chip lead on Christine. I immediate offered a chop to secure first place. I gave $15 each to 2nd and 3rd, which was about right in terms of chip proportions. Christine offered some resistance, but finally relented, allowing me to dominate the women (Hmmm...I like the ring of that), and win my first tourney of the season! W00t!

Darko, who had arrived late for the second tourney, busted out early, and then tried to organize a cash game later on, stuck around for said cash game. Astoundingly, on a Thursday night at 11:30p, a .50/1 NLHE cash game broke out that lasted until 3:30am!!! Not only that, but we had a solid 8 players, including Mary Bacini who trekked in at Midnight just for the festivities! The game stayed solid all the way until closing time, which is highly unusual for a school night. In the old days, when tourneys were once a week or less frequent than that, this was a relatively common occurrence. But with our now saturated twice weekly schedule, people are usually too pokered out to play this late. Shweet!

I had a monster run at the cash game, highlighted by three hands against Darko, who usually felts me nearly at will. In the first big hand against him, I had 55 in the SB. Darko had straddled for $2 and it limped around to me. I put in my $1.50 extra and Darko, using his option, raised to $12. It was a healthy raise for the table. Mike M., Shervin's young friend, came in for the raise after limping. Thomas did too. Now it was back to me for $10. There was $40.50 in the pot, including someone else who folded their limp, which meant I was getting 4-1 to make the $10 call with my pair. If you count the implied odds, for which I needed an additional $35 to get into the pot, I was definitely getting the right price to call for my set. So I did. The flop was a beautiful 568, rainbow. Had it been a suited flop, I would definitely have bet out, but the only thing that scared me here was someone hitting their straight. I decided to let a card peel off and checked. I forget what Darko did (I think he bet about $20 which drove out the other players) and I called. Turn was a King. This time, I led out for $25. Darko went into Hollywood mode, most likely thinking I had hit a King, and finally raised another $30. I decided this was enough for me to push and I shoved all in. He insta-called and I saw the last card. A 5! DEMS QUADS, BITCHES! (DQB, DQB, DQB). Ship it! Darko mucked what he later said was AA, and I believe him. He was muttering too about the other two players in the hand. If they hadn't called his raise, with substandard hands I would guess, I wouldn't have had the pot odds to double through. And he was right about that. But this is what you get when you play Loose and Aggressive. Sometimes people will interpret your raises as bluffs and you'll get outdrawn on the flop. It's the other side of the LAG sword.

The next hand I took down Darko with was AQ. I was on the button and when it limped to me, I raised to $10. Darko called and Mike M. called. Flop was something like J96 with two spades. It checked to me and I C-bet out $25. Darko called, Mike folded. Turn was an Ace, pairing me up. Darko checked and I checked, hoping to trap on the river. River was the 6 of spades, completing a flush draw and giving me Aces up with Queen kicker. Darko reached out for $55 and put it in the pot but this time I had his number. I read the sizeable bet as a steal and insta-called whereupon he gave the "you're good" speech and mucked when I showed my hand.

The last takedown was a bit of luckboxery on my part. I had 6h4h in early position and was able to limp in cheaply along with a few other players. The flop was a dangerous looking 654. I had flopped two pair and was nervous to see this action. I check and Darko checks and Mike M. bets out $20. I debate whether he has a straight or not and I decide he's on a draw. I also have to decide if he has me dominated with 65 or a set. My instinct tell me to fold but I foolishly call. Darko calls behind, which made me more nervous than anything. Turn was a brick and I check again. Darko leads out for a suspiciously low $12. Mike calls and I HAVE to call. River is a 6. Woot! I have the second nuts on the board now and it's time to get paid off. This time, I lead out for $25. My feeling is that it's possible that one of these guys have flopped the straight and I have to value bet it. Darko flashes Mary his cards, mutters "This is sick" and makes the crying call. Even better, Mike M. agonizes but calls behind. Darko says, "show the boat" and I oblige. He mucks what mary says is 23 for the flopped straight and Mike M. shows 54 for the flopped bottom two. How he called the river is anyone's guess but Darko had no choice.

