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Which is True #5

Hey readers. I've been dragging myself through the mud all day because of that last post, an amalgamation of a couple of ideas that came out in a pile that resembled a duece more than an ace. But fortunately, my blogger bretheren are kind enough to write some fantastic stuff out there, so I've got a new post in mind. Special thanks to the Black Widow of Poker, aka BWoP, aka CK, aka the Asian Sensasion, for inspiring this post. In a recent post of the BWoP, ole BWoPpy paraphrased something Miami Donald said during the Buddy Dank Radio Programme. Essentially, from my limited reading comprehension skills, Miami Donatello said that in the early stages of deep-stack tournaments, there is little need to get tangled up in marginal situations. Now, don't actually attribute that to Donny, unless he wants to adopt that stance, since its through two filters, BWoPpy's and mine. But let's extapolate a bit more from this kernel of an idea.

There are two schools of thought in deep stack tournaments. One is that the blinds start off low, so you should not be playing marginal hands early since you can fold for orbits upon orbits without seriously handicapping yourselves. The other school of thought proposes that it is when blinds are low relative to stacks that you can play more hands, provided that you can control pot size so that you are not risking much of your stack unless a situation is extremely strong.

So, I ask thee, Which is True:

Statement A: In a deep stack tournament with a reasonable blind structure, it is better to have tight hand selection while the blinds are small relative to your stack.

OR

Statement B: In a deep stack tournament with a reasonable blind structure, it is better to play more hands early, while the blinds are still small relative to your stack.

If you have a thought, chime in. If you don't have a thought, you clearly are not thinking hard enough. Hell, even if someone has already posted your thoughts, still chime in, because, well, I'm sure that person could use your support.

Oh, and feel free to add qualifiers to your comment. I don't mind "It depends..." but "It depends..." is a lot more effective if you can explain on what it depends.

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 5:26 PM, , links to this post




Changing Things Up

Things have been changing for good ole J-bird's online play lately. I've re-entered the world of NLHE cash games, dipping my big toe in the guppy-infested waters at Bodog. Naturally, I'm still playing with an unhealthy portion of my bankroll, but I am still playing in lower stakes than usual and I keep enough of my bankroll in reserve in case I lose a buy-in.

It's an interesting proposition, re-entering the world of online NLHE cash games. Bodog is a great place to start, given the horrible play there. Even so, I have been mostly playing $50 max and leaving the table up $10-20, as opposed to several buy-ins. The key to my re-entry has been patience in the early-goings. Once I identify the donks, I can loosen up a bit, but for the most part, patience has paid off. This is nothing new, but its nice to be able to get back into the game with a 'fresh' start.

The 'freshness' of this new start is predicated on the fact that, generally, I prefer online tournaments to cash games. Live is another story, but online, I find something very satisfying about playing SNGs and mid-sized MTTs. No 1000 player MTTs for me, though. As much as it may seem like fun to win 500x your buy-in, the bare fact is that I cannot find the time or patience to play online poker for 5+ hours at a stretch.

Meanwhile, I've made a conscious decision regarding the blogger tournaments. My new favorite is the Bodonkey for obvious reasons.

I cashed again in the Bodonkey tournament two nights ago, taking 4th place and some small amount of money. Interestingly, I've played this tournament maybe three times so far, and I've cashed twice. It's nothing particularly special. This week, I happened to have been dealt great cards and used them and my image to my advantage. But the prize is fantastic. As I've said, it's only a "small amount of money" for fourth place, but the real value-added is the T$109 given to the top five players. In a very real way, I see this tournament as just another token race. My play this week did not reflect that, since I was able to accumulate a big chip lead relatively early (I think I busted Chadwith my AA to his KK and then never looked back), but once I make it to one of the top 5 spots, I consider it almost equivalent to winning the tournament. Granted, I just did the math, and the difference between 4th place and 1st is $100, approximately the same difference as between 6th (the bubble) and cashing, but there is some odd satisfaction I get knowing that I am able to earn a piece of that juicy overlay.

Also, congratulations are in order for lightning36 for winning the Bodonkey for the 4th time, and Peaker for making a stellar comeback from T65 at the final table to 2nd place.

On the other hand, last night after a long drive home from Binghamton, I decided that it would be foolish to play in the Mookie. I got nothing but love for Mook, himself, and lately I cannot get enough of blogger poker tournaments, but I think I might have to retire from the Mookie. Plain and simple, the Deep Stack structure, larger field, and quality of blogger play leads to a tourney that can last easily past 1am, EST. Last week, this caused me to make a poor play with AK because of the encroaching 1am hour. Jordan needs his beauty sleep, damnit!

The Hoy, on the other hand, will stay on my short list of favorite tournaments. The 6-max structure makes for a quicker-paced game more suited for my style, and for some reason, the crowds are thinner (the buy-in, perhaps?). Whatever the case, I love the Hoy, and I'm still holding the #3 spot on the leaderboard after a whopping 4 weeks, so I've got that goal for me too.

