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New Club, New Results

Since the WSOP Circuit, I've been intentionally and not so intentionally avoiding live poker. My successful Wednesday return to Roose's homegame saw me winning the first tournament outright, and falling short in the second. While it offered me a modicum of success, more importantly, it wet my appetite.

On Sunday, wifey Kim had plans to join future sister-in-law Jen for some bridal party dress shopping. Seizing the opportunity, I text messaged Chris, a player I met through SIF's homegame. Chris had gotten me into the Extra Big Bet card room, a more exclusive room to Salami. EBB required a membership card, and if you weren't a member, you'd have to find a member to get you in. Security was tighter also, but it was well worth it. Whereas Salami has three tables and only a 1/2 crazy deepstacked game, EBB had probably 12-18 tables, a variety of games, and equally bad players.

When I texted Chris, I was hoping for some company. If he couldn't make it, I would go solo, but if I'm heading down, I figure there is no reason not to invite some company. Frankly, when I'm playing, the first thing I do upon leaving is think of who I can tell about my success or failure. I guess it is the same reason why I blog, and probably one of the themes throughout my life. To me, if no one else knows about it, it may as well not have happened.

As it turned out, Chris was free, but he had an even better idea. Since I had last seen him, Chris had checked out NiceLook club and proclaimed it to be a huge step up from EBB. As long as they had poker, I was game, so we made loose plans to play sometime on Sunday.

Sunday morning, I met up with my brother Keith and headed for bagels before hitting the local movie theatre. We saw 300, and by way of a quick review, it was fucking awesome, but only because of the visuals and action sequences. Frankly, though, that was all that I was there for, so I left happy. Keith and I killed some time in his apartment and then I headed out about 3pm to meet Chris at 3:30. On my way to the subway, I passed by the folding tables where random immigrants sell their wares. One table in particular had an array of small statues, the location where I purchased my two identical buddha statue card caps. I looked at the selection and felt the gold and red buddha in my pocket. Buddha hadn't been holding up his end of the good luck bargain, so I decided it was time to start fresh. I grabbed a red elephant statue, sitting on its rear with one foot up and the trunk extended into the air. Word to the wise, if you are going to buy an elephant statue, make sure his trunk is up in the air. It's good luck, and anything else, frankly, is considered bad. With token in hand, I went to the immigrant and paid him his $3. I then hit the 2/3 subway and made my way to the club.

Here I'll point out that I was wearing a pair of dark jeans, a navy polo shirt, a white hooded sweatshirt, and a thin black jacket. I also had on a random baseball cap. The key was, I didn't wear my usual poker gear. The decision was semi-conscious. I have been trying to break free of the mental boobytrap that is lucky clothing, but I also wanted to try out a different look at the table. Overall, though, it was a semi-conscious move as I was glad to just leave on my semi-preppy wardrobe rather than suit up.

Part of me, I must admit, still decided to not wear the usual garb BECAUSE of luck. The logic went, I was starting fresh with this session, free of the stench of bad luck that occurred weeks ago at the Lost Weekend in AC. It was the same inspiration that caused me to buy the elephant card cap. But ultimately, it was the little piece of me that said, "Just go play some fucking poker and don't even think about what you are wearing," that won out. I'm sure a bunch of you are thinking that too, and you are right. Onto the poker.

I met Chris outside, and we entered the innocuous building lobby together. We exited on the third floor into a room with three black bouncers. They were lounging around and barely gave us a second glance as we walked into the club.

The NiceLook has probably the same amount of tables as EBB, but considerably more room. There were about 6-8 tables running, and we made our way to the front desk to get me a membership card and secure seats and chips. I noticed a familiar face, Joe, a poker dealer who was some form of management at Salami when I first started playing there. In fact, in the first Salami tournament I played, it was Joe, me and a luckbox in the top three spots, and only two spots paid. Joe wanted to make a deal, and I told him I rather play it out, because I'd beat him. As it turned out, I lost, but we had fun joking around at the table. I had heard rumors that he had gone busto and even that he was out of poker altogether, but at least the second one was false. He was now in some sort of management position at NiceLook, and while I recognized him, I never quite spoke to him. After all, I doubt he'd remember me, and I was too busy playing poker.