Ok, here's the thing. If Darko had come in BIG on the turn, I'm out of there. Seriously, given the betting patterns, I have to put one of the two players on a better hand than me, but his "blocking" bet actually made it cheap for me to see one more miracle card. He said he was worried about 78, but betting larger, maybe $25, allows you to see more clearly where you're at. It was a tough beat, no doubt.

I finishe the night up $250, the big winner. Mary played her usual tight and aggressive style and managed to more than double her buyin! It was a fun time and a GREAT breaking of the new table, which performed very well despite some opening night jitters.

Hmmm...I think I'll name the new table. Any suggestions on a good baby name for it?

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Table drama x 2

Last night was an impressive night of Wall Street Poker. Not for me though. I played like a complete donkey. But it marked the return of W to the table. She's been gone for a month now and it feels like she's been gone forever. Also, Darko made an appearance at both tourneys, trying desperately to make up for lost time and qualify for the loser's tourney, which is going to be October 7th (Sunday, 2PM). Also, Stephen P. was in attendance, so the top 3 rankings were all making appearances.

I doubled up W really really early in the first tourney when I raised to 200 PF in the first round with AK offsuit. Someone behind me and W completed her limp. Flop was K74 with two clubs. W checked to me and I bet 600 with top/top. The person behind me folded and W flat called. I put her on a AK, KQ or a flush draw. Turn was a brick and she fired out 750! This completely took me by surprise. My mind just couldn't grasp the obvious, of course, and I shoved. She actually hesitated, telling Stephen that she's "going running early", but she called showing 77 for the flopped set! I was drawing dead and I doubled her up. I outchipped her, fortunately, after she tried to get me off 88 on two streets a few hands earlier and I held up, but I was crippled in the first round. I doubled myself up by winning a few small pots here and there, but I busted out in 7th place with blinds at 200/400. I had 1350 in my stack and it folded to me in the cutoff. I had K9o and only three people behind me. Time to gamble...I'm all in! KJ, to my left, hesitated, but finally called. The blinds folded. I showed K9 and he turned over one Ace. Then another! Grrr.... He flopped an Ace too, so I was dead in the water though a flopped straight draw gave me a glimmer of hope, which the river crushed by turning up nothing. W went on to use my chip stack to crush her opponents and take first place. Stephen busted out 5th. So much for my dark horse hopes of taking down the season, I guess.


In the second tourney, a miracle occurred. Raymond, who is new to our table but seems to be a fine player, busted out W in last place in miraculous fashion. I raised UTG to 200 with AJo. W called and Raymond called. Flop was AQ2 with two hearts. I had a Jack of hearts, but the two flat callers behind me had me worried that my Ace wasn't the best. I checked in early position. W put out a bet of 350. Raymond raised to 850! I flashed my cards to Lee and mucked. {Sigh}. W thought and thought and finally shoved. Raymond insta-called and turned over AQ. I had W on AK but she surprised me by showing 22 for another flopped set!!!! Luckbox. Or? The case Ace came on the turn, sending ooohs and aaahs throughout the gallery. Raymond had made his three outer and sent W to the rail to bitch and complain (rightly so this time). So W averaged 5th place for the two tourneys. Stephen, meanwhile, busted out in 5th in both tourneys so HE averaged 5th as well. That means that Stephen and W, both in front of the pack in the rankings, have not moved relative to each other! This would have been a perfect opportunity for me to make up some ground on them but I busted in 7th in both tourneys!

The second tourney was a heartbreaker for me as I got played like a fiddle. I had AQo UTG and raised to 1000 with blinds at 150/300. I had a relatively healthy stack at that point with 3100 behind me. Darko surprises me by moving all in on the button! It gets back to me and I have a decision to make. I would be left with nearly nothing if I made the call and lost, but Darko is a tricky player. I was wondering if he was gambling with TT or JJ. As I pondered, he went into full blown Jedi mind trick mode. "You either have 77 or AQ". (How does he do that?). I tried to get a read off of him. "I have AQ," I said.