That's all for today, look for me to not be at the Riverchasers tournament later tonight or, for that matter, for the next 7 weeks or so, as I will be tied to the TV watching Lost. Oh, and for those Lost fans out there, let me offer some sage wisdom. I am way too informed about entertainment news, so let me warn you well in advance that you will probably feel disappointed after the 8-episode half-season is over. Unlike Heroes, who were able to adjust their plotting (for better or worse) to respond to the writers' strike, the folks at Lost didn't change a thing. Naturally, in any show like Lost, the second half of the season has most of the payoff. So, while we may all wish that we were watching 8 episodes of amazing revelations, the reality is that we are going to be watching 8 episodes that set up the amazing revelations that we should end up seeing sometime in 2009. That's not to say that you shouldn't watch; you should. Even though the show got a bit shitty in the beginning of seasons 3, the finale with the flash-forward really reinvigorated the show. Also, look for tonight's episode to have more flash-forward goodness.

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 2:20 PM, , links to this post




Post Clearinghouse - More Razz Hands

Hey folks. I'm still swamped with work. At 2:30 today, I am leaving the office to drive up to Binghamton, NY, a good 3 hours north of NYC. Early tomorrow morning, I have a telephone conference with a NJ Court and then two Binghamton depositions. Then I get to drive home, just in time for two more depositions, both in NJ, on Thursday and Friday. But this weekend, I'm heading to Mexico with wifey Kim, so that's the only part I am focusing on when I start to think about the amount of things planned this week. It helps that I spent a lot of time this weekend gearing up for the week.

I wanted to write about my three recent sessions, but I'll give you the CliffNotes version:

I Had Outs Tournament of Champions- I was amongst the players who were allowed to rebuy 2x, thanks to my January & September success at the IHO tournaments. I used both rebuys and busted within 2 hours. Simply put, I just didn't play well.

Wall Street Game .50/1 NL- I won $160, for probably one of the biggest wins at the table. I did not get a single hand better than AJo, including not one single pocket pair. But I was patient, for the most part, and picked my spots well against particular players. This is how poker is supposed to be played.

The Hoy- I played way too many hands and basically threw a party at my table. Even so, I made some good plays as a shortie. Still, my bad plays vastly overwhelmed my good ones.

Simply put, I was not playing well at the IHO or Hoy game. I cannot even say why, but inebriation is a leading candidate, together with work-related stress. In the end though, it's all me.

Moving along, I have a couple of half-written posts, so I might as well use what useful content I have. The two best posts are merely hand histories of Razz hands, but since this has been a Razz-heavy blog lately, I might as well go through them with you.

This first hand is from the Riverchasers Razz tournament last week. Watch as I use the Force to influence my opponent. Please, do NOT try this at home:

Full Tilt Poker Game #4985196909: Riverchasers Online Tour (35814778), Table 2 - 600/1200 Ante 100 - Limit Razz - 23:29:49 ET - 2008/01/24
Seat 2: schlepp571 (16,413)
Seat 3: MoonShadow58 (7,954)
Seat 4: snakster (2,271)
Seat 5: Meltdown (7,258)
Seat 6: MrEvol217 (12,105)
Seat 7: HighOnPoker (8,130) <-- Sporting a decent stack thanks to my super secret Razz strategy.
Seat 8: dhump3 (8,224)
All Players ante 100 (700 total)

*** 3RD STREET ***
Dealt to schlepp571 [8d]
Dealt to MoonShadow58 [2c]
Dealt to snakster [Js]
Dealt to Meltdown [7h]
Dealt to MrEvol217 [2d]
Dealt to HighOnPoker [2h 4s] [3c] <-- Not a bad start.
Dealt to dhump3 [3s]
snakster is high with [Js]
snakster brings in for 200
Meltdown calls 200
MrEvol217 folds
HighOnPoker completes it to 600 <-- Easy complete.
dhump3 calls 600
schlepp571 folds
MoonShadow58 calls 600
snakster raises to 1,200
Meltdown raises to 1,800
HighOnPoker raises to 2,400 <-- Might as well cap. I have a great hand, and I want people to know it, so hopefully someone will fold.
dhump3 has 15 seconds left to act
dhump3 calls 1,800
MoonShadow58 folds <-- One folder, but the other three call. Snakster is all-in.
snakster calls 971, and is all in
Meltdown calls 600

*** 4TH STREET ***
Dealt to snakster [Js] [Qh]
Dealt to Meltdown [7h] [Qd]
Dealt to HighOnPoker [2h 4s 3c] [9c] <-- This is laughable. It's an ideal situation. I may only have a 9, but my three competitors have bricked with Queens or a pair
Dealt to dhump3 [3s] [3h]
HighOnPoker bets 600 <-- I still want to be aggressive to knock out some of the players.
dhump3 has 15 seconds left to act
dhump3 folds
Meltdown calls 600 <-- One caller, with a Q7, besides the all-in player, who we can now ignore.

