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Batle of the Blogger Draft

I've entered into bets with AlCantHang and the PokerWolf regarding the upcoming Battle of the Blogger Tournaments. The basic bet is as follows:

I choose 4 bloggers first. Then ACH and PW can individually choose 8 bloggers. These are two separate bets, so they can pick the same players or not. It's an even money bet, $10 vs. ACH and $20 vs. PW. Whoever chooses the player with the highest place on the leaderboard will win. Final rules, players cannot pick themselves and they cannot influence or interfere with the picks (paying off players not to play, fronting money so players can play, setting up bounties). So, let's get to this. My picks:

Hoyazo
Fuel55
Lucko
GCox

I've chosen these players for some very specific reasons, but I will not divulge those reasons until Al and Wolf make their picks. So, make your picks, ladies. To be fair, I ask that you make your picks by 6pm on Monday, in advance of the first event, the MATH. I also highly encourage my readers to follow the link to the Battle of the Bloggers event, and take a look at the great job and point system that the organizers put together.

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 8:55 PM, , links to this post




The Difference a Day Makes

After last Sunday and my stunning success against the donkeys at NiceLook Card Club, my mood for poker has completely shifted. Online, I'm having the same issues, playing MTTs only to bust out late near the money. I was playing a $75 token frenzy and busted less than 8 from the money with hundreds of players. In that instance, I was going for a blind steal and ran into a pocket pair. Truth be told, it was an error on my part. So near the money, the correct spot was to fold and continue to fold. I was also playing a Razz MTT and busted less than 8 spots from the money as well. I was in 1st for a very long time, but eventually, I started hitting bricks, and I was sent home with nothing to show for it. At least in the Razz MTT, playing aggressive made sense when I did it. The last money spots were paid about $1 profit, so I was playing for first.

Alas, all that is behind me, and not an ounce bothersome except for the purely analytical aspect of my bad decision making in the token frenzy. My mind is already on the next game, and that's tonight, my dear friends. I've decided to return to Salami for the $50+10 tournament, following wifey Kim's change of plans to meet her gals for dinner tonight instead of brunch tomorrow. I doubt I'll stick around for the cash game after the tournament, mostly because I want to get home to my blushing bride, but I'm damn tempted. I'm loving live poker lately, and I just can't get enough.

You might notice that I can be a bit manic. I try not to let poker tilt me, but when it does, I also tend to avoid poker. I suppose to a larger extent it is part of my personality. I can think of more than one example of when I received some news and was instantly angry at a situation, only to cool off later and apologize for my initial reaction. That instantaneous reaction seems to last a bit longer in poker, and rather than challenge myself to get over it and get right back to playing, I find I'm better off letting it run its course.

Well, its run its course, and I even went so far as to say to wifey Kim last night that I need to find more time for poker. I felt like I should have played at least once this week. I still love the game, I still get high off of the excitement, and there is still money to be won.

Last note, a huge Good Luck to fairly frequent commentor Mr. Goss and his bid to enter the wild world of politics. To find out more about our Texan friend, check out his new site, HERE.

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 3:40 PM, , links to this post




Battle of the Blogger Side Action


Exciting news for all you bloggers out there. AlCantHang, Mookie and Hoy are joining up to create a three month leader board, which will cover 36 tournaments over 3 months. Thats every MATH, Mookie and Riverchasers event out there. When I heard of it and the format, I immediately thought of a side bet. I sincerely believe that I can pick at least two people who are EXTREMELY likely to cash in one of the top three spots. (BTW, 1st gets an entry into a high-buy-in Sunday Guarantee, 2nd gets a Nintendo Wii and 3rd gets a Nintendo DS Lite). So, here is my offer to you all:

I am willing to take on bets up to $20, even money. I get to choose 4 players FIRST, and then you get to choose 8 players. Whoever chooses the highest ranking player by the end of the series (out of the 12 picks total), wins. You cannot choose yourself, and you cannot interfere with anyone else's game (i.e., laying out bounties on players, paying people off not to play). I'm not looking to play against angle shooters here. I am fairly confident that I've already given you a HUGE edge by giving you 8 picks to my 4 with even money (a change from the 2 to 4 dynamic I originally suggested on Al's comments). So, bring it beeches. BTW, I will be capping the bets at some point, and I won't announce when or what the cap is, so if you are interested, accept my offer (up to $20) ASAP.

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 4:30 PM, , links to this post




Razzmanian Devil


Let's start off with a quick pic. You'll notice the rolled up 6s, not an ideal hand in Razz. Luckily, I took down the pot preflop with my signature hand and a simple bluff raise. Of course, I showed.

I made a nice run in the Riverchasers Razz freeroll last night, placing around 28/200+. Lately, I've made it fairly deep in a variety on online tournaments, only to self-destruct right before the finish line. I find it mildly annoying, but not much more than that. After all, I just rationalize that its online poker, and not the real thing (to me, at least).

As it goes, I really enjoying playing Razz online. I kept two hand histories worth reviewing, so pull up a chair and enjoy the show.

The blinds are 60/120, with a 10 ante and 20 bring-in in the Riverchasers freeroll. I have 1422, and Hoyazo, to my immediate left, has 1619. The cards are dealt, and I have 29/5, a marginal hand at best. The rest of the table, starting with Hoy and moving around, have 6, 9, T, 8, 8, A, and 9 (followed by my 5). I have the best door card, aside from the Ace. The Ten brings it in for 20, I complete to 60, and Hoy raises to 120. Everyone else folds. Hoy is smart, no doubt about that, but I'm willing to see one card. I call.

On 4th Street, I get a 7 and Hoy gets a K, for:

Me: 29/57
Hoy: XX/6K

In most instances, the player in Hoy's position is going to fold to a bet, but I have a feeling that Hoy will be willing to call. He knows the fickle nature of Razz, and he also likely sees me as an action player. He knows the K won't help him, but he probably has great cards underneath anyway, so he'll gamble for one bet. Of course, even if I thought he'd fold, I'd still bet here, but I only add this analysis because at the time, I was fairly confident he would call with a K showing. He obliges.

On 5th Street, I get a Q and he gets a 3, for:

Me: 29/57Q
Hoy: XX/6K3

I bet, because I'm still ahead. Hoy raises me. Okay. I call, mostly because, while I am still ahead, I'm also fairly confident that we are now merely betting on the next card. If he bricks, I'm in great shape, and vice versa. I don't want to raise the pot anymore because Hoy is a great player, and I don't need to throw more money in just yet.

On 6th Street, I get another Q, and he gets a Q as well.

Me: 29/57QQ
Hoy: XX/6K3Q

This is where it gets interesting for me. Essentially, we both have Queen-high hands. We are also both looking to hit a low card on the river. Truth be told, he is ahead, as I am drawing to a 9-high and he is probably drawing to a 8-high or lower. But once again, we are no longer betting on where we are, but rather, where we are going to be. I decide to bet. Hoy gets cute here and bets. I guess he figures his Queen is good for now, and while it probably is, I raise, mostly because I am willing to bet an extra 120 that I'll hit a better river than he is. That's all I'm thinking about here. Do I wish to put another 120 on the line to bet that I hit a better river? Sure, let's go for it.

On the river, I hit a 6. I don't know what Hoy has.

Me: 29/57QQ/6
Hoy: XX/6K3Q/X

Its a tricky spot to be in, so when Hoy bets, I check. I've already made my bet (on 6th Street) that my river would be better than his, and the 6 is nice, but its no Ace. At showdown, I win with a 97-high hand. His hole cards (which are randomized by FT when they are displayed) are K, 5, and Ace. Most likely, he started with the A5 and was ahead on 3rd street. He disregarded the K on 4th street because he had three great starting cards, and he may have figured me for one weak card in the hole. The 6th street emboldened him with a sweet 6-high draw. I was still ahead at the time, but he had great possibilities at improvement. Hence, his re-raise with a K showing. It was right there for both of us to see, and I'm fairly sure he probably had me read too. That's one of the things with Razz. Even though there are opportunities at deception, there are also hands that are just fairly obvious, especially when two logical players like Hoy and I are playing against each other. The 6th Street sorta screwed us both (albeit, he pulled ahead, but not by enough to be comfortable), but since we both knew that, we were ready and willing to go to the river to decide our fates. And then, I outdrew him. Hell, this whole hand ended up in a game of reverse War. He showed King (as his river) and I showed 6, and since we are playing reverse War, my lower card wins! Ka ching!

Now its time for the second hand. This will show more of the nuances of the game. Razz is a limit game, and in any limit game, the money is in the individual bets. If you can squeeze one other bet out of an otherwise folding player, those individual bets add up. On the flipside (although that will not be seen in this hand), if you can fold and save yourself one extra bet, those too will add up, and soon you'll be sitting on a nice profit.

