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Veneno Ducks Me

I am currently in a best of 5 Heads-Up match against Veneno. Winner gets a poker t-shirt of their choice and banner ad on the loser's site for a week. I can already taste the sweet sweet nectar of Veneno's readership.

We are even at 1:1, with three matches to go. When I signed on tonight, I felt like donking it up, so I shot her an IM tonight. What proceeded was the lamest move ever:

Jordan X: HU?
yosoyveneno: i wish cant
yosoyveneno: i gotta get on a conf call
yosoyveneno: in 30
yosoyveneno: and i need a shower
Jordan X: no problem
yosoyveneno: wish
Jordan X: shower for a conf call?
Jordan X: worst excuse ever

Worst. Excuse. Ever.

posted by Jordan @ 9:32 PM, , links to this post




Skidoo Takes Manhattan

You should see the emails being passed between GCox, TripJax and I. As time passes, the tone of the emails has transitioned to the usual joy of impending poker to the ghostly voice that accompanies the realization that poker as we know it is gone. It isn't something any of us has typed out specifically, but rather the big pink elephant in the room that everyone sees and no one wants to discuss. Things don't look good with emails like, "I only have $10 left on FT, so I won't be playing any time soon."

Of course, I'm not going to sit here and type hellfire and brimstone at ya. What is, is, and what will be, will be. I believe that there are certain things that are really out of my individual control, and the government is first and foremost on that list. I don't vote because the cost of going to vote outweighs the benefit of going, a happy feeling that I did my civic duty. Some of you are wincing right now and will probably think that I am a terrible person for not voting, but on a pure cost-benefit analysis, my decision makes sense. After all, no one in NY that I am aware of has ever won or lost an election on one vote. Sure, if everyone thought like me then my entire voting block would be wiped out and I'd be doomed to lose...but I can't control the rest of that "block" anyway, so that is out of my hands as well.

So this is how I'm handling the change. That and as much live poker as possible.

One of my concerns with my own personal withdrawal and Neteller's withdrawal from online poker is that the poker blogging community will be strained. 99% of the time that I spend with my fellow writers are online playing poker. The WPBT event, with 61 or so players, is a sign that we are staving off the end. But there are other things that have brought me pockets of joy, playing live poker with new people. And that leads us to Thursday...

Last night, wifey Kim turned to me while I finished preparing the ziti I made us for dinner and said, "You can play poker Thursday night because I am going to dinner and drinks with some friends from work." I let that marinate and later, when I checked my email, I confirmed my suspicions. None other than 23Skidoo would be in NYC that night, and all was right in the cosmos.

Right now, the plan is to head to Salami Club for their 7:30pm $50+10 tournament, followed by their deep stack 1/2 NLHE game. Skidoo and I tossed the idea of dinner around, but when I mentioned that it would be hard to fit in work, dinner and the tournament, Skidz essentially echoed my sentiment: "Dinner takes a back seat to poker as long as I can grab something at some point."

And with that said, I put out this general announcement:

If you will be in the NYC area on Thursday, February 1st and are either throwing a home game (cough I Had Outs cough) or would like to join Skidoo and I for some poker (cough I Had Outs Cause You Are Degenerates cough), hit me up with an email or leave a comment.

And that concludes today's announcements.

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 9:44 AM, , links to this post




Jordan Plays Nice

I sat across the table and stared at the black guy in the 3s. I was at the Extra Big Bet Club in NYC, an underground club with three times the table as my usual underground club, Salami, and a crowd that ranged from pimply-faced spoiled rich kids to craggly old foreigners.

I held 84c, hardly a strong hand, but something about my opponent tempted me too much. He was the epitome of a Jordan-primed mark. Just like in the dating world, in the poker world, your style of choice likely has a perfect match, a player where everything just fits right. Unlike the dating world, when this perfect match comes up, you are the only one who ends up happy. Your mate will end up broke.

As I said, I had 84c, and I was in BB when the black guy decided to raise to $10. One player called before it folded around to me (with one player to my left yet to act), and I considered all of the information available to me. My opponent was a squat but strong looking guy, dressed in clean cut, if not snazzy, clothes. He wore a cap and blacked out sunglasses that looked like a combination of the huge sunglasses that geriatrics wear over their prescription glasses and something out of an 80s sci-fi flick. When our table first started, another player at the table asked him if he was joining us. At that time, he said no. He was at another table, trying to win his money back.

He screamed that he was tiltable. He also screamed over-aggression. With 84c, one of three things could happen: (1) I miss the flop, he bets out and I fold. (2) I hit the flop hard and get him to bet into me. (3) I hit the flop softly and then have to figure out what to do next. Or, I could just fold. When opportunity calls, you have to answer the door. I called.

A player after (1 or 2s) called as well, and the three of us saw a flop of 28T, rainbow. I checked my middle pair, shitty kicker. The guy between me and my key opponent checked. And then my opponent, I'll call him Tough Guy (the image he was cultivating) bet $10. It was a small bet, and the pot was already $40+, so I thought for a moment before tossing two red birds ($5 chips) into the pot. The opponent before me had folded, as did the one after me. It was just me and Tough Guy, and the only hand I really feared was AT. His $10 bet meant one of two things. Either he had crap and was continuation betting (since the bet was so small, this was definitely a possibility) or he had a major hand and was trying to induce calls (opposite from his apparent playing style). The thing is, his style of play was not that far from mine, at times, so I could definitely see him making that play as a continuation bet with overcards. Specifically, AQ and AK seemed most likely.

The turn was a blank 5, and I checked rather quickly. My opponent paused for a moment and then went for his chips in a slow steady pace. The bet was $40.

Why $40? I mean, really?! If he was trying to keep me in the hand and extract more bets, why jump from $10 to $40. The more likely scenario was that he failed to push me off of a hand with his small bet, so he figured a big bet would do the trick. Classic. I'd make a similar move in some situations. What's that smell? It's bullshit, my friends. But $40 was a lot. At times like this, you can fold or you can follow your read. I tossed a bunch of chips into the pot. A call.

The river was another blank. Tricky tricky. My opponent fired a third shell, $50 or 60. It would leave me with less than $50 behind if I was wrong. But his betting pattern and image told a story of a guy too stubborn to back down from a pot. His last bet didn't exactly fit that story. It could've been a value bet. I watched him carefully.

After he threw out his bet, he went into tell-lockdown. As he retracted his hands after betting, his movement stuttered. His hands seemed to return to a fiddling position, and then suddenly changed direction and folded in front of him. He held perfectly still. His face was blank.

If I can impart any wisdom to my readers, it is this: When someone who does not always stay still with a blank expression goes into tell-lockdown, he or she is likely bluffing. It's sorta like the person who gives too much details when lying. In both instances, the person is over-compensating for their shortcomings. With the lier, they give more details to look plausible, and with the bluffer, they over-tighten up their behavior because they fear giving off any tells. Over-compensation will kill you in either instance. In this one, it told me one thing: Tough Guy did not want a call.

"I call." I threw some chips in front of me with disdain. Over my headphones, I couldn't hear what he had to say, but he didn't look happy as he looked back at his cards. I took out the pug headphones and he repeated himself. "Do you have a pair?" I waited for him to table his cards. He did so slowly, "I don't have anything." He showed AKo. I laid down my hand, "8s?! Wow!," I said aloud with complete sincerity. The table was shocked by the hand. One guy said nice call. I replied, "Let me get back to you after my ball re-descends." The sole lady at the table cracked up. I apologized for my ludeness, but she was loving it.

Meanwhile, the Tough Guy steamed.

What a fucking time I had. SIF's game was canceled, but Chris, one of the SIF players and an all-around good guy, left me a comment about EBB Club. I hadn't hung out with Chris outside of the SIF game before, but he helped me get past the EBB security and we sat at the same table for the entire day. As usual, my stack went through all sorts of fluctuations. Chris' only went one way...up. He was playing a smart, tight game. This leads us to the last hand of the evening.

I limp in MP with 67s. One player calls in MP/LP and Chris checks in the BB. The flop is 589 with two diamonds. I flopped a straight.

Chris leads out for $10. I don't just want to win his money. Really, I like the guy, and I'd rather take the other guy's money, so I just call to keep the other guy in. The other guy calls too. The turn is another 5 and Chris checks. I immediately think that a full-house is possible, but I doubt that either player has it because of the soft action on the flop. I bet $20 or so. The other player folds, but Chris calls. The river is an Ace, and I'm hoping he has A9 or even AK, although AK did not seem likely at the time. Surprisingly, Chris bets out $25. I want to get as much as possible out of this hand. I think about min-raising, but instead bet $40. He calls pretty quickly. He then tables 95o. He caught the Full House on the turn with the BB special.

Before that hand, I was maybe up or down $15 at most. After than hand, I was down more than $100. But the guys came around to take $5 time charge, and we had already discussed leaving. We packed up our chips and cashed out. If I had to lose to someone, I'm glad it was a friendly face and not the Tough Guy.

I love me some live poker. The entire time I played, I felt confident that if I stayed longer I would eventually beat the table. I was beating it steadily, but took some losses that are inevitable in my loose style. When we walked to the subway, I complimented Chris on his play and he returned the compliment. I was proud that I walked away loser, not because I like losing, but because it didn't sting. If this is just a portion of one long session, then at least I played well. That's all you can hope for in poker.

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 6:40 PM, , links to this post




9 Across: One Who Avoids Others

Last night, tired from a tough work week, wifey Kim and I had dinner at a nearby Italian restaurant that we always passed but never entered, and then came home to watch a movie. We had rented Wordplay, a documentary about crossword puzzles and crossword enthusiasts, since wifey Kim has been playing the crosswords daily, thanks to a local free newspaper.

While watching the film, while wifey Kim quietly slept, leaning in the cruck of my arm on the couch (I eventually waved my hands in front of her eyes to verify her unconscious state), I saw an amazing parallel between poker and crossword puzzles. Mostly, it was the issue that I wrote about earlier this week, the solitary nature of the game.

Much like online poker, crosswords are done at home in relative anonymity, without anyone else's involvement. Granted, many a poker blogger or serious player has made online poker buddies who might railbird, but for the great unwashed masses, it is a solitary pursuit.

