Thursday, March 30, 2006

Quote of the Day

"And punching someone in the nuts is not a first-class way of doing things."
-- George Mason assistant coach Chris Caputo.

Full article here.

Live on K Street

Last night I was invited to a "home" game, an end of month poker game put on at the office of an acquaintance (here on in: the A) of mine. I had never played in this game before, though I had played at the A's apartment before. The A works for a large consulting firm in Sales and Marketing, where big bucks are made when goals are hit and surpassed. Given these parameters I expected an interesting game.

Initially I was under the impression that it was a NL cash game. While talking with the A before we kicked off he explained that it was actually a tournament with unlimited rebuys. OK... well, I would have been happier with the cash game, but whatever. As the chips were passed around the the tournament option was quickly quashed by one of the senior people at the table. So cash game it was. $20 buy-in with $0.50/$1.00 blinds. Yes, you read that correctly.

The table was filled with a mix of Sales and Marketing types from different divisions in the company, a couple of assistants just out of College, and me. The play of various people ranged from the very aggressive (people who knew a bit, but not that much) to the extremely tight-weak (people who knew a little more perhaps - this included the A, who had the whole table calling out "fold" each time the action was to him... and yes he would almost always be folding) to the action-junkies (people who knew almost nothing).

With the insane blinds there was plenty of action, especially early. The first hand resulted in one of the senior guys (very aggressive) getting stacked when he pushed on a complete bluff but was called down. He immediately bought back in, and 90 minutes or so later had run that up to $140... but ended up in the hole for the evening. To my immediate right was one of the young assistants. He seemed to have a clue, but got violated twice when holding pocket 10s - on a table where people might not respect your raises those hands are trouble. After being stacked twice he departed, his place filled by CC, a guy I would duel with a couple of times.

After watching the early (insane) action I decided that my best plan of action was to play big cards strongly pre-flop, get out if the flop was bad, but not to be afraid to push if I was heads up. I was also prepared to get into big pots with drawing hands.

In the first couple of orbits I got dealt pocket Jacks twice - both times I was able to get heads up to the flop and get it all in with one overcard on the board. Both times the Jacks stood up (with my opponents showing complete trash), and I was off.

The second assistant (Little P) seemed to know (mostly) what he was doing, but was clearly playing with any two cards and trying to push people off hands. I can not recall him ever showing down a hand that wasn't something like 5-2o. Little P picked up early that I seemed to know what I was doing, and I was actually able to push him off a pot when we were heads up by making a scary bet on the river. Respect is nice.

I really only played one hand badly, and of course it was a big one. I got into a pot pre-flop holding pocket 3s. Flop came down 3d-2s-Jd. Cha-ching! I decided to slow play it, and we went to the turn 3-handed. Turn is the 4 of diamonds. Fuck. CC (guy to my right) bets out $10. The pot is getting pretty large now. I have him covered by $35 or so. I think for a long time... I can't see him having a made flush, but I am afraid he has a big diamond, maybe with a pair on the board. I eventually push all-in. The table gasped, and CC was NOT happy. As he didn't insta-call, I started to feel very good about my hand. After plenty of deliberation CC flipped over his cards... "I call."

He had A-5 of clubs. The wheel.

As I showed my set, everyone went bananas - apparently everyone and his dog put me on a flush draw. I still had outs, but unfortunately none of them came, and a large portion of my stack was gone.

The other big hand I lost was not really a loss per se - the guy on my immediate left (an English bloke) was extremely tight-weak, hadn't played many hands, but still had his starting stack. I was UTG + 1. CC came in with a raise to $4. I look down and see The Hilton Sisters. I make it $10 to go. English guy agonises, and pushes all in. One other guy, J, (who had no idea what he was doing) calls for about half his stack. Blinds fold, CC folds, I push all-in. J calls off the rest of his stack.

I have no idea what J had - the hand was that bad. English guy had Big Slick. I was actually arranging the side pot and completely missed the dealing of the flop - but there was an Ace on it. Curses. I pick up the side pot, which put me about where I was before the hand, so it could have been worse.

As the night wore on we had people leave, and people join, but eventually the table dwindled from 9 to 6 to 5. I normally hate short-handed, but I started to catch cards, to get people to pay me off, and to get a little lucky.

My two biggest wins of the entire night actually came with K-x s00ted when I was able to call with position and hit my flush. The first time was when the table was full. The second was when we were short-handed, which let me recoup my previous losses to CC and more. CC was betting out the entire way, with myself and Little P calling behind. The flop was something like 7d-4d-10c. The turn was the Jack of spades. CC bet out $6, I called, and Little P went all in. I cursed, as this may have given CC the opportunity to come over the top to isolate, which would have given me a tough decision to make. Fortunately for me he just called, as did I. The river came a beautiful diamond. CC knew the jig was up, and no more money came my way. The hands? CC: A-7. Little P: J-7. Me: K-3 s00ted. Cha-ching!

We finally rolled out of there at 1:30am. To rate the evening, let me use the ever popular "Bonus or Bummer" scale (and by "ever popular" I mean "I just made it up"):

- Meeting the A at a bar and having two pints of Guinness paid for by his company: BONUS
- Bringing a six-pack to the game, but 3 of the beers disappearing: BUMMER
- The game amazingly not seeming to feature any complete douchebags: BONUS
- Not eating until 1:45am: BUMMER
- At 1:45am getting a chicken gyro from the venerable D.C. Cafe: BONUS
- Getting stiffed almost $20 at the end because there wasn't enough cash: BUMMER-
- Turning $20 into $160: BONUS+++

Using this scientific scale, we can see that the "BONUS" votes clearly win out. I am not sure if this game will be around again, as the A is moving into a new division, but I wouldn't mind dropping in again. I might have to bring more than a six-pack though...

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Sober Garth Hates Drunkie Garth

As predicted, the encroachment of March Madness has pushed poker a little to the side. Thursday night I went out to a bar to drink and enjoy the games, before making my way home to railbird at some of the Heads Up Challenge confrontations, and play a wee bit. Friday night was a large one, as I didn't stop drinking (heavily), watching basketball (loudly) and playing pool (badly) until the bar closed. Normally this would be fine, except that I had agreed to join a friend's fantasy baseball league earlier in the week. "So what?" I hear you say. Turns out that the live draft was to begin at 9 on Saturday. 9 am. Which meant I had to take the Metro to meet my friend at 8:20am or so. Fuck. Naturally this did not affect the (bad) decisions I made throughout Friday night. As I always say in these situations "That's a problem for Sober Garth." Sober Garth hates Drunkie Garth.

Saturday morning went as follows: wake up, have a red bull, have a shower, have a red bull, get dressed, have a red bull, throw the redbull cans away, have a red bull. Waking up early on Saturday morning after a large Friday night isn't that unusual for me (and I'm usually off to play high impact sport), but this was just too early.