The blind level is now 80/160 with a 15 ante and 25 bring-in. I have 1827, and BigJay, a player I have been smacking around for a while, is sitting on my immediate left with 1221. He has the Godfather avatar, and I can't help but associate that avatar with someone who is looking to show power, regardless of timing and nuance. Its an odd read, admittedly, and as with any avatar-based read, you have to play close attention that you are not fooling yourself, but his play seemed to support my hypothesis.

I am dealt 52/A, a beautiful hand. The rest of the table, from my left ending with BigJay, have 5, A, 5, Q, 2, 6, and 8 (BigJay).

Sneak, with the Queen, brings it in. It folds to BigJay, who calls the 25 with his 8 showing. I decide to raise it to 80, as I'm wont to do with any three 8-and-under cards. It folds around to Jay, who calls. I'm looking forward to this.

The 4th Street brings me an 8, and BigJay a 3.

Me: 52/A8
Jay: XX/83

I know I'm ahead, and I also know that Jay is slightly scared of me at this point from all of the prior abuse. I decide to check here, mostly because that is such a clear sign of weakness and with his 83 showing, I assume he'll bet out and try to take the pot right here. He obliges and bets 80, and I check-raise to 160. Plain and simple, we have a situation where one of two things are happening: (1) either he has an 8-high draw right now, in which case my draw is probably in better shape, considering his failure to raise preflop [i.e., he doesn't have A2/83, or even 24/83, so I'm dominating right now] or (2) he limped with a crappy card in the hole, called because its me and Razz, and now is betting almost automatically to win the pot right away. By checking, I induce the bet in either instance. If I had bet out, he would fold if he paired the 3 (for instance), and just call if he had something like a 9 underneath. Instead, I check-raise and then he is in the, "its just one more bet" mentality. He has to call, and he does.

On the turn, I'm dealt a 7 and he is dealt a Jack.

Me: 52/A87
Jay: XX/83J

Now I'm definitely ahead, but I don't want to check, because he'll just check behind and get a free card. I bet out and he folds, and I win the hand. If I didn't check-raise 4th street, I would've received one less bet. In my estimation, he likely had at least one crap card underneath, be it a 9, Ten, or 3 (pairing his otherwise "scary" looking 4th street. Sure, it would've been nice to earn more bets with my made 8-7, but if he had a 27 underneath and then drew an Ace, I'd be the one looking stupid. So, when I saw he was fishing, I tricked him into betting again and scared him by check-raising in a game where check-raising is not as common (at this level of play). Then, when he got his crap card, I drove the nail into his coffin by betting him out of the hand. If I had KK underneath, the play would've worked just the same. Ka ching!

After the tournament, it got me thinking that Razz is really only accessible to me via online poker. I may just go back to the Razz cash games at FT with my remaining $60 or so and see what I can drum up. But all in moderation, of course.

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 9:37 PM, , links to this post




New Club, New Results

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until next time, make mine poker!

Labels: ,

posted by Jordan @ 8:13 PM, , links to this post




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Reading TripCrap's most recent post, a live-blog of the fall of the Berlin wall, really reminded me how crappy a blog could be. Sure, I was happy reading the craptastic postulates of other bloggers, but once I got knee deep in the horse shit that is TripSux, I learned a new respect for wasting time, braincells and electrons on utter claptrap.

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That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Until next time, make mine anything but TripJax!

Disclosure: This has been a paid advertisement of TripJax.com. Both TripJax and High on Poker are subsidiaries of American Entertainment Pavilion, Corp., a subdivision of AOL/Time Warner. All opinions expressed throughout this post have not been influenced by the financial relationship between TripJax and High on Poker.

posted by Jordan @ 8:11 PM, , links to this post




Advertisement: Compatible Poker

Jordan needs a new round of self loathing!

So, folks, today we'll be discussing CompatiblePoker.com, a poker site that has a nice angle to it. Seizing opportunity, CompatiblePoker.com has focused on the various online poker rooms and their accessibility given the state of online poker.

For Americans, CompatiblePoker.com lists all sites that accept US players, from major sites like Full Tilt and PokerStars to more obscure sites like StanleyVippoker.com. Hell, take a look for yourself, since CompatiblePoker makes bonus whoring possible again for US players who were stuck with the major sites for months. Even more useful, CompatiblePoker.com also provides a long list of e-Wallets, along with their stances on US players. CompatiblePoker.com is updated regularly and marks all updates with a red date, so you can also get a feeling for how things are developing. And along with all of this, Compatible also has some useful info on the legality of online poker in the US, videos related to the subject, and a slew of archived updates that trace the history of the UIGEA's effect on the industry.

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So, there you have it. CompatiblePoker.com lives up to its name. Its actually a pretty decent tool if you are looking to play poker and want to see what options are available to you. Enjoy, people.

posted by Jordan @ 3:29 PM, , links to this post




The Flash Returns

I played poker yesterday, and played it well, no less. A couple of weeks ago, the Boss Man told me that I would be driving to Albany yesterday to attend a Court conference for my ex-Team Leader (who is still with the firm, but now Of Counsel, aka part time with the firm and part time working for himself). I love a good drive, especially since I don't have a car, so I was game for the 3 hour drive (each way). I left my apartment at 7am, got the rental car, an upgraded Jeep because my Chevy Aveo wasn't available, and then hit the road by 7:15. I finally made it to Albany at 10:10 or so, and then stumbled my way around the city until I found the correct building and made my appearance.

Everything went well and I was back on my way to NYC within an hour or so. So, three hours there, an hour with the judge, and then three hours back, plus a little more for NYC traffic in the late afternoon. I contemplated returning to the office since it wasn't 4pm yet, but I had already worked enough for this guy, and instead retreated home. On the way back, I realized that I had the car overnight, and contemplated whether I should go to one of the more remote homegames I used to frequent on Wednesdays. The options were Rooses' or Dawn's, but I wasn't sure if Dawn was running her Crackhouse game, and it had been a while for me at Roose's, so I called up Robbie Hole, coordinated our plans, and after 1 1/2 hours at home, set course to Roose's apartment in Queens with Hole in tow.

To change things up, I intentionally did not bring my card caps and changed my baseball cap from the usual to a NBC HU Poker Championship promo hat I got free thanks to the resemblence that HoP has to a legitimate poker media outlet. I also donned the Flash shirt that I wore at my last trip to Salami where I lost three tournament buy-ins in under 30 minutes. I felt like tempting the fates, while also trying to break my mental attachment material things as a source of luck.

When I arrived at Roose's, we started the waiting game. Roose isn't exactly the best at hosting. Don't get me wrong, he has a great poker table, and can get a good amount of players to show up. It's the details that are difficult, like coordinating when players arrive. I was there at 6:30, along with 4 other people (5 total), but the first tournament didn't start until 8:15 or so, and even that took some strong-arming. We were waiting on 3 people with no clue as to when they planned to show up, and I was definitely jonesing for some poker when I force Roose to relent and get the party started. I don't knock Roose for this, really. It's just one of the inevitabilities of homegames. Why be the first one there and wait for people if you can be last and have everyone wait for you. The problem occurs when this becomes a pandemic amongst several of the players, and suddenly the 7:30 game doesn't start until 9.

That said, I love Roose, and I really don't blame him entirely. He even mentioned that he was looking forward to moving and ending his homegame. It ain't easy being the house when there is no rake.

The first game finally got started with 5 players, with 3 players joining before the 2nd orbit was done. In the first three hands I was dealt pocket pairs, 66, 33 and QQ, and raised preflop each time. I took down the last two pots (I had to fold the 66 when the JKx flop was bet by another player post-flop), and quickly got a reputation as being aggressive and loose. So be it.

I actually kept the selective aggression up, really pushing it when I found that the blinds were getting prohibitively high. I actually love high blinds, mostly because I am good at choosing my times to push. Most of the times, I had something as innocuous as K5d, but when the time is right, that'll do, as long as you have enough chips to scare away the blinds. By the time we were down to 5 players, I was probably one of the two short stacks, but I kept pushing and picking up blinds. 5th place fell and I ramped up my aggression even more. 4th went and I was suddenly in the top three with Randy Hole and Two Diamond Phillips. I kept the pressure on when I could, especially since we were all relatively short considering the blinds. I found myself in an ideal situation. Randy was on my left. If I was the SB, I could usually just push with any two, since he was not going to call with anything less than Ace-high. If I was in the BB and 2d Phillips didn't raise, I could push all-in and take his blind, which was a decent amount of chips by then. I continued to steal chips until 2d Phillips called my all-in preflop with his AT to my KQ and I hit two pair by the river. When it was just Randy and I, a couple of other latecomers showed up and were antsy to start game 2. I suggested a deal that would see me with 80 and him with 60, a weighted chop of 1st ($100) and 2nd ($40), but someone suggested that we play three hands first and decide. I said fine and within three hands, I saw that I could win it. No offense to Randy, but I was a bigger stack and ready to gamble. Eventually, by hand 6 or so, I got my opportunity, raising all-in with Q6o in the SB in an attempt to steal the 1k big blind (there were only 16k in play). He called with Kx, I hit my Q and the rest was history.

