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TripJax Meets Wall Street

I got the nasty taste of -$600 out of my mouth with a light $15 win last night at the Wall Street Poker game. I always marvel at host Jamie's openness at these games. Jamie has somehow arranged a twice-weekly home game with a disparate group of individuals that seem to grow weekly through friends and friends-of-friends and friends-of-friends-of-friends. And amazingly, with all this openness, all of the players are friendly, good-natured people (at least at the table, although that Pauly does seem a bit shifty-eyed...). In fact, there came a time last night when Jamie was retelling the story of a less-than-pleasant houseguest, and I couldn't help but feel that amongst this group of friendly people, I was the resident asshole. Jamie's explanation of the former guest/asshole was that he was loud, inebriated and obnoxious, and aside from inebriation, I fit the bill to a T. Still, Jamie and his crew have exhibited the patience to deal with me, even when I find myself prattling on about some nonsense, or letting one of my snarky one-liners go before I have time to consider the target.

Case in point. Last night, the first tournament had 11 players, not including Jamie. One player who I barely met (I don't even think we were introduced, per se) named Tobey was first out of the tournament within a few hands when Pauly's KQ hit a AJT flop against Tobey's AT. Before the tournament, Jamie pointed out that Tobey hadn't RSVP'ed for the game, but that Jamie will graciously sit this one out to let Tobey play. What a guy! He throws a homegame and then politely sits out so that an unexpected, un-RSVP'ed guest can play. So, when Tobey busted, stood up and walked the hall down to where the bathroom was, I joked, "That's what you get for not RSVP'ing." I'm no Don Rickles, but the table had a chuckle, until I realized that I was essentially rubbing Tobey's loss in his face, and I these were my first full sentence to the guy. My bad, Tobey. I meant it in a sarcastic sorta way, and I didn't mean anything personal by it. But like most people who get to know me, the table more or less ignored the sheer indecency of my statement other than to agree that, yes, it might be best to save those one-liners for a guy I actually know.

Whatever. I mean no harm, and I'm glad the people at the Wall Street Game know it.

Another fun thing about the Wall Street Game, you never know who is going to show up. In this instance, the surprise (to me) was CK, a female Asian Jewish player who I had first read about through F-Train's blog and first met at SoxLover's last home game. I know that there is a six-degrees of separation-like connection between Jamie and CK, but I still didn't expect to see her at the game. The six-degrees, by the way, goes something like this: CK knows F-Train knows Dawn knows Jamie. Now, I'm not sure where the connection was made. It may've just been through the blogosphere, but whatever the case, it always seems like someone I know through other channels ends up at the Wall Street game. But enough about the abstract. Let's get to the poker.

In the first tournament, I just played poorly. Actually, when we were down to 6, I was the commanding chipleader, but I eventually gave it all back. I don't know what it was, but I was not tuned in. One player in particular, Abby, just left me baffled. Mostly, I just could not get a read on her, and she seemed to like defending her blinds against me. Since she appeared tight overall, I couldn't figure out if she was catching cards or playing against my clearly aggro style. Later, when she started raising my blinds, I was even more baffled. Also, during the course of the tournament, I made a horrible call against Wendy, a smart player who also gives me a hard time at the felt. She always seems to have a hand when she is against me, but rather than assume she has a hand again, I always assume that THIS TIME she's making a move. Last night, she raised from the blinds to 700, and I called after limping for 200 with 44. The flop was Q62, and when she bet 1000, I thought, AK or AJ, so I pushed. She called with KK and the river was a 4. Just plain bad luck on her part, and bad play on my part. I jokingly said it was all her fault for playing the hand so well, but in reality, I just made a stupid play and got lucky.

Still, as massive chipleader, I gambled a bit too much and suddenly was even with the rest of the table. The action was very slow, mostly folding around, but when I decided to make a move, I was called by a flush draw that hit on the river, and IGHN. All the blame is on me for this loss. It was doubly hard due to the fact that I made a $20 last longer bet with CK. Fungool!

In between games, I scarfed down my Chexican dinner, Mexican food made by Chinese people, a staple of NYC delivery. I also awaited the arrival of fellow blogger, TripJax. About a month ago, Trip mentioned to me that he would be back in NYC. The last time he was here, I took him to Salami for their rebuy tournament. This time, I totally forgot he was coming, but luckily got him a spot in the Wall Street game. Once he was settled in his hotel room, he came downtown, and got there just in time for the intermission.

Trip and I headed to the rooftop deck for a smoke (me, not him), before the second tournament began. We chatted about his recent success at work. I am admittedly impressed. Trip is a very unassuming guy, but he has a lot to be proud of, and I sincerely believe that the source of all of his success (family, friends, and work-wise) is due to his affability.

After chatting and smoking, we headed back downstairs, where the second tournament was ready to get underway. I was seated to the right of CK again, with Darko to her left. This was a terrible position. But, you have to roll with the punches.