By the time I got home, crashed for a few hours, and logged on to the laptop it was getting scarily near to 48 hours since I had last played poker. True story. As is my wont recently, I joined a retardo-sized $3 rebuy tournament and managed to dodge over 2000 people to finish in 191st out of 2327. Always satisfying. I also played a couple of the new $50 90 person SnGs. Haven't had any joy yet, but I think I like these tournaments... similar-ish play to the 180 SnGs (though it seems slightly better for the most part there are still some complete lemurs) and the payout structure is flatter than the 180s.

Sunday I played in the Stars Deep Stacks and Full Tilt Double Stacks tournament, and managed to thoroughly depress myself by playing well and then busting out of both tournaments in identical fashion. Might have a leak there, champ. After that effort I took a break and watched some highly enjoyable basketball as local kids GMU dumped UConn. That inspired me enough to get off the couch, head to the local bar, and knock back some beers while watching the late games with some friends who also showed up.

Beers + friends + basketball ensured I missed the start of the Blogger tournament on Sunday night, but it was worth it. I still played a turno 45 SnG when I got home, followed by a little low-limit short-handed NL, so that's something. Last night I just wasn't in the mood, though I still ended up watching High Stakes Poker on GSN. Tonight is footy training, so I'm not sure if I'll hit the felt. Tomorrow night I've been invited to a friend's end-of-month poker night at his office. From what I understand it's a low-limit NL cash game, but I'm looking forward to a little live game action. I'll let you know how it goes.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

The Meaning of Liff (and Poker)

Douglas Adams, he of The Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy fame, was an incredibly funny man. Loved watching deadlines flying by, but funny nonetheless. I have owned at one time or another almost all of his books (some of them multiple times) - the entire HHGTTG trilogy (which is comprised of five books), the Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency books etc. etc. I even picked up "The Salmon of Doubt", a combination "rough first draft of the next Dirk Gently book" and collection of essays which was released after his untimely death (his death being a pretty good argument for giving strenuous exercise a miss... but I digress).

In one of his essays he describes how he and his friends came up with the idea of coming up with words to describe things that there weren't currently words for, like the lovely feeling of the cool side of the pillow, or the discomfort you get when you sit down on a seat that has been warmed by someone else's arse. To label these forlornly ignored things they used the names of towns in the UK, as it seemed the appropriate thing to do. Two books were devoted to these words, "The Meaning of Liff", and the "The Deeper Meaning of Liff" - both of these books (along with "Last Chance to See") I have never owned or read, somewhat inexplicably.

I was chatting to Kat, describing how I was feeling a little hungover. "Feeling a bit duntish then?" she asked. "??" was my cunning reply.

DUNTISH (adj.)
Mentally incapacitated by severe hangover.

So I decided to peruse the list (found here) and found one or two that are applicable to Poker playing.


Every blogger knows this happen in online poker rooms every day. It's also a handy word that can be thrown around tonight if you lose to someone in the Heads Up Challenge.

ABOYNE (vb.)
To beat an expert at a game of skill by playing so appallingly that none of his clever tactics or strategies are of any use to him.


This is for all the people who love buying poker texts, but reading them? Not so much.

BALLYCUMBER (n.)
One of the six half-read books lying somewhere in your bed.


That feeling you get just before you get kicked in the junk?

ELY (n.)
The first, tiniest inkling you get that something, somewhere, has gone terribly wrong.


And this is when your opponent flips over his cards, after you have registered an ely.

WEMBLEY (n.)
The hideous moment of confirmation that the disaster presaged in the ely (q.v.) has actually struck.


When you are telling a bad beat story that you just don't have the heart for. Also, this entire post:

OBWESTRY (abs.n.)
Bloody-minded determination on part of a storyteller to continue a story which both the teller and the listeners know has become desperately tedious.


The expression of someone hearing a bad beat story told to them in person?

SMARDEN (vb.)
To keep your mouth shut by smiling determinedly through you teeth. Smardening is largely used by people trying to give the impression that they're enjoying a story they've heard at least six times before.

Consider your vocabulary increased!

Dream Hands and Mookie Redemption

Do you ever daydream about perfect poker hands that send a lot of money your way? Uh... me neither. In case you do, here's one to chew on:

You have just sat down at a o.25/0.50 NL Hold'em table at FullTilt. There are four other bloggers at the table. Blogger #1 is in the SB, Blogger #2 in the BB. You are the first limper from MP, non-blogger behind you also limps, Blogger #1 completes, Blogger #2 checks. Flop comes down K-6-8 all spades. Blogger #1 bets $4 into the $2 pot. Blogger #2 calls. You call. Non-blogger raises it up to $20. Blogger #1 goes all-in for $2 or so more. Blogger #2 pushes over the top for $60 or so. You call. Non-blogger folds.

Blogger #1 had a baby flush, Blogger #2 was drawing to the second nut flush. Non-blogger later claims to also have had a flush. You had flopped the nut flush. No straight flush draw for anybody. The $150 pot goes to you.

Wish I had a screenshot.

__________________________________

After hands of the dreamy nature I jumped into Mookie's Tournament. In the past I have suffered extreme junk trauma in this tourney when participants have just hammered my groin region. And not in a good way. I warned all and sundry that I was wearing a cup, and jumped in. Mookie live-blogged the tournament here.

The junk protection held up, and I was even able to re-suckout on somone who clanged their foot off my protected family jewels at one point. I had also knocked back quite a lot of red wine by this stage, so I don't have many hands to talk about as the details are pretty fuzzy. After dodging bullets I managed to get lemur my way into the money, and then get heads up with Texascrzylad, albeit it at a 3:1 chip disadvantage. The blinds were still tolerable, so I was able to work the speed bag, taking a lot of small pots while avoiding the big pots unless I had the nuts or a monster (OK, so I got no monsters). This turned out to be a good strategy as I was able to get out to a 2:1 advantage, though I couldn't bring it to an end. When we were back to about even (I was ever-so-slightly covered) I looked down and saw 6-6. All the money goes in, except that Texascrzylad has J-J. Whups! And I go out in 2nd.

I was a bit annoyed, as I really feel I should have won, but kudos to
Texascrzylad for hanging in there and taking it out. Pocket pairs are usually gold HU. This time it was just Fool's Gold.

*kick in The Stone Roses, fade to black*

__________________________

Good luck to everyone participating in the Heads Up Challenge. I am most likely going to be in a bar getting wasted and watching College basketball, but I may end up railbirding at some stage. Drunken, incoherent railbirding. Cheers!

Monday, March 20, 2006

The People's Champ

No, the headline does not refer to me - it's for Gracie, who kicked arse and took names to become the winner of the first WPBT satellite to get someone in a WSOP tournament. She beat a very impressive field to take the $1500 tournament of her choice. We all wish her well.

So how was my effort in the tournament? About standard recently for my Blogger forays. Let's review my stat line:

High Water Mark: 3rd
Number of Hammers dropped: 2
Number of Hands Misplayed: 2
Number of Hands Seriously Misplayed, Costing Me My Tournament Life: 1
Finish: 41st of 69
Time Spent: Approx. 2 hours

I am about to say something obvious: I play my best when I go with my instincts. In blogger tournaments recently I am out-thinking myself - making moves and plays that I just don't make in any other situation. The hand which sent me to the rail was such a loose, bad play it is haunting. But I know what I did wrong, and I'll try to learn from it moving forward. That includes trying to play my game, and not doing anything silly.