*** 5TH STREET ***
Dealt to snakster [Js Qh] [Qc] <-- See? I told you we could ignore him.
Dealt to Meltdown [7h Qd] [4d]
Dealt to HighOnPoker [2h 4s 3c 9c] [Jh] <-- Not an ideal situation. This is why I wanted to thin the herd earlier. I now have a J9 low, compared to Meltdown's likely Q7 low. I can assume he has two low cards underneath because of the preflop re-raising.
HighOnPoker bets 1,200 <-- I bet out, hoping that Meltdown paired his 4.
Meltdown raises to 2,400 <-- He raises, but I know I am still presently ahead, so...
HighOnPoker calls 1,200 <-- I am willing to call at this point. I'm still ahead and the pot is huge.

*** 6TH STREET ***
Dealt to snakster [Js Qh Qc] [9h]
Dealt to Meltdown [7h Qd 4d] [7d] <-- Bingo!
Dealt to HighOnPoker [2h 4s 3c 9c Jh] [Ah] <-- Bango! He bricks, and I hit a great card. I am still hoping to force a fold. A 9-high is okay, but he could very well be drawing to a 7-high, based on his prior action.
HighOnPoker bets 1,200 <-- I bet to force the fold or pump the pot. Either way is fine since I am ahead.
Meltdown has 15 seconds left to act
HighOnPoker: just fold <-- I prefer a fold. So I concentrate my energy and use some Obi Wan magic.
Meltdown folds <-- The Force is strong with this one.
HighOnPoker shows [2h 4s 3c 9c Jh Ah]
snakster shows [4c 3d Js Qh Qc 9h]
Uncalled bet of 1,200 returned to HighOnPoker

*** 7TH STREET ***
Dealt to snakster [4c 3d Js Qh Qc 9h] [9s]
Dealt to HighOnPoker [2h 4s 3c 9c Jh Ah] [Kc] <-- And I DO brick on the river. All is well in the world!

This next hand is a fun one, mostly because it harkens back to the ole "Never play a Queen in Razz" argument:

Full Tilt Poker Game #4985289336: Riverchasers Online Tour (35814778), Table 2 - 800/1600 Ante 150 - Limit Razz - 23:37:46 ET - 2008/01/24
Seat 1: pokerpeaker (15,646)
Seat 2: schlepp571 (25,237)
Seat 3: MoonShadow58 (11,762)
Seat 6: MrEvol217 (7,305)
Seat 7: HighOnPoker (19,701) <-- Not a bad stack...
Five players ante 150 (750 total)

*** 3RD STREET ***
Dealt to pokerpeaker [Jc]
Dealt to schlepp571 [9c]
Dealt to MoonShadow58 [Tc]
Dealt to MrEvol217 [5c]
Dealt to HighOnPoker [Ah 2d] [Qd] <-- Terrible Queen, but the other cards are perfect.
HighOnPoker is high with [Qd]
HighOnPoker brings in for 250 <-- Forced bring-in.
Three folders.
MrEvol217 completes it to 800 <-- One player completes. He is the last player to act, so its a good chance that he is doing a typical steal with his 5 showing.
HighOnPoker: here comes the Jordan <-- I announce my intention and then call. It's a gutsy and frankly stupid play, but I am sitting on perfect hidden cards, whereas he is likely on a steal, and I have mucho chips, so I can afford to call/fold. The comment is made to underscore the stupidity of the play. I want my opponent to underestimate me.
HighOnPoker calls 550

*** 4TH STREET ***
Dealt to MrEvol217 [5c] [Qs] <-- Suddenly we are on equal footing with Queens showing...
Dealt to HighOnPoker [Ah 2d Qd] [7d] <-- And I hit a good card.
MrEvol217 bets 800 <-- He bets, naturally/ HighOnPoker: touche <-- I make a snide remark to induce a call. I seriously don't expect much from him in this hand, and considering that we are now on near-equal footing, I want to start sowing the seeds of doubt. HighOnPoker raises to 1,600 MrEvol217 raises to 2,400 HighOnPoker raises to 3,200 <-- We get into a raising war, but I like the momentum of this hand, so I want to keep it going. He is fairly short, so it looks like he will end up all-in anyway.
MrEvol217 calls 800

*** 5TH STREET ***
Dealt to MrEvol217 [5c Qs] [9h]
Dealt to HighOnPoker [Ah 2d Qd 7d] [4h]
HighOnPoker bets 1,600 <-- Fantastic card for me, and now I am definitely ahead of his Q9. I bet out, since I know he is getting all-in no matter what.
MrEvol217 calls 1,600 <-- Meek call is just stupid. He may as well push there. It isn't like he is going to keep his 1555 behind.