As everyone got settled in, I looked over at TripJax. I was in the 3s or so, and he was in the 7s. While all this commotion was going around him (people chatting, setting up the cards, etc.), I saw Trip's eyes darting around. He didn't look like he was searching for anything. He was just taking in the scene. He had a quiet confidence about him, emphasized by the fact that he sat there silently surrounded by all of this social chaos. I thought to myself, "Trip is going to win this. He's focused more than any other player, mostly because he just got here and doesn't know anyone." Its true that the new guy at the home game often has an advantage. I used to think it was because no one knew how he/she played, but I've come to realize that when you don't know anyone, you have no choice but to be the quiet observer for the start of a game, while you get a feel for the rules, people, relationships and general play. While everyone else was chatting, Trip sat there calm, collected, focused and observant.

I thought to myself, I have to tell Trip that I think he is going to win. But I couldn't do it at the table, so instead, I took out my phone and texted him. "I have a feeling you are going to win." Simple enough. I heard his phone beep in his man purse (don't let him call it a European Man's Carry-All...its a PURSE), but he didn't pick it up.

The game started out well. I don't remember any particularly exciting hands. I just played tighter than the first game, and then, after I gathered some chips, loosened up. I had fun, and was pushing people out of pots, which I enjoy, even when I have decent hands. Eventually, Jamie got all-in against Wendy and CK, with his AT vs. AQ vs. AJ. He flopped his Ten and it was down to four, Trip, me, Jamie and Brian. In Jamie's recent post, he mentioned that I was raising a lot on his blinds, but we were four handed, which required me to open up my range, AND I was actually getting good cards. Jamie became the shortstack, and I pushed all-in from the SB with QT. He called with K8, and I turned a Queen to take him out of the tournament. I don't recall how Brian busted, but soon enough, it was just Trip and I. It was 11pm, and I was tired. Trip had about 15k to my 10k, so we worked out an agreeable chop, $85 for me, $110 for him. For the night, that put me up $15 ($25 per tournament, $20 for the last longer in the first tournament, for $70 in, $85 out). I was glad for the win, even if it was relatively small.

I walked with Trip back to the subway. On the way, he mentioned that he checked his cell phone and saw my voicemail which showed that it predated the tourney win. He thought it was wild, but I told him about that look of focus and determination I saw. I used to say I could tell who will win a boxing match before the first punch. It was all in the demeanor and face of the boxer. The same is true for poker players, adjusted, of course, for luck.

Thanks again to Jamie for his hospitality and to Trip for coming out.

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 10:19 AM,


At 5:35 PM, Blogger ckbluffer said...

Thx for the last longer bet Jordan. That, plus 3rd in the first tourney, netted me a fat $8 profit. Wait, I spent $8 on my Chexican dinner. Okay, so last night was a wash. 'twas nice to see your degenerate face again. *love* the fact that I was on your left all night.

At 10:56 PM, Blogger TripJax said...

Ah, just got home late from my business meeting today in NYC. I'm whooped, but had to drop by and see if you wrote about the game.

I'm still impressed about your text. Especially since I got down to around 700 chips left, but managed to come back for the lead.

That was a fun game to play and I hope to make it back next time I'm your way.

Thanks for the invite and thanks go out to Jamie for his hospitality. I'll be posting about it soon...

At 11:30 PM, Blogger Jamie said...

Trip, you're officially welcome at my table whenever you're in town. It was a pleasure bubbling to you guys.

(I lie, of course). :-)

At 11:38 AM, Blogger Dawn Summers said...

Tripjax is in town and the IHO girls were not informed? CHAKA KHAN!

At 9:28 PM, Blogger Jamie said...

Uh, you were invited Dawn. As you always are. But for some reason, you never answer your Evites, so I guess "I Feel For You".

At 12:16 AM, Blogger KajaPoker said...

God, you guys are so ghey. 11pm and tired? And you're what? 27? Try adding 10 years and a 2 year old. Chop heads-up at 11pm? ghey ghey ghey I say.

What do you call Chinese food prepared by Mexicans? Chinexican food? Them's hwhat we's gots in the south y'all.

As always a great read.

At 3:05 AM, Blogger fairnbalncd said...

A Don Rickles reset. Nice. haven't thought of him in years but did see him yesterday on a TVLand Andy Griffith Show rerun while playing NL. Rickles was a down and outer trying to paint Andy's home.

A Rickle sighting and reference in as many days. Nice.

Oh yeah... Great Home Game post too!

At 4:23 AM, Blogger JL514 said...

I love how Trip and Jamie both refer everyone to your blog for a good account of what happened, and your post starts out with "I'm pretty sure I'm the asshole that nobody likes"

And here I was thinking they referred me to you because you wrote a good summary of what happened.. they're trying to tell you something Jordan..


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