I did manage to cripple Bobby Bracelet in a blind war when he had the misfortune to have A-Q when an Ace flopped and a Q hit the turn... I had A-A you see. Hard to get away from that one.

One final note regarding the tournament - as noted by a couple of others, why the 9pm EST start? There are a lot of people who work on the East Coast that just can't make that time on a Sunday night. As it's the weekend, wouldn't a 6pm or even 7pm start work just as well? If nothing else it might garner us more participants, which can't be a bad thing.

_____________________________

I managed to play more poker than I thought I would on the weekend. The first session was a post-binge-drinking St Patrick's Day fest. 3am, me and my laptop, managing to win $23 in half an hour. Nice.

On Saturday night I played a few of those retardo-sized rebuy events on Stars - my big effort was finishing 41st out of 2268 people in the $3 tourney. That is stepping through a LOT of donkeys. Unfortunately the really big money was still a while away, but I was still pretty pumped to get to that position.

Sunday afternoon I talked Weak and SoxLover into playing the FullTilt double stacks tournament. The double stacks tournaments are my favourite there, as I find the blinds get too big too fast for me otherwise. 481 people ended up entering the tournament. Weak was the first of our trio to go down, but Sox and I kept battling away, and he and I ended up finishing 14th and 15th respectively. Again tantalisingly close to the big money, but still happy with proceedings.

I also played a 10+1 45 person SnG as part of the SnG Challenge. 12th no good, and I am 0-2 in those. A couple of sessions on Paradise's 0.25/0.50 NL tables also punished me, as the donkeys took advantage of me. In the first session it was someone paying the hideous price I was setting to hit their flush on the river. In the second session it was someone paying big to hit their boat on the river. Ooh, that smarts. Stings all the more when you realise those two hands effectively wiped out my double stack winnings. D'oh!

Friday, March 17, 2006

The Marchness is Maddening

I haven't looked at the official list for a while, but I'm sure there is a footnote to Murphy's Law which includes the following:

"During the week of the NCAA Tournament, Monday through Wednesday will be so quiet you will sleepwalk through the days. On Thursday morning all hell will break loose at work causing you to focus and panic about non-basketball events."

I managed to escape to a bar yesterday to watch some games while eating a (very late) lunch. This turned out to be great timing, as I was able to watch the end of regulation and both overtimes in the BC/Pacific game. I had actually picked Pacific for the insane upset, and they almost did me proud while simulataneously destroying brackets across the land. A great game. I also hit the bar last night and marvelled at GW/NC-Wilmington while people were going berserk around me (the bar is a GW bar, just off campus).

Between St. Patrick's day, the tournament, and footy training (tomorrow morning at 10am! urgh) I'm not sure how much Poker I can squeeze in. I still plan on playing in the blogger tournament on Sunday night on Paradise (see Iggy's blog for detail).

Last poker I played was on Wednesday night, $50 NL on Paradise. I was slowly accumulating chips on a crazy table, and was putting off going to bed as these two donkeys were generating heaps of action. They both left in quick succession, so I said to myself "OK, time to go to bed." I was just in front of the blinds, and so decided to play one more orbit. This proved to be a $50 mistake. And not because I got unlucky... the luck should have cost me some money, but not $50. The balance was made up by my retarded play. Yay me!

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

High Brow Humour

He said "tit". Heh heh heh.

DADI Doesn't Love Me Anymore

To tell you the truth, I don't think DADI ever loved me in the first place. Last night was the Short-handed spectacular, TripJax performing deeds best left unspoken to ensure we could battle it out with 6 to a table. Those of you who know me are aware I am most comfortable with a full table, the more the merrier. 9 or 10 people to a table lets me sit back, play my game, pick my spots, and not get too crazy.

Obivously with 6 to a table I was not going to get my wish. Not only that, but on my starting table there was one empty seat, and one person sitting out. Even worse than that, the person sitting out was Fluxer, pretty much the one person I did NOT want at my short-handed table.

We jousted early, but I was never able to make much headway. I believe my high water mark was about 1850 chips - not exactly earth-shattering considering you start off with 1500. Flux did manage to make it back before getting blinded down too much, but was not long for the tournament. My game didn't seem to take too long either, and I was out in the middle of the pack when my pocket 7s ran into those freaking Queens.

My hatred for Queens is approaching SoxLover-like levels.

Congrats to Ingoal in particular for cracking the final table and cashing. I think this might have been his first cash in a Blogger event.

I'm hoping that I get my act together and do some damage in tonight's WWDN. The tournament I really have my eye on, however, is the Sunday night WPBT WSOP Satellite Tournament. This is where we all chip in $30 and battle it out to send one of our brethren to a $1500 event in this year's WSOP. The event is being held on Paradise Poker, a site we don't normally play to allow those people with contractual obligations to certain Poker sites a chance to play.

I have never had Paradise installed on my machine, let alone a real money account opened, so I did that all last night and registered for the tournament. I played about an hour on a $50 NL - the software was quite nice - the chat is cool as it pops up on the table in front of the speaker, and I enjoyed being able to order drinks to set next to my chair (yes, I realise I am a lame individual). I'm going to mess around on there for a few more days and see how I go. I did note that it looks like their tables seat 10, which makes me happy.

If a Master Procrastinator like myself can get suitably motivated to install, register and deposit to a new poker site, you can too! Early registration would be fantastic to ensure we get as many people in as possible. I'm assuming if we break 110 that we would be able to send two people to the Big Dance. Which would be awesome.

All the details regarding the WPBT WSOP Satellite Tournament can be found at Iggy's:

WPBT WSOP Satellite Tournament
March 19th - Sunday
9pm EST
Paradise Poker
$30 NL
password: email Iggy (you can get his email address from his blog)

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Atlantic City: How I Got Stacked, Dropped the Hammer, and Met Bruce Willis

It was a perfect storm. SoxLover had placed my name on the 1/2 NL list, as I had arrived in Atlantic City a little later than planned. My name started off in 40th place amongst those waiting for a seat. As my name slowly crawled higher on the list displayed on monitors spread around the Borgata's poker room, I sweated Sox playing on hia 2/5 NL table. Nobody on the table looked that great, and some appeared to be blatant ATMs. Sox had been building his stack diligently... right up until a donkey flopped the perfect hand. But I'll let Sox tell that story.

After 90 minutes, my name was still 16th on the 1/2 NL list. There were three names on the 2/5 list. I had also been warned that the 1/2 game might not approach the kind of poker I was familiar with, while the 2/5 might be more my speed. Despite the fact I hadn't really brought the roll for 2/5, I decided to take the plunge.

And that's how I came to be seated at a live No Limit table for the first time in my life, playing higher than I had before. The inhabitants of the table appeared to be mostly posturing New Yorkers, who were busy swapping stories about playing in various card rooms in the city. I made little small talk, as I tried to get my bearings. Early on I received pocket 6s, and made a questionable play at a flop of small cards. A ten on the flop and I was pushed off the pot. I took a deep breath, trying to keep my cool. I was worried that I was looking exactly how I was feeling - a little rattled and out of my depth.