*** 6TH STREET ***
Dealt to MrEvol217 [5c Qs 9h] [6h]
Dealt to HighOnPoker [Ah 2d Qd 7d 4h] [8h] <-- SWEET! A nice 87 works for me, especially in this hand.
HighOnPoker bets 1,600
MrEvol217 calls 1,555, and is all in <-- See? I told you he was getting all-in no matter what.
HighOnPoker shows [Ah 2d Qd 7d 4h 8h]
MrEvol217 shows [Ad Jh 5c Qs 9h 6h] <-- I was correct. He started with a Jack underneath. Even though his J5A starting hand is better than my Q2A, I consider royalty to be all the same in Razz. Realistically, I am never hoping to beat another player in a signficant pot by having a lower royal card (for example, my Jack high beats their King high). Sometimes hands develop that way, but in the earlygoings, I consider those royalty cards essentially blanks.
HighOnPoker: another fine hand history! <-- Yes, yes it is.
Uncalled bet of 45 returned to HighOnPoker

*** 7TH STREET ***
Dealt to MrEvol217 [Ad Jh 5c Qs 9h 6h] [2h]
Dealt to HighOnPoker [Ah 2d Qd 7d 4h 8h] [Kd]
HighOnPoker shows [Ah 2d Qd 7d 4h 8h Kd] 8,7,4,2,A
MrEvol217 shows [Ad Jh 5c Qs 9h 6h 2h] 9,6,5,2,A
HighOnPoker wins the pot (15,060) with 8,7,4,2,A
MrEvol217 stands up

Maybe playing a Queen doorcard isn't such a sin after all. I do remind everyone that tournament Razz and cash Razz are very different games. In a cash game, I fold immediately after the completion. But in a tournament, players are more likely to be on a steal, particularly at the higher ante levels. In comparison, cash games have static antes and I usually play fairly deep.

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 12:42 PM, , links to this post




Heads Up Challenge IIIIII

Hey y'all! How's everyone doing today? Yeah. Me, not so great. Busy as shit, I've got a slew of things to do over the next two weeks. Every once in a while the planets will allign, and I'll have about 4 cases coming to head at the same time. Well, get in line Uranus, cause I'm buried.

Unfortuantely, when I get like this, my mood turns to shit. I'm pretty much a chick on PMS, snapping at inappropriate targets and craving chocolate. Just to be safe, I stuck a Kotex pad in my drawers. I may not have a bleeding axe wound, but at least it allows me to work and urinate at the same time. Super absorbant!

In my PMS'y mood, I decided to play the Mookie last night. I may be in a state of mental and emotional turmoil, but my poker game was dead on until about 5 minutes before the last hand. By then, we were down to a 3 or so tables, and I was at an above-average stack. I looked over at the clock and realized it was 12:30am. I had to come to work early this morning and early the morning before, so I was exhausted AND I wouldn't be getting a full night's sleep anyway. When I saw the clock and the amount of players, my heart sank. I just couldn't do it. I always advocate that you should not enter a tournament you cannot finish, but I just assumed that the Mook would be done in under 4 hours.

With a sense of anxiety, I continued to play, doing the math in my head about the probable amount of sleep I would get if I play the entire tournament. And then I found my out. With AKo, I decided to raise. Before I could do that, though, another player raised to about 1,300, which was probably around pot. I decided to push all-in over the top for about 9k total. He called with KK, and I lost. I felt a simultaneous feeling of relief and disappointment: relief, in that I didn't have to worry about staying up; disappointment in that I really felt like I was playing well. But playing well doesn't count for shit if you are going to blow up near the end. I took my consolation prize, namely, my bed, and called it a night.

Today has been manic, but coming into the later hours, I'm back on track. I'll be working this weekend, but they'll also be a lot of poker. Saturday night is the I Had Outs Tournament of Champions! Amazingly, I am one of the few players to win multiple events in the monthly tournament series, so I have a slight advantage, an extra rebuy or two (I have to see how often I cashed). The next day, I have brunch for my pop's birthday, followed by cash games at the Wall Street Game. I may be unable to win at the WSG, but I love the company...even if I have to pay for it.

Before I go, I'd like to announce something near and dear to my heart. Many moons ago, I held the Heads-Up Challenge amongst eight or so bloggers as a means to get more HU experience and have some fun. In its last incarnation, HUC5, Fuel55 took over the helm and raised the stakes to a $30 buy-in. This year, RecessRampage has been duped into being the Commissioner, so head on over to his site or the HUC blog to get more details. Here is a bare-bones explanation of how it will work.

You send $30 to RecessRampage. RecessRampage prepares brackets. You have 5 days to arrange and play your bracket competitor. I believe each round will be Best of 3 or Best of 5 or something similar. You can choose whatever stakes you want for the bracket matches, as long as you defer to the cheaper of the two players. It's about the HU poker, not the HU stakes. Once you have completed your bracket, the other guy will email RR telling RR that he won, since you lost because you suck. Or hey, maybe you suckout enough and you win, in which case, you email RR. Once the first round is done, the second round will be set up and played within x amount of days. And so on. Top spots get part of the prizepool made up of the $30 entry fees. Winner gets to claim that he is the best poker player ever because he beat a bunch of hack writers in a sloppy HU tournament. Sounds good? Now get transfering.

Until next time, make mine poker!

***** This post sponsored by the fine folks at the GNUF poker room. *****

posted by Jordan @ 4:52 PM, , links to this post




Perspective

Last night, I took a hand from Fuel with my KQh vs. his JJ. Preflop, he raised from the button. I think I flat called. The flop was Queen-high. I checked. He checked. The turn was a blank. I bet out, he called. The river was another blank. I bet out big again and he called again. (These details were originally wrong, very wrong, but have since been corrected. That said, you'll see that its ultimately unimportant).