In game 2, two of the players (2d Phillips and his friend Scott) were replaced by J.R. and Scotty. The game was going fine, but I felt antsy, as though I was ready to go. I didn't mind if I busted earlier. I eventually made my stand when blinds were 100/200 and I had about 1200. I was in the BB with 94d and there were 4 or so players in the hand. The flop was K9x with one diamond, and I decided to push 1000 or so. Only Roose called with A9, and he took me out of the tournament. It was a fine call by Roose, and I hope he won it all. I don't know though, because I was out the door and heading home in my rental Jeep.

Once home, wifey Kim had just finished watching Lost. We watched Top Design (we are fools for reality TV competitions) and then she headed to bed. I sat down for Lost and was rewarded for staying up late. That show really has refound its stride and the episode has been one of the best, if not the best, of the last two seasons. I then joined wifey Kim in slumberland, where visions of check raises and submarines danced in my head.

Another day, another dollar.

Until next time, make mine poker!

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




Distracted Blogger

Boy, its been a distracting time here at HoP. I'm still sorta licking my wounds from the WSOP loss and the Salami debacle before it, but its only a matter of time before I am beyond it and ready to resume my duties as a degenerate gambler. In the meanwhile, I had a meeting yesterday with two friends, one of which is the husband to one of wifey Kim's best friends. There is an interesting thing that occurs between guys who are dating/married to friends. On my end, its a real crapshoot. Case-in-point, on at least one occassion, I got along very well with a boyfriend of wifey Kim's friend, only to have them get dumped. I mean, sure, the guy(s) was a sleazeball pothead with no ambition and even less class, but he was fun to hang out with. The replacements are rarely as fun, but I guess stability is fine, if nothing else than for the sake of wifey Kim's friends. All that said, I like me some low brow company, so I'm always crossing my fingers when one of wifey Kim's many friends shack up with a new dude.

So, this guy, Chris, is top of the line. He's one of those people who is a doer (do-er) as opposed to a talker or a thinker. It's a personality trait that impresses me, largely because I would be in one of the talker or thinker categories, at least as far as I see it. Chris is also, conveniently, not some straight-laced borefest, and I've gotten to know a lot of his friends as well. Long story short, Chris, his friend Marc, and I are working on a new venture, and while I thought this would go the way of the dodo like some of my other grand ideas (including a group poker blog and a poker book, the details of which I cannot share lest you actually run with the idea), it seems like my idea is actually a possibility now. I wish I could give more details, but sadly, I cannot. All I can say is that it is not poker-based, but still could be very interesting, and I may need some of your help when its up and running to at least look it over and maybe even participate a bit. But I'm ahead of myself.

It's a nice feeling to see new exciting possibilities ahead. In the meanwhile, I spent the rest of my Sunday at a very White Trash Wedding. I'm almost hesitant to write about it here, but fortunately, I don't expect the new married couple to ever find this site, largely because they barely know me.

Weddings in NY are definitely different than weddings in other areas. Suburban NY weddings are usually lavish affairs with upwards of 200 people, fully sit-down catered, usually with a band or sometimes a DJ, in a fancy banquet hall done up to the works. Yesterday's wedding had most of those things, actually, but just seemed...rushed. I suppose the fact that the bride was 5 months pregnant can do that. The food was good and all, but the DJ seemed to gravitate to some less than ideal music. Hell, the bridal party came out to some cheesy techno song, and the bride and groom came out to...get this...the Star Wars Storm Trooper March song. I mean, wha? I expected the bride to be sporting Princess Leia hair and the groom to be dressed in his best Darth Vader mask.

Man, I wish I could remember more details, but excessive alcohol consumption will do that to you.

Part of me feels like the poker thing has petered out for me. I know that this is NOT true. The reality is that I'm just a bit burnt out and I'll get back on track when I get my second wind. I just love gaming too much, and poker is the rare type of game that could make me money.

So, until next time, make mine poker...eventually!

posted by Jordan @ 9:47 AM, , links to this post




Lost Weekend Pt. 1 (AC Trip Report)

The weekend trip to AC started off like any other. Roose came earlier than expected and I was left scrambling to change from my work clothes into my civvies. I headed out, hopped in his car around 3pm, and hit the road. Along the way, we listened primarily to Howard Stern, someone who I have listened to since I was all of 12 years old. Traffic was relatively light once we got out of NYC, and we made it to AC by 5:30.

We checked in to AC and I requested a room in the Orleans Tower, as opposed to the Bourbon Tower. From what I remembered from last time, construction was still ongoing in the brand new Bourbon Tower, and I thought I was being clever by avoiding the morning construction noise. The Orleans rooms aren't bad, but in hindsight, I plan to change it up next time. According to Karol, the Bourbon Tower rooms are fantastic, akin to the much more pricey Borgata rooms. Noise is a beyotch, but since she didn't have a problem when she stayed there, I figured I could make it work. After all, I was sharing a room with Roose, the human bandsaw.

I should mention, we were 30 minutes outside NYC when Roose told me that we had another roommate. I love Roose like a brother. Our fathers knew each other since they were kids and when they introduced our mothers to each other, they took to each other immediately as well. So, we grew up together since we were practically fetuses. Growing up with someone like that, there is a natural bond, sometimes one that is even stronger than blood. I say this as a precursor to the following statements about Roose. Roose sometimes is clueless when it comes to invites. I had no problem, ostensibly, with inviting his friend (and mine through Roose) Greg to join us. He's a fun guy and loves poker. Greg was going to come with one of his friends, so it would be four of us in a room, something that I am also able to adjust to. But, well, it would've been nice to have been involved in the invite. I mean, it was sorta my room. And Roose essentially offered our room up for free. Silly Roose! At least he arranged it so I had my own bed. In the end, it all worked out though. Greg stuck around the entire trip and paid for brunch and some odds and ends, his buddy lost his $300 budget the first night and left before sleeping, and we all had a good time. (As an aside, there is a much better story about Roose inviting someone without thinking it through. Randy Hole's birthday party this year was a large surprise affair thrown by his family. Roose forwarded me an e-vite, and I RSVP'ed that wifey Kim and I would come. There was just one problem -- we were not invited! Long story short, we crashed the party anyway).

So, we get to the room and dump our stuff off. I arranged for a key to be left for Greg, so Roose and I decided to head to Caesars after dinner at the Mansion Cafe to get our registration done.

The line at Caesars for registration was about 10 people deep. Hoyazo touched on this in his blog, but I repeat it here: the WSOP has the worst planning. First you wait on a line to register. Then you go to another line to pay. I mean, come on, folks. Can't we just do it all in one place. Whatever!

We skipped the temptation of a satellite, mostly because of the math involved. The satellite is $38+12, and the top spot gets a buy-in to the $340 event and $40 in cash (at least that was how it was for Harrah's WSOP Circuit). So, there is a 1/10 chance of getting into the tournament for $10 ($50 offset by the $40 cash that comes with 1st place) and a 9/10 chance to essentially pay $390 ($50 for satellite and $340 when I buy in directly). Ergo, fuck it. I'll just buy in.

So we did. We thought about playing something while at Caesars, but to be frank, Caesars sucks. It looks nice, but their table games are more expensive and their poker room isn't too great. It's on the casino floor off to the side, but still open to the ding and bells of the nearby slots. We hopped in Roose's car and headed back to Showboat. On our walk back to our room, Roose pointed out something. "Dude, we've been here for hours and we haven't gambled on anything yet." It struck me too. I guess we were maturing in our old age. Or perhaps it was the fact that we saw the WSOP Circuit as the main focus and all other gambling was merely a time killer. Or perhaps it was the fact that we were gambling a whole lot, but only prop bets. And for the record, I went 0 for 6 on props this weekend.

We finally decided it was time to play and headed to the poker room. I saw Karol right away and stopped by to say hi. She was in a $100 tournament and I contemplated joining late, but ultimately decided against it. Alceste was also in the tournament and I got to his table just in time to see his set of 4s cracked by some donkey's Q3h rivering a flush. Dawn was in a cash game, due in large part to the fact that she was using a fake i.d., so I decided to grab some chips for some 1/2 NL.

Hmm...no real notes here folks. The truth is, it was a horrible session for me. I couldn't get anything going. There were a lot of limpers at our table, and everyone was fairly well versed in the game. The result was a tight-ish game. I bluffed off over $75 in one hand when my opponent slowplayed quad 5s. At showdown, he showed down first and I mucked quickly. It is one of my major leaks, betting $25 on a flop and then $50 on the turn. I always think the 50 will scare my opponent, but most often they just call and I'm left to check the river and lose in shame. At least I've identified the leak. Now, to plug it.

