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Bubble Yum

I seem to be reverting to the bubble master at Salami lately. I returned on Tuesday with TripJax in tow, after bubbling the last time I was there with 23Skidoo. Different day same results.

Trip and I first met up by the World Trade Center. Fortunately, he was in town for work, staying just across the river in New Jersey. A quick train ride took him from immediately outside his hotel to a few blocks from Casa del High. I was driving back from Long Island after meeting a new client, and time was tight, so I picked him up and we drove through NYC traffic to Salami, located near Greenwich Village.

I had met Trip in person one time before at the 2006 Bash at the Boathouse. The highlight of our conversation came days after the bash when Trip emailed me that it was a shame we didn't get to hang out. Oddly enough, we hung out for a good portion of the trip, but TripJax was too drunk to remember.

This time, Trip was a bit more sober. We found a parking spot and I did my best to explain city life and Greenwich Village in particular. The Village is sorta a bohemian enclave, due in large part to its proximity to NYU and Washington Square Park. Washington Square Park is ostensibly nothing special, a 3 block by 3 block park in the middle of a mostly commercial/residential neighborhood. However, the vibe in the place is fantastic, complete with at least two groups of random musicians (old and young) strumming away or randomly breaking into song. Often during the summer months, a clown, magician, or contortionist will start a show in the empty recessed fountain area and put on a show for the gathering spectators.

This is the new clean Washington Square Park, complete with police trailers (not cars, people, but full on outpost stations) posted on the adjacent streets and NYPD cameras on the lightposts. Before the Park was "rehabilitated" it was also a drug haven. Even today, if you find the right guy, you can get pot or other drugs. The guy will usually ask as you walk buy if you are interested in some stuff, you say yes, give them $20 or whatnot and then wait on a bench as another guy rides by on a bicycle, hands you (or just drops in front of you) a little baggie, and then off you go. I learned all of that from reading...of course...and I DO NOT encourage anyone to buy any drugs in Washington Square Park. From what I've read, its overpriced and crappy stuff. Reading is FUNdamental!

Of course, Trip and I never did get to the park. We stopped at a local pizza place, grabbed a couple of slices and then headed over to a shithole bar for a pint. As we drank, I reintroduced Trip to the joys of Chinese Poker, playing mostly for fun. From my experience with bloggers, I have adapted the most common blogger form of Chinese Poker (there must be dozens of variations). Each player gets 13 cards. You set up three hands, two with 5 cards and one with 3. You place your strongest hand (5 cards) in front, your second strongest (5 cards) in the middle, and the weakest in the back (3 cards). Flushes and straights don't matter in the 3 card hand. Without too much detail (there is a lot to this game, as far as scoring and so forth), if you sweep the other player by beating all three of his hands, you get a pt per hand and a bonus pt for 4 pts total. If you get 4 of a kind or a straight flush in the front hand, you get a bonus pt. If you get a full house or better in the middle, you get a bonus pt. If you have three of a kind in the back, you get a bonus point. For more details on the game, I suppose you can read this old post, which goes into much more details. I'm really not doing the game justice here.

After the pint, we headed to the club. We had no problem getting in, but we had to mentally adjust when we saw that the Salami's daily tournament structure had changed. Gone are the days of $50+10, with re-registering (i.e., paying the whole $50+10 again to re-enter the tournament after busting) for the first two levels. The new format is $50+10 with $40 rebuys available whenever you have less than the starting chips, and a $40 add-on at the end of the third-level. In the end, its pretty similar, but it did take some adjusting.

Trip and I were seated at two different tables. Things started well enough for me. I got a vibe from the players and played accordingly. I doubled up early in one hand. A very loose thin young bald player on my immediate right called a raise by me preflop. I think I bet the flop and he raised. I thought for a while before folding. A couple of hands later, a similar situation occurred. I had AJ and the flop came down JTx. I was in the SB, so I thought for a moment before betting out. I was trying to look suspicious. He took the bait and raised me back. I pushed all-in with TPTK, usually a stupid move but highly appropriate at Salami. He called with T8s (no flush draw), and I took down the pot.

I tried to keep out of the way for the most part. However, I ended up getting tangled up by a slowplaying player (I mean that about his general style, not this particular hand). I had AJ again and he called my preflop bet. The flop was QJ6 and I bet out. He raised and I pushed all-in. I was hoping he was as loose as the guy on my right. He certainly seemed to be that loose. My goal was to get him to fold, but it didn't work. He called with AQ, and I was in trouble until the rivered Jack. This was my first suckout of the night, but it wouldn't be my last.

By the end of the rebuy period, I was up to about 6.5k. Trip was suffering at the other table, utterly card dead, but I didn't know it at the time. Eventually he busted, and came over. "See that girl over there?" Trip pointed out one of the two females in the tournament, a strawberry blonde chick wearing sunglasses. I had seen her around before at the club, but I didn't know her. "She outted me as a blogger!"

As it turned out, that chick was none other than fellow NY blogger LJ (she has two "blogger" names I know of, so let's stick with LJ for now). LJ and I had been emailing back and forth for a week or so regarding my potential (but failed) home game, so it was great to see her in person. I told her I'd see her again at the final table.