After the hand, Fuel said, "I was 85% to win."

I thought, you crazy?! and wrote, "Since when is JJ v KQ an 85/15 situation. Last I heard, it was almost 50/50."

He answered, and I paraphrase, "Based on your range of hands, the chance that you were ahead on the flop was only 15%."

And he is probably right. And I am right too. I guess it's all about perspective.

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 5:20 PM, , links to this post




I Win, 4dBird Wins

I placed 2nd in the Hoy last night, making it my second Hoy cash of the year. After my first one, I secretly resolved to try my hardest to make it to the top the leader board, at least for a little while. I'm a little bit closer, having moved to the #2 spot, with Surflexus taking top honors. Congrats to Surf, by the way, for besting me last night. He played exceptionally well, but that's nothing new for ole Surfy.

But lets be honest. You aren't here for my self-praise or even my Surflexus-praise. You are here to see if you won my "$11 for Your Dirty Thoughts" contest. Let's recap the answers, before I give the winner.

Here's the setup. A coworker had a bachelor party at the Penthouse Club, a strip club in NYC. First, the party had dinner at the Club's steakhouse. The entire time this conversation was happening, I was thinking of wiseass comments about a steakhouse in a strip club, so I invited you to join me. The entries are:

And the winner is:
I gave 4dbirds the win for the clever play on words. Congrats, 4dbirds. Now leave me a comment or an email (you can use the tab up top) with your FT screenname and that $11 is on its way.

Now that I've lost those ten readers, the rest of us can move on. I played a hand last night that left me wondering if I left money on the table. My personal thought is that my river call (instead of raise) was the correct play, but I'd like to hear your two pesos.

Here's the setup. We are playing the 6-handed Hoy. There are 5 players at our table. I'm sitting pretty with over 7200 at the 100/200 level. In the BB, I'm dealt 34o. LifesAGrind, in the SB with almost 8k, calls. I check.

The flop is 7s 4d 9d. I have hit bottom pair, shitty kicker. LAG bets 400 and I call. Do your best not to be too distracted from this call. Whether it makes sense or not is not the intended goal of this exercise. What's important is what comes next.

The turn is a 4c, giving me three of a kind. LAG bets the pot, 1200. Rather than raise, I call quickly. My goal is to keep him betting. I've said this many times before, but I sincerely believe that there are opportunities for psychological warfare in online poker, and one of those is based on the fact that people often continue doing what they did last. It's the law of inertia. So if I call quick, I can probably get another quick bet. For all intents and purposes, I think I am ahead. Admittedly, though, my passive play has left me with minimal information.

The river is a 6s. The card may make straights, but it doesn't make any obvious straights. It also doesn't bring a flush. So, once again, I think I am ahead, but I don't know 100%. LAG bets pot again, 3600, and I opt to flat call. He shows 87o, and I take down the pot.

So, should I have raised on the end? I don't think so, but others seemed to disagree. After the 3600 raise, LAG only had 2500 behind. That meant I had around 1700. If I push, I am putting my tournament life on the line, whereas, if I just call, I may still win the nicely sized pot AND I'm protecting myself from busting. I personally feel confident that I can make a comeback from 1700 chips, so why take a chacne at this point. If I check and call, I win a pot of 10,800. Will an extra 1700 really make a difference?

So, do your best to ignore some of the earlier play in the hand, other than as reference for that river situation. Do you push there?

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 11:37 PM, , links to this post




Contest: $11 for Your Dirty Thoughts

A coworker and I were chatting about our weekends when my boss overheard the conversation. At the time, my coworker was telling me about the bachelor party he attended at the Penthouse Club in NYC. The high-class strip club features a highly-regarded steakhouse. He was talking about the large amount of money needed and my boss pops in, "Talking about casinos?" He knows me too well. My coworker explained what we were actually discussing, and while the conversation between the three of us continued, I thought of a bunch of offcolor comments that I just could not make in a work setting. But I can make them here. So, here goes the littany of comments I thought of but couldn't say. If you can think of some more, feel free to add. In fact, the best one gets $11 to enter a Mookie of their choice! In fact, I'll add them to my list as the day wares on. Three participants minimum for the contest to go into effect. Maximum five entries per person.

Get crackin'.

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 12:50 PM, , links to this post




Random Legal-Poker Thought

If online poker was legalized in the United States, cheaters could be prosecuted under federal or state law and could serve jail time for multi-accounting, colluding and other forms of online cheating.