"What if I showed you an undercard, would that get you to call?"

God-damn him. In hindsight it was obvious what he was doing, but I've seen him give the same exact speech with nothing in his hand. The scene flashed in my head. I fold, he shows 25o and laughs maniacally while I sulk about what might have been.

I called. He showed AK. The flop had a King but a gutshot straight draw for me, which never came. Again, I double up a dangerous player, get busted out soon afterwards, and the player I doubled up goes on to win the game. I hate my life!!!

Plus, I was on super tilt earlier in the day about my new table. It was supposed to arrive yesterday between 1 and 5, but it never came. I took off from work at 3:30p to wait for it, but at 6:30p I got nervous. I called the dispatching company.

"Oh, he was there, but he had to leave"
"What? Why?"
"He said there was no place to park."

Holy shit! Are you kidding me dude! You're a DELIVERY COMPANY! I yelled at the guy that I wanted my damned delivery and he said he'd get it to me at 9AM this morning first thing.
I woke up today and got a call at 9:10 that the guy was downstairs. Sure enough, he was parked on Wall Street, but the service delivery entrance is in the back on Exchange place. The guy said there was no parking available on Exchange and it was true. I went around back and another moving van had taken the spot. Also, I found out this was curbside delivery; he wasn't helping me to my aparment with this thing. AND, the box with the table wasn't wrapped tightly, so the contents might spill out if we tipped it over. I managed to convince him to use his dolly to help me bring the box at least to the front entrance of the building and then I bribed my wonderful doorman to help me take it upstairs. We had to unpack it out in front first, but it was well worth it. The table is now set up and ready to go for tonight! I'm so excited, like a got a new kid in the mail.

Here's a pic of my new baby:

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Yet another poker trip - Unplanned

I had a trip all planned out starting the Friday before Labor Day. I was going down to South Beach with Ali and she would fly back Monday night so she could attend her classes. I was going to spend Tuesday through the next Sunday with my parents in Hollywood just chilling out, enjoying the beach and playing poker at the Hard Rock in Hollywood.

No such luck...sort of.

My mother calls me yesterday and calmly suggests that it might not be a good idea for me to spend that week with her. Without getting into details, there are some personal matters she's attending to that week that require her full attention and it wouldn't be "fun" to be with her. Having heard the situation, I tend to agree.

But what to do about my trip? My tickets are non-refundable. Granted, I'd only lose the return leg of the trip (which was only $110), but money is money. But I ignored that and concentrated on other places I could go, to play poker of course. And it would have to be somewhere I'd never been before where I could knock out a whole bunch of poker rooms. I thought about Biloxi, Tunica, Reno and San Francisco. All of them had the same problem, namely that with only 10 days to go before the trip, the ticket prices were too high. Once you add hotel costs for 6 nights and a car, you're talking about at least $1000 I wasn't planning on spending. I'm not running well in my cash game (FUCKING CRASIANS!) and I've spent a boat load already on trips with Ali and the new table (Arriving today, thank you very much!). So $1000 isn't what I had in mind.

Then it hit me. Florida has 30 poker rooms, of which I've only been to 5. I could try to hit those and make a trip of exploring the state! As long as I planned it in a circular fashion, I could keep my existing car rental AND plane ticket home!

So that's what I'm doing. After dropping Ali off at Fort Lauderdale airport on Sept. 1st, I go immediately west to the Fort Myers area where there are 2 casinos for me to play at. The next day, I head up to Saratoga and then Tampa where there are another 5 casinos. The day after, I drive to Daytona Beach and then south toward Lake Okeechobee. Through Palm Beach, I travel back down South to Hallandale where I finish off Miami and even end up having Saturday dinner with my mother before leaving Sunday for home.

It wasn't on my agenda, but there it is none the less. So, that makes 3 poker trips I have plannes before the end of the year. Total number of new poker rooms I plan on playing at? 40.