A few hands later, and after four limpers I look down at Q-Q. I pop it to $30, which immediately starts the New York "pros" musing out loud about ifI had A-K or A-Q. Everyone folded around to me except a guy who limped in 3rd or so. The flop came down 2d-Js-10s. Not a bad flop - no As or Ks, but there were draws. The guy in middle position checks to me, so I bet about the pot.

The guy in middle position raises me to $200.

I would like to tell you that I paused and went over the possibilities. That I disregarded A-A and K-K, but was aware that J-J, 10-10, K-Q (maybe suited), A-xs suited, J-10s (not spades) were all possibilites. That I knew there was a real possibility he was trying to push me off A-K or A-Q.

I did not pause. I insta-pushed. The guy in middle position insta-called. I turned over my Queens, and he turned over... his Kings.

I distinctly remember time pausing for a moment, as my mind raced over the betting pre-flop. I couldn't believe this guy limped after other limpers with K-K, and then didn't re-raise when I popped it. If he had turned over J-J or 10-10 that was one thing. But not this.

The dealer burned and turned, and unbelievably the fourth card on the board was the 9 of diamonds. That had just increased my outs from 2 to 6 - any Queen now made a straight for my opponent, but an 8 or K would make me a winning straight.

The table held it's breath as the dealer placed the final card on the felt. No help for me. In less than an hour I had blown away a large portion of the roll I had brought to Atlantic City.

_________________________


In retrospect, maybe I should haven't bought into the 2/5 game with a full stack originally. I'm not totally sold on that, as after my initial fencing on the first table I would have left myself pretty short.

I still am not sure if I could have gotten away from my Queens. It would have been a monster laydown. I feel I made a good raise pre-flop, and that I needed to bet with that flop. With no spades in my hand, and a possible straight draw on the board (while realising that I was taking away two outs away from a potential straight draw) if I check on the flop there were too many cards which would scare me off the pot: any Ace, any King, any spade and I'm probably gone.

Looking back on the turn card I think I can also state with confidence that if all the money didn't go in on the flop it was going in on the turn. An over pair and a straight draw would have looked massive to me, despite the possibility of going heads up against K-Q - that would have just been unfortunate.

I think I have come to terms with the fact that it was just unfortunate timing. I just don't think I could get away from that hand. That's how it goes.

_________________________

Remarkably I didn't feel too bad after watching my pocket Queens burst into flames. The first thing I did was congratulate my opponent on his fine hand. I then announced I was standing up for a moment, but that I would be back. I wandered over to SoxLover, and tapped him on the shoulder. Sox was probably wondering why I was grinning like I had just discovered a $20 bill under my seat. I announced that I had just got stacked by his least favourite hand, Q-Q, the Hand of Death.

I quickly related the particulars of the hand, and Sox commiserated. We both shrugged, as our instant analysis was that I wasn't getting away from the hand. I informed Sox that I was buying back in, and going back to war.

I strode back to my table, and threw another 5 images of Benjamin Franklin onto the felt. The dealer slid another stack of chips my way, and I paused for a moment after arranging my ammunition. Strangely enough I felt calm, and extremely loose - the tightness I had been experiencing before was gone. Whether it was because I had been numbed by the image of all of my chips sliding across the table, or because I was now like a green infantryman who had survived his first contact with the enemy, I don't know.

I played on my table for another few orbits, with nothing of note occurring. All of a sudden Sox raced up to me, informing that a space had opened on his table. Since I had spent a bunch of time watching his table, and having Sox there added a known element, I asked for a table change and left the scene of my stacking and seated myself immediately to SoxLover's right.

Sox's table had undergone a few changes since I had last seen it. Mr "Play Any Two Cards" and his $500 chip had been busted, much to his surprise. The donkey (who appeared to have worse Parkinson's than Michael J. Fox in the last season of "Spin City") who had previously violated SoxLover busted soon after I sat down... he and his vanquisher left soon thereafter.

I played a little weakly at first, but slowly found my rhythm. I was playing extremely tight, and didn't make too many plays at pots. Sox was trying to work his way back after his earlier misfortune. After playing together for a while we decided that it was time to take a break and get some food. I welcomed the break, as I recognised it was probably a good idea for me a mental inventory of where I was at.

Over dinner Sox and I took turns lamenting our poor fortune, as poker players are wont to do. While eating our noodles and drinking Kirin we also chatted to the other people sharing our table, joking and telling stories. People playing Blackjack and Craps hooted and hollered nearby. It was strange... playing normal Casino table games seemed so far away.

_________________________

After dinner Sox and found ourselves seated at the same table once more, although at opposite ends. For some reason four people at the table were absent, and for the first hour or more we played short-handed. This is not my game. Without playing any big hands I watched my stack dwindle as I was blinded away and missed friendly flops. Despite all this I felt really loose, and was chatting away and making jokes. A guy on the far end of the table, to Sox's immediate right, seemed like a good guy . On Sox's immediate left was a cute brunette, Jennifer, who not only seemed nice, but was apparently enjoying Sox's and my banter (apparently she is a great actress).

I finally had some joy as I limped in on the button with J-6 suited. The small blind completed, and the big blind checked. The flop came down giving my an open ended straight draw, with one of my suit on the board. The small blind bet out, and I was more than happy to call. The turn was a beautiful card, making my straight and giving me four cards to a flush. Much to my surprise the small blind pushed (I had him comfortably covered), and I was more than happy to call. Expecting to see an identical straight (with my spades giving me a redraw), I was happy to see my opponent had flopped two pair.

No help for him, and I manage to stack someone. My opponent congratulated me on the hand, stood up, and informed the table that he would return. After he was out of earshot SoxLover called out "Garth, did you just take that man's stack?" I smiled, and got back to stacking my chips.

Eventually the table began to fill up. To my left a young kid sat down; he wouldn't impress anyone for the duration, featuring such greatest hits as bluffing into a dry side pot. To my right was another quiet guy who had repopped me a few times when I had attempted to make some plays. His lowlight would come when a guy at the other end of the table would stack him with A-A vs K-K. After his intial success against me he wasn't really a factor. Two seats to Sox's right was a young guy who liked to play Table Captain. We'll refer to him as Milk & Cookies, as that was what he actually consumed later in the evening. I thought he was OK, with slight toolish tendencies, but Sox confided to me later that he was a dick and voted Least Popular by his side of the table. I won Miss Congeniality.

Once the table had filled, the poker was of a style I was familiar with, which was good. Not so good was my run of cards, as I continued to experience a severe cold-decking. As I again watched my chips dwindle, I realised I had to try and take pots when I could to just tread water. By and large this was successful, but wasn't enough for me to really accumulate chips. Sox was working away at the other end, building a formidable stack. The two guys to Sox's right were also doing well, mostly by receiving wonderful cards. The opposite end of the table was showing down so many big pocket pairs that I started making jokes about the table tilting to their side under the weight of their chips. I also requested a seat change button from the dealer, informing the table of my intent to migrate to the card rich side.