Every year, there is a crossword puzzle tournament held in Stamford, CT. The movie followed the tournament from the players' arrival to the big finale. Upon arrival, one of the regular patrons explained to the camera (and I paraphrase): "Crossword puzzles are such a solitary thing. When we have these tournaments, all of these people who are used to solving puzzles alone at home are suddenly surrounded by people with similar interests. It's like an instant family."

Therein lies the nexus between the loner-centric world of poker and the community-centric world of poker bloggers. We all started playing poker individually. We found a passion for the game. While it remains inherently a game that attracts loners (not everyone is a loner, though), the loners can come together every couple of months, be it in Vegas or Philadelphia or Oklahoma, and there is an instant comraderie. We share things in common that most people wouldn't understand. A passion for the game, and often, a passion for writing. Organization does not come naturally, but once we are together, a comraderie does. At least that's what I felt at the Bash at the Boathouse, and essentially what I read about everyone else's first experiences at blogger gatherings.

This is not so much just about blogging. I am sure the same can be said for 2+2'ers or BARGErs or whatever other subsect of the poker community you can come up with. I imagine that the WSOP is the essentially the parallel to the yearly crossword tournament, when a community of individuals come together to form a makeshift family, but I also expect that the money aspects of poker and attraction to degenerates makes ours a much more disfunctional family.

On that note, let me thank my blogger brother from another server, GCox, for his great post on his Loner personality. Ironically, I consider that loner one of the closest friends I met through this loner blog.

Loner on Poker.

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 1:03 PM, , links to this post




Online Poker and Blogging

My blog sucks. Okay, maybe not totally sucks, but lately I bust out a post and then read it later and think, That's content? I mean, Jesus. I long for the days of You Decide posts.

It's all about my decision to cut down on online poker. In the past, I never really have a problem posting. I played poker online daily so something would come up, whether it be pontifications of a particular aspect of the game or a recap of my wins and losses. Luckily, I never even had problems posting about losses, for the most part, so even when things were running bad, the blog was running good.

Now, not so much. What is going on out there? I was supposed to play at the SIF homegame on Saturday, but that has been canceled. (For all NY players...anyone know of a cardroom that is open and has a good game going on Saturday afternoon?) The cancellation of the SIF game isn't so bad, overall, because I should probably go into the office at some point.

The thing about poker blogging is, it's a melding of poker and the Internet. It is so closely linked to online poker, for me and for a great number of the community, that online poker's death [Disclaimer: For all of you who insist that online poker is not dying, I only refer to my own decision to slowly kill off my online poker play. For everyone else, can you believe these fools who think that nothing has changed in online poker?!] is having a real impact on blogging.

For one thing, you can't throw a virtual stone without hitting a post about the horrors of the ban. I've done it here too, on both sides of the argument, so guilty as charged. It is, very much, the tie that binds me to the community, first with the Challenges and then the DADI tournaments, eventually giving way to the weekly tournaments that I tried to attend semi-regularly. I still played the Mookie this week and got fairly far along in 11th out of 55, but it is becoming a rare occassion.

God damn it. There I go again with the navel gazing.

I feel a definite desire to continue posting, mostly because I feel an obligation to myself, my blog and anyone who reads me. It has been the corner-stone of my blogging principles, and is deteriorating in front of my very eyes.

Then there is the other rule I try to place on my blog. I try to avoid posting things that would only interest fellow bloggers because, even if they may make up the majority of my readership (no confirmation on this), this is a public blog and ideally accessible to the public reader. And here I go, posting about the effects of the online poker ban on poker blogging.

Here is my new promise to me and to you: I rededicate myself to this blog with a newfound set of rules.

  1. I will post when I feel I have something worth saying.
  2. I will delete posts after the fact if I mentally masticate (with a C!) them and later determine that they are utter crap. Sorry RSS feed readers, but you'll still have to sift through it.
  3. I will continue to post updates on the AC gathering, because that is really the light at the end of the tunnel for me.
  4. I will do my best to keep things interesting.
That's really all there is to it. I still love poker and I still love blogging. I just need to change my expectations and my assumed expectations of readers so that I can continue without feeling like I'm doing a piss-poor job. And with that....

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 12:28 PM, , links to this post




Solitaire

At my last trip to AC with Roose, we came back to the room tired, but riding high on adrenaline from the day's poker activities. Roose is like a brother to me. Our parents became friends when they were young kids in the Old World (Brooklyn). When my father met my mom, he introduced her to Roose's mom, and they hit it off as well. Because of this, Roose and I have practically known each other from the womb, and in many ways he is closer to me than my actual brothers.

He was sprawled on the bed as I sat in the one armchair in our Showboat room. We were discussing all sorts of things, but came upon the subject of his upcoming nuptuals. "Is it that different?" he asked. "No," I replied. "Being married is exactly the same as dating seriously." I though some more. "The change is when you move in together." Roose had not moved in with his fiance yet (and still hasn't), and as he contemplated the changes, he made a statement that stuck in my head these many months later. "I'm a loner."

Here he was, one of my best friend's in the world, and he was a loner. We were there with Randy Hole, and aside from him, I know a bunch of Roose's friends (our mutual friends). How could a guy like that be a loner? But there it was staring me in the face. I was a loner too. In a way, most of my friends are.

Poker is a very solitary game, regardless of how many people are at the table with you. You are playing for yourself, by yourself. There is no team. Your win is their loss, and assuming you are not playing with a bunch of friends in a penny-ante game, you likely want to win. Your opponents want you to lose.

The solitary nature of the poker probably attracts a certain type of person. Generally, we are an anti-establishment group, who would prefer to live a life considered by many to be a "vice", and do not want to have to work under the hierarchy of corporate America. We are the lone rangers, getting by on our own wits, making our own rules, and reaping the benefits of our own actions. It is simultaneously a boon and a loss. We are our own subculture, our own community, but we are, to a large extent, a community of loners.

If you don't agree with the earlier statements, then that is fine. This is merely my perspective. The implications, however, are what really interest me.

I understand why it is impossible to organize poker players. I refer more to organizations like the Poker Players' Alliance morseo than anything else. Poker players are self-interested individuals. We don't like being told what to do, and we don't like attending obligations or giving money to organizations (of course, I don't speak for everyone here). As a result, we are not organized and probably never will be. Even at the highest levels, talks of unionization has been thwarted, mostly because individual players don't see the immediate benefit to themselves and do see the potential loss of freedom that comes with organization.

As a blogger, my loner mentality tends to come out in different ways. Large blogger gatherings far away from home don't interest me. I can do AC or Philadelphia, but Vegas is another animal all together. I just can't get over that hurdle. Traveling a long distance to hang out with a group sorta...unsettles me. It is just against my loner's code, and I suppose part of it is a fear that traveling a long distance to be in a group will put me outside of my loner comfort zone. Also, part of the appeal of AC is not the organized aspect of it all. It is the pleasure of having people with similar interests around me, but not feeling beholden to anyone. Don't get me wrong. I want to hang out with you all. I just don't want to force it. Ideally, nothing would be better than just hanging in a card room and knowing that if I have a bad beat, Alceste at the other end of the table will feel my pain. Or, when I'm done with an 8-hour session at 7am, Hoy will still be two tables over and willing to grab some early morning grub. Its classic loner bonding. At the table, whent the cards are dealt it is just me. Me. You. But not me and you, no matter how much I enjoy your company.

Being a loner also has some implications at home. Poker is a solitary activity, and wifey Kim has little interest in it, probably largely because of her non-aggressive, uncompetitive, social personality, something that I find strikingly attractive and impressive. The truth is, to a large extent, wifey Kim is just not plugged into my poker world, and I am kind of glad that it is like that. Sure, there are times I feel pangs of guilt because I spent too much time online and not focusing on wifey Kim, and at other times, I feel bad that it is 1am and I am at the IHO tournament, when wifey Kim calls and asks when I'll be home. But in the end, I am on my own at the games, and those pangs of self-inflicted guilt (wifey Kim is very understanding), are more a testament to my desire to be less a loner, than of any outside influence placed upon me.

Interestingly, wifey Kim also has little knowledge of my poker blogging life. She knows I have a blog, and she used to joke when I chatted online with GCox and TripJax (she would call out, "Hey GCOXY!" in a high-pitched voice across the room, mocking my apparent girly chatness). But the idea of bringing her to Okie Vegas or even a blogger gathering in Vegas doesn't appeal to me. First, I'd have to introduce her around, assuming that I can even remember anyone. Then I'd have to explain who people are in our community, but for an outsider, I am sure it would just sound like white noise. Worst of all, I would bring all of those feelings of attachment and commitment with me, and any me-time would bring on a case of the guilts--MY guilt, independent of the reality that wifey Kim places no obligations on me that I do not place on myself. The reality is that I prefer to rage solo, if I can borrow a great term from Otis. I want to be free, not held back by anyone else's expectations or feelings. At home, I can't be that way. I don't want to be that way. Here in my girly online journal and with my girly online friends, I can be that guy. I am a lone wolf, and while there are more like me, I am beholden to no one.

Where is this going? I don't know. I just felt like writing, and the thoughts just sort of come out onto my keyboard and into your eyes. I also have though about the separation between wifey Kim and poker for a long time. In many ways, I have two lives. One of the husband lawyer, and another as the degenerate poker player writer. Which one is the real me all depends on how you define what is real. Is the real me the one who comes out when there is no one else around to live up to, or is the real me the guy who is responsible and lives up to others' expectations, the consummate team player even if I tend to make my opinions known. I don't know which is the real me, but I hope its a little of both. I think that is likely the case.

So, in a way, I got to why I never have been to a blogger event outside of the NE area. As a loner, I would love to travel and spend time with people I only know from their blogs and online poker games. As that other guy, I feel beholden to my wife and spending OUR time and resources on something solely for me just seems wrong.

AC should be fun though. As much as I may seem to be an organizer, I very much just want to be one guy going to AC. If you are there, then great. I love poker and you do too, so I bet we'll get along just fine. I've hung with more than a few of the people coming, who now tentatively include Dawn and Karol from IHO, IHO regulars Alceste and Mary, Dave Roose himself, Hoyazo and likely a few more, and all of these people have something in common. They are all looking for a good time.