Chris and I were seated in a 1/2 NL game at Table 1. I took the 1 seat. Most people hate the 1s and the 10s because they are right next to the dealer. I guess this means that they have less room, since the dealer is always reaching around, but in my estimation, those are my two favorite spots. I don't have to worry about flashing my cards, since one side of me has no player, and I have a good view of everyone from the 2s to the 8s, and often the 9s. The biggest shortcoming to me is that it is hard to see the 10s or 1s (depending on which you are in), and therefore, you can't get tells as well from a player who you'll be playing the blinds against a lot. Also, the 1s is often where the dealers tip box is placed, so it can be hazardous to your knees if you are not careful. But alas, for all those shortcomings, I like the security of not worrying about flashing my cards, so I gladly took the 1s as Chris took the 5s.

In between hands, I quietly got up and took notes in my cell phone via the recorder option. Because of this I have details on every significant hand I played. For your enjoyment, here we go:

In my first hand, I was dealt K7c. I was in the CO, and there were a lot of limpers, so I limped as well. The flop was K-high with two hearts, and it checked around to me. I made a near pot-sized bet ($12), since the button was the only one left to act and everyone had seemingly given up on the hand. The button called, and I knew that I needed a miracle card to take the lead or at least be comfortable enough to fire a second bullet. If I checked the turn, the button raises almost automatically and I fold, looking weak. The turn was the 7h, giving me two pair, but completing the heart flush. I decided to keep pushing my hand. Two pair was decent, and as long as he didn't have the flush, I was likely ahead (or he'd fold to the bet, fearing I had the flush). I bet out $35, and he called. The river was a Ah, making a four-flush heart board. I figured I was done for. If I bet and he reraises me, I have to fold, so rather than waste any more money, I decided to check. He checked too, and showed K8, for top pair, shitty kicker with no heart. I took down the pot with my two pair and had a nice cushion. I also, hopefully, had built a loose image, and I made a mental note to try to take advantage of this later.

A little while later, I am dealt JJ in MP/LP. Someone bets 15 from EP/MP, and gets a few callers before it gets to me. I decide to raise it big, so I'm not facing a bunch of players out of position. I pop it to 50. I get two callers, including one of the early position limpers. This guy looked like a real lunkhead, like a construction worker who was beyond his years. The guy was probably only in his late 40s or early 50s, and looked worn out. Still he was cordial enough. He had a horrible habit of bitching about his bad luck, even when he won a hand. Lesson to my readers: complaining about your bad luck will only cause other players to go after you harder. It will also get them to call you more since you are "so unlucky." Meanwhile, in your self-pity, you are making worse plays AND getting called more, so you keep losing more money and then blaming it on bad luck. Whatever ths case, this foolish EP limper now calls $50 cold. I don't get it. The original raiser calls and everyone else folds. The flop is something like T92 with two spades. I decide to bet 150, a very high bet, but not so high considering it was less than pot. I didn't have anyone on an overpair, and my only concerns was a possible set or a flush draw. The raise would potentially push out the flush draw, induce a re-raise from a set, and cause everyone else to fold. I was happy with folds, since for all I know, one of these monkeys were playing KQ and was about to turn a Queen. Sure enough, my bet worked and they both folded.

On the very next hand, I decided to invest some of my newfound capital. I was still in late position with Jx when I decided to limp (there were more than a few limpers before me and I had position). There was a loose Asian player sitting two seats to my left. Usually, its preferable to have the loose players on your right, but I spent a lot of time watching the player out of the corner of my left eye, and saw ways that I could exploit him given my position. He was definitely a gambler, a calling station, and a maniac, all rolled into one, not to mention a tilter. At one point, he racked up a full rack ($500) and had at least another $150 left over. He was going to leave, but after angrily folding two hands (one of which was preflop!, so what was he angry for??), he unracked his chips and decided to stay. I'm pretty sure the table shared a collective sigh of relief. It's guys like this one that make a game. So the Crazy Asian, or lets just call him Crazian for now, hasn't gotten up to leave yet. He has been playing crap cards and sometimes getting lucky (raising preflop from the blinds with 23o to hit two pair on the flop), and I've decided that he's likely a fine mark.

So, preflop, action gets to me preflop and I limp in LP. Crazian decides to raise it up ($10 on top, I think), and since I just won $100+ easily in the JJ pot, I decide I can see the flop after two other players call, including the Construction Worker. The flop was AhKxQh, so I've got just an inside straight draw (need the 10) and there is a flush draw out there. In other words, I'm good as dead. It checks to me and I oblige. We see the turn, another blank card. It checks to me again, and I decide I may as well take a stab at the pot, given my position. I bet $35, which is fairly close to the pot. I figured that no one had anything decent. Construction calls and everyone else folds. The river is a blank, and Construction checks to me. I think for a moment but not too long before betting $75. I felt like a tool while doing it, but I had to at least try for the pot at this point. He folded and showed KTh, for the nut flush draw and an inside straight draw. I mucked and gladly took down the hand.