Dichotomy - A definition

The scene -

It was a beautiful and crisp afternoon today on Wall Street, the heart of America's financial empire. Outside, at 6PM, the street was jumping with people leaving work. They were busily striding along, clutching expensive leather briefcases and purses. Walking out of my building facing Wall Street, I caught the beautiful sight of a tricked out Dodge Viper behind the security gate, like a leopard waiting to be let out of its cage for the hunt. It's sleek lines where accented by a beautiful custom paint job with racing stripes. The purr of its powerful motor was oddly soothing and it seemed almost ready to leap out, unrestrained. Men paused in their travels to admire the finely tuned mechanical object and perhaps dream about the day when they could own something so fine. Women paused to look at the handsome young Indian man behind the wheel. He was dressed in a finely tailored suit, wearing a red power tie and wrap-around sunglasses which might easily cost as much as the car. His hands were taut around the wheel gripping the fine leather while wrapped up in equally fine driving gloves. All he was missing to look more dashing was a long driving scarf and a cigarette holder. It was the picture of power, beauty and grace, as defined by the monied men of Wall Street.

The music playing loudly on his radio -

Michael Jackson's "The Way You Make Me Feel"

And that, my friends, is a dichotomy. Only in New York kids, only in New York.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

A word about Aquaman come to life

Drink deep the experience of seeing Michael Phelps make his run at 8 golds. If he misses gold in his last race on Saturday, we will still be talking about his achievement but the excitement will die in a few years.

But if he manages to seal the deal and break the single Olympics record of 8 golds in one Olympics, they will be talking about it for generations to come.

Make no mistake, we are witnessing sports history; not to mention some of the most thrilling swimming races ever.

This is like Mark McGuire vs. Sammy Sosa to see who could break the single season HR record first. Without all the messy needles and pills.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Table Update

First of all, the picture in the last post is the ACTUAL table (or is representative of the actual table) that I am getting. It is not, as some have said, a generic shot of a table just to show that I'm getting one.

Second, the table is supposed to arrive this coming Wed.!!!! If you want to follow along on the exciting progress of the shipping the details are below:

Carrier: USF Reddaway
Tracking Number: 517-2352040-1
Ship Date: 8/14/2008

New table. W00t!

Friday, August 8, 2008

New Table on Order!!!

Hooyah!!!! Wall Street Poker is moving to a classy two table set up. Expect the table to be set up and in play by the end of the month.

The Olympic 'Games'

I could have sworn I had written about this in the past, but I can’t find a post about it so I’m going to put my thoughts to paper (er…screen) yet again.

There is a reason the Olympic Games are called Games. Because they are not all sports. I will define myself here.

A ‘sport’ is a contest in which two or more contestants compete in an activity which can be quantifiably measured as to who the winner is. Sports can be further defined as being athletic contests of some sort because I don’t want some ninny telling me that their chosen sport is Monopoly or Backgammon.

A ‘game’ is an activity in which the outcome is determined by a subjective measurement or in which a subjective measurement has a role in determining the outcome.

I need to clarify these definitions because the Olympics have officially started and the next few weeks will be filled with discussions about how great this athlete is and that athlete is. I don’t want to nullify the athleticism of those people participating in ‘games’ vs. ‘sports’. It’s very very hard to be a gymnast and gymnasts are generally in the best shape of any of the athletes in the Olympics.

But gymnastics is not a sport. Sorry, it isn’t. Standing on my head and singing opera is really really hard too. But that still doesn’t make it a sport. If a judge has to determine the artistry of my singing, it’s a game. End of story.

So, for the benefit of our viewing public, here is a list of games and sports being contested at this year’s Olympics.

A handy guide:
Diving – Execution and *difficulty* are part of the scoring system
Equestrian – While jumping might almost be considered a sport, this becomes a game when Dressage is involved, which gets points for the “movement of the horse” among other subjective categories.
Gymnastics – Extremely subjective in execution and difficulty
Rhythmic Gymnastics – Same as Gymnastics
Synchronized Swimming – Execution and difficulty.
Trampoline – Are you F*ing kidding me? Are we just including activities because they’re pretty to look at? Why not put in Fireworks as a medal event?!?