Rock on. Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 4:12 PM, , links to this post




Si, Si, CC

I'm game. Hey folks. Are you sitting at home watching brainless television tomorrow night at approximately 9:30 pm EST when you'd really rather be mixing it up with some poker? If so, you are just like me. Now, do you have $11 in your PokerStars account? In that case, you are nothing like me, cause I got jack squat.

But alas, dear reader, I may be able to join you for some festivities, as CC of Pokerworks is kicking off his second round of CC's Thursday Bash! (How could you not end that sentence with an exclamation point!!)

Will there be value added like last time? How the hell should I know? But the possibility is there. If nothing else, you'll be playing poker with some real fun folks, and if I'm lucky and CC considers me worthy, you'll get an easy $10 from me too!

And with that, I leave you with this banner. See you at the Bash:

Play or the kid shoots.

posted by Jordan @ 4:25 PM, , links to this post




Time Tied

Things have been pretty tight in Jordan's world lately. The result is a week of no live poker, thankfully to be broken up this Saturday as I return to the SIF game. Otherwise, my weeks have been spent toiling away at work, where things are as busy as ever, and relaxing at home with wifey Kim whenever I can. Thank god for the return of primetime television, with Heroes kicking a few days ago along with the mis-titled Prison Break.

I played a couple of heads-up SNGs a few days ago on a hunch. Even though I am easing off of the online poker, I felt a desire to play something. I have been seemingly boobytrapping myself by making stupid moves whenever I do play. For example, I decided to play some $25 max HA, a mix of pot limit hold'em and pot limit omaha high. I then proceeded to push all-in with the nut low in omaha...HIGH! When I was called and showed my nut low, I was surprised to see the chips sent to my opponent. Then I remembered that low doesn't play, and I promptly shut down Full Tilt feeling like the douschebag that I am (down only $10 thanks to his small stack).

I played two heads-up matches with Veneno recently. In the past, I have always done well against V, and I would even be so bold as to say that our early matches may have taught her a thing or two about the importance of aggression. Don't get me wrong, she holds her own and has whooped me more than a few times.

Playing her most recently, it is clear that her game has continued to improve , and we went 1 and 1 for the first two games of our best of 5 series. The winner gets an ad banner on the side of the other players' blog for a week and a poker t-shirt of their choice. I'm looking to collect my 3rd bounty from the V. On that note, thanks V. I received a deck of black Copag cards for our last bounty, and while I haven't used them yet, they are some real beauts.

Heads-up poker is likely the best option for me now. First off, because there is only you and one other player, reads actually become an integral part of the game. He is watching me and me only, so I can also counteract "reads" and lull my opponent to do what I want him to do. Meanwhile, since I only have him to concentrate on, I can gather a lot of information as well. Throw in some chatting and suddenly my arsenal has gone from pea-shooter online poker skillz to an artillery of information, deception, and utter tomfoolery.

Aside from this, there are two other great reasons for me to play HU almost exclusively online. HU matches are relatively short, and therefore allow me to avoid that other pitfall of my online play: distraction because of boredom. I have one match to win (or lose) and then I can walk away. It is finite, like an SNG, but short, like a cash game hit-and-run session. Final point, my losses are capped. I know how much I am playing for before I start, and I can't win or lose any more or less. Here is a quick bonus benefit: HU play seems a lot more personal, so winning a $5 match feels just as good as a $20. The players are pretty much the same, and the pride I get for defeating my foe is worth even more than the scraps that serve as the prize pool.

Yeah, but back to that booby-trapping thing. After the matches with V, I realized all of these things about HU matches and decided to try some out for size. This was a few days ago, and as I sat down in a $5 4-player HU SNG with one other guy, I saw that it was going to take a while to fill. 5 minutes passed, and then I noticed the $10 4-player HU SNG filling up. I opened that tournament lobby quickly and hit Register. I then quickly went back to the $5 4-player HU SNG, expecting the tournament, which stalled at 2 players, to still be available for unregistering. My bad. In that .15 seconds, the $5 table filled up too. I was now playing two 4-player HU SNGs at the same time. Nice job, Jordan.

Ironically, I had won the $10 event before event defeating my first competitor in the $5 event. I made it to the finals of the $5 event as well, but lost due to a suckout that I orchestrated beautifully.

As with most of the HU matches, I tend to start off very aggressively. This is part of my Inverse Theory of Aggression in Heads-Up SNGs, which states that when you are closest in chips, you must actually be more aggressive. That simple small lead will do a lot for your momentum and can also open up other opportunities.

In this specific case, I was betting like a madman and my opponent was folding like a Gap employee, all the while building my image as a loose fucktard who would eventually hang himself with his own play. The hands usually went one of three ways: (1) I bet preflop and he folds, (2) I bet preflop, he calls, I bet the flop and he folds, and (3) he shows any sign that he has a hand and I fold. Options (1) and (2) dominate, but option (3) has to be sprinkled throughout or I would be in trouble with crappy hands. Also, by allowing an occassional (3), I am giving my opponent more reason to think that I am a bluffing fool.

Because of the pattern established, I ended up getting my opponent all-in when I had the best of it. I raised preflop with J6s or some other crappy hand. He called, which seemed to be a common theme. The flop was J-high, and I bet out, exactly as I had countless times before. Top pair is not a great hand, but it's a shit-load better HU, so when he re-raised me all-in, I was confident that I was ahead. I called, and he showed QTo for middle pair (tens). The turn was a K and the river was a 9, and he made his straight. I had 400 left (started with 3000), and actually made a few comebacks, reaching over 2k at one point. Alas, it was not meant to be though, as I eventually succumbed. I did realize two things, though. Aggression allowed me to force my opponent to make a stand with crappy cards, and gave me the extra chips needed to launch a possible comeback when I was shortstacked.

Remember folks, you can't go bust on a suckout if you had more chips than your opponent. In most tournaments (SNGs and MTTs) that is decent advice although not necessarily practical all of the time. In Heads-Up, though, its absolutely crucial.

It seems like the blogger gathering in AC is actually coming together. I personally have a room booked (Showboat has rates that break down to less than $250 per night if you are a Harrahs/Showboat/Caesars/Ballys card member). I can book another with my card if anyone needs. I'm also looking for roommates, unless Matty Ebs is a definite.

I have also rented a car for the drive down. It will cost me $150 or so, plus taxes and gas, so I expect the total to be closer to $200. If anyone wants to share the cost and a ride down, let me know.

Otherwise, I am sticking with the old saying, organizing poker players is like herding cats. Instead of trying to corral anyone, I am just throwing a shitload of pokery catnip and cat chow at AC and hoping that the cats will come. Seems like it is working, too.

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 10:07 AM, , links to this post




The Gathering Update

I've termed the potential blogger gathering in AC as The Gathering because it really is the best word for the trip. I don't particularly plan on, well, planning much, aside from suggesting a few tournaments to swarm, suggesting a hotel, and choosing a weekend. I have not been to any of the Vegas blogger gatherings, but AC is no Vegas. We cannot get private tournaments, and we do not have the convention center resources. But really, these trips are for two things, poker and people. I know I'll have the first one, and hopefully the second, but even if it is just you and me playing at the 1/2 NL tables and kicking ass at a Showboat tournament, we'll still be having fun.

With that said, let me tell you what I do know. I do know that I asked wifey Kim if she would have a problem with a weekend trip in March for poker, and she didn't flinch. God bless her. So, for all intents and purposes, I expect to be able to go.

The planned weekend for the trip is March 9-11 (Friday-Sunday), and it coincides with the WSOP Circuit event at Caesar's. The events that weekend are outside of my bankroll, but a few of you might be interested. You can see the full schedule (8 events over 8 days) HERE. Otherwise, the weekend events are as follows:

Friday, March 9, 12pm- $500+60 NLHE.
Saturday, March 10, 12pm- $1000+80 NLHE.
Sunday, March 11, 12pm- $200+30 Ladies Event.

The Main Event (essentially $5k buy-in) starts on Monday, but there are satellites and mega-satellites all weekend (and likely Satellites to the other events as well).

Realistically, I don't plan on spending much time at Caesar's at all, unless some bloggers are playing the events, in which case, I'll railbird (and likely buy some of your action, if you are interested). Otherwise, I plan on playing in the many poker rooms in the Boardwalk-area hotels. Borgata is supposed to be great, too, but for my money, I like being on the Boardwalk, where the rooms are cheaper, the poker is plentiful, and you can get everywhere by foot.

The High On Poker Hotel Buyer's Guide for Atlantic City suggests one rule: Get the Cheapest Room at a Hotel with a Casino on the Boardwalk. There are about 8-10 hotels that fit this description, and I've stayed in every one but three. I've played in those three, though, and can say with confidence that the hotels will all do the trick.

A quick perusal finds these rates:

Bally's- $249/night (via Travelocity). This is right next to Caesar's and centrally located on the Boardwalk. Bally's has a poker room. It's the only smoking room in AC, though, and you need a compass, shirpa and hunting dogs to find it.

Showboat- $300/night (via Travelocity). This is the official hotel of High On Poker. It has a great poker room and tournaments four times, daily.

Ug. It looks like the tournament or something else is causing a rush for rooms that weekend. Tropicana is sold out on Saturday, and Hilton is sold out on Friday. Other rates are not too great. Resorts was listed at $300/night on one site, but Showboat is better. Flagship was also listed for a good price, but it doesn't have a casino, so it fails the HoP test. There are also a shit load of crappy hotels in the area, but I leave that up to you. Me, I ride in style. I'd rather split a Showboat room with one other person and pay $300 for the weekend.

I've received interest from about 6 or so bloggers, but I'm not holding anyone to anything. If you are interested, please let me know by leaving a comment or sending me an email at HighOnPokr AT yahoo DOT COMMUNIST. I'll create a list and we can start brainstorming together.