In hindsight, I guess I got into a lot of hands with the Crazian and Construction. A little while later, I was in late position, probably the CO or button, when I'm dealt ATo. There are a bunch of limpers (mind you, this wasn't a limping game) and I decided to just call. I was conisdering betting, but even in position, I didn't want to start something that I couldn't necessarily finish with my marginal hand. The flop was QJx, and when it checked to me, I decided to buy the pot. I bet out $10, expecting to either induce a re-raise (at which point I fold for relatively cheap) or induce a bunch of folds. I get two callers, not too surprisingly the Crazian and Construction. The turn is a blank and I decide to bet out $30 after they both check. Crazian slams his cards down and the chucks them across the table. Construction calls. The river is a blank. Construction checks to me and I decide to check. I've likely lost this hand, and if he isn't folding for $30, I am not taking any chances at a high bet bluff. I tabled my busted inside straight draw, and he tables his cards, 9To, for an open ended straight draw. If that King came, I would've felted him, but really, I guess I was just fortunate. He was playing so badly and I was reaping the benefit. I believe position had a lot to do with my success in this hand, and frankly, I was actually trying to focus on position for most of the session. Moving along...

Here is where the fun begins. Literally begins, because this next short hand really is just the on ramp to the insanity freeway that came next.

I've been bitching about being card dead for a while. Even though I won 4 Salami tournaments in a row (or was it 5?) I had been doing so with no premium hands. The card deadedness continued in AC. Yesterday at the club, though, I received pocket Jacks on three occassions within 2 1/2 hours. Notably, I never received any other pocket pair other than dueces on one occassion, and I didn't receive an Ace higher than ATo, so I'm still not sure if one would consider it card dead.

So I'm dealt JJ and I'm in the SB or something because by the time it gets to me, there are something like 8 limpers (including the BB) in the pot. I don't want to play JJ out of position against all of these players, so I raise to $22 total. It folds around to me and we get ready for the next hand.

On the very next hand I'm dealt JJ again. Great! Chris, in EP, raises to $12. Now, Chris is tight, and if you follow that link from the top about the last time I played with him, he took all of my profits and a lot of my chips the last time we played on one of the very last hands of that session. I hit a great hidden straight, and he hit the full house. Alas, I had already decided to leave at 6pm, and it was 5:45pm, so I wondered if I was going to see a replay of last week.

Chris has raised to $12 and I'm a tad nervous because he is a tight player. I guess no one else noticed because there were three callers before it got to me. Well shit, man, what's a JJ to do? I decided to thin the herd a bit with a raise to $50. I thought that would get me heads up, but I thought WAY wrong. Everyone and their sister called me, with the exception of Chris. At least I had that going for me. By the time it got around to the SoxLover lookalike (I'll call him SoxBrother) and the sole female at the table, a pretty attractive pretty aggressive Asian girl named Esther, they had odds to call with any two, I suppose. In total, there must have been at least 5 players to the turn, with at least $260+ in the pot.

The flop started with a K and I mentally gulped hard. The next two cards were a J and a Ten, for a flop of KJT, with two spades. I didn't have a spade in my hand, but I did have middle set. I figured it would hopefully check around, I'd bet big and take down some easy money.

Two or three early position players checked to SoxBrother, a smart-looking guy who had his poker wits about him. With complete calm, he grabs a stack and bets "$115." Okay, I think. Now what? Before I can act, Esther makes her move, pushing all-in for $305. SCREEEEECH! That's the sound of my mental car stopping short.

This was building into the biggest pot I've ever been in. There was $260 at least in the pot preflop, now with an extra $420 more. I really didn't think that over at the time. What I did think was this:

Should I fold this? What could have me beat? AQ and Q9 would give a straight. KK would be a higher set. Someone might be playing the flush draw hard. WTF!! They don't have KK or they would've raised preflop. Okay. They probably don't have AQ for the same reason. Fine. Q9!? People have been playing that crazy. Fuck, she has Q9. Shit, I have to fold. She is not pushing with crap cards facing a bigger bet than we are used to. Wait! GOD! I can't fold. I have middle set! I have redraws against the straight. This is the fourth best hand right now. I don't want to lose to a flush draw! Fuck, she is on Q9s or Axs!? Fuck! AW GOD! FUCK! Okay, okay. okay.

