Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Florida closng in on true no limit poker

Florida is getting close to passing legislation that will lift the current $100 max buyin restriction on No Limit poker. In addition, they are trying to pass rules allowing craps and roulette at the Indian casinos, effectively turning them into Vegas competitors.

I'm super excited about the prospects. This will truly separate the men from the boys. Oh yeah, they're also trying to LOWER the gambling age to 18! It's going to be a feeding frenzy when high school boys start sitting down at the 1-2 NLHE tables. W00t!

WSP Season 7 is over

Last night saw the last tournament in the Wall Street Poker season 7 series. Congrats to Darko who won the season with a healthy 70+ percent rating.

As a result of many factors, including the state of the economy, burnout and others, I will be stopping the concept of the Wall Street Poker 'season'. Games will still continue, but the $2 rake for the single table tourneys will no longer be a factor.

I've been wondering for a while why this season has been so slow in terms of getting players. There have been a few reasons I can think of:

1. The economy sucks - More than a few of my regular players are out of work and so playing poker doesn't seem to be a priority.

2. Burnout - Some of the regular players have stopped playing at the rate they had been over the last several years. Trips to AC are not as frequent and trips to underground card rooms are also rarer.

3. Normal turnover - Lots of the players who frequent my table have either gotten engaged, moved out of state, or had children in the past few months. These family pressures have stopped their poker habit, or at least slowed it down. I have not made a real effort to backfill their loss.

In my estimation, it takes about 25-35 regular players (regular being defined as twice a month) to be able to actively fill 11 seats twice a week. While I used to have that many regulars, we are down to a handful now and it is showing. The good news is that I've recently tapped into a source which might get more players in. The bad news is that my own burnout is showing. But perhaps when the games start flowing again and I start working and things return to a relative normalcy, then maybe the old bloodlust will rise and the passion will return. Until then, I'm relying on my trip to the mid-west next week to get be excited about poker again.

My wet dream come to life

Monday, March 30, 2009

I'm not saying it's not impressive but

...this kid isn't getting laid for a LOOOONG time. He's playing the Cantina theme from Star Wars...on a HARP!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Chicago itinerary coming together

I've been working with Brian from The Poker Atlas to put together a good itinerary of my Chicago trip. Despite landing and taking off from the Windy City, I won't be stepping foot in it. Too much to do. If everything works out well, at the end of 6.5 days, I'll have played in 16 poker rooms in 5 states. And I'll have a full interview of the Director of Casino Operations from the Blue Chip Casino in Indiana.

Whew. Who said poker wasn't work?

Details to come next week.

Backgammon = Poker lite

In addition to poker, I kind of like Backgammon. Both games are similar in their sense of probabilities and strategy, but Backgammon is what's known as an Open game. There are no suprises since your entire position is known to your opponent. Chess is the same way. Poker is a Closed game since there is an unknown variable in the starting cards your opponent has. This makes poker, not a superior, but definitely a more difficult game.

I've been playing Backgammon somewhat seriously for about a year now and I've been progressing fairly well. Every Thursday, I meet up for lunch with my friend Jay in his building's lobby and we play a few points. We've been betting $20 on the first player to reach 13 points and I crushed the first match 13-5. We're now into the second match and I'm down 4-2 but I feel confident I can make up the loss.

As it happens, on my way back from my last game, I wandered into the lobby at 60 Wall Street and observed the chess and backgammon games going on there. This is the central hub of chess and backgammon hustling in NY, as it turns out, and more than a few of the poker players I know hang out here. I got introduced through a guy I know from the Cold Fish club to the man who runs the games there. His name (changed for the purposes of this blog) is Hawthorne. Hawthorne let me in on how the Backgammon works. It's $.50 a game to rent the boards (payable to Hawthorne) and the players play for X dollars per point, to be worked out before the game starts. The money is settled outside the lobby on the side, because the security there doesn't want to be involved and I don't blame them. I was introduced to a nice gentleman who agreed to play me for $5 a point (the equivalent of $2/$4 limit to these guys who sometimes play for $50 a point).