I've touched on this before, but let me just explain how I see this coming together ideally. I would like to start booking rooms in the next few weeks. I expect each individual to work out their own rooming situation, but I'll be happy to act as a hub to set people up or facilitate everything. Once we know who is going, I will choose a central meeting place for Friday night. We'll get some food (I'll make reservations depending on the amount of people and feasability), and after we will hit a poker room. I'll also designate a tournament or two to storm, but don't feel obliged. Everyone is free to do as they please. We'll probably also arrange a place to meet for breakfast, and/or a few other meals, but overall, it'll be all very organic. We'll meet up when convenient, and individuals or groups can break off as they desire. If you don't know anyone, no problem. Stick with me. I'll keep you informed as much as I can as to what everyone else is doing, and we'll hit up some poker rooms and tournaments. I know the AC Boardwalk like the back of my pimp hand, and would be glad to show anyone around.

Hmm...I guess I didn't do a great job illuminating what is going to happen. Sorry, folks, but I really just plan to go for the weekend and meet up with whoever else may want to go. I would love to all play in a tournament and maybe get a small side-bet going, enough so that the winner is at least freerolling. I am not too hot on having meals with 20+ people because the logistics always suck, but I don't mind meeting up at 1am at the bar for cocktails.

I plan on booking a room at Showboat soon. I love their poker room, and they have nice accomodations. They even have a video-poker bar where (like Vegas) you can drink for free if you are playing. In fact, its the only AC bar I know of that has this rule. Showboat's tournaments are also the best bang for under $100, and the Saturday 11pm is $120 or so, which also isn't bad.

The only shortcoming to Showboat is that they are on one of the ends of the Boardwalk. It is still very safe, but if you want to walk to the Tropicana (nice-sized poker room with lots of different games) or Hilton (smaller room with lots of different fish), it'll take probably 20-30 minutes on foot. That said, the Taj Mahal is next door (and attached so you don't have to go outside), and is the 2nd biggest room in AC (albeit, the most dirty and the one with the most rumors of collusion/cheating). Other rooms are also a short 5-10 minutes away, AND you can take a free shuttle to Caesars, Bally's, and Harrah's (near the Borgata at the Marina section of AC).

Have questions, will answer.

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 6:08 PM, , links to this post




Devil's Advocate: Online Poker Ban

Hoyazo left a comment to my last post about how the ban on online poker may actually help me in a roundabout way. He was understandably perturbed by the fact that I was essentially condoning the US Government's direct infringement on something done in the privacy of our homes. I am the self-titled Devil's Advocate of Poker Bloggers, so just bear with me for a moment while I induce my ability to argue any side of any issue without any logic or support. Here goes:

The truth is, dear reader, that our government, while doing something that inconveniences us all, is not doing anything improper. Now, before you start throwing things, I am not saying that I am for the law. I am a recently self-identified Libertarian (as far as I understand the word), and I deeply believe that the government should not over-legislate things such as online poker, which only effects the player and not the rest of society as a whole. Even though I dislike the law, though, it doesn't mean that the law is inherently wrong.

On its face, to anyone who plays online poker, the law is horrible. We have seen the actual effects, and while people argue about the varying degree of effect it will have on online poker, we can all agree that it negatively effects the industry and our favorite degenerate passtime. For this reason, it is wholly understandable to be shocked at this stupid law and I encourage anyone who has a problem with the law to do whatever they can to influence those in power who could effectively revoke or modify it. But, and I'm flinching as I type this, the law in and of itself is not improper, and is in many ways justifiable.

Okay, okay, so right now you are getting red in the face and slamming your fists on the keyboard. I gotcha. It isn't a popular position to take on the interwebs, but its not unsupported either. The bottom line is that online poker takes money away from the United States and distributes it to other nations and individuals. All of this money being syphoned from the US is not taxed by the United States. The US should man up and just create a regulatory scheme, like the UK, but because of our puritanical society, the lawmakers decided to ban online poker all together. I'm sure their desire for votes in Bible-thumping areas didn't hurt their decision either.

I've seen the argument that the politicians and government hate online poker because they don't see a dime from it. That is likely true, 100%. But there is another aspect as well. Online poker is gambling, and the government has traditionally imposed laws regarding gambling. Truthfully, gambling should be resolved by state governments, who are granted the power to make laws for the "welfare" of the people. In other words, states are given the power to make laws to protect their citizens, like, say, anti-smoking laws or anti-gambling laws. The right is given to states because they are better equiped to make laws for their local constituents in this large, varied nation of ours. That is why there are no casinos in New York City, or New York in general, except for Indian reservation casinos and some other cutouts; Nevada, meanwhile, allows gambling.

Online poker, however, is such that a state-by-state ban will prove largely ineffective. In fact, it is my understanding that Nevada already has an anti-online gambling ban in place, but it was ineffective because of the very nature of online gambling. The federal government, under the Commerce Clause, can make laws regarding interstate or international trade. This and other powers of the federal government have been used to make all sorts of "welfare" laws, even though "welfare" laws are the sole province of the states. One example involved the age of drinking. The federal government stated that if the drinking age was not raised to 21 in a given state, the state would not receive certain federal highway funds, thereby turning a "welfare" law into something the federal govenment can legislate, a federal spending issue.

So, the analysts have focused on the financial aspect of the law. They assume that the govenment is pissed that they aren't receiving their cut of this huge industry. But gambling has been traditionally made illegal in the US, and where it is legal, it is highly regulated. Online, there are no such protections (right now, although US licensing could fix that). So, the government's law against transferring to online gambling sites is not just the US government's jealousy over money made by private companies outside of the US. It is also about protecting people from an unregulated gambling establishment, one in which the age of the bettor is not an issue, the accessibility is easy, cheating can and does happen (by other players by collussion, at the very least), and US citizens are spending countless dollars or are winning countless dollars without any way to enforce tax issues.

Now that I got this out of my system, let me add this: The beliefs stated above are merely the opinion of Jordan as the Devil's Advocate of Poker Bloggers and does not accurately reflect Jordan's compassion and understanding of fellow online poker players or Jordan's distaste over regulating something that we, as online poker players, know is essentially a safe, harmless activity.

I actually have a lot more to write about, including my thoughts on the potential poker blogger Gathering in AC in March, the effect of the anti-online poker laws on bloggers and poker blogging, and a great conversation and some HU matches against the one and only Veneno. But since I've rambled on for long enough, I will save that for later today or tomorrow.

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 12:16 PM, , links to this post




Devil's Advocate: Online Poker Ban

Hoyazo left a comment to my last post about how the ban on online poker may actually help me in a roundabout way. He was understandably perturbed by the fact that I was essentially condoning the US Government's direct infringement on something done in the privacy of our homes. I am the self-titled Devil's Advocate of Poker Bloggers, so just bear with me for a moment while I induce my ability to argue any side of any issue without any logic or support. Here goes:

The truth is, dear reader, that our government, while doing something that inconveniences us all, is not doing anything improper. Now, before you start throwing things, I am not saying that I am for the law. I am a recently self-identified Libertarian (as far as I understand the word), and I deeply believe that the government should not over-legislate things such as online poker, which only effects the player and not the rest of society as a whole. Even though I dislike the law, though, it doesn't mean that the law is inherently wrong.

On its face, to anyone who plays online poker, the law is horrible. We have seen the actual effects, and while people argue about the varying degree of effect it will have on online poker, we can all agree that it negatively effects the industry and our favorite degenerate passtime. For this reason, it is wholly understandable to be shocked at this stupid law and I encourage anyone who has a problem with the law to do whatever they can to influence those in power who could effectively revoke or modify it. But, and I'm flinching as I type this, the law in and of itself is not improper, and is in many ways justifiable.

Okay, okay, so right now you are getting red in the face and slamming your fists on the keyboard. I gotcha. It isn't a popular position to take on the interwebs, but its not unsupported either. The bottom line is that online poker takes money away from the United States and distributes it to other nations and individuals. All of this money being syphoned from the US is not taxed by the United States. The US should man up and just create a regulatory scheme, like the UK, but because of our puritanical society, the lawmakers decided to ban online poker all together. I'm sure their desire for votes in Bible-thumping areas didn't hurt their decision either.

I've seen the argument that the politicians and government hate online poker because they don't see a dime from it. That is likely true, 100%. But there is another aspect as well. Online poker is gambling, and the government has traditionally imposed laws regarding gambling. Truthfully, gambling should be resolved by state governments, who are granted the power to make laws for the "welfare" of the people. In other words, states are given the power to make laws to protect their citizens, like, say, anti-smoking laws or anti-gambling laws. The right is given to states because they are better equiped to make laws for their local constituents in this large, varied nation of ours. That is why there are no casinos in New York City, or New York in general, except for Indian reservation casinos and some other cutouts; Nevada, meanwhile, allows gambling.

Online poker, however, is such that a state-by-state ban will prove largely ineffective. In fact, it is my understanding that Nevada already has an anti-online gambling ban in place, but it was ineffective because of the very nature of online gambling. The federal government, under the Commerce Clause, can make laws regarding interstate or international trade. This and other powers of the federal government have been used to make all sorts of "welfare" laws, even though "welfare" laws are the sole province of the states. One example involved the age of drinking. The federal government stated that if the drinking age was not raised to 21 in a given state, the state would not receive certain federal highway funds, thereby turning a "welfare" law into something the federal govenment can legislate, a federal spending issue.

So, the analysts have focused on the financial aspect of the law. They assume that the govenment is pissed that they aren't receiving their cut of this huge industry. But gambling has been traditionally made illegal in the US, and where it is legal, it is highly regulated. Online, there are no such protections (right now, although US licensing could fix that). So, the government's law against transferring to online gambling sites is not just the US government's jealousy over money made by private companies outside of the US. It is also about protecting people from an unregulated gambling establishment, one in which the age of the bettor is not an issue, the accessibility is easy, cheating can and does happen (by other players by collussion, at the very least), and US citizens are spending countless dollars or are winning countless dollars without any way to enforce tax issues.

Now that I got this out of my system, let me add this: The beliefs stated above are merely the opinion of Jordan as the Devil's Advocate of Poker Bloggers and does not accurately reflect Jordan's compassion and understanding of fellow online poker players or Jordan's distaste over regulating something that we, as online poker players, know is essentially a safe, harmless activity.