I wonder how that would change online poker. Right now, if you are caught cheating, the worst case scenario is that your name gets posted all over 2+2, you get banned from that poker site (and perhaps one more), and possibly you get banned from live tournaments sponsored by online sites. In other words, you merely have to go to a different online poker site, open up a new account with the old site, and choose your live tournaments a bit more carefully. Compare that with prison rape...you see where this is going.

posted by Jordan @ 11:50 AM, , links to this post




Woffles in a Jordan Suit

You might remember last week when I wrote about playing a Razz hand against Woffles where my door card was a Queen, I made the bring-in, Woffles completed, another player called, and I called because I had two low cards and I liked the pot odds. I won the hand and Woffles posted about how much of a donkey I am on four different sites. From the Razz blog, Brickin the Nutz, Woffles had this to say:

"
Anyways please do not follow Jordon's donkish play and call raises with Queen door cards. That one time it actually works out and your opponent bricks 5 times will NOT pay for all the times you lose. You will lose this hand almost every time."

Hmm....good advice Woffles. Don't follow my donkish play and call raises with Queen door cards. If you do, you are sure to look like a hypocrit asshole. Don't believe me? Well, observe:

Full Tilt Poker Game #4911003132: SLB159's Umbilical KORD (35901129), Table 1 - 120/240 Ante 20 - Limit Razz - 22:12:28 ET - 2008/01/18
Seat 2: pushmonkey72 (1,951)
Seat 4: slb159 (5), is sitting out
Seat 5: SirFWALGMan (2,982)
Seat 6: InstantTragedy (4,415)
Seat 7: XGod_Of_WarX (59)
Everyone antes 20; slb159 antes 5 and is all in
*** 3RD STREET ***
Dealt to slb159 [Ks]
Dealt to SirFWALGMan [Qd]
Dealt to InstantTragedy [6d]
Dealt to XGod_Of_WarX [2d]
SirFWALGMan calls 40 (the bring in)
InstantTragedy completes it to 120
XGod_Of_WarX calls 39, and is all in

SirFWALGMan calls 80 <-- doushebag hypocrit? The proof is in the hand history.
*** 4TH STREET ***
Dealt to slb159 [Ks] [3s]
Dealt to SirFWALGMan [Qd] [Qh] <-- dealt a terrible brick.
Dealt to InstantTragedy [6d] [Kc]
Dealt to XGod_Of_WarX [2d] [7d]
SirFWALGMan checks
InstantTragedy bets 120
SirFWALGMan calls 120 <-- but that doesn't slow down our Woffles!
*** 5TH STREET ***
Dealt to slb159 [Ks 3s] [4c]

Dealt to SirFWALGMan [Qd Qh] [2h] <-- finally that 2 to make a stron Queen-high draw (assuming two low cards that are not 2 in the hole).
Dealt to InstantTragedy [6d Kc] [Th]
Dealt to XGod_Of_WarX [2d 7d] [Qc]
SirFWALGMan checks
InstantTragedy checks
Instant Tragedy: *** 6TH STREET ***
Dealt to slb159 [Ks 3s 4c] [9d]
Dealt to SirFWALGMan [Qd Qh 2h] [Ac] <-- Woffle's strategy finally pays off. Says Woffles, "I love playing runner-runner draws!"
Dealt to InstantTragedy [6d Kc Th] [Td]
Dealt to XGod_Of_WarX [2d 7d Qc] [Jd]
SirFWALGMan bets 240
InstantTragedy calls 240
Instant Tragedy: *** 7TH STREET ***
SirFWALGMan bets 240 <-- Woffles hits perfect, going runner runner.
InstantTragedy calls 240
SirFWALGMan: a2357
*** SHOW DOWN ***
SirFWALGMan shows [7s 5h Qd Qh 2h Ac 3c] 7,5,3,2,A <-- And then he has the nerve to win?!
SirFWALGMan wins the main pot (40) with 7,5,3,2,A (I accidentally erased the line where he wins the main pot, worth approximately 1,600.)

Remember, folks, "...please do not follow [Woffle's] donkish play and call raises with Queen door cards. That one time it actually works out and your opponent bricks 5 times will NOT pay for all the times you lose. You will lose this hand almost every time."

And, for the record, Woffles increased his stack by more than 50% with this play. I'm proud to have him as my protege.

A special thanks to Instant Tragedy for making this post possible.

Stay tuned for a post later today on opportunities to be found in non-hold'em tournaments.

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 10:57 PM, , links to this post




Outside the Box

One of the perks of having a blog is the ability to revisit old posts. Last night, I returned for the second time to the Lawyers' Game, a homegame in midtown. I was first introduced to the game by Matty Ebs in January 2007. You can read that post HERE. A year later, Matty Ebs asked me if I were interested. Considering that I won the tourney on the first occasion (and I'm a degenerate) how could I say no.

When I introduced Matty Ebs to the SoxLover game (may his blog Rest in Peace) and later the Wall Street Game, I did so because I knew that Matty could handle himself. He is a fun guy at the poker table and he knows how to play. I also initially introduced LJ to the Wall Street Game a while ago. So, it was a great surprise to discover that Matty Ebs had not just invited me to the Lawyers' Game, but invited LJ and Wendy (a WSG regular) as well. It's always nice when Worlds Collide and it doesn't end up in the loss of independent George.


Ebs and I met up at a local pizza place before the game. We shot the shit while waiting for LJ and Wendy to arrive. Once we were all set, we moseyed to the apartment, where another guest was wandering aimlessly in the hallway. The host was not home yet, so we waited idly for 5 minutes before he appeared.