I sat down relatively confident and started winning the first few matches. After 8 game, I was up 7 points and feeling good. But experience took over and my lead was wiped out quickly after I accepted some bad doubles. Before I knew it, the was of amateur nervousness washed over me and I was down 10 points before we had to call it a day. The guy was nice enough to point out my mistakes and coach me a bit. I also made a few really amateur moves by missing out on rolls when I could have blotted or barred up, after which he immediately doubled and I had to decline. This is the poker equivalent of folding the nut hand on the river because you misread it. More experience will help me overcome this deficit, I'm sure. It's nice to know I can play really experienced guys right across the street from me. Now that I've broken my cherry playing them, it'll be a fun diversion to play on ocassion and, who knows, win some money.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Sometimes when you win, you really lose

I was down in Florida this week, visiting my parents as a substitute for going to Vegas on Spring Break with Ali. Given my job situation, it was a good choice and a very cheap trip. My parent's fold-out couch is an awful sleep, but free, and the beach is a mere 200 feet away from the door. However much I like Vegas, there ain't no ocean there.

The first three days of our trip were beautiful and sunny, so Ali and I spent them on the beach. Then, just when I was going to go play some poker on a cloudy day, I got a cold. Sucks to be me. For three days, I was sidelined inside, even missing out on a $150 buyin Omaha Hi/Lo tourney, which would have really made my trip. Friday, my father wanted to play golf and I could hardly refuse. So I got up early and went with him and a friend to play 18 holes. I hadn't picked up clubs in almost 3 years to play, and it showed quite a bit. But by the time I got to the back 9, I was a monster! I made par on 4 holes, including a 550 yard Par 5 and birdied a 165 yard par 3 with a 35 yard chip off the green. My first birdie in my life. I still finished the round at 100, testament to my really awful play on 5 holes in particular, but in my defense, I was playing with someone else's clubs and I was missing long irons, forcing me to hit a lot of fairway woods. Still, the birdie and the pars will stay with me for a while.

Saturday was my last day in Florida and I still hadn't played a single hand of poker. My flight didn't leave until 9:00pm, so when I woke up at 9AM and saw it was a nice day, I made the executive decision to play all day and leave Ali on the beach. Good decision. It started POURING at 11:30AM and didn't stop all day but by then I was comofortably at the poker tables at the Hard Rock in Hollywood.

The session was a frustrating one but I'll break the suspense to tell you that when I left at 5:30p, I was +$35 for the session. A win is a win, right? Well, not always.

My first buyin ($100 is the max buyin in Florida No Limit games) was tough. I gave up KK post flop and it would have been the winner. I believe I was justified though. Here's what happened:

I raise PF to $7 with KK UTG. This was early on in the session and I hadn't seen a single PF raise in the 8 minutes I'd been sitting down, so I figured $7 would be at least somewhat respected. I was wrong. 5 players called and the flop came down Jc-9c-7s. I didn't have a club but I bet a continuation bet of $22. I got two folds and then a guy pushed all in for $65 and got a call from behind him! I figured I was up against two pair or a flopped straight and I mucked, but I was really up against QJ and a flush draw and my KK would have held up. Frustrating, but the right play.

After that, I had QQ snapped off my K9 and I folded AA post flop as well to a check raise. With the AA hand, I had raised to $12 PF in late position and a brand new player had called me. The flop came Qd-Jd-3d. No, I didn't have an Ad, of course. He checked, I C-Bet for $25 and he moved all in for $88. I mucked and was frustrated. I ended up losing my stack when I tried to hit a flush draw in a multi-way pot and missed and then lost half of my next buyin on the QQ and AA hands I just described.

But luck started coming my way and I ground my remaining $50 into $120 by playing smart and finally hitting some flops. Then I got a soul crushing hand that has really been bothering me.

Kc-Jd in the BB. I see a raise to $7 and a few callers so I come along for the ride. The flop is Jc-8c-5c. A nearly perfect flop for me. I have top pair, King kicker AND a redraw to a King flush! I bet out $12 and get a single caller. The turn is a King! Now I have top two and a King flush draw. Big hand! I bet $25 and the guy to my left looks over my stack and goes all in for $130! Fuck. A few thoughts go through my mind. He flopped a flush. He has AK with the Ace of Clubs. He has a set. I'm losing to two out of three of these plausible scenarios. A bluff is not even an option as this guy has been playing very tight and I haven't seen him show down a bad hand. But my previous frustration at losing with big hands bleeds into my decision making and I tank for a minute before calling. I got so fixated on the one possibility where I was ahead (he has AcKx) that I barely considered the more likely alternatives that I was beat. My hand, strong as it was, was still a drawing hand. So when I called and he showed Qc3c, I was crushed by my stupidity. It's been a while since I married myself for all my chips to a losing hand. I had 11 outs to hit a K or a J for a boat or a club for a flush and the Ac hit on the river to give me the nut flush! I was saved, but I should never have put myself in that position.