I actually have a lot more to write about, including my thoughts on the potential poker blogger Gathering in AC in March, the effect of the anti-online poker laws on bloggers and poker blogging, and a great conversation and some HU matches against the one and only Veneno. But since I've rambled on for long enough, I will save that for later today or tomorrow.

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 11:41 AM, , links to this post




Thank You Government!

While you have all been donating to the Poker Players' Alliance and writing silly letters to your senators, I've been quietly undermining everything you do by donating to the coffers of politicians dead set against online poker. My subterfuge has finally paid off, for Neteller, the great facilitator of illegal online gambling has finally shut its doors to online poker. Resistance is futile.

Okay. Really, I feel for you all. I think this is all ridiculous, absolutely ridiculous. But it does benefit me in a very significant way. No more depositing via Neteller means no more depositiing for Jordan. My slow and steady separation from online poker has been difficult, but it's getting easier every day. Like a cigarette smoker, or more accurately, like an overeater with a box of Hohos, the real difficulty is in breaking the habit. I originally withdrew most of my bankroll to limit what I could effectively lose. This would also limit my play, hypothetically, because I would have less to play with.

The reality was that I lost most of my reduced bankroll in one weekend, after a donktastic Blogger 1/2 NLHE game and some high stakes Razz losses. My bankroll was down to truly pathetic levels, but I was accepting of this, because I realized that this was what I really need. Online poker CANNOT be profitable for me any more, because I don't have enough invested to make it significantly profitable. Instead, I'm back to playing games with chips that mean little more to me than play money (but competition that cares about their chips infinitiely more than play chips). Don't get me wrong, I'm not suggesting that it is good to not care about your online money. I am merely say that it is GOOD for me to stop associating online poker with a way to make a side income.

Sadly, my resolve can sometimes be weak (see the one weekend loss of most of my remaining bankroll). With things like the Blogger Big Game and the ongoing 1/2 NLHE Blogger table, I have been toying with the idea of redepositing. Even the Mansion 100k with overlay sounds tempting.

With Neteller out of the online poker business, depositing will become MUCH more difficult for me. Sure, I can set up a new account, but why? Any extra steps are good for me.

But what about the rest of you? I'm sorry. I truly am. These are bleak times, and we can hope that someone sticks around to facilitate our outlaw hobby. I'm hoping right there with you. Really, all they need is to keep the hell out of the US and they should be fine. I'm not too hopeful, but I'm wishing you the best of luck.

Interestingly, I also see a trend of players moving away from online poker. Notably, Scurvy and (I can't believe I am siting him as an example) Woffles seem to be of that mind, but there are a few more that aren't coming to me right away.

I wonder what the effect on the online poker world will do to our blogs. Personally, I have reduced output at HoP, mostly because the inspiration isn't there. I've also felt less involved with the poker blogosphere as a result. Don't worry, baby, I ain't leavin' ya, but I do think that online poker is one of the strongest ties that bind us all. HoP would be nothing without my many cross-blog challenges and the DADI tournaments. Now, with my slow withdrawal from the online poker world, I feel a slowly growing distance from this open-door fraternity as well. But I just keep my chin up and continue doing what I'm doing. Change happens, and it's not always bad.

Come join me, folks. The revolution is in Live Poker, even if I am saying that for self-serving purposes! And here's your pleasant reminder: Even when poker becomes illegal online, you can still play with me legally in Atlantic City, March 9th weekend or thereabouts.

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 1:51 PM, , links to this post




The Chips Speak

I received a comment to my last post and as I started to respond, I began to realize that the topic is post-worthy. The comment, made anonymously, asked:

Up 'til now I've been an online player but I'm slowly making the jump to live play. How much stock do you put into how people handle their chips?

Good question, if a little broad. The truth is, I put a lot of stock in how a player handles their chips. It will give you tells and information moreso than most things at the table. Here is a brief examination of the subject.

Right away, if you are sitting at a table and you see a player doing chip tricks, you have some information. If they are doing them well and doing a variety of tricks or difficult tricks, you have yourself a player. Whoever he or she is, you know that they are familiar with handling chips and likely have a good amount of experience playing poker. This does not necessarily mean that they are good, but it is a hint that they might be. It also shows that they have the tennacity to stick to something relatively tricky, especially when it comes to a variety of tricks or difficult ones. It is no accident that Antonio Esfandiari is great at card tricks (via his background in magic) and is a successful poker player. Both take dedication, commitment and practice. You can say the same for the guy putting on a chip trick exposition in the 1s. He is willing to work at his craft, and therefore you should be semi-cautious.

On the flipside, some players are going to attempt chip tricks or do semi-tricks, but are clearly still learning. Immediately, you know that they are not experienced in card rooms, but have the awareness of the game and chip tricks. You may have a complete rookie, and you'll know this from other things he does. In this case, have fun. The other possibility is an Internet player. He may know how to play, but live poker is still somewhat new. This is the start of a read, but there is a lot of other information you need about that particular player (playing style, clothes, demeanor) to get the full picture. The bottom line is if the guy in the sunglasses and baseball hat in the 2s start to shuffle chips and they keep falling over, you know that he is aware of poker, but he is probably not a master.

These are broad reads about knowledge of the game, but you can get a lot more information in particular situations by watching your opponents hands. Most players are conscious of the fact that people can pick up tells from their faces. That is not the case with hands. They are often forgotten about, so watch what your opponent is doing and try to see how it matches up with the hand they eventually show.

There have been several occasions where I've caught players shuffling their chips when they were nervous about a hand. I'll see them shuffle chips, make a mental note of which hand they use, what denomination of chips, how they shuffle them and how many chips they shuffle, and then when showdown happens, I try to match that information with his hand. Sometimes the particular details, like which hand he uses or denomination of chips, don't matter, but other times they might. For instance, some players might grab big chips to shuffle when they are confident, because they expect to bet soon. I'm not saying that this is definitely the case, though, because someone else might just grab whatever chips they have handy. It is a case by case analysis, but overall, if your opponent is shuffling chips, he is doing it to calm his nerves and is likely nervous. Likewise, if you see your opponent playing with his chips in any way, he is probably doing it to ease his nerves and is weak. I imagine it is all related to players who "shuffle" their cards, placing one underneath the other and repeating, usually in a scissor motion. That is a well documented sign of weakness and has received the HoP stamp of approval.

There may be other ways a player handles his or her chips that would provide you with valuable information. Betting is a key example. In general, follow Mike Caro's weak-means-strong and strong-means-weak approach. If a player slams his chips on the table, he's acting strong and is likely weak. If he bets daintily, he wants to seem nonthreatening, so he probably has a monster. This is not always the case, as with any read. I suggest you watch your opponent and decide whether or not he is an actor. Most intermediate players are, whereas beginners are not, and the advanced players switch it up depending on the situation; but overall, once an actor, always an actor.

Here are a few other random tidbits. If a player bets out and leaves his arm in an extended position, it can often mean that he is bluffing. He fears recoiling his hand because it might appear weak. Likewise, if a player bets and, in doing so, knocks over his chips, and then goes about correcting his chips stack, it is also a sign of weakness. His nerves cause him to fix his sloppiness, therefore soothing his nervousness and, subconsciously, restoring his appearance of strength.

Here is a final one, and then I ask that any readers offer additional input. This gem is also in Caro's Book of Poker Tells (one of HoP's three highly-recommended poker books for new players). If a player stacks his chips neatly, he is likely a tight player. If his stack is loose and wild, his play will likely be loose as well. The chips reflect a player's state of mind. For the tight player, everything is in order. If those little color tabs on four edges of chips are all lined up, just fold against the guy. He either has OCD or he is playing GCoxian poker (and likely a bit of both). If his chipstack is mixed up, go ahead and call or raise with a premium hand. Of course, if he just won the last hand and hasn't had time to stack his winnings, I suggest you do the exact opposite. Most players who win a big pot will fold marginal hands when they still have to stack up their winnings. In those cases, the appearance of his stack has more to do with temporary issues than his overall mindset.

Share and share alike, I always say. If you have any suggestions as to what you can read by how a player handles his chips, fire away a comment. Before I leave you all, I would like to just throw on a quick disclaimer. Reads are all very personal. Each player acts in a different way. There are general tells that indicate a certain thing, but don't overly rely on that read alone. It doesn't make sense to call someone down with Ace-high because you see that she did not recoil her arm after betting. She very well could be bluffing with bottom pair, OR this particular player might just have had a stiff elbow. My point is, reads are an integral part of the game, but they are not the end of the game. Get to know your players first and see what tells they show. Keep an eye out for the one's listed here. But always act with caution until you are able to get enough overall information to accurately place a tell.

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 5:23 PM, , links to this post




The I Had Outs Game

It's truly as though something is happening to me. I go about my business as though nothing is wrong. I focus and play very easy natural poker and rise to the top without even noticing it. But when I click that icon and start up online poker, it's like my purple pants burst into cutoff shorts and out comes the Incredible Donk!

He's a nearly unstoppable beast, causing rampage and destruction at whatever online poker site he chooses. Boom, playing over the bankroll. Smash, throwing chips around with reckless abandon! And with every loss, every ounce of destruction, it is as if the Donk gets bigger. The Donk gets STRONGER!

Thank god my Bruce Banner game is lighting it up, though. I am on f-f-f-f-f-f-fire.

The High On Poker live tour came to Brooklyn last Saturday. When wifey Kim told me she and her friends were going baby shower gift shopping on Long Island and I received an email about a tournament hosted by the ladies of I Had Outs, I couldn't help but open the door to opportunity knocking.

The game was a $30 tournament, with one $30 Rebuy, which could only be purchased after busting entirely. There were no add-ons. There were a whopping 19 participants, with 30 minute levels, so it was going to be a long game.

My night started off very lucky. I walked down to the subway and within a minute, my train arrived. We arrived at my first transfer and the transfer train was waiting there for me too. I got to Dawn's apartment in record time, interrupting a game of Scrabble between Dawn and her friends Karen and (I believe his name was) Pi. I love me some Scrabble and I did my best to help Dawn catch up from Karen's soul-crushing 7-letter word, but alas it was not meant to be.