Of course the one time our end of the table got a big pocket pair the guy to my right gave all his chips to the guy to Sox's right (from now on GTSR. NEWSFLASH: Sox has just informed me that GTSR was Jennifer's husband - I knew her husband was somewhere in the vicinity, just not that guy! Wowsers). So maybe you should be careful what you wish for.

Jennifer was short-stacked the entire time she was at the table, but every time she was forced to go all-in she either won the pot outright, or chopped. She was playing tightly, didn't seem to catch many cards, but was helped by nice flops when she needed them. I for one (and I know Sox was thinking the same thing) was glad she was sticking around. Several times pocket 8s saved her skin, and I informed her that pocket 8s were now known as "The Jennifer".

_____________________

At one stage I needed to go to the little boy's room. As I was standing up I was peripherally aware of Sox making an early position raise. I didn't think anything of it, turning away from the table as everyone folded around.

"Garth, hey!" Sox called. I turned back as SoxLover grinned and showed the table 7-2 off. In the stunned silence I shouted "THE HAMMER" and shot the devil horns at Sox. \m/ As I made my way to the bathroom I could hear Sox attempting to explain to the stunned table what had just happened. I knew the ante had just been raised.

My chance came an hour or so later. Under the gun I look down and see those beautiful cards, off suit 7 and 2. I throw out 4 chips, making it $20 to go. The table folds around to SoxLover, sitting on the button and looking at me quizzically. I give him the StoneFace, and he throws away his weak Ace. Jennifer folds in the SB, BB follows suit. As the chips come my way I shout "BOYOKASHA!" and throw down the monster. Now the table knows something is afoot.

Milk & Cookies states that he just can't play that hand, revealing his toolishness (later, while I was away from the table, he apparently won with the Hammer from the BB when he flopped two pair). GTSR thinks it is hilarious. Jennifer thinks that we are mentally disturbed, albeit in amusing fashion.

A while later GTSR makes a 3xBB raise from late position, and everyone folds to him. With a wild grin he throws down the Hammer, and Sox and I hoot and holler. Somehow we have managed to infect Atlantic City with Hammer Madness, and we love it.

_____________________

Fear not, I did have some more nice cards. After a EP raise to 4xBB, I look down and see those Beautiful Bullets. I repop to 10xBB, GTSR (in one of the blinds) smooth calls, and the initial raiser folds.

Interesting. The flop comes down as a small card rainbow, and GTSR bets out $50. I can't put him on a set, and some kind of straight draw would be strange. I feel like I am ahead, and I smooth call the bet. The turn is an Ace, a potential action killer. While I have the StoneFace going, I do my best acting job of being the "guy with a poker face who just saw the one card he didn't want to see". Check-check. River is a jack. GTSR checks to me, and I pause and look at the pot. $60 seems about right - hopefully small enough to get him to call, and if I hit the jackpot he may see it as weak and come over the top. I'm not that lucky, but he does pay me off. I table my set of Aces, and GTSR ruefully flashes his Queens. Those Queens again. Though GTSR misplayed his hand (what can he put me on?), he was also somewhat fortunate not to lose his whole stack.

A few hands later I managed to get into a hand with pocket 4s. I had been lamenting that none of my pocket pairs had hit a set on the flop. GTSR raised to $20, I called, as did Milk & Cookies. "You come, I come," Milk & Cookies called to me. I resisted making any BrokeBack Mountain references, and just smiled at the comment. The flop brought a low rainbow. GTSR checked to me. "How about I check you check?" I asked Milk & Cookies as I tapped the felt. For some reason Milk & Cookies complied, and we saw a turn card. It brought a second club, but it was a 4. Another turned set.

GTSR decided to bet out $25. I paused and decided that I'd take the pot now, raising to $75. Milk & Cookies folded, and after a pause so did GTSR. I flashed my 4s, hoping to be able to take a future pot off GTSR on the turn.

Another hand came up against the lovely Jennifer. I raised 3xBB, and she was my only caller from the small blind. The flop came down A-Qc-8c, and Jennifer bet out $25, a fair portion of her stack. I raised to $75, feeling my A-J was the best hand - unless Jennifer immediately pushed I was confident. I put on the StoneFace, and in my peripheral vision I could see her agonising, shooting me looks to see if I would give anything away. The StoneFace was strong, and finally Jennifer pushed. I called instantly, and she was dismayed to see that her A-10 was dominated. Again her luck held, as the board paired and my higher kicker turned into smoke.

My final big hand once again came against Jennifer. I either limped from the button or completed my small blind, I can't recall. I held the power hand of 8h-9d. The flop gave me an OESD, but with two diamonds. Jennifer bet out $20, and I called with impunity, staring her down. The turn brought a third diamond, and she checked to me. I checked behind. The river was a fourth diamond, and we both check.

"Do you have a diamond?" I asked, as I prepared to muck my hand.

"No," she said, revealing a lower made straight. I paused and checked my hand... oh hell, I have the best hand. Sheepishly I showed my diamond, and everyone laughed at my unintentional slow roll. Jennifer took it in a stride, shaping up and threatening to beat me into next week.

Soon afterwards Sox and I agreed to get one last comped beer, and head to the bar for decompression - it was almost 3am, and I was taking a bus back to DC at 4am (yes, I am insane). He had more than doubled up, playing great poker, which put him into the black for the trip. I had made a small profit, but was still down a bunch due to my beating when I held Queens.

On our way to the bar we cruised by the craps section. We noticed a bouncer standing next to one of the tables, looking like he was suffering a bout of 'roid rage - he was bouncing on his heels as he surveyed the crowd for a victim. I noticed the craps table had a little "reserved" sign on it, but didn't give it much thought. Sox and I paused at the end of the table, but a casino employee immediately materialised and asked us to move on. Sox and I looked at each other and shrugged our shoulders. Moving two steps away, we asked a pit boss what the deal was.

"Oh, that's Bruce Willis's table." Looking back to the craps table, yeah, there was the man in all of his bald glory, with a couple of hangers on and a couple of hotties. I shrugged, took a swig of beer, and motioned towards the bar. If you've seen Bruce Willis throw dice once, you don't really need to see it again.

In the bar Sox and I chatted about how we played, as we knocked back a couple of beers. We didn't stay too long, as Sox wanted to crash, and I needed to head to the bus station. There was a long early morning ride ahead of me.

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Trudging back to my apartment I reflected on my weekend. Overall I was happy with my play, and put it down to good experience. Despite the fact I was down a fair amount it was entirely due to one hand that I still don't think I could have gotten away from. I had played and done OK at a higher limit than I expected to be at, and had a good time doing so.

I'm not sure when the next time I play live will be, but I hope to build on what I learned this weekend. And who knows, maybe next time I'll be able to see Steven Seagal playing blackjack.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Welcome to the AC, bitch!

I've just booked my tickets for a whirlwind one day trip from DC to Atlantic City. SoxLover and I had talked about cruising up for a day's gambling, neatly coinciding with his wife going OS for a week.