The table was so boring, I decided to change it up. A seat opened at Dawn's table and I took it. She was on my immediate left, and Alceste was on my right. I proceeded to play fairly tight and won back a little of my money. Finally, I realized that I was just plain bored. That's no way to poker, so I racked up and left the room with Roose. I was down $125, which overall wasn't bad considering my play.

If memory serves, Roose and I headed to Pai Gow, but the tables were full. In fact, they were full all fucking weekend. I convinced him to play some Chinese Poker and we headed upstairs. Somewhere in there, Greg and his friend showed up. I lent Greg $340 for the Caesars buy-in and sent him on his way, assuming that it would be too busy the next day. When he came back, Roose and I were playing Rummy 500. We hung out and did little else, eventually deciding that even though it was only 2am, we ought to get some sleep before the big game.

More to come...

posted by Jordan @ 2:14 PM, , links to this post




We Are Not Alone - A Quick Link Re: Monetizing Blogs

Hey all. I was reading through my Google Blog Reader and I read a post from a recently added blog to my list called Dad Gone Mad. I found it through a very irreverant "Diaper Diary" or whatever they call parenting blogs. I go for the irreverance and not the kid stuff, since wifey Kim and I are a family of 2, but I found a recent post very interesting.

The author at Dad Gone Mad is at the SXSW thingee in Texas, as part of a panel regarding monetizing parenting blogs. It's very similar to the issue facing poker bloggers, and I would bet, any blogger out there that has a modicum of success and a topic that appeals to advertisers or a niche group. Whatever the case, here is the long quote that sounded like an echo to the feelings surrounding the monetization and privatization of poker blogs, and the poker blogging community in general (with bold text for parts I thought particularly related to our motley crew:

"What really struck me about being with other parenting writers is the sense of unity we share almost automatically. Because only one of us relies upon blog income to sustain our lifestyles, we are able to avoid the trap of taking ourselves too seriously and believing that every entry we write about potty training or Elmo is powerful enough to change the world. Still, there are “issues” to confront when you invest so much of yourself in a pursuit like this. How can we take advantage of our hard work and good fortune without alienating our readers, who made us what we are, and our passion for the work? Is snagging a paying blog gig worth sacrificing the control of our own writing pace and content and self-satisfaction? There was even discussion about the exceptionally low number of dad sites (in comparison to moms’) and why that disparity exists."

The LINK

Well, I don't have all the answers, but it is interesting to see others asking the same questions in a different field of blogging. I won't offer any suggestions either, as some bloggers can smoothly transition to a new location without any harm. The only thing I will say definitively is that I don't think there is anything wrong with making money from your blog, although I personally want to strike a balance between that and staying true to my readers. But you feel free to do what you want. After all, we aren't curing cancer. We are writing about donkeys and check-raising.

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 4:29 PM, , links to this post




Televised Poker

Not much in the way of well-wishers on my 2nd Bloggiversary, you ingrateful sons of bitches. But I do thank those who left a comment, and thank them greatly. Even so, the rest of you ruined it for the well-wishers, and so, no AC Trip Report yet. Hell, I may just can the thing altogether. How you like dem apples?

So, I was watching the tevvie last night and came across two shows that touched on poker. I consume way too much drivel in the form of entertainment, but it still surprises me that I don't see other people pointing out the ever-preseent (and growing) poker influence on television. It goes beyond the WPT and WSOP and has crept up in such shows as The Wire, where it was a predominant theme for a whole episode, Lost, as an anecdote to the survivors' intellect and mauevering about one another, and finally Desperate Housewives, in a stale and repeated attempt to give the gals some bonding time. So, let's move on to our two new entries, one show that has butchered the game of poker for several episodes in the B-story, and a great show that dropped a simple three line poker quip with great success and then deftly moved on. Let's start with the crap:

The L Word is not that bad of a show. For one, it has lesbians. For two, as far as Showtime dramas are concerned, its well written and acted, and fairly entertaining. Now, I wouldn't say this for all of the shows, nor all of the seasons, but this recent season has been pretty solid throughout, with good character development and real-feeling stories. The one place that this season has repeatedly fallen short is setting up silly artificial competitions, like the episode where Alice, the busy-body gossip of our Lesbian Den, challenges lebsian-lothario Poppy to a game of basketball. Alice, of course, rallies her lipstick lesbian friends and suddenly we are supposed to get wrapped up in a sub-par basketball montage. Yeah, definitely trying to attract the WNBA crowd.

Well, while that is fine and dandy, don't you dare desecrate my game of choice! The poker storyline goes like this: Rich girl Helena who was disowned and now has to start over broke ends up at a party with the rest of the Lesbian Den. It's a posh after party, and there is a game of high-stakes poker going on. I'm pretty sure that this is another one of those Alice-creating-a-silly-unreal-competition with another Lesbian clan, but whatever the case, Helena sits in without any real knowledge of the game. She summarily loses $50,000, without even knowing what stakes they were playing in the first place. SCREEEEEEEECH! (that's the screeching car sound effect). Hold on! She didn't know the stakes? So, what happens? Why, the head of the game, another lipstick lesbian, conveniently, lets Helena pay her debt by proposing that she come to her penthouse to pay it off physically. Okay! We are back on track.

So, Helena goes to the penthouse a couple of days later, and she's upset that she essentially has to whore herself to a beautiful women. Alright... Anyway, when she gets to the penthouse, the poker host, let's call her Host, since I forgot her name, says that she doesn't want to have sex with Helena. They play a heads-up game of strip poker and Helena wins, both her debt and freedom, and then, in a clever and obvious twist of fate, decides to screw the Host anyway. Bingo! It's like the freaking Brandi Rose story with less Penises in the Back. Has anyone copyrighted Vagina in the Back, cause if not, you heard it here first (copyright pending).

Fast forward. So, the Host is starting to exploit Helena. How, you ask. By, get this, staking Helena in highstakes games because somehow Helena became a shark overnight without even realizing it. Then the Host holds the money and is clearly controlling Helena. Okay folks, this is where I lose it. From fish to shark without any effort? Puh-lease. And, the way to exploit younger poker players is to abscond with their money, not put YOUR money on the line with the expectation that Helena the Fish will win 100% of the time and then you'll abscond with her winnings. Shiyit! Can you imagine Capt. Tom buying Brandi into 50k buy-in tournaments (another BS plot point) with the expectation that of course Brandi will win, and then he'll claim to have lost her money at the horses on an insiders tip with Brandi's consent? Okay, I'm nitpicking, but the real issue is the whole fish who is a natural shark overnight, the 50k buy-in tournament, and a scene in which the Host is whispering in Helena's ear during a game of poker in a casino. Lesbians, puhlease!

And now, for the great two lines from the Simpsons this week. The setup: Homer spent a ton of dough on a rec room for the Simpsons' basement and tries to file for bankruptcy. The judge assigns him a financial adviser who is in the kitchen with Homer and Marge talking about where they can save money.

(paraphrased)

Advisor: It says here you spend $1000 a month throwing coins into wishing wells?
Homer: Of course, stupid. I'm wishing for more money!
Advisor: And how about this? $500 a month for TotalPoker.com?
Marge: What?! It's educational . IT'S EDUCATIONAL!

Right on the nose. (And kudos for the subtle reference to Marge's gambling problem from past episodes).

Now enjoy your education at TotalPoker.com.

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 1:47 PM, , links to this post




Bloggiversary Hangover

Two years down, and just six months to go before I'm burned out, busted and bitter about how ghey blogging is!

Yes, folks, if you've been following me from the beginning, you have sat through 730 days of poker drivel and 833 posts filled with assorted nonsense.

All kidding aside, I thank you, my reader, for making this endeavor something slightly more than a self-imposed ego trip/booster/soul-crusher.

Now, I know you are "all" here expecting a recap of my Lost Weekend in AC, but I'm suffering a bit of a poker hangover, oddly more like a booze hangover than ever before (splitting headache, exhaustion, and irritability, hooray!), so I'll give you this brief recap using numbers and a more complete recap later today or tomorrow or whatever:

Minutes that I lasted in the WSOP $300+40 event: 90
Players I outlasted out of the 1155 entrants: 120 or so
Rumored amount of players heard by AlCantHang: 3000+
Cash games profit/loss: -$175
Table Game Texas Hold'em Bonus profit/loss: -$100
Times I hit AA (30x bonus): 1
Times I didn't have money down on the bonus: 4 out of approximately 50, and yes, one of those 4 times was when I hit the AA...lesson learned.
Table Game Let It Ride profit/loss: -$100
Craps profit/loss: $200 (offsetting all other table game losses)
Times SoxLover hit a hard ten in a row to win me back a bucket load of cash: 2, and quite enough, really. He's my craps lucky charm.