Archery – Completely objective
Badminton – Completely objective
Baseball – Completely objective
Basketball - IBID
Beach Volleyball - IBID
Boxing – This is a tricky one. Judges are supposed to score points in Olympic boxing based on whether a clean blow has landed on the face or body. It’s sometimes hard to see whether a blow has landed cleanly so the judges tend to score differently, making it seem subjective. But if a camera was placed at every angle and the fight reviewed on tape for hours, a ‘clean’ and objective score can be obtained. This is my big compromise. If a referee or judges are involved, but they can theoretically be overridden by cameras and a strict application of rules, it’s still a sport.
Canoe/Kayak - Objective
Cycling - Objective
Fencing – Same deal as boxing. There is a referee to determine rules such as ‘right of way’ but they could, theoretically, be determined by a video camera.
Field Hockey - Objective
Handball - Objective
Judo – This and Taekwondo are interesting cases. I haven’t read the rules so I assume there’s an objective scoring system but I may be wrong. I’ll put it into Sports for now until I’m proven wrong.
Modern Pentathlon - Objective
Rowing - Objective
Sailing – Same as Judo. I don’t know whether points are given for things like crew efficiency or some other such nonsense or if it’s strictly who crosses the finish line first. I’ll assume the latter for now.
Shooting - Objective
Soccer - Objective
Softball - Objective
Swimming - Objective
Table Tennis - Objective
Taekwondo – Same as Judo
Tennis - Objective
Track and Field - Objective
Triathlon - Objective
Volleyball - Objective
Water Polo - Objective
Weightlifting - Objective
Wrestling – Objective

I personally think the Olympics would be better served by sticking to sports and not having games in them. It would make for less messy drama because the chances of someone being awarded a medal contentiously would be lowered. But if they DO stick with a mixture of games and sports, then for god’s sake why isn’t there a medal for modeling? Or Fashion Design? Or Singing?

New thought: Reality show Olympics.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Memories of past

I re-read a post of mine tonight and it made me wistful. Everyone was so happy that night (well, maybe not Mary). I met Kearns (a quality human being and a great poker player) for the first time that night, placed in the money in a tough tourney and that sheet cake was really touching to me.

This year, I can't even step foot in the Crackhouse for fear of a dramatic riot and there won't be any sheetcake. What a difference one year and one mistake make.

I have a lot to look forward to for the rest of the year and I'm truly thankful for many of the great things that have happened to me so far in the past 7 months. As my 36th birthday approaches quickly (August 12th, people!), I'm trying to concentrate on the future. As much as I'd love to go back in time and alter just a few moments, I don't have that luxury. So I'm approaching this birthday with the best of intentions of making the best with what I have.

Cherries from Lemons, so to speak.

I have the rest of the summer to reflect on where my life is going, but I suspect that I won't be able to find the answer. As CK and F-Train seem to be finding out, life doesn't have a metaphorical conclusion. It's such a cliche, but it's really just about the journey.

My life doesn't have a 'purpose' at this moment that I can see. But that doesn't mean I can't enjoy it or take advantage of the opportunities I *do* have. I'm going to see as much as I can, travel as much as I can and appreciate the friends I still have and the people who love me (an ever-changing population).

(God-dammit, I have to stop these late night Facebook sessions)

Two new poker trips planned

Nov. 7th - Fly into Jackson, Mississippi. There's a casino called Pearl River Resort within an hour of the airport. I'll stay there that night.

Nov. 8th - Drive to Shreveport, Louisiana where there is another casino. Then, turn the car south to Lake George.

Nov. 9th and 10th - Drive the southern coast of Louisiana through 3 casino spots to Baton Rouge and then on to Gulfport.

Nov. 11th and 12th - Gulfport and Biloxi, Mississippi - About 6 poker rooms

Nov. 13 - Drive to New Orleans and check out the two rooms in/near the city. Ali is, hopefully, going to join me that night and we'll spend the next 3 nights in the Big Easy and fly back together Sunday night.