I set up the chips with Alceste as we waited for the guests to arrive. I also began nursing my 40 oz Colt 45. It seems that the only time I drink 40s are when I'm playing poker, another one of those "quirky" self-destructive vices that seem to come so easily when I'm gambling. Yes, folks, vice synergy at its best.

The group was a nice mix. There were the regulars, like Alceste and Mary, some people I had met before but hadn't seen in a while, like Alana and Tobey, and a good mix of strangers. I love playing against strangers.

The very first hand (or close thereto) pretty much set up my game. I held 84s in MP/LP and decided to limp in. The blinds were 25/50, I had 3000 chips, and I felt frisky. Preflop, it gets to Karol on the button, and she raises to 200. By the time it folded to me, I figured she had something worthwhile, so my 84s would get paid off if I hit. Meanwhile, if I lost, I could easily fold.

Now, let me be the first to admit that on its face, this is a very stupid move. I'm calling an additional 150, which is actually 5% of my starting stack. In fact, at the time, I was resolved to fold preflop, because I had to assume I was probably way behind. By the time it got to me, though, my mood had changed. Let me play it and see where it goes. At the very least, it'll build an image.

The flop came down 268, rainbow, with one spade. I had top pair, shitty kicker, and decided to check it. Karol bet 400 or so, but I didn't believe her. The way I saw it, she was betting with anything there, and I was starting to get the impression that she had two high cards, like AQ. I figured it was 50/50 between AQ and a weak overpair, so I was presumably gambling on a coin toss (the coin toss signifying whether I was ahead, and not whether I would hit the next two cards).

The turn was a Jack, and I checked, doing my best to look sly. Karol had the same look on her face when she checked. It was the look of someone saying, "Yeah, I'm onto you," but thinking, "Are you onto me?" The river was a King. I checked, she checked. 8s? I asked, as I tabled my crappy hand. 6s, she replied. That dirty dog, trying to steal. So, I won the hand and set my image.

My live game lately has been effortless. This is really the mode that seems to help me rise to the top easiest. There is little effort, little stress. Just fun-time Jordan, working the crowd mostly out of pure enjoyment. The side effects, namely making table friends, loosening the table, and getting paid off, all aid me, but they are usually not foremost in my mind. Because of this effortless style, hands seem to blend together. A few stand out, but they are rarely the ones that accumulate chips. That truly comes from taking pots uncontested. But, I do remember a few hands, and I'll spew them out for you.

I butted heads with one player in particular, a friend of Alceste named Chris (or was it Craig?). He was playing loosely, so it was bound to happen. In one hand, he beat me with 55, when my OESD didn't get there. A while later, I got my vengeance on 55. Many players limped, including me with 22. Chris raised in late position. He had this way of squinting his lips, like (: |). It's usually a sign of weakness and I saw it, so I called. Heads-up, the flop was more or less useless: A5x. I checked, and he checked behind. His mouth seemed to change, but it wasn't anything I had seen before. It still seemed to be squinting, but also a bit slanted. If it were a smiley face, it would look something like (: \). I thought this over as I checked the 3 turn. He bet, and that's when I decided to make my move. My style means that my stack is in constant flux. I probably go through larger swings than anyone else at the table. At this moment, I was fairly short, so I re-raised about 1350 more into a pot around 1k. He called immediately and tabled a set of 5s. As the last card was dealt, I said, "I need a 4." OH! There it was, my 4-outter.

Chris was pissed, as most people would be. When I pushed, he said, Call, and I told him not to worry about counting the chips until the last card was dealt. When I won, I threw in the call and showed him my remaining stack. "What about the Call?" he asked. "I already threw it in." Tobey, on my immediate left, confirmed this. "This is ridiculous," I don't know if he doubted my sincerity or if he was just steaming, "This is why you should have let me count this out before the last card. I hate this crap" He implied that I was pulling a scam on him. I felt my blood boil, "Hey, relax. This is how its done in a casino, so I don't see why you are getting all combative about it." Yep, I said combative. What can I say? At the tables, I am always ready to go to war, and I guess my first line of defense is to confront my opponent with his own aggression. Realistically, I am just as bad, once instigated.

We tussled later when we both limped into a pot, with me in position. I had AJo, and perhaps he raised a small amount preflop. The flop was 8TT, and he made a small raise of 200 into a 600+ pot. I decided to call with my over cards. The turn was a King (8TTK), and he bet out 400 into the pot. I was looking at the paired board and thinking, Why am I even in this hand? But something felt fishy, I didn't put him on a full house, I could hit my straight and likely be paid off, and most importantly the bet was SO small. I could easily call and not feel the sting. So call, I did. When the river came down with a Q, I was fairly confident I was golden. He bet 800 and I considered hard before raising to 2000. He called, and I showed my rivered straight. He showed his hand, J9o, for a LOWER rivered straight. Two donkeys in a pod. He was pissed about that one too, and told me that I was stupid to call. When I pointed out his weaker hand and told him he should not have been betting, he responded that betting is different. "Yeah, and I don't mean to educate you, but next time don't blame me for betting too small." I mean, really.

From there, I continued to chip up with selective aggression. When we got to the final table of 10, I was in good shape. Maigrey was on my right, and as always, under the impression that I was nothing but an over aggressive donkey (all assumed from the way she plays against me). She restole one of my pots, and then a little while later, I finally got a hand, QQ. She raised from 300 to 900 UTG, I raised to 2000 flat, and everyone else folded. When Maigrey pushed all-in, I called with confidence. She was hesitant, and I knew what she thought of my range. She had JJ...and promptly hit a J.

We had our break after this very hand, during which time, I tried to get control of my emotions. I can say with confidence, though, that I was fairly calm. After all, I laid my own suckout on Chris earlier in the night. What goes around comes around.

A while later, I stole a pot with my dangerously short stack. It was over a raise from Maigrey, who seemed annoyed to have to lay down to me. On the very next hand, she raised again and I was dealt AA. She raised, I re-raised all-in, and this time she called. I think she had 55, a common holding against me, apparently, and I took down the pot when the Ace turned for a set.

That's all I can really remember right now. I busted a bunch of players and worked my stack back up. We were down to the bubble, 5 players, consisting of me, Maigrey, some guy who I believe was named Matt, Karen and Tobey. Maigrey was the chipleader (24k to my 17k) and playing extremely well, but had to leave to catch the last train home. We did our best to work out a deal, but in the end, we gave her 3rd place money and sent her on her way. Her chips were taken out of play. Matt was the one hold-out, and was, ironically, the short stack. He felt bad about turning down the deal, so I told him: "This is a game played for money. Your money. So you have every right to turn down a deal, and no one should give you shit for it." That's good advice, and I suggest you all take it to heart. Most of you, of course, know this.

Then, I busted him. To his credit, he took it very well. The game was getting tedious and it was well after 1am, so I suggested a three way deal. We decided to split it up based on stacks, and I had a slight advantage. When it was all said and done, I took down $185 in profit, and was officially 1st in chips and payout.

Live poker can be so effortless sometimes. The hands you've seen are the ones I recall. Looking back, it appears that I played a manic game and got lucky (and unlucky once). That is definitely part of the story. The other part was in between the hands included in this post. Those were the moments when I made my raises with air to take down orphaned pots, or played tight waiting for my moment when appropriate. Dutch Boyd once theorized that in every tournament, there is a perfect path. The difficulty is finding that path. Lately, I feel like I'm just letting the game wash over me and the path has become clear, one step at a time.

Next up is my return to the Roose home game on Wednesday. Then, I return to the SIF game next Saturday (not the upcoming Sat). Wish me luck.

Until then, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 5:55 PM, , links to this post




The Lawyers' Game

It's been a tough week at work, as may be obvious if you caught my now-deleted rant about OverAggression in the Worklplace. The pinnacle of frustration came on Thursday, while I dealt with obnoxious defendants, judges, and a coworker.

After getting my ass handed to me by a judge on Thursday, I slowly made my way back to my nearby apartment. I needed a pitstop to clear my mind and grab some necessities for the post-work poker game I was to attend, and while I walked, I realized that I was in no shape to play. I was a physical, mental and emotional wreck, stressed out of my head and anxious for the comfort of wifey Kim and a lazy Thursday on the couch. I pulled out my cellphone and called Matty Ebs.

Ebs had let me know a week before that he was going to a homegame that was full of lawyers. I had gotten Ebs into the SIF and SoxLover games, mostly because I know that he is a good player but more importantly, good company. No BS, no drama, just a good time and poker.

When Ebs got me the invite, I was ecstatic. I have a great track record against strangers in home games, and I was also looking for more live games. But Thursday kicked my ass, and I feared that poker would be a fool's errand. I called him up to see if I could back out. He was a bit concerned about numbers, and since I had committed to going in advance, I told him I would follow through. He had a good point: "Let poker cheer you up."

With this is mind, I stayed late at work, since going home and then to the game would be useless. I saw the place empty out and at 7 (with the game starting at 8) I just couldn't wait anymore. I headed out, with full knowledge that I would have ample time to kill before meeitng Matt.

I arrived in the East Village near NYU at about 7:15. I went in search of some food, and ended up at the shithole that is McDonalds. You'd be hardpressed to convince anyone that McD's is a smart choice for food, but I was looking for something quick and comforting, and McD's was the only easy choice available. I also tend to eat, drink and smoke in self-destructive ways when I'm playing poker. Call it the synergy of vices.

After my calorie-packed but generally satisfying meal, I headed outside. It was still only 7:30 and when I called Ebs ten to twenty minutes later, he was still making his way to the subway uptown.

I walked a short distance to the subway where I expected him to exit, and found a front stoop to make my waiting station. There, I sat down in my civilian clothes, a white undershirt, grey hooded sweatshirt, blue jeans and brown worn-in shoes, with my peacoat, black snow hat, and gloves on. I hunched over as I listened to my iPod and tried to let the day's anxieties wash away. Gydyon, in a recent comment to an eariler post, had it dead on: "I was going to recommend you take a few minutes to clear your head -- I've tried a full day of the phones and the court and then the poker and it NEVER goes well unless I close my eyes or distract myself for about 30-60 minutes first."