I managed to keep my small profit for the next hour before I had to leave. It was raining during my drive home, and the haunting thought of my bad call was all I can think about. It's *still* all I can think about.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Chicago trip is booked

This one came about sort of last minute, but it's a done deal. PP's friends are coming into town amd renting out my place, which frees me up to travel. Investigating my travel options, I realized that my Delta sky miles, which I'd never redeemed was at 24,224 miles. Less than 1000 miles from a free ticket. A quick trip to the Amex Membership Rewards site and I was over the 25,000 limit.

Brian, from the Poker Atlas, is working on free hotel rooms for me, which just leaves the car expense. So 7 days of Chicago-land poker all for the cost of a car rental, flight included. Pretty sweet.

My flight takes off the morning of April 5th and I return the evening of April 12th. Anyone wanna come?

Sunday, March 8, 2009

My *duh* moment

I just realized that you can't argue with someone who won't ever change their minds, regardless of what you say. I know...amazing, right?

This is going to save me SO much time because now I won't have to leave reasoned comments on other people's blogs in return for inane rhetoric.

I can feel the life rushing back into me already.

Gee, never thought about it before...

Unemployed workers turning to casino jobs

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

New blog roll link

Matt "The Slayer" Slavin has finally started a blog so he can organize his nonsensical right wing ravings in one place. But, of course, that's just my opinion. (j.k.)

Check it out!

Because it's never too late for justice

When I was 16, a girl named Kelly Ann Tinyes was murdered in my neighborhood. I didn't know her, but it didn't matter. EVERYONE in the area was devastated because this was, and still is, the kind of place where people just don't get murdered. It was a super safe neighborhood to grow up in and the entire populace was in a complete state of shock. As it turns out, the girl was found, wrapped in a bag and mutilated in the basement of her neighbor's house. Kelly was friends with the neighbor's younger son, John, and the case evidence proved she had gone over to the house after receiving a phone call from someone identifying themselves as John. But it was the older brother, Robert, who was, I believe, 21 at the time, who was eventually convicted of the murder. The younger brother was never convicted of anything but now the Nassau County DA is reopening the case against John more than 20 years later. The resulting fallout between the neighbors was legendary for years.

I hope there is something tangible to warrant this re-opening of the case. I always believed in my heart that John was somehow involved, but I also believe that if he is innocent then this is an egregious abuse of his privacy. It is not coincidental that the DA waited until the exact day of the 20th anniversary of the conviction to decide to reopen the case. If she (the DA) is simply seeking attention, then there is a special place in hell for someone who would publicly slander an innocent man for their own gain. BUT, if she has real evidence and John is indeed guilty, I hope you'll all say a prayer with me that his life is destroyed. Because that's the only way the scales could possibly be tipped at this point.

Rack and Run

$500 profit tonight on 3 hands that got paid off the whole way.

AA flops Ac-Kc-Tc. 8s8c pushes and I call, run it three times, and win all three.
KK flops 8s-6c-2s. I make a pot sized bet, get a re-raise, I push and he folds.
Ah3h flop Kh-Qh-7h. Gin! I check and guy to my left bets $15. One person calls and I call. Turn is 6s. I check. Guy bets $50. The other person calls and I raise $60 more. Guy calls all in for less and other person calls. River is 4c. I bet $100, last person folds and I take the pot.

I left the table 30 minutes later. I would feel bad but, you know....

I'm sitting now watching Jimmy Fallon. He's adorable in his patented way, but it's just not gonna be cute for long. I predict a high profile flameout. He's already doing his first bit called, "Slow Jamming the News". It sucks. I don't know what it is, he's just NOT funny. It's because he can't help but smile at his own jokes. Unless he learns to play it straight, it's annoying.