In other words, overall, I lost a pretty penny. However, I had a great time, and it was all worth it.

Until next time, make mine Advil!

posted by Jordan @ 11:25 AM, , links to this post




You Decide #48 & Odd Omens

Let's get this beyotch crackalackin' with the return of You Decide after months of hiatus. And if you are interested in past You Decide posts, check out the You Decide Index. Feel free to leave new comments on old hands. I get email notification of all comments along with the name of the post that is the subject of the comment, and I'm always interested in new analyses of old hands. This one is a bit odd for a You Decide, mostly because it was a very quick hand. To direct you a bit, let me add that I won the hand with a bluff check-raise, but whether I won or not, was it a smart play when you consider all of the information? I'm on the fence, so here we go:

We are playing in CC's Thursday Bash, 15/30 blinds (level 2), and we are sitting on 1635 chips, a little more than the 1500 starting stack. There are a couple of juicy super LAG players at the table, along with a spattering of strong players and a generally jovial crowd. In the BB, we are dealt JdTh. In early position (UTG+2), one of those juicy LAGs, Alexe (T1,795, raises from 30 to 90. I don't know him/her (let's go with her), but I've watched her loose action, making calls on raises with crappy cards preflop and making a play earlier in the evening that just seemed to be a bluff raise (she did take down that hand, so she may have had the goods). In general, though, she seems like a player who will try to make a play for a pot at any opportunity. It folds to me in the BB, and I decide to flat call, hoping that I hit and get paid off.

The flop is an ugly 3c 4c 2h. I have nada. I check. Alexe bets 120 into the 195 pot. I think for a moment and decide to re-raise to 450. Alexe folds. There are a few reasons why I made this play, and the amount I bet, 450, was chosen with particularity. I'd give the explanation here, but then I wouldn't get to hear your thoughts, so let's just sit on this for a while and I'll come back later and post my full analysis.

ADDENDUM: It's later now. Roose has left to pick me up for AC, so let me just get to this and analyze my play. The two responses I received were positive, and winning the hand often makes me look at a hand with rose-colored glasses, but in this case, something was nagging me. Yes, it was a good play, but I think it was too early in the tournament for me to try to start stealing pots. First, let's look at the play, ignoring the level of play we are in.

In the first place, I had a decent read on the LAG (loose aggressive) player, so calling with JTo is not such a bad play. If I hit big, like AKQ, I'm going to get paid off big, and the call was not large compared to our stacks.

After the flop, I like the check, because I can expect him to bet here, no matter what. He has likely missed the flop, and my tight image and the fact that I'm playing out of the blinds for a call should make Alexe wary of my check, but after the check-raise, she has no choice but to fold unless she has an overpair. Any other combination is folding, providing that the bet is enough. The thing is, she might have a hand, or because she is LAG, she might call with a flush draw. So, I needed a bet that would leave me with enough chips to come back if I had to fold on the turn or to a re-raise. I don't like to min-raise unless I have a monster, so I had to raise more than 120. Normally, I'd bump it to 3x, or 360, but since her initial bet was low (120 into a 195 pot), a raise of 240 would be small compared to the pot. Plus, she is a LAG. So, I raised it to a higher amount. I started the hand with 1635, put 120 in the pot preflop (1515 left), and by betting 450, it does two things: (1) it says, "this is a third of my stack, and I'm ready to play, beyotch" and (2) allows me to actually fold and have over 1k in my stack. In other words, I had the hand planned out no matter what happened. I must add, I went through all of this analysis before I raised.

So, great play. But here is the thing. The pot was only 320 or so when I decided to put in 450 to bluff it. That is my problem, if there was one. The pot was still small, and if I had just folded preflop, I would've lost 30 and been onto the next hand with minimal risk. Instead, early in a tournament, I got fancy and put myself in a position to lose more than 1/3 of my chips on a hand I didn't really need to win. If there is a saving grace, it was the fact that I chose my opponent with particularity and wanted to win her money before someone else got it from her.

So, any more thoughts? I'd be glad to hear them. Back to the rest of this post, as written earlier today.

I suffered a bad omen last night. After busting in CC's Heads-Up tournament, I went about preparing my bag for my AC trip today. While getting my things together, admittedly in a headache medicine-induced haze, I grabbed my iPod and prepared to turn it on in order to check my reserve of podcasts. As I held down the power button, nothing happened. Okay, I thought, the battery is dead. I walked over to the computer, plugged in the USB charger and waited. Nothing. Hmm, I thought, let's see if it is a problem with my crappy ole desktop. I walked over to the kitchen, set up the outlet charger and plugged in the iPod. Nothing. Okay, don't panic. I held down the power button again. Nothing. Damn. I started looking for solutions. I had my AM/FM "walkman" (just AM/FM folks, no cassette tape player, cause I ain't that old school) and satisfied myself with the thought that I could at least listen to some of the great local radio in NY while walking to and from the train.

As I continued to pack, I realized the greater implication. No iPod meant no music during the $300+40 tournament. I don't listen to my iPod the entire time I play, but I like it there to cut out the noise or help me relax in particular situations. You probably know from my poker uniform and OCD-ish array of poker paraphenelia I carry to the table, that I like to have everything set up a particular way when I play. The iPod was a key component to that setup. Reality being what it was, though, I knew I had to shake that feeling of anxiety before I brought it to the table. The loss of the iPod felt like a bad omen, but I had to turn that around.

I am not under the control of my things, I thought to myself. The only thing to do was to change everything up to prove to myself that I didn't need the iPod or any of the security blankets that I carry to the table with me. I packed my $uperman shirt, but decided not to wear it. I would change everything up and I would see it as a chance to free myself. I also grabbed my old mp3 player and fit in as much techno/trance songs as I could that were not from iTunes directly (they don't play on the crappy 20-song mp3 player). I tossed it in my bag, got the rest of my stuff together and put it all behind me...after trying two more times to turn on the iPod.

This morning, I went about my usual business preparing for the workday. Right before leaving, I decided to just take one more look. I walked over to the short supply cabinet near wifey Kim and my computer desk and pulled out the iPod. I hit the power button...Nothing. I got ready to put it back, and then I saw it, that charcoal gray Apple that appears during startup. My eyes widened like a starry-eyed hooker seeing my very own Richard Gere. It was back, ole jPod.

So, all in all not a bad omen, but an odd one. I'm glad that ole jPod is back, and I can rest easy knowing that I can shed my neuroses any time I want (I swear! I just don't want to right now). Meanwhile, I'm going to wait out this day, anxious for 3pm when Roose rolls up in our AC shuttle and we are on the road.

On that note, if you are going to be in AC this weekend and would like to get drunk and gamble with a bunch of degenerates, the I Had Outs girls have scheduled a happy hour at Showboats (!!) House of Blues Restaurant Bar for 10pm on Saturday. Hopefully, I'll still be in the WSOP Circuit event starting that day at noon, but if not, expect me there, until around 10:55, when I'll be running upstairs to register for the 11pm $100+20 tournament (they allow late registration).

Until next time, make mine AC poker!

posted by Jordan @ 9:50 PM, , links to this post




Finding Confidence

Late last night, I lied in bed with wifey Kim, turned on my side to get whatever light I could from the nearby lamp while I read a book. Wifey Kim was tired and trying to sleep, but I just couldn't close my eyes. I knew I was keeping wifey Kim up, so I turned around and decided to engage her.

"I hate sleeping," I confessed. This was nothing new, and something I have said many times before. This time, however, I went a bit farther. "When I go to sleep, I can't help but think. There's no TV, book or radio distracting me, and I just think, and its never good."

Wifey Kim nodded in understanding. She was tired, but I had already started following a mental trail that I just couldn't stop chasing.

"I'm nervous about work tomorrow." Tomorrow, being today, consisted of a trip to New Jersey with the Boss Man to depose a nurse involved in one of my client's injuries. "I've been dreading work lately," I continued. It was true too. Every night this week, I've been dreading the next day's work. It isn't that work has been bad. Quite the opposite. Things have been quiet, almost too quiet. But part of it was a seeping sense of self doubt, not dissimilar from the one I have been experiencing in poker since the three buy-in loss at Salami last week. In fact, I silently wondered if the poker self doubt was really the starting point of the work self doubt. "I need to get over myself. I need to re-find my confidence."

There it was, the answer to all of my problems. I needed to re-find my confidence.