If Ali can't make it, I'll simply extend my time in Gulfport by one day and Baton Rouge by one day. I've been to New Orleans twice already so spending more time there, alone, is not really necessary.

That's a good trip, and I'm looking forward to it, but the other one is even better for my soul.

Dec. 11th - Fly into Memphis EARLY in the morning. Spend the next 3 days in Memphis, playing poker in Tunica and checking out Graceland and Beale Street.
Dec. 13th - Drive down to Clarksdale, visit Morgan Freeman's Juke Joint and spend the night there in the heart of Delta Blues country.
Dec. 14th - Spend the morning in Clarksdale and buy an acoustic guitar and a slide. Spend at least an hour pretending I'm a real Delta bluesman....from Long Island. Spend the rest of the day leisurely driving down the Delta and stopping at famous Blues sites like Rosedale (Traveling Riverside Blues), Greenwood (Robert Johnson's gravesite), etc...
Dec. 15th - Drive towards Jackson-Evers airport, through Vicksburg, and take a late afternoon flight home.

I'm preparing for my Blues and Poker tour by reading some good guides and getting steeped in the music I love. On my playlist for the trip will be pure Delta Blues only from musicians who grew up and played in the area. On that list, Sonny Boy Williamson, BB King, Robert Johnson and Ike Turner. Yeah, that's right, Ike Turner.

*THE* bad beat

After placing 2nd in one of my tourneys on Monday, I thought my troubles of the past Sunday were behind me. I inched up in the WSP rankings and was feeling good overall. The next night was a 3-6 OE game which nearly got cancelled until Christine worked her phone magic and got some Crasians to come join us. God bless them Crasians!!!

The night started out with a round of Omaha and I knew my night was destined to be shit when I started out with this hand.

2c-3s-4c-6h in my hand. Flop is 2h-3c-6s. I've got top two. Yes, a straight is showing and yes, a low is already out. But I'm in late position and it checks to me. Um, wouldn't any straight already bet it out. I would hope. So I floated a bet to see what the deal was. David R, who just learned how to read a low board 10 minutes ago, raises! Jordan calls, but that means squat since his range his bigger than Wyoming. I call. The turn is the 3d. Woo-hoo! Second nut high! David leads and Jordan raises! Um, what?!? I put and David on the low, maybe Jordan on trip 3's to go with a low. I raise. David caps it and Jordan comes along. The river is a rag Queen. David leads out again. This time, Jordan calls and I elect to just call. Jordan shows A-2-3-7 for 3's full of 2's. I show the better 3's full of 6's and David R shows 66 for best high hand! David and Jordan split and I'm left wondering what the hell happened.

Play started heating up and I got my initial loss back with a scoop or two. And then the biggest bad beat of my life (poker, odds-wise) happened. All I can say is I'm happy I wasn't playing much larger stakes.

I have Ad-8c-2s-5s. I see a cheap flop and it's As-Ac-8d. I had to look a few times before I realized I had flopped the absolute nuts. If there wasn't a low draw on board, I might have slow played this, but I have to pump the pot to make the low draws pay (and I'll scoop half their mobneys!). Sure enough, a few people call my bet. The turn is the 3c. Ok, there's the low dammit! It gets to me and I bet it and a few people call. River is the 4c. The board is now As-Ad-8d-3c-4c. This time, David bets out at it. I figure he made the nut low with 25, or maybe a flush, or maybe both. It gets to me and I raise. David re-raises. I would too if I had the nut low in this situation. But just in case, I raise again. He re-raises me. I look at the board again and my absolute nuts has, technically, become the second nuts. But something told me I'd better just call here. So I do and David shows 2c-5c for the steel wheel!!! WTF??!! Matty Ebs goes into the tank and 10 seconds later comes up with "1979 to 1 shot". FUCK YOU MATH GODS!!!!

That became the slogan for the rest of the night. "I was having a great life until...1979 to 1".