I have been to Las Vegas once, heading there for Thanksgiving the first year I was in the US. After all, what better place to give thanks? I knew less than nothing about what I was doing, and in one memorable session at Binion's took 7 hours to donk off $100 at a 2/4 limit table. I also played in a live tourney, getting my dreams crushed with A-K s00ted (diamonds... I remember them well).

The company I used to work for (and who transferred me across to the US of A) was headquartered in Detroit, so I used to go there irregularly. Somehow I only managed to get to a casino once, spending a few hours at the Greektown Casino. I knew a bit more then, and left up $60 from a 1/3 limit table.

Now? Now it is time for me to have a shot playing some No Limit live. I'll probably be playing the lowest limit they spread, so I expect to see some "interesting" play. My goals are simple: try and make good decisions, don't attempt (too many) fancy plays, and have fun. Feel free to send some gamboooling mojo my way. I'll let you know how it goes.

If anyone has any tips or thoughts, please stick them in the comments. Cheers.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

The Streak is Over!

Yes, sports fans, I finally took down another Heads Up confrontation, this time at the end of a 30+3 2 table SnG. This brings my record to a stellar 2-6 the last 8 times I have found myself heads up. It was also nice to take down a SnG.

After a brief break I jumped into a 11+1 45 person turbo SnG on Stars with a bunch of bloggers. While that was going on I also joined Mookie's tournament. I was doing well on Stars, though I almost instantly got kicked in the junk in Mookie's tournament, when someone rivered a straight (the junk-kicker claimed later he didn't mean to call my big raise on the turn). I fought my way back... only to be kicked in the junk again with another rivered straight. And that was that.

Almost immediately afterwards I bubbled in the 45 SnG, trying to steal a pot with one limper from the SB. The BB had a pocket pair, no help came for my weak Ace (I actually had 7 outs on the flop, and 11 on the turn) and I lose. Of course I managed to suck out on someone before to make it that far, so I was essentially free-rolling.

But no matter! I choose to bask in my SnG victory for now. I feel I am playing good poker at the moment, and I hope it continues.

Death by Hammer

Continuing my recent run of lack-lustre performances in WWDN tournaments, I busted out in 31st or so of 85 last night. I felt I was playing quite well, right up until the point I was dealt the hammer in the Big Blind. Villainiss in LP made a standard raise, and I came over the top with a re-raise. V cold-calls and we see a flop of K-Q-x, rainbow I think. I make a continuation bet, and V calls. At this point I realise I probably should throw my hand away, as I get the feeling V thinks her hand is good. There is a blank on the turn, and instead of check/folding I throw caution to the wind and push. V calls me (she had me slightly covered) and shows A-Q.

Whups.

I blow kisses to the crowd as I go out in a blaze of... something. Stupidity? Stubborness? Blogger glory? It would have been lovely if Villainiss thought I had A-K and laid her hand down (that would have ruled!), but hey whatcha gonna do? (Answer: not be too moronic with the hammer, I guess.)

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Weak and I warmed up for the WWDN with a little 10+1 2 table SnG action on Stars. He got off to a good start on his table while I had to work away on mine. When the tables were consolidated we both had almost identical reasonably-sized stacks. Probably the most important hand of the SnG for me occurred when we were six-handed I believe (maybe it was five-handed - at any rate only four paid). The guy on my right in EP made a standard raise. I look down at A-K and push (I have Mr EP covered). Everyone folds around to Mr EP, who calls and shows a mid-pair. No joy for me, and instead of knocking someone out I am crippled.

From this point I began pushing judiciously when the situation merited, and fought my way back into reasonable shape. There were two big stacks, while Weak, myself and Mr EP from before had almost identical stacks. Mr EP was being reasonably passive, while Weak and I were still taking shots at the blinds when we could. I was in the SB, Weak in the BB, when it was folded around and I saw A-4 off. I decide to push, and Weak calls with 10-10. D'oh. A 10 on the flop and IGHN.

Again I felt I played really well, though in the bustout hand I could have made a standard raise instead - Weak would have gone over the top of me and I would have been faced with a tough decision, though I probably could have laid the hand down.

Weak eventually went out in 3rd, when his A-9 s00ted went up against pocket 4s. Two Aces on the flop (yay!), followed by a 4 on the turn (boooooooooooooooo!). Weak's run continues.

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The Full Tilt jacket that I won in a bounty during the Leukemia charity tournament arrived yesterday. It's actually pretty stylish, and I'm very happy with it. If you have 6,500 Full Tilt points and want some nice poker-related gear, check it out.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Wading Through the Donkeys

I mentioned in a previous post the strange attraction I have to the 10+1 retardo-sized tournaments on Stars. The one I played on Saturday night attracted over 1500 people. Last night Trauma convinced me to join the same one, starting at 7:45. How many people signed up? 1751.

I actually received a lot of good cards in the first hour, but here's the thing - it can be really really hard to make donkeys lay down a hand. I must have received A-K or A-Q five times before the first break, did not hit a single flop, and was able to take the pot down once. I also had a hand where there were four limpers ahead of me. I look down and see K-K, so toss in a 6XBB raise. EVERYONE, including the big blind, called. Flop comes down with three diamonds (I have a diamond), and the big blind bets out just over half the (now quite large) pot. All of a sudden I have a decision to make, and I have no idea what he is holding. Two diamonds? Small pair that flopped a set? The Ace of diamonds? Cursing all the while I laid my hand down.

After the effort with the K-K I received A-Q, and took the pot when I made a tilty all-in raise when someone made a min-raise bet into me on the flop. This set up the hand that got me on my way - I have K-K in EP (I told you I was catching cards), and raise to 4xBB... I'm not mucking around any more. One caller in LP. Flop comes A-x-x with two spades. Now I am really steaming. I force myself to make a continuation bet, which is cold-called. As I am gnashing my teeth the beautiful King of hearts appears on the turn. I check, the LP bets out about 1/5 of the pot, and I push all-in. The LP promptly calls all-in showing... Q-10 offsuit?! Yes, he called me all-in with nothing but a gutshot draw.

I am happy to report the gutshot draw did not hit.

I proceeded to play somewhat normal poker after that, never really going on a rush, and having to play some aggressive short-stack poker to keep my head above water. I managed to make the money, and up a level before I ran into a big stack's A-K and was vaporised in 117th.

So what's the attraction? The amazingly soft field? The opportunity to witness some exquisitely poor play (Weak Player calls it the Special Olympics of poker)? I have to admit to getting some satisfaction in high-stepping through such a humongous field, and if I do manage to have a rush at the right time it could really pay off. Hell, maybe it's just fun.

Monday, March 06, 2006

IM-a-shot

For the first time in a while, I did not play poker for two days in a row. Astounding! Yes, Thursday and Friday I refused to heed the siren song of the virtual felt, instead going out with friends (but still drinking heavily). I didn't even log in to play drunk donkey poker, though I do have to say that I was so loaded on Friday night I half-expected to wake up on Saturday morning and see that PokerTracker had dutifully logged some awful stats.

During the day on Saturday there was no time for poker either. I had to wake up at 9am to do some work from home, after which I went back to bed. Then I was up at 10:30am to go and play flag football, despite the fact I was still in hideous sleep debt from the previous week. By the time I got back from vigorous physical activity I had time to shower, change, and head into work - it was a maintenance window this weekend and I needed to do my stuff at 5 o'clock.