Poor LJ. I did see her at the final table, and hence comes my second suckout. I was doing fairly well until Guy sat on my left. Guy is the one player at the Salami game that I most fear. He kinda looks like Alan Cunningham, and he always seems to make it to the final three, usually with a good chip lead. I guess I may have told him in a prior tourney chop that I feared him the most, because it sure as hell felt like he was preying on me. But, alas, he also showed his cards enough for me to realize that he was just luckboxing, with a better Ace to my AJ, or pocket Tens to my AQ that failed to connect.

Meanwhile, I found myself shortstacked, compared to the blinds. I made a somewhat foolish raise all-in with A9o, and to my surprise, was called solely by LJ, who had slightly less chips than me. When she showed AQ, I said, "That's ok. A nine is coming." I was very matter of fact, mostly as a goof, joking around with LJ and building a general image with the regulars. The flop had a 9 though, and by the river, LJ was out. She told Trip and I that she was heading to a nearby bar, and we made plans to tentatively meet up.

I played good shortstack poker until we were down to 4. One Hawaiian looking dude was just TERRIBLE. I could read him like a book. He was shorty, but through luck, doubled up twice. Suddenly I was shorty. In my last hand, I had about 6k, 500/1000 blinds with 200 antes, and KJ in the SB. A big stack limped UTG, the Hawaiian with probably 8-10k folded and headed to the bathroom, and I pushed all-in. Guy called with AJ. I didn't hit anything and was sent home on the bubble. I left before the Hawaiian was done flushing. I can only imagine his surprise when he left the shitter to find out that he crapped his way to the money.

Trip and I left the club and I shaked the loss off. I lost $100 total, $60 for the buy-in and the $40 add-on. I was going to skip the add-on, since I had a decent stack, but I opted for the add-on when, amazingly, no one else wanted it. Suddenly those extra chips were worth a whole lot more.

Trip and I headed to the bar suggested by LJ, but she was already gone. We had a random pint from their exotic tap and then headed back to the World Trade Center. I dropped Trip off and headed home.

Over our post-poker drink, I discussed that feeling that I was on a losing streak. The last time (and only time) I was in Vegas, I pretty much lost the entire time. It was brutal, mostly due to bad luck and the consequent tiltage. I'm heading to Vegas again next week, and the losing streak is starting to scare me. Starting. But I won't let it continue. The truth is, my "losing streak" is all of two games. Sure, the losses pile up, but overall, I'm way more winner for the year. Like my "fear" of Guy, I have to remember that perception, MY perception, will largely color my successes or failures. If I perceive Guy as a great player, I'll play poorly against him because of fear. If I fear Vegas will cause or continue a losing streak, I will lose there, because I'll be playing from a position of fear. Perception is everything.

So what? I lost the Salami tournament. At least I can honestly take solace in the fact that I bubbled twice in a row. Before that first bubble, I busted out relatively early, but before that bust out, I won 4 or so of the damn tourneys in a row. Not bad at all.

If you are a fan of comic books or have just seen Spiderman 3, I suggest you pop over to High on Comics. I recently wrote a post about Spiderman 3, specifically how I would have written the film, and the more I think of it, the more I think it works.

Until nex time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 10:15 AM,

6 Comments:

At 12:21 PM, Blogger StB said...

I am probably the only one curious to know what beer you had from the "exotic tap"

 
At 12:33 PM, Blogger HighOnPoker said...

Actually, stb, I'd like to know also. The place was so dark and the taps were on the far end of the bar. They all were unrecognizable to me, so I asked him to give me something medium (not light or dark) from the tap, and I let him figure it out. Mystery beer!

 
At 12:43 PM, Blogger slb159 said...

Nice coverage.

You said "This was my first suckout of the night, but it wouldn't be my last."

Confused about the firt AJ hand where you said the flop came out T8J and your opponent had T8. Would seem like you sucked out there two if you had TPTK and guy had 2 pair.

Maybe just a typo.

Anyway, gl at the tables.

 
At 1:29 PM, Blogger lj said...

bummer...bubbling sucks. it was nice to meet you, though!

we ended up going to a different bar a few feet away that had food, and i stopped by the other one to look for you, but you must have gone (or not yet arrived) by then.

i haven't been on a losing streak so much as a playing like an idiot streak (though in my case one necessarily leads to the other). guy sucked out a flush on me the night before w/ 63s. it was my own fault for not raising before the flop. : (

good luck in vegas! you going for anything specific?

 
At 3:37 PM, Blogger TripJax said...

good times holmes. next time we shall get shit faced drunk after the game though.

thanks for the hospitality - and the tour of NY.

oh, and your 9 against LJ was on the turn. not that it matters. and the beer was german methinks and started with an H.

 
At 3:40 PM, Blogger Chipper said...

You can't dwell on the losses. Don't let that get to your head. Every night is a new experience and is totally unrelated to the games previously. No matter how well you play, sometimes you just don't get the cards you need to win. Can't win them all and you'll lose many over the course of your career. Just because you bubbled a couple times lately doesn't mean you suck - just the cards did.

 

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