The game was scheduled for 8:15. It started around 9pm. I hate that shit. People were strolling in slowly, so instead of sitting there anxiously awaiting the poker, I dealt out some Chinese Poker with Ebs, LJ and Wendy. LJ and Wendy were quick students. Wendy also taught us a game called Israeli Poker. Basically, it's a heads up game, where both players start with five face-up cards. Then, one player, designated the Palestinian, takes a card and then suicide-bombs a busload of civilians. The other player, dubbed the Israeli, then issues a crackdown on the people who funded and supported the initial Palestinian. Then all onlookers choose sides and its continues in perpetuity. Or something like that.

Once the game got started, all was well. I doubled up on an early hand because the player to my immediate left was an aggro push-monkey. He was shocked that I checked-called all-in with trips and a straight draw, instead of pushing. "Why didn't you push all-in?," he asked. "I wanted you to do the work for me." Amazingly, he didn't understand this most basic of plays.

I felted him a few hands later when my 37d in the SB flopped bottom pair of 7s, turned a flush draw, and rivered the flush.

Meanwhile, LJ, the only other member of our crew at my table, was running over the table. She was lucky in some instances, flopping two pair with garbage hands, but the key to her success was her ability to get paid off. Make no doubt about it, getting good cards or flops is important, but getting maximum value is just as important, if not moreso.

By the time the tables combined, my early success was just an old, faded memory. I was fairly short, as was half of the table. The other half were nicely stacked, with Matty Ebs and LJ as the obvious chip leaders.

An interesting hand occurred which led to a lot of table talk about which play was optimal. I will relay the hand here, as best I am able.

In EP, the very loose Matty Ebs raised. LJ thought for a while and called. Another player pushed all-in for 2800 more. Ebs called, leaving him over 5k behind. LJ thought for a while and then pushed all-in for probably 3k+ more. Ebs considered what to do before ultimately folding JJ face-up. LJ tabled TT. The all-in player tabled KK. The KK held up and he took down the pot. If Ebs had called, he would've beat LJ for the side pot but lost the main pot.

People seemed to dislike LJ's shove, but I think it is another example of people failing to think outside of the box. In this case, the proverbial "box" states that you shouldn't push another player out by betting into a dry side pot if another player is all-in. Well, that may be fine if you are playing for the points, but I don't think it is a universal truth in all instances.

In this particular instance, I liked LJ's push. Allow me to explain:

Ebs is a known loose player, so his initial raise does not necessarily mean strength. LJ decides to call at that point with her TT. The other player pushes and Ebs very reluctantly called. It looked like he was having a hard time deciding what to do. Now, we know it was because he was considering a push himself (a move I think was necessary, by the way). Once it's back to LJ, a push makes sense.

First off, you want to win the pot, not just knock out the shortstack. By winning, she'd be in great position to dominate the table, so if she can push Ebs out, that's fine. All indications suggested he was going to fold, so that is more impetus to push. If LJ had a drawing hand, like AK, I would understand a flat call because you want more players in the hand to get value in case you hit. But TT is already a made hand and its unlikely to improve, so push out Ebs while you can.

Second, Matty may call with an inferior hand. If that is the case, you can lose that main pot to the shortie and still win enough chips from Matty not to feel it. So, if Matty decides to call with overcards and misses (AJ-AK), then even if the all-in shortie has AA, LJ has a layer of protection. Matty may also call with dominated hands like 66-99, leading to an even better result.

This was one of those situations where LJ was willing to make an aggressive play and put the decision on her competitor, Ebs. Frankly, Ebs made a smart fold too at that point, since he left himself with a good stack (5k was still a big stack) and he correctly feared that LJ could be playing AQ, AK, or QQ-AA. As it turned out, LJ had the only hand that would possibly push there and be behind Matty (i.e., the TT), so the results weren't optimal; but his decision making was dead-on.

Whatever the case, it amazed me how people didn't seem to get the play. Maybe its my over-aggressive nature, but I liked LJ's push. But hey, what do I know. I was out two hands later when my QQ ran into LJ's AA preflop.

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 11:15 AM, , links to this post




Keepin' it Razz!

Since the Razz Skillz Game, I've been thinking about the nature of Razz. I used to play a lot more, generally the limit cash games at Full Tilt. For a while, I'd play $8/16, until I realized that I was playing way above my bankroll. When I first started playing at that level, I simply played it because I felt like I had an edge. I'm a relatively smart guy, I played a relatively tight game, and there were always a few people at the table who played relatively HORRIBLY. It was a boon at first, but after a brick-heavy session netted me a $300+ loss in one session, I had to curb the stakes due to the reality that my roll couldn't handle the swings.

After a while, I just sorta abandoned Razz, mostly because the players were catching up and the UIGEA saw me withdraw most of my online bankroll. Playing in the Skillz Game and reading the compendium blog, Brickin the Nutz, though, has got me thinking about the game again, and while I doubt I will be playing it with any regularity, there is one topic that is at the forefront of my mind.