After all of that it was 7:30pm on Saturday night before I returned home. There were two things I wanted to do: play poker, and drink. Veneno had decided that she wanted to drink as well, and so in the spirit of AlCantHang it was time for IM-a-shots. Though I drank red wine steadily throughout the evening, I threw back shots of vodka and red bull whenever anyone needed a drinking partner. Veneno overdid it and needed to ride the Porcelain Bus, but that's what you get for drinking liquor with mango flavouring.

As for the poker, I started off finishing 11th in a two-table peep sex tournament on FullTilt. I then joined SoxLover in a retarded-sized 10+1 on Stars. I managed to cash, finishing in 167th of 1538. This achievment, taking 2 and a half hours, netted me a snazzy $1.30 profit. (Yes, the tournament was my idea - these tournaments fascinate me for some reason.) By this time a bunch of bloggers had joined us, and people were jumping into 45 person SnGs and the like - I came 7th in a 45 person turbo (I panicked when I noticed I had no chips in relation to the blinds... yes, I don't play turbo tourneys often), and busted out of another just out of the money. A 180 SnG saw no real results. We all then jumped onto a 0.10/0.25 and showed off assorted donkey poker playing skills. I was a chief donator early on, though I did take a bunch off of Kat (who still hasn't forgiven me).

I finally crashed somewhere around 2am or so. All I needed was a good night's sleep. Unfortunately I wasn't going to get it, as I had comittee and coaching meetings for my Australian Rules Football team (the season approacheth! and I need to get fit real soon now!), starting at 10am.

Way, way too early.

By the time I was all done and back home it was 4 o'clock, and time to begin Operation Turn Bombsite Back Into Apartment. I wanted to get everything out of the way, and hopefully have time for a nap, before it was time for Sir Waffle's tournament on FT at 8:30pm. Unfortunately there was no napping, though the tournament did start later at 9pm with a change of venue due to FT going down. By this time I was really starting to struggle, though I was determined to do some damage.

I started off with Waffles just to the right of me, and we did a little jousting early on in a blind vs blind confrontation which he was able to win. I did take some chips off Ingoal when I flopped a set, but he was able to avoid giving me the rest of his stack. Waffles was moved, and eventually I was transported to an extremely eostrogen charged table. Kat, Jules, SoxLover's Wife, and Gracie were all there.

I managed to drop the hammer from (I think) the small blind; Jules made a standard raise from EP, everyone folded around and I pushed all-in. Jules had me covered, but if she called and lost she would have been crippled. After thinking for some time, she folded. I showed the hammer, upon which Jules proclaimed I probably would have sucked out on her. Too true.

In other action, Gary managed to cripple Gracie before busting her for good. I was attacking Kat's blinds continually; I kept showing the nice hands I was doing it with, but I think Kat didn't really care what my cards were. This proved to be my undoing as I made a loose steal attempt with Q-7 of hearts. Kat's cold call should have given me pause, but I decided to push all-in when the flop came all low cards with two spades. Kat called me with relish, showing me K-x of spades, and the third spade on the turn did the trick. I thought I was busted, but I had a micro-stack left. The next hand I had K-Q, and called a min-raise all-in (told you I was micro-stacked). No joy for me, and I get to retire to bed.

Of course I still didn't sleep very well (yay!), though on the bright side my pager's battery died - this was great as work had some intermittent problems that I couldn't do anything about, but which would have had the pager waking me up hourly. Small victories.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Friday Arvo Means Clock Watching!

The good news is that the Spartans got their act together and put Wisconsin away nicely. After the game the Ex, the New/Old Boy and I went out to another bar where we played drunken pool against a strange cast of characters. There were three of us, and three of them, so 3 on 3 pool it was. The leader of their posse was a middle-aged, loud, humorously annoying guy dressed all in black with a shoe-string tie and an arrowhead clasp. He pronounced himself half Native American, half French and I believed him. His second was a middle-aged Native American woman, from the Hopi tribe if I'm not mistaken. The third was a younger guy, probably 26 or 27, dressed in business garb and trying hard to be cool. He reminded me a lot of a guy I knew from high school.

Our intrepid heroes featured myself in the role of "extremely inconsistent pool player". The New/Old Boy (NB for short) was an OK player, while the Ex was filling out the "person getting more and more loaded while still somehow playing decent pool" position. As I am a little sensitive about acting too chummy with the Ex with the NB around I spent most of the time in between shots drinking beer at the bar and chatting up the cute tattooed alterna-chick bartender.

I refuse to take bar pool seriously, a reflection upon the fact that I can play fantastic pool and look like a shark only to turn around and miss 15 gimme shots in a row. I used to play regularly in a Wednesday night pool competition at the Menzies Hotel in Sydney. There were some great players there, including one who I was friendly with and turned out to be the ex-Managing Director of Microsoft Australia (no one really cared too much what you did, so I only learned this fact after knowing the guy for like 2 years). I was always happy if I got past my first round match, let alone get deep. I once played magic pool for an evening, only to choke away the final to a player I should have eaten for lunch.

Given my blase attitude, and the fact that the Ex was drunk enough to start dropping her pool cue unintentionally, I didn't have the heart to suggest that maybe I should be bumped up the batting order instead of playing 3rd. Every game was close, but we went down 0-4. I hate being blanked, but that's how it goes when you are playing drunken pool against the Bizarro Trio.

The ongoing non-pool action was definitely amusing. The Hopi woman had decided I was cute, and was flirting. The young guy was failing to chat up the bartender, failing to be as cool as he thought he was, and trying to be my friend - I am invited to a party at his place in a couple of weeks; apparently his "scary" landlord is Australian. The Ex was getting drunker and drunker - the bartender and I agreed that it was hilarious but that the Ex was also cut off. The French/Native American dude was being loud, demonstrative, hilarious, and enjoying copping quick feels of the Ex. NB was chatting to the Hopi woman and keeping an eye on the Ex. The alterna-chick and I were having a good chat, and I was slightly disappointed that the odds were extremely long that she was a) single and b) interested in some Australian Action. I caught the Ex, God Bless her, informing alterna-chick that I was a "great guy", and asking if she "had many boyfriends". Nice to see the Ex going in to bat for me, even if I was slightly mortified. (Yes, the bartender has a boyfriend. Natch.)

We rolled out of there about 1am, and I immediately headed home and passed out. Due to the last three nights of heavy drinking and late nights, today has been a bit of a trial. You know it's bad when the short-order cook at the joint downstairs stops what he is doing to point out how tired you look.

I'm not sure if I'm staying in or going out tonight, but a nap when I get home is definitely looking likely. Whither Drunken Poker? Stay Tuned.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Go Sparty!

(Brief non-pokery goodness, then brief pokery goodness). My prediction for tonight's MSU vs Wisconsin game tonight:


This is false bravado - as usual, MSU are being consistently inconsistent and giving me the heebie-jeebies as the regular season winds down. Though I had the same feeling last year and we made it to the Final Four. Not that I expect that to happen this year, I'm just sayin'.