I ended the night at 1AM +$12, which is better than I'd hoped for given my ridiculous beat. I'm just proud of myself for not tilting completely.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Variance is a stupid bitch

I went down to Atlantic City this past weekend and had one of the better cash sessions of my poker career. After spending a few hours grinding it out to even on Friday night, I was touched by an Angel Saturday Night and could do no wrong. I made a few hundred grinding out some 1-2 NLHE tables (seriously, Orthodox Jews can't play poker for shit) and made $700 (!) in profit at the 10-20 two way game. The two-way game is Stud/8 and Omaha/8 in 30 minute rotations, with a half kill to $15/$30 on a $150 scooped pot in Omaha. It's my favorite game to play down there and I was rocking it. Matty Ebs was in attendance and could attest to my powers.

Two strange events occurred to me on Saturday night enroute to my $1050 profit day:
1. I sit at the two way table and someone calls out, "Jamie's here!". I look up and one of the regulars I recognize is looking at me but actually behind me, to a big guy named...Jamie. As I found out later, it's really Jaime, but I'm not quibbling. He sits next to me and I take out my license to start a "guys named Jamie conversation" (trust me, it's a subculture), and he says, "Are you the guy who runs the home game in Manhattan?".

I nearly fell off my chair.

WTF? How did he know that? He told me that the night before, someone had played with him and when someone else had called him Jamie, this guy thought he was me! He insisted that there could only be one guy named Jamie who plays the two way game. My doppleganger Jamie doesn't look anything like me (about 50-55, tall and on the hefty side), so it was clear that this other person didn't know what I looked like. So how did he get us confused? Because he reads this blog, that's how! I felt like a celebrity for a second, it was so strange.

So, mysterious player who was described as white, thin and a young internet player who was just getting started in Brick and Mortar rooms; If you're out there, give me a shout in the comments! I want to know my readership! :-)

Strange thing number 2:
I'm playing in the game and my phone rings. The caller ID says it's W, so I answer but someone named Mabel answers.

"Hello," I say.
"Hi, this Mabel, a friend of W's. I'm in the high limit area. Can you meet me here for a second?"

I meet a nice little asian woman who works for the Borgata poker room. She needed someone to get an order of food for the high limit players who didn't want to leave their table and they were running short on staff! I would love to have done it because I imagine the tip would have been good, but by the time I got there, someone from the table had already left on the job. Too bad. I wanted those 600/1200 mobneys!

I went to sleep Saturday night elated with my great day.

Sunday was the complete opposite. For every hand that went my way on Saturday, Sunday was the Bizzaro opposite. I got three 18 out draws that all whiffed completely. I tried to play tight and aggressive but by the end I was pumping the pot on good draws and missing completely. When I did make a good hand, I inevitably chopped. In fact, I only scooped a single hand the entire 8 hour session. Miserable.

All in all, I gave back $750 of the previous days winnings, both at 10-20 OE and NLHE. Tres Miserable.

I was all set in my head to write it off. After all, I was still up for the weekend which was more than some of my compatriots could say, but the universe gave me a final slap as I was leaving. First, some background:

My Blackberry corporate phone (my only one) had malfunctioned in the past week. I got a replacement, a snazzy World Edition, that Friday just before the AC trip. I hooked it to my belt, where it stayed all weekend comfortably and securely, right next to my beloved IPOD Touch. I boarded the bus to leave AC and when I sat down next to Matty Ebs all seemed to be well. 20 minutes into the trip, I wanted to call the crew and see how they fared in their travels. I reached down to my belt to find a blank area where my phone used to be. I don't remember taking it off and I don't remember it falling off. If it was pickpocketed, it was a masterful job. If it fell, I don't know how I didn't feel it. Quite strange. And, of course, the phone was on vibrate so I couldn't even call it to see if it was on the bus.

{Sigh} I'm getting a replacement tomorrow afternoon, which I will tether to my nostrils in an effort not to lose something else.

Crappy Sunday, to be sure.