As a kid, I dealt with bouts of depression. I remember one in particular. My first real girlfriend Melissa told me that she didn't love me anymore. I was 15 or 16 at the time, and it crushed my world. I was miserable for months, and sulked around highschool with the hair combed down over my face, akin to a sloppy pre-Clooney Caesar's cut, and a long trenchcoat, akin to a pre-Columbine depressed dumb kid (in my case, never Goth). I was like this for months, depressed, miserable and mentally isolated from the world. And then one day I thought to myself that all I needed to do to stop being depressed was to stop being depressed. Like hitting a light switch, suddenly I was no longer depressed (ignoring, of course, the long term implications of depression that would rear its ugly head again, but never as bad as that first extended bout).

I thought about that after saying I had to re-find my confidence. And then I thought, the only way to be confident is to just be confident. And again, like a light switch, I changed things. I decided that I had nothing to worry about at work. I was on top of all of my cases and the only thing causing this self doubt was myself. I decided that the same is true for my game. I have the abilities, and self doubt does nothing to help me, so I had to shed it from my being. I have re-found my confidence.

After all, I've always felt that 90% of confidence is merely acting confident. The rest will fall into place.

WSOP Circuit event his weekend, baby! In less than 24 hours, I'll be with Roose on our way down to the Boardwalk, and I'm glad to say that there will be a few bloggers meeting up as well.

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 3:03 PM, , links to this post




Gordon's Pair Principle

While surfing the web (does anyone still use the term surfing?) I stumbled upon an article by Phil Gordon. Sometimes it feels like there is only so much left to discover in poker, and then you experience something or read something and a whole new door opens. For me, this was one of those moments, discoverying the GPP or Gordon Pair Principle.

The Principle basically helps find the odds that a player after you has a higher pocket pair when you are dealt a pocket pair. I suppose it is mostly a tournament aid, but also provides some mathematical insight to those times when your Queens run into Kings or your Kings run into Aces.

The probability (C) that a player acting after you has a higher pocket pair roughly equals the amount of players left to act (N) multiplied by the amount of pocket pairs higher than yours (R) divided by 2. As a formula, it appears like this:

C=(N x R)/2

Admittedly, I am doing nothing here other than reiterating Phil Gordon's concept, but I find it to be an interesting one. So, if you are UTG in a full 10-person table of a tournament and have pocket Jacks, what are the chances that your Jacks are dominated by Queens, Kings or Aces? There are 9 players left to act (N), and there are three possible higher pocket pairs (R), so the chances are roughly 13.5% (9 x 3 = 27 / 2 = 13.5%).

Its an interesting concept, especially as I head into the WSOP Circuit even this weekend. Hands like pocket sixes to pocket nines can be tricky to play from middle position, and once shorthanded, it can be very tempting to push and hope for the best. Now, I have a better way to calculate whether such a move is likely to run into trouble. Two overcards are always a possibility, but those are less scary because overcards won't dominate the hand and will have a 50/50 chance of winning at best. On the other hand, those over pairs are the real threat, often giving your opponent an 80/20 lead.

So, you are in MP (5 players left to act, including the blinds) with 88 and you have a stack of about 9x the BB. To me, this is a push-or-fold situation, and at first glance, I would likely push, hoping to take the blinds and/or face a race or underpair. Let's do the math. The chance that I am facing a dominating over pair is (5 x 6)/2, or 15%. Okay, let's go for it. If I had 66 there, the chance of facing an overpair becomes (5 x 8)/2, or 20%. Suddenly, I am a little more concerned. If I'm sitting with a lowly pair of 2s, the probability jumps to (5 x 12)/2 or 30%.

Hmmm...interesting information. Practically speaking, I'm not too sure if this would effect a decision too strongly. After all, I am generally playing my table image and my opponents, so a push with 22 in middle position with a stack of 9x the BB could be used to push out slight overpairs like 33-66, and suddenly the real range of calling overpairs shrinks. Likewise, if I have a severe shortstack that cannot push anyone out of the hand, I still might have to make my move because of escalating blinds. But still, as theories and deep thought about poker goes, this is an interesting concept.

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 12:27 PM, , links to this post




Ring Rust, Poker Hangovers and Latent Tilt

I played in the WWdn last night. Well, I didn't really play, so much as I publicly embarassed myself and then made a hurried exit. I may have been the Gigli, but I was too ashamed to look.

My play was just horrible. I tried to make something happen with AQo, and when it didn't improve, I tried to bluff my way out of the situation. Instead, I just bluffed my way out of the tournament. Looking at it now, it kinda reminds me of that post-it note I used to put on my laptop screen when playing a long tournament. It was just two words, "No Bluffing," and its advice that I have to recapture.

The bottom line was, I was playing horribly, worse than my worst days when I was a daily online poker player. Part of it, I'm sure, is due to the usual problems I have with online poker, the lack of concentration and the tendency to be inebriated, but it felt like the other issue was ole fashioned ring rust. I was just not in tune with the game. Can I fix it? Probably, by returning to a schedule where I play online poker more often. Will I fix it? Hell no.

Ring rust sucks, but I just cannot recommit to the pursuit that is online poker. I have about $100 left online, and it will keep me in blogger tournaments for as long as I need. Ring rust sucks, but at least it hasn't affected my live game.

At the very least, I'm glad I don't play online as much because I've found myself to be prone to poker hangovers. If you haven't experienced this soul-crushing phenomenom, this is how it goes: You play poker and lose. You wake up the next day feeling like shit because you lost at poker. It might not be obvious that that is the reason you are in a crabby mood, but for me, I can read the writing on the wall. In fact, after I lost the three buy-ins at the Salami tournament last Friday, I woke up Saturday and stared my poker hangover right in the face. I had a restless sleep, complete with anxiety nightmare, and woke up feeling like a loser. I even said it to wifey Kim, "I'm still fucked up about the loss last night." She was comforting, albeit in passing while she prepared for the day, but it was enough that I was able to face the poker hangover reality in the face.

When I played online a lot, I remember a stretch of nights when I was winner steadily. I slept happy. Then came a cold spell and I was miserable. Each morning preparing for work became a energy-sapping task. I just could not get in gear. So, at the very least, those days are less common. Now I just need to work on eliminating them altogether.

Truth is, the poker hangover has changed from a hangover to a latent tilt. Since losing those three buy-ins at Salami on Friday, I've been wary of live poker. I haven't set up any days to play this week, and while I could squeeze in a Salami tournament tonight, I just don't wanna. I'm practically scared, and its god damn humorous because prior to that loss, I moneyed in all 4 Salami tournaments I played this year and in 70% of the live tournaments I played in general. I was on a freakin' tear, and I can say with utmost confidence that it was not due to amazing hole cards (although in isolated instances, I did get lucky, but no moreso than I got unlucky in other instances).

So, what to do? Well, I need to get over myself. I have the WSOP Circuit this weekend (I'm giddy as a school girl), and I am praying that I can get in via a satellite, but even if I don't, I have to remind myself that I can win. I have all of the things I need. Self-doubt is not something that anyone should carry with them to the poker table. I've said time and time again, to win, I need to believe that I can beat everyone at the table. Some people need to feel like the underdog. I need to feel super confident. So, from here until Saturday, my goal is to keep positive. I lost three buy-ins in a Salami tournament. Whoopdeedoo! I will lose from time to time, but that is not a reflection on my lack of ability (here is where self doubt comes in and reminds me that, yes, I lost that tournament -- at least one of the buy-ins, because of my lack of control). But I can reclaim that loss of control, and I have to believe that I can win, because if you go in a loser, you're going to come out a loser. Game face on.

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 9:35 AM, , links to this post




Advertisement: UK Casinos

I feel dirty already.

While I was eating me bangers and mash recently at the local pub, I was watching footie on the telly and was daydreaming about online poker and ye olde brick and mortar poker. Manchester United was daft that night, so I headed home, grabbed my laptop from the boot of my car, and took the lift up to my flat.

Then I realized I wasn't British. But, hey, maybe you are. If so, you may want to check out UK Casinos, a website dedicated to UK poker in its online and live forms. Hell, even if you are heading to the UK and can't take a vacation without some gambling (you degenerate), you might want to check out UK Casinos first. Follow a couple of links and you can find a directory to brick and mortar casinos throughout the UK. They even have an interesting page under the heading "Casino Groups" that gives some background as to how things are done over in the Old World. Things I found particularly interesting are the fact that poker rooms generally allow players who are 18 and older (as opposed to 21, generally, in the US), and you have to apply to be a member to the rooms. Well, there goes that travel plan.

Admittedly, UK Casinos seems to lack content in some of its headings, but from the looks of it, it is a decent portal site, where you can link up to other poker rooms and sites about poker.

So, there it is, my first sponsored post. I have to go shower now. So dirty.

posted by Jordan @ 2:55 PM, , links to this post




Weekend Roundup

What a weekend! This weekend saw my attempt to win my 5th straight tournament at Salami fall woefully short, my return to binge drinking, and a delayed attempt to win an iPod. Let's get this crackalackin'!