(And yes, that's me - I removed my head so as not to alarm those of you with weak stomachs. Yuengling is my favourite American beer, in case you were wondering.)

I am meant to be watching tonight's game somewhere with my ex and her current boyfriend. Not sure where, maybe at their place. This also decreases the chance of any pokeration this evening, especially since I have stayed up a wee bit too late the last couple of nights, drinking and gambling. Last night I really should have pulled the plug when Waffles stood up from the table, but Mookie sat down and I felt like a douche if I got up. Of course I could have shut down the other table, but that's too logical. I then proceeded to continue sitting at the tables even after I would not have felt like a douche if I got up. This turned out to be a $70 mistake. Whups! So let's see... I made at least three errors there. At least I'm aware of them, and will make efforts to not be so jerky next time. I should also add that the big win the previous day takes the edge off, but even so, loser move.

There shall be corrections made.

In "small sample size amusement" PokerTracker reveals that my losingest hand in cash NLHE is A-Ks. And that my second winningest hand is 5-5. Wheeeeeeeeeeeeee! (K-K is my winningest so far, in case you were wondering). I'm looking forward to running up a large whack of data so I can actually do some real number crunching. Yes, I'm a big nerd.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

The Sports Guy in the WSOP?!

I just read The Sports Guy's latest column on ESPN. In it he basically states that he is playing in the WSOP. No mention is made if he is planning to play in the Big One or one of the smaller events, nor is it made clear if he or ESPN is shelling out. I'm going to assume that ESPN is paying; after the debacle last year that was "Jackpot Jay" they need to go with someone they know will come through - there is no way they weren't sending someone to cover it, and Simmons might actually not be a complete fish.

Actually, I hadn't heard anything about Jackpot Jay's book that he was allegedly writing about his year playing poker (un)professionally (#1,234,342 since the original and the best, Big Deal, by Anthony Holden), so I searched for it on Amazon. It is actually meant to be released July this year. Looking at the title (Only the Good Die Broke : How I Lost My Money and My Mind but Found Salvation on the Professional Poker Tour) it seems that Jay has taken about the only tack he could with the book, i.e. "here is a bunch of stories I relate as I go about losing money for a year". No one wants to read about someone losing a bunch of money, so I'm interested to see how it goes. If he had been wildly successful this thing would fly off the shelves, after all if James McManus hadn't made it to the final table in the WSOP, Positively 5th Street would never have seen the light of day.

Now the big question is... is The Sports Guy planning on putting out another book based on this? He's wildly popular in a demographic that is cuckoo for poker (I'd probably buy it)... Maybe I'm reading too much into this. But then again, maybe I'm not.

______________________

As an aside, since I have been talking about books a lot recently, how hard/useful is it to get an Amazon affiliate link? Not that I would necessarily run out and get one, I was just wondering.

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UPDATE: OK, I bashed Jay Lovinger a bit there, but after re-reading his final column it seems he finished down $1000 for the year. Not a princely sum by any means. Even so, it was more of a reaction to a lot of my recollections of his play. In the spirit of Journalistic Integrity (of which I have none) I thought I'd just clarify that.

All You Can Eat!


_________________________________________

So, Fat Tuesday, a day I knew by "Shrove Tuesday" back in Australia, oblivious to the day's fatness and phatness, has been and gone. I kicked it off by downloading and installing PokerTracker (finally). I then went and kicked off the poker playing with some 0.10/0.25 cash NLHE with Kaellin, Waffles and Davee, managing to win the first couple of hands nicely. After that it was treading water until I walked right into a "second best hand" situation, which left me down 8 or so bucks. At 8:30pm it was time for WWDN... and it was carnage. Weak went out first overall, Waffles second overall, Flux didn't last much longer, nor did Sox, and then it was my turn.

Pain.

While I was mulling what to do with the rest of my evening I got a call from an ex-neighbour from a bar near my place, imploring me to come down and get phat. So I got my shit together, walked out the door - and then promptly couldn't find anyone as the place was completely jam-packed. The scenery was fantastic however, so I threw down beers and ogled while I did laps around the premises. I eventually decided to write it off, and wandered back home.

Since I had polished off most of a bottle of wine before leaving the house, I was definitely on my way to DrunkTown. This is clearly the best time to play more cash NLHE! This time I jumped on FullTilt (my NLHE cash site of choice) on a $0.50/$1.00 table. I bought in for the max and waited to see what would happen.

Despite being pretty drinky (and continuing to imbibe) I logged off an hour 45 later up just over 1 and a half buy-ins. Easily the best session I have had since getting back into cash NLHE recently. I'll try to relate a couple of hands; hopefully they approach reality as I don't have the hand histories in front of me, and I was tipsy at the time.

My second biggest hand of the night came when I limped into a family pot with A-5 s00ted. Flop came 9c-Qs-Jc. Clubs was my suit. There was a little betting on the flop, but the price was definitely right, and three of us went to see the turn: me, a short-stack to my right, and a stack slighty less than me on the button. The turn is Qc. Right now my only real worry is that someone has a straight flush, or that someone decided to get into the pot with Q-J. The small stack bets the pot ($18), leaving $2 behind. I decide to just smooth-call (if he has a boat he is playing it pretty damn fast with a short stack), hoping that the button is coming along for the ride. My dream would be that he has something like Kc-Qh, and is hoping to hit another club. The river is a blank, the small stack checks, and I look at the $72 pot. I know the small stack is priced in to whatever I bet, but the question is how do I extract money out of the big stack? Assuming he doesn't have a boat or the straight flush, I can see two possibilities: he has a big Q, or he stuck around hoping that a big club made a flush on the river. If it is the first possibility, I might get paid. The second possibility means he is folding to anything (and I would be pissed another club didn't come). I decide to bet out $30 - enough so if that he has any kind of hand (or thinks I am trying to muscle him out to get heads up with the short stack) he might call me. If he comes over the top I have a tough decision to make, but I think it is worth it. Action goes "call, call", and both flip over trip Qs. Nice.

Twice during the night I managed to get all my chips in pre-flop with K-K against Q-Q. The first time I got sucked out on, but thankfully it was only to a short stack. The second time I got the money in I was up against a big stack ($115 or so). I was in the BB, he was on the button. He raised to 3xBB, I came over the top making it $6 more, he re-raised making it $16 more to me. I shrug, hope he doesn't have Aces, and push. The guy doesn't insta-call, and I start feeling good. He eventually calls and shows me his Queens. This time the Kings held up, and I raked in another big pot. I'm not sure what the guy thought I had; I hadn't been displaying any manic tendencies that would have revealed such over-defense of the blinds, and I'm thinking that the only hands he could really put me on were A-A, K-K, or A-K (I think a smaller pair like J-J or TT has to be unlikely, unless he really thinks I am trying to push him off the hand with my big stack - but even then it's a monster call). That means at best he is in a coin-flip situation against a stack that has him covered.

Those two pots were the biggest I played all night, and both times I came out on top. A bit of luck and good cards go a long way. Needless to say I am motivated to play more cash NLHE.