Sitting there in the freezing cold, watching people go about their daily lives, I must have looked like one of the many hobos around the city. I enjoyed this quiet anonymity and reflected on my job. Then I turned my attention to the task at hand, emptying my brain and resetting.

I received a call from Matty Ebs, and we met up with his cousin Jason. We arrived at the Lawyers' Game at 8:15pm. The game had not yet kicked off, but within minutes we were picking for seats and getting chips. It was to be a $30 rebuy + add-on tournament, 13 players spread over two tables. Matty Ebs and I were at different tables, and I sat down to a table of complete strangers, always an interesting thing at someone else's home game.

To my immediate left was a guy I later learned to be Lee. He reminded me of Mikey Aps in a subtle way. He did not have the same Hellmuthian personality, necessarily, but he was aggressive and there was something undeniably similar in appearance between the two, however remote. To his left was a guy whose name I never really knew. At one point, though, I realized that he looked like Neil Patrick Harris, aka Doogie Howser, and while I was tempted, I kept this information to myself. Doogie's recent trip out of the closet might make my statement seem rude. He was a smart player, and I resolved to be careful when playing against him. To his left was Jen (I believe that was her name), the only girl at the game. She seemed tight, and that proved to be true. To her left was Ed, a darker-skinned Mediteranean looking guy with slightly graying black hair and glasses. He was quiet, but also played a lot of hands, usually fairly passively. To his left, and my immediate right, was a player I believe was named Fred. He seemed to be the donkey of the table, mostly playing tight, but also seemingly playing weak and at times, reckless. He lost his first buy-in re-raising all-in with KTs in position preflop. He was raising into Aces.

I started off quiet, trying to hide my identity, I suppose, but also trying to feel out the table. I knew nothing except for the general thought that this game was populated by lawyers. Ebs also told me that I should expect tight play from my opponents. In both counts, we were right and wrong. There were lawyers, but other players at the table seemed to have a more blue-collar background. This, in and of itself, means nothing, but it does imply certain styles of play from the competition. The game also started tight, but after the first two rounds, it loosened up considerably.

We are now a couple of days out from the game, so my recollection of hands is a bit murky. I folded for a while, and finally was dealt AKo. I raised from 10 to 30 and got three or four callers at the 6-person table. The flop was all diamonds, and I had the nut flush draw (Ace of diamonds). Fred, acting before me, bet 25, a clear underbet. I called, as did Ed. The turn was another diamond, and I hit my nut flush. Fred bet out again, this time for 100, and I called. I didn't want to make it too obvious that I had the Ace of diamonds. Ed folded, and we were two to the river. I don't know what it was, but I believe that Fred checked to me. At this point, I made a bet of 200, hoping to extract a little more value from him. He called and I took down the pot.

My next hand was A9o, limping due to the tight table conditions. The flop was A65, and Jen bet small from early position. I called, fearing that I was outkicked. I also thought two-pair was a possibility, but the betting was so weak that I was willing to draw out. The turn wasn't too exciting, and she bet small again. I called. The river brought a possible flush and she checked. I wondered if she hit it and checked as well. She had A6o for two-pair. Live and learn.

Lee began to loosen up, betting a lot and at times being forced to show down crap cards. Everyone folded to my preflop bets of 3x the BB when I held QQ and JJ back to back. That mildly sucked. I picked up on Lee's play and as blinds raised, made some clever moves against him. In one hand, it folded to me in the SB and I called. Lee, in the BB, raises 3x the BB, and for whatever reason, I didn't believe him. I defended by calling. The flop missed me completely, so I checked. He bet out less than the pot, and I raised him 3x his bet. By then, no one had check-raised, so I suppose it also carried extra weight at the table. He folded and I took the pot with air.

At the end of the rebuy period, I found myself with a stack very close to my starting stack. I had originally bought in and immediately rebought ($60) for 1000 chips total, and had less than 1500. I decided to take the $30 add-on for an additional 1000 in chips. After the 10 minute break, we were back down to business.

I don't remember many hands, but I do remember how I busted Doogie, the first player to bust out at our table. In a very early hand, I raised from the button and Doogie folded the Hammer (27o) face up. I couldn't help myself and joked, "How could you fold that monster? I'd raise with that hand." So here I was, well over 40 minutes later, and I've been dealt the Hammer. Time to show them how we do. I immediately raise from 100 to 400 in the CO, after Ed limped. Doogie pushed all-in for 575 and Jen and Ed folded. I had to call, simple pot odds. He had KJc, and the first card on the flop was an inevitable 7. He didn't catch up, and I busted him with the hammer. Jen was clearly paying attention. When she saw my hand, she said rather surprised, "Wow. You said you play that hand." "Every time," I told her.

After a while, we combined tables. I had been playing more aggressively when I had good cards or position, and when we combined at 9 people left, I was in the top half of the field. Fred was placed on my immediate left (but not for long), followed by Ebs. Ebs' cousin Jason, a friendly, sarcastic and somewhat (pleasantly) vulgar individual was on my right. Lee was across the table from me and continued to attack the table, raising 3 times per orbit.

In the first hand at the final table, I am dealt TT UTG+1. I had about 5-6k and Jason, UTG, pushes for 2500 or so. I fold, hoping to find a better spot. I feared all the players yet to act. I bet it would have been a coin toss after all, but I also guess that I don't need cointosses like that. Everyone folded after me as well.

Fred was the first out at the final table. Lee looked like the HUGE stack for a while, but must have lost a couple of pots, because by the time him and I tangled, I actually had him covered. I must have had 7k and had been folding more than I enjoy (but not more than I needed to at this more-full table). I finally had 99 on the button and Lee raised from 200 to 1000 from MP. I decided to re-raise him, confident that he was probably making a move with air or unpaired cards. It folded to him and he re-raised all-in.

It was a few minutes before this hand that I realized the time. Time has no meaning for me when I am playing, so the fact that it was 11:15 was a shock. We still had 8 or so players at the table, so I expected to be there for a long while. I still saw Lee as a big stack, but realized that he and I were a lot closer than I thought. He had pushed earlier in the evening with AKo, and even before that, I saw his general loose preflop action, so I thought that I could be in great shape, or at worst, in a coin toss. I didn't even seriously consider overpairs, mostly because of the frequency of his preflop raises. I called, with the thought that in the worst case scenario, I go home at a reasonable hour.

He tabled QQ and I showed my 99. I was sort of resigned to losing the hand, but seeing the QQ was still fairly upsetting. I dealt the flop, and missed it entirely. I dealt the turn quickly, hoping to make this hand go away, and then saw the 9. The river was a blank and I hit my 2-outter. After we did the math, we realized I had him outchipped, and Lee was shown the door. I, meanwhile, was the huge stack.

Side thought: I remember thinking at the time that I would be pretty easily getting into the money. I also thought that I didn't deserve to win the tournament. Sure, 2-outters happen, but have they ever made you feel unworthy of a win? In the end, I put that aside. Top prize was over $600, so I had to focus at the task at hand.

I tightened up, glad to have my lead. When we got down to 5, it was me, Ebs, Jen, a guy whose name I never quite got, and Jason. Jen had been holding on despserately for a while, with a small stack that would double up when necessary, but never give her any breathing room. Jason was fairly short as well.

I tangled in a hand with Ebs. I had A6o in the BB and was loosening up. I raised on the button after it folded to me, from 400 to 1200. Ebs called and Jen folded. The flop was TJK. Ebs checked to me, or perhaps made a small raise, and I made a significant raise (or pushed all-in...I don't recall which). I was using my big stack to my advantage. Ebs hemmed and hawed. At this point, I was chatting a lot more than earlier, yucking it up at the table and making fun of all sorts of things. I believe I asked Ebs if he even hit the flop, maybe insinuating that it must be a scary flop for him, and he replied that he hit the board, but he wasn't sure if he was ahead. He continued, "I should have pushed preflop. I was probably ahead preflop and behind now." I replied, "Well, I don't know about that," implying that I had a strong hand throughout. He eventually folded. We ran the cards and his AJo would've turned another Jack. I'm glad I pushed him out when I did.

I took out Jen with J7h against her Ax, when I was committed from the BB. We were down to 4 and someone suggested a deal to save 4th place. I looked at my stack, a commanding lead, and asked if there was any benefit to me. They all agreed there was none. "Sorry, guys. I don't mean to be a prick, but I have no reason to agree. I'm not going out 4th and if I do, I don't deserve any money." They laughed at the second part of that logic sequence.

I took out Ebs next, with my K-high beating his Ace-high, all in preflop. I hit my K. Down to 3, I offered a deal. I'd take $500 and they can work out the rest. This was a full $120 less than 1st place money, but I was tired, the blinds were high enough to make it a gamble, but not high enough to make it a very short game. The two other players couldn't agree, mostly because Jason was so short. We decided to play it out.

I lost about 4 hands to Jason, all in which he was all-in (by my raises or his), and all of which saw me as a slight underdog, with either two overs to a pocket pair, or two unpaired cards with a lower high-card. I lost them all. I don't mind my strategy much, although by the end, I was dismayed to see Jason take the lead. In the end, if I win one of those semi-coin tosses, he is out for good, and I have a commanding lead for 1st. We played a little more and I took some chips from Jason and the Other Guy, until Jason and I were about even. Third place got $240, so I thought now would be a good time to suggest a deal. I asked the Other Guy if he'd take $300, a full $60 more than third. He said he would. He had work the next day and was tired. I turned to Jason, "Would you split the rest with me evenly? $465 a piece?" He agreed. We were done. I chopped 1st/2nd with Jason, for a net profit of $375. I thanked the host for having me. It was one of the smoothest homegames I had played, but I suppose winning helped my impression of it all.

On the elevator down, I peeled off $60 and handed it to Ebs. "This is to cover your losses", I told him. "Thanks for getting me into the game." I saw it as a sorta finders' fee. Ironically, I probably would've been better off accepting the save for fourth place, but if one of those other guys bubbled, then I suppose I wouldn't have shared any of my profit, so it was probably still a +EV decision to reject the save.