Wifey Kim's birthday was last week, and the plan was to celebrate all weekend. On Friday, she had dinner plans with her friend M.E., and since I was left out of the festivities, I decided to hit up Salami again. I had moneyed in the last 4 tournaments I played there, and truthfully was not feeling up to it on Friday 100%. I received an email from a law school acquaintance about his home game, one that I had yet to attend. I said I could make it, and I was curious to see how their game played. It's a cash game (I don't even know the stakes, but I imagine $50-100 buy-in at most, and likely less), and once there are three players at the game, the game starts with Hold'em. Once they reach 5 players, though, it switches to dealer's choice games, limited to stud and draw variations only. Weird! I guess we have some serious Hold'em haters, but I'm game for whatever, and pride myself on my ability and willingness to play a variety of games.

Ultimately, and sadly, the game wasn't able to go, and I found out it would be the host (John), me and only one other guy. Well, Jordan don't play that, so I suggested that he and his friend join me to Salami.

When we arrived, the place was fairly busy and by game time there were two full tables, spreading to three by the time the re-register period was over. I was seated at a table with John and a bunch of players, half of whom I kinda know. It seems like everyone knows each others' names and games at Salami sometimes, and I am just an interloper. Truth be told, I'm also somewhat anti-social there, happy to arrive for the game, play and chat at the table and leave immediately after. I'll read a book or listen to a podcast while the players are mulling about, and while I have tried to make small talk to a few players, I always feel, well, odd-man-out. Of course, I do this to myself, but in the end, I'm just there to play poker and not join an Elks Lodge or something.

So, I am sitting at the table and I'm in my first BB when I am dealt Q3o. There are four limpers before me (including the SB) or so, and I just check. The flop is a beautiful 334, with two hearts. I check, since I'm in good position, and a player to my immediate left who I remember was somewhat loose from the past (yet by appearances one would presume he was tight) bet 200 into the 250 or so pot. I believe there was one caller in MP and I decided to simply call and wait for the turn to raise. I was wary of the flush draw, but I knew I could get away from it if it came and I sensed it out there. The turn was an offsuit 7, and I was in good shape, from what I could see. I was a bit worried about someone playing A3s, but if that happened, I would just accept the cooler of a hand. I check and the bettor bets 200 again, a weak move. The MP folds and when it gets to me, I consider and decide to raise to 600. Now, we start with 2000 in chips, so after the preflop call, the flop call and the turn, I've put 850, or almost half of my stack, into the pot. He pushes all-in, and I call. I fear the A3, but he shows 47, for two pair. The river is a 4. I lose. REBUY!

I knew I had to rebuy, mostly because I could do very well against such a loose table. My second bust of the night, though, was part tilt and part bad luck. I held K8s and decided to limp in LP. It was cheap and I was in position, but admittedly I should have folded and saved myself the horror that came next. I don't remember betting amounts, but the flop came down K-high (K24) with two spades, and after it checked around on this loose table, I bet out a decent amount in an attempt to win it right there. I got one caller in EP. The turn was an offsuit 5 and I thought I was good. He checked and I bet again. He pushed all-in and by this point in the hand, I was committed to calling. He flipped over and announced that he had a flush draw. I showed my top pair, glad that I had such a good read. Then I noticed his flush draw consisted of a suited A3. He actually had a made straight and he didn't even realize it. REBUY!

Now, this last one was really simple. Someone raised from MP, I re-raised, he pushed, I called. I had JJ. He had AK. It was as expected, but he hit it and I quit it. I had enough rebuying. Down $180, I went a short half-block to where wifey Kim was with M.E. having dinner. They were, by coincidence, right next door, leaving me to wonder who the unlucky charm was: wifey Kim, M.E., or my new Flash t-shirt (it ain't no Superman).

The next night, wifey Kim and I went out to a lounge called Mantra for drinks to celebrate her and her twin brother's birthday. A bunch of my buddies came along, including Roose, Randy Hole, Ilan the G-lan and others from their crew. After a long night drinking (for me, the drink of choice was red bull and stohli vanil), we headed across the street to go to David Ruff's girlfriend's birthday soiree. There, I got even more 72o'ed with wifey Kim, my older bro and his fiance, and a bunch of other friends. The night ended at the diner, followed by passing out at home. The next morning was torture, as you can guess.

Finally, on Sunday, I excitedly turned on the computer to participate on PokerOnAMac.com's Blogger iPod freeroll. Sadly, FT's server was down, so it was rescheduled to next Sunday, probably when I'll be either on my way home from AC, or in a poker-induced coma. Oh well.

That's all for today. Since my last post was sorta unclear, if you are going to be in AC this upcoming weekend for the WSOP Circuit event, you may want to keep an eye on I Had Outs. The ladies were kind enough to pick up some of my excessive slack (I am a slacker, after all), and will be hosting a happy hour somewhere at sometime that will likely last more than an hour.

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 12:41 PM, , links to this post




Clever Plans: 1 for 2

I have to make this brief (for now), but I want to direct your attention to I Had Outs. The ladies have foolishly fallen into my trap and have decided to take it upon themselves to spearhead a happy hour for any bloggers in the area. Ironically, they point out my own planning deficiencies, but then neglect to decide if happy hour will be on Friday or Saturday (let alone a time and place). But alas, at least they have officially taken the onus upon themselves. And yes, ladies, I suck at planning these sorts of things, but on the other hand, I am great at getting people to do it for me. This clever plan to pass the buck is a big success!

The second plan, not such a success. Long story short, I returned to Salami on Friday, and lost three buy-ins in the $60 "re-register" (aka rebuy for $50+10) tournament in under 30 minutes. Highlights to come.

posted by Jordan @ 9:40 AM, , links to this post




A Win of Sorts

After a recent post, I decided not to share any more information regarding the location of the underground clubs I frequent in New York City. However, when I mentioned that I was returning to Salami last night, I received an email from Lastman Chris, dubbed herein because he was the last man that I gave the underground club information to before I decided on my moratrium. I had told Lastman about Salami, but he had yet to go, largely because it is difficult to get into any of these clubs without someone who has already been there.

As per usual, I raced home after work and donned my poker uniform. I try not to be superstitious, and its not as though I think the Superman t-shirt is lucky, but I win consistently when I'm wearing it, and so, I fell into old patterns. I loaded up the poker backpack, hit the subway and made a stop at PeanutButter & Co. for the lunchbox special. I took it to go, as Lastman was already near the club.

I'm really not the most social person. I can, at times, be an extrovert, to the point where I may seem like the most extroverted person out there, but most of the time, I'm glad to be a loner. When I met Lastman, though, I could tell fairly quickly that we would get along. He looked a bit like Soxlover, no offense to Lastman. We chatted for a bit as I gave him the rundown on the game. (1) $50+10 buy in; (2) 15 minute blinds, but it usually doesn't feel like a fast structure, probably because of the slowly escalating blinds (25/50, 50/100, 75/150, 100/200, 150/300, etc.) and the insanely loose action, which helps build stacks on par with the blinds; (3) for the first two levels it is a re-register tournament, i.e., you can rebuy for $50+10 when you are felted, unless there is an alternate waiting, at which point you go to the back of the alternate list; (4) the game never gets off on time; and (5) the players are mostly maniacs. All good advice, as I am sure any Salami regulars will attest.

We entered the room after I gave the international sign for He's with Me, a pointing motion between myself and Lastman while looking up at the security camera. When I entered, they still asked, "He's with you." I guess the place isn't very international, regardless of the many accents.

We grabbed some seats at a table. There were maybe 6-7 players waiting around, but as per usual, the game was going to start late. I chatted lightly with Harris, a dentist who I had met previously at the game. It amazed me that the game never got started on time, but Harris' explanation was dead-on. Players knew they could buy in late, so they were in no rush to be early. Truthfully, I would bet that the other reason is a conundrum faced by many home games. As soon as a player arrives early and sees that the game doesn't kick off until 15 minutes after the scheduled start time, they decide (subconsciously or not) that they will show up 15 minutes late the next time. Why? Because no one wants to wait around, and people are slow and lazy. Of course, the natural problem is that the player shows up 15 minutes late, and suddenly the really slow players start arriving 30 minutes late. Suddenly, the 7:30 game is having trouble starting by 8pm (and in a home game setting that can even go later to 8:30, in my experiences).

I am a fairly timely person. In most instances, I arrive places early, largely because I believe that if you make a commitment to be somewhere, you should be there...on time. When it comes to poker, there is a second and third reason why I'm always on time or early. The second reason is my insane desire to play, leading me to leave early because I just can't friggin' wait to get my hands on some chips and cards. The third is the subtle (or not so subtle) tilt I feel when I buy-in late to a tournament. Even if I just missed two hands, I can't help but feel like I have to catch up.