Razz is not a tournament game. Plain and simple. NLHE is a tournament game. PLO is a tournament game. The limit variations of either of those games are decent tournament games. But Razz just doesn't work the same way.

Without a doubt, Razz takes less skill the Stud Hi or Stud Hi/Lo. In both of those games, players can gain an advantage by remembering the cards that were already dealt out. Not only must players remember cards of all ranks, but they also must remember suit, since flushes are in play. In Razz, all you need to remember is the low cards. For a very skilled Razz player, this means remembering how many As, 2s, 3s....to 8s are out. There is no need to discern between the Ace of Spades and the Ace of Hearts because flushes do not matter. There is no need to discern between Kings and Jacks because those are usually irrelevant at showdown (if Kings play, then you have a very interesting game going). So, the amount of memory and edge attainable through paying attention is significantly reduced.

So, immediately, we can agree that Razz requires less memorization and concentration than do some of the other Stud variants. Likewise, the tells one can pick out from betting patterns are greatly reduced from any NL or PL game. That is pure logic. If you cannot vary your bet sizing, then there is less ability to discern what a bet means.

So far, we've established that (a) there is less edge for players with good memory in Razz, and (b) there is less edge for players who rely on tells.

Really, all you can do in Razz (at this level of play) is pick up on who knows how to play (i.e., tighter players who play 8 or lower starting hands...and sometimes 7 or lower only), and who doesn't know how to play. After that, you can get a basic idea about your opponents and play accordingly. In contrast, there is a lot more you can tell about someone in a NL or PL game. For instance, in Razz, a player might bet each opportunity when they are in a hand. This means they are either loose or only play premium hands to start. You may reach showdown and get a feel for this player, but you won't get too much in the way of details, especially since FT and Stars mixes up the hole cards at showdown. In contrast, if a player bets every step of the way in a NL or PL game, you will get more information based on bet sizing. Beyond knowledge in a particular hand, you will learn that a certain player likes to push all-in (push monkey) or bets small (small pot poker). In either instance, you are learning some important details about the player, details that are unavailable generally in Razz.

With little with which to form reads other than Razz donkey vs. Razz player (with some room for Razz pro, I suppose), the majority of decisions are going to be based on the cards themselves.The cards themselves is little more than luck. If you constantly brick, you will lose, regardless of your amazing skills, because most of your bricks are face-up. Everyone can see that you keep getting Royalty or that your board paired. You may be able to exploit situations where your board pairs with your hole cards, but that is the only deception in that sort of situation (i.e., when you hit tons of bricks). In NLHE, though, the cards independent to you are all face-down. You can use that lack of information to your advantage in a lot more ways than you can use those 2 face-down cards at the start of a Razz hand.

It seems like I am slamming Razz, since I personally believe that it is very luck-based. But that isn't necessarily the truth. I do believe that Razz is highly luck-dependent, moreso than some of the aforementioned games, but it can be a very profitable game to play in a cash format. Simply put, if you play smart, luck will even out and you will make some money. It may take a while, and I guarantee that Razz is a high variance game, but you can make money playing Razz. Unfortunately, I just don't think that this translates to tournaments.

Why doesn't the luck-heavy Razz translate to tournament play? The answer is in escalating blinds. Each individual Razz tournament is just too dependent on luck. Collectively, you might be able to argue that it will eventually even out; but unlike the Razz cash games, it may take a lot longer, since the you don't just need to get lucky to turn around a bad run of Razz tourneys; you have to get lucky at the end of the tournaments without getting too unlucky in the early goings.

Usually, by the end of these tournaments, each player is playing fairly shortstacked. At this point, it really becomes a push fest, since players become committed to playing the whole way after a few bets. In other words, the ends of these tournaments are really just luck playing itself out. You don't control your fate in Razz the same way you do in other games because those X Factors, like reads on opponents, bluffs, information gathering during hands, is significantly reduced.

This is all spur of the moment theory, but I do have to add one caveat. Advanced players may have more advantages in a Razz tournament than was mentioned here. However, I would argue that even the guys at Brickin the Nutz have only scratched the surface of Razz. In fact, I don't think any poker blogger that I am aware of could profess to be a Razz pro. So, perhaps there is some higher level thinking that comes with playing Razz for years in a variety of settings. I speak only about online Razz and specifically about online Razz tournaments.

Thoughts?

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 2:51 PM, , links to this post




Handy Plays

I'm running hot!

I played three tournaments last night. The first was the Bodonkey. I haven't really written about it before because I usually couldn't play. I had no fundage on Bodog, but once I worked around that, it's been good times. Truth be told, the Bodog software is as horrible as everyone says and the players are pretty aweful too. But the real reason I love the site is the damn Bodonkey Blogger tournament every Tuesday night. When Bodog first set it up, the tournament offered less than $200 in prizes added by Bodog. I didn't mean to look a gift horse in the mouth, but I felt that the amount was minor compared to what Bodog stood to gain from the patronage of a loyal, poker-addicted group with a wide audience. But lo and behold