When we hit the lobby, Ebs told me that he thought the game lent itself to my style. "I got a lot more chatty at that second table," I told him. "Yeah, you play better when you are talking." I don't know if it is the talking or the fact that I talk most when I've got chips to work with, but it is definitely something worth reflecting upon. I am a chatter at the table, and if nothing else, it probably keeps me relaxed. When I tighten up verbally, I may also be showing MORE tells, ironically because by quieting down, my play becomes more stoic and particular tells may be more discernible. When I'm constantly joking around, I suppose I'm more manic and any tell is probably buried under layers of nonsense. Likewise, talking can control a table. It can shame a maniac into slowing down, or induce a rock into loosening up. It can instill fear, or instill complacency. Whatever the case, I have a lot more to work through on this subject.

Freaking awesome. I started the day shitty and ended it high on poker. When I got home, it was 1:30am. I was too amped to sleep, riding high on poker-induced adrenaline. I watched the Office and took some migraine medication.

Wifey Kim had fallen asleep on the couch, and as I woke her to go to bed, I told her that I won more than $300. In her half-dreaming state, she mumbled, "great. can i have some money?" "You can take whatever you want from my wallet tomorrow morning." That was my real world wallet. My poker wallet had grown thicker, but its still not time to harvest. The next morning, I found my wallet intact. I guess she really was still half-sleeping.

I'm a lucky man. As shitty as work can be, I still love my job, I love my poker, and I love my wife. Thanks for reading.

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 1:31 PM, , links to this post




WSOP Circuit: Hammer Table

I was looking at my photos in my cell phone when I found this gem. I didn't realize that my camera phone was so good. As you can see, I'm at Harrah's in AC at the December WSOP Circuit Event. Table 27, seat 7. Hammerific! Note the Robbie-Hole-original $uperman shirt.

posted by Jordan @ 5:00 PM, , links to this post




Tragic: The Gathering

It looks like the Gathering is picking up some steam with people as far away as Canadia considering a trip to the land down under Canadia. Katitude, Guin, NewinNov, Hoyazo, and the lovely Mary have shown interest (sorry guys, but no time for linkage), and even though the IHO girls haven't said anything, they are in AC every weekend anyway.

If you are interested, the WSOP Circuit schedule for Caesars AC is located HERE. Its a good thing I found the link, too, because if you go to the WSOP website, getting to the Circuit section is like some sort of endurance test. You have to move your mouse over the Events section, and then move your mouse across the bar that pops up. The Circuit is only the second option, but the bar is thinner than Aces chances against the Hammer, so 9 times out of 10, you'll accidentally leave the bar with your mouse and have to start all over. Nice design guys! A+!

The schedule is not conducive to some of us without unlimited funds. There is a Friday $500 event starting at noon, but the Saturday event is a $1000 and the Sunday event is for broads only. There are satellites running to some of the higher events, but for my money, I'll be at the Showboat's poker room, playing in one of their 4-times-a-day tournaments. I've final tabled twice in 3 or 4 tries and chopped top 4 spots for $900 once. Roose has moneyed 2 out of 3 times, with one being a first place win/chop. It's one of the best deals around and is under $100 to buy in, except for the Saturday night game. As we get closer I'll give you some more details.

If you are looking for a room, I suggest trying a variety of locations and sites. Really, any casino hotel on the Boardwalk is the way to go, and they are all just about the same. This leaves you with the Hilton, Tropicana, Caesars, Bally's, Trump Plaza, Resorts, Trump Taj Mahal and Showboat. I love the Showboat, and hopefully that is where I'll end up, but I'll go anywhere on the Boardwalk with a casino/hotel and the lowest prices. Once again, as we get closer, I'll look into choosing a place more formally. I should note that you can walk from one end (Hilton) to the other (Showboat) in about 20-30 minutes, but its a nice walk on the boardwalk, and most likely you'll only be going part of the way. You can also get a ride in one of the pushcart thingees for those less inclined to put mileage on their shoes.

I suggest trying many different travel sites because on at least one occassion I stayed at the Trop for $99 a night thanks to Expedia, while everywhere else had it for $259+. Just to be safe, I always check a slew of sites, because each pre-buy the rooms and some site might get more buyers compared to others.

Man, I'm going on way too much.

I definitely plan on writing up the Lawyers' Game, but it will probably be tomorrow. Sorry folks, but I've got a busy day at the office.

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 2:40 PM, , links to this post




Stupid Blogger

Blogger ate my REALLY LONG post about the game last night. I am very unhappy. Therefore, I give you only this quick note. I chopped 1st and 2nd place for over $300 in profits. More later. Stupid Blogger.

posted by Jordan @ 11:55 AM, , links to this post




Strangers with Candy

What a fucking day! First, I spend my morning sitting around Court waiting for a defendant to arrive, knowing full-well that when they arrive they are going to ask for an adjournment. They are entitled to it by right, so they were going to get it, but our firm policy and the peculiar nature of this particular case meant that I couldn't consent to the adjournment. I had to let the Court give it.

It was a good hour and a half before they arrived, and when they did, they missed their moment to request an adjournment. Consequently, we waited on line for another 20 minutes before getting a new date...March 20! Justice is slow, but that was fucking ridiculous!

When I got back to work, I found a fax on my chair. It regarded a case of my prior Team Leader, now Of Counsel to the firm. Essentially, it's like he is part time working for the firm, and part time working for himself. From my vantage, though, it seems like he is all for himself, and all AGAINST me.

I brought him the sheet, a bill from a hospital in one of the few cases still assigned to him, and he replies, "Yeah, I got this already and left it for you." Okay. Now I'm thinking, Well, what am I supposed to do with it, and why the hell wouldn't you leave a note. But fine, I say, "Okay, I'll have it put in the file" and then he pops me with it: "No, you need to update the BP." Well, the case is in NJ, so there IS no BP, but there is a similar document, and I prepare a letter updating the Interrogatories. Following me? Basically, I did what he told me to do. Kindly, I let him know that the letter went out adding the extra medical expenses. His reply: "No, you have to go through the file and make ALL changes." WTF! That mother fucker! It's like dealing with a petulant child who knows that you can't punish him. A petulant fucking child who is trying to make your life as difficult as possible. And to think that I used to carry his sorry ass.

Breathe, Jordan. Breathe.

If all that wasn't enough, I had to go to Court again this afternoon. This time, it was federal Court, and the Judge is known to be a hardass. We aren't even in the case yet, but we are thinking about taking over for the plaintiff's current counsel, who apparently is a shyster who won't return his client's phone calls. He also won't let us see the case file until we sub in. So, we asked the hardass Judge to help us view the file before we take over. Well, the Judge wasn't choosing today to earn a new softer reputation. He basically told me that my arguments were bullshit and we would have to take the case sight-unseen or not at all.

On the elevator down, I try to reopen the communication between me and the current counsel. "Look, you know this is not me, specifically. We got it resolved and we can move forward." He saw it as a sign to start lecturing. "Your arguments were specious, blah blah blah..." Defense counsel is also in the elevator, and I've had a fucking shitty day. I cut him off. "Look, I'm not going to stand here and listen to your lectures. Let's be real about this. You don't want this case. Your client is calling ME up complaining that you are doing nothing and won't call him back, and you are lecturing me?!" Fuck yeah. It felt good to shut him up and dish some out.

I'm back in the office now. I'm mentally and physically wiped, and a bit emotionally as well. According to the Big Boss Man, I have a very even temper in the office and take things in stride. This is my poker face. Beneath it, I'm usually a burning cauldron of emotion, often adrenaline, excitement, passion, and aggression, sometimes confusion, and on rare occassions fucking pissed. By the end of today, I felt like I couldn't hold anything back.

I'm playing poker at a Lawyers' Game. I won't know anyone there by Matty Ebs, who got me the invite in the first place. After federal Court, I was really wiped and bummed out and I called up Matt. "Hey, man. Would it be an issue if I backed out?" My thoughts were that I was in no condition to play. All I wanted to do was go home and rest in the arms of wifey Kim. As it turned out though, I guess they need the numbers. I acknowledged this as a possibility. It's why I asked if ditching would be an issue. Seeing as it would be, I'm back on course for the game. Until then, I'll be in my office, working late.

I have some trepidations about this game. As you can see, my day has been anything but enjoyable. My mood is definitely going to affect my play...if I let it. I'm going to do my best not to give in though. Fight through it, maybe leave here a bit early and grab a beer somewhere. Let it all wash away and allow poker to lift my spirits.

The truth is, I have had some of my best success against strangers at home games. When I was still a young pup to the game, I went to one 22-person tournament where I only knew one person. I took 4th, in the money. In another, I went to a 13-person home game and took 2nd. No wins, sure, but easily in the money. When I first started playing with some fellow bloggers in their home games, notably the IHO girls and SIF, I had some success, although I think I actually didn't do well at the IHO games. At my first time at Sox's place, I took down a tourney.

I think I might be best against strangers in a homegame environment. First off, while they are catching up with friends and having fun, I'm learning everyone from scratch. I'm making reads and plays based on what I see on that day only. The other players might have more in depth experience with each other, but they also have preset ideas on how each player acts. Meanwhile, I see them in their natural environment without any preconceived notions. Whereas I see Roose as a formidable solid player, he might be playing poorly on any given day. Sure, I'll hopefully notice the change, but more likely, I'll be treating him as I usually do and be cautious. A new guy to the game will only notice that Roose is playing poorly and will act accordingly.

The other thing is that I can dictate my presence based on the room. If I want, I can be the quiet guy picking up chips. I can be the life of the party. I can be the loose donkey. I can be anything. And I can mislead the opposition every step of the way. You know how I do. Play loose, get labeled a donkey, and then get paid off. It's a great formula. I can just as easily (and have in the past) play tight and build an image as a solid player, only to loosen up later as I have more chips, higher blinds, and a better image. Suddenly I switch from rock to life of the party, and all people think is that I'm catching cards. Or, they think nothing at all because they are still hanging with their friends and, besides, there stack is so small, they are willing to fold to my aggression.

Yeah yeah yeah. We'll see how things go tonight. I could definitely use a drink first. Then I'm off to play some pokah with some strangers. Wish me luck.

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 5:19 PM, , links to this post