"I'm all in." I started to push my chips out front, but the dealer stopped me when I knocked a stack over. In total I had $460+ left behind me, and all players folded to SoxBrother. He paused for a moment and thought it out. In the interim, Esther called to me from behind the dealer and asked something about running business. As a rule, I used to abhor things like running business (I'll explain that later for those who don't know what it is) or chopping blinds, but I'm starting to see the benefits of both plays. In fact, in the very early goings, I chopped the blinds with SoxBrother in a hand. Chris noticeably perked up at this, probably because he has read about my no-chop stance, but I didn't want to be seen as an asshole, as I didn't think it would be advantageous to this table (yet).

So, Esther is asking me about business and I have to politely tell her, "There is still a player in the hand." She turned to SoxBrother in surprise and we went back to waiting. Somewhere in there, Crazian, now down from $650 to under $100, starts calling for time. Less than 2 minutes has passed and everyone including the dealer tell him to shut up.

Brother finally folds, and Esther stops the dealer from putting out the turn and river. "I'm okay with running business," I tell her. I've read her as having a flush draw and I figure that I could probaly take 2/3 or at least 1/3 of the pot. "No," she replies, "you have to show each other our cards first and then we decide." Now, I don't usually run business, but here's a quick explanation. Basically, it means that you run the rest of the cards (in this case, the turn and river) multiple times. Usually its done 2-3 times, and you split the pot up accordingly. So, if I win 2 out of 3 of the runs, I get 2/3 of the pot and she gets 1/3. I figured this is good for the flush draw, because she'll probably miss it at least once, and hopefully twice. This was a huge pot, so I could work with that. But now we have to show our cards first? Whatver, lady. We flip over our cards. I have JJ and she King Ten. The crazy bitch has two pair, with no flush draw, and suddenly I'm doing some quick math. There are two cards that she needs to win, the remaining Kings. I decide in an instant that I'll give her two chances to hit it (turn and river) and not six (turn and river dealt three times for business).

"Okay, I will do business" she says. "No. No business. Run the cards." I was short and curt with my statement. She wanted to have it her way, and now she's going to have to live with it. I'd run business against a flush draw and a straight, but not against a two-outter. I liked them odds. The turn was a spade, the river was a spade, neither were Kings and I won a pot over $1000!

WOOHOO! The adrenaline was corsing through my body. I slowly started to stack my chips. Esther took it in good stride, and 15 minutes later, as I racked up, I had almost 4x my starting stack in front of me. When I stood up, a couple of other players followed suit. The table broke, but Chris decided to stick around, since the action was that good.

Me, I was fucking high on poker. I cashed out, without even a second thought as the cage handed me a bunch of unlucky 50s, and headed out the door.

What a fucking game! That session wiped out the WSOP Circuit loss and the cash game losses from that weekend. I wasn't down the entire session, and while that last hand was fortuitous, even if it didn't come, I was till up a nice sum. Poker is one hell of a game. It truly is a fickle bitch, one day treating you like you are her one and only, and the next ignoring your phone calls and shacking up with your archnemesis. But frankly, she can be as fickle as she wants, because no matter what the bitch does to me, I love her and I wouldn't have it any other way.

Oh, and for the hell of it, SoxBrother had KQ, with no spade, so I was in even better shape than I thought.

Until next time, make mine poker!

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posted by Jordan @ 8:13 PM,


At 2:41 PM, Blogger Gydyon said...

Nice job!

At 3:56 PM, Blogger CarmenSinCity said...


Now I wanna go to the MGM after work - thanks a lot!

At 4:14 PM, Blogger TripJax said...

If she didn't insist on each of you showing your cards, you probably do run it, and who knows what would have happened then. Pretty crazy...

At 8:57 AM, Blogger Tom said...

Good job not running it twice. That's generally a weak play, especially if it's a set vs. a flush draw since some of the spades will boat you up.

At 9:45 AM, Blogger DP said...

Tom said...

Good job not running it twice. That's generally a weak play, especially if it's a set vs. a flush draw since some of the spades will boat you up.

8:57 AM

The main thing it does is lower variance.

At 10:31 AM, Blogger HighOnPoker said...

It does lower variance, and I would've ran it if she had the flush draw, mostly because there was a lot of money on the line, and I thought I could at least save 1/3 or it, if not win 2/3 at least. Once I saw she was dominated, I liked my odds a lot better, though.

At 2:55 PM, Blogger Tom said...

Yeah, I'm aware it lowers variance and that's why ppl do it. I have more gamble in me than the average player, I think. I'll never run something twice if I'm the favorite.


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