The game kicked off around 7:45 with one full table of 10 players. An alternate showed up, and after a while two more appeared and we were split to two tables. At first, I stayed tight. The game was as loose as ever, with a player in the first hand raising 3x the BB preflop UTG with 45d. He was called by 5 or more people and then bet at the 567 flop. He had one callers. He slowed down on the turn, and then checked the river when the other player, a loose, long-haired S&M porn producer/director/actor who has passed his prime, seemed prime to re-raise or call any bets. The two showed down their cards. Of course, the loose UTG player had 45d for a pair of 5s. The Ghost of Hardcore Pornography Past had A6o. It was going to be one of those nights.

Another player, wearing one of those floppy safari-type hats (or is it more Gilligan) with the brim that goes all the way around, was playing super loose. He was and is a calling station, and I finally decided to make my play when I was in position with 25h. I decide to raise it and he is the only caller in the BB. The flop is 28J and I decide to bet out after he checks. He calls. On the turn, another J, I push all-in, hoping to utilize my tight image (trust me, at this table, I'm tight), and represent three of a kind, but he called with T8, for a higher single pair. I miss the river and feel like a fool when I have to show my cards. "RE-REGISTER!"

At that point, Lastman had been moved to the second table. We had enough alternates for two tables of 7 (or maybe 6 and 7), but soon, the rebuy period ended and I was moved, due to a bust-out, to the second table, in the 2s. I had about 1300-1500 left out of my 2000 rebuy. I was really donking it up at the other table, trying to take advantage of the looseness but failing miserably because I was card dead. My luck did not change in my new location. I continued to fold away until I was dealt JJ, my second-best hand of the night. I raised to 450, which was 3x the BB. I had about 2300 at this point, leaving me with 1950 behind. Nick, a very smart and selectively aggressive player on my left was the chip leader or close to it, and called my bet. Another player with a big stack called from one of the blinds. The flop came down an UGLY AK8. The blind checked, and I considered checking as well. I decided, however, to represent the Ace, since I knew that the blind didn't have it (from his check and demeanor) and Nick was playing against my small stack and is aggressive, so could have called with anything. I bet out 900, showing strength, but leaving me with some money behind. Nick pushed all-in. The blind folded. I thought for a minute, let out a sign through my nose and told Nick to keep my chips warm for me. I folded and he showed his Ace-8, two pair. I was desperately short.

The table was loose, but not as loose as the other table I was at. I folded for as long as I could, but found myself in the 150 BB with 850 or so chips. Nick limped in as did some other player in MP and the blind from the other hand, a young Israeli guy. The SB completed. I thought for a moment and decided to push all-in. A decent amount of my stack was already in the pot, there were a decent amount of money in the pot thanks to the limpers, and no one showed strength, so maybe they'd all fold. They didn't I was called by Nick and the Israeli. I needed to get lucky. My cards were 23o. (Notably, I'd prefer this play with 23o than with A6o, largely because if I'm called by a big ace, I still have two live cards.)

The flop was J52, and I thought for a moment that I had a chance. Both players checked. The turn was a Queen. At this point, the Israeli bet. Nick thought for a moment and folded. I thought I was screwed. We flipped out cards and sure enough, he had Q9o, for top pair. I made a not so silent prayer and the river pealed off: 2. I tripled up and was back in decent shape.

In another hand, I had about 1650, and I did something I usually condemn. I pushed all-in with 27o on a stone cold bluff preflop after a limper or two. I was called in two places by Nick and a shorter stack across the table who had limped UTG. The EP limper had KK and Nick had A8. The flop had a 2 and the rest were blanks. I thought I was done, but after the shortstack limper took his main pot, there was still almost 1150 in the side pot. I got lucky with the hammer and had only lost 500 on the hand.

In the next hand, I was dealt AJo. I don't remember the action too well, but when it got to me, it was not raised up. I pushed all-in with my stack. I believe it was Nick who called with an inferior hand (A9, maybe?). I doubled up again when we both failed to hit the board.

Suddenly, I had a healthy stack again. From there, the rest was a blur. We were at the final table and my seat and position relative to the aforementioned players really didn't change. We got down to 6 or so and Lastman Chris busted out after a decent run stuck as (from what I could see) a card-dead shortstack who doubled up when he needed it. Down to 5, I was actually in 3rd place, but the twin towers of Nick and the Israeli made my stack pale in comparison. I had about 7-8k, but since there were 23 buy-ins and 46k in chips, I had a lot of work to do. I should mention that I amassed those chips by well-timed all-ins on the high blinds and antes. I eventually lost a chunk due to some necessary caution against Nick, but I was still technically in 3rd place. 5th place busted after I lost a bit of my stack, and then it was just me, Nick, the Israeli, and Moishe, one of the managers of the club. Moishe and I first met at my 2nd visit to the club. It was his first. We made it to the final two and he offered me a deal where he would get slightly more than half because he had me outchipped. At that time, I strong armed him and told him I'd gladly play for it if it wasn't 50/50. He buckled. Since then, he had become a staple at the club and then part of the staff. He's a bit abrasive, and definitely a gambler at heart. He also has a decent head for the game.

I tried to wait him out, and eventually got my wish. He went out when his better pair was one-outtered on the river by pocket 7s (a 7 was folded preflop by another player). Down to three, we were all in the money. Third only paid $110, and I was in the game for $120, so I simply stated, "If you want to buy me out, I'll take $180. Otherwise, we'll play it." Truth be told, I was confident I could rebound, but the $180 would give me a buy-in-sized profit. The players scoffed and Moishe, who should have kept his mouth shut, seemed incredulous at the offer. "Why would we take that?" the Israeli said, following up Moishe's comments. "Hey man, I'm just telling you my price. If you two want to make a deal and buy me out, there it is. If not, let's do this." I then tripled up on the first hand. HAHAHA! Fools.

I warned them while we were discussing deals that I was dangerous on a short stack. I always make this comment tongue-in-cheek, but the truth is, I AM dangerous on a short stack. I don't fear pushing and my timing is often very good. Nick was getting into the folding groove. I actually wanted to induce more action, so when he folded his BB with KT face up, I showed my all-in push from the SB with K9. This set up led me to the hand of the night. But first...

Israeli and Nick were checking down most hands. Fine with me. I needed to double up some more to be a true force. I was in the BB with about 9k at this point and blinds/antes of 500/1000/100. Nick folded and Israeli called. I looked down at 94o and considered pushing to take the blinds and antes. I decided the timing wasn't right. Something about the Israeli's limp seemed odd, since my obvious move would then be to push. The flop didn't hit me, and Israeli led out for 1k. Very odd indeed. I considered raising him, but then folded. He showed AA, and I complimented him on a well-set trap. It wasn't actually too bad of a move, and had I had anything decent I may have been caught. It wasn't the best play either, though, but I wanted to encourage his predictable action.

On the very next hand, I was dealt my best hand of the night, QQ. The Israeli folded and I decided to raise to 3000. The logical play for Nick, then would be to push or fold. If he had crap, he'd likely fold, but he would push all-in if he had an Ace, a decent King, any pair, and perhaps even worse cards under the belief that my weaker bet was out of fear.

He pushed. I called. He had 77 vs. my QQ. And he flopped a 7. I was out in 3rd with $110, $10 less than I bought in for.

I shook the two remaining players' hands as they worked out their chop. I collected my money, made some small talk and then headed out into the cool night. There is always a moment when I leave Salami when I notice that I still have my sunglasses on, even though it is well past dark out. I removed them once outside, and chatted with Lastman Chris. He agreed that the action was silly loose, but he seemed to enjoy himself. Even if I never tell another person about Salami, I suppose I can rest well knowing that I helped some people out before the moratorium, and Salami will always have enough fishy players to make it worthwhile to keep it to myself.

Winning yet losing money is an odd thing. I still consider it the fourth cash in the Salami tournament in a row. I still consider it a win, of sorts, and blame the terrible payout structure more than anything. Really, 3rd place should have been $120, but it is what it is. I played very well at the end, and almost took 2nd place in chips if that QQ held up. I started off shakey, but used that early crappy play to actually improve my game instead of falling into tilt oblivion. I got lucky myself, with 23o and 27o, so losing with QQ v. 77 didn't hurt too bad.

I might be going back tonight. Back to back Salami, baby! Wifey Kim is meeting a friend for dinner and drinks to celebrate her birthday, so I might as well get my gamble on. Tomorrow is a bust. I will be attending a wake with wifey Kim for one of her friend's family members, so poker naturally takes a back seat. Then we are off to drinks with our friends to celebrate wifey Kim's birthday properly.

I love the smell of poker chips in the morning. It smells like...victory.

Until next time, make mine poker!

Once again, it was a relatively card dead game for me. While I did get JJ and QQ, then next highest pocket pair I received was 88, followed by 55. I was dealt ATo and AJ, but nothing higher. I did not get KQ. Yet, I still made the money. And for that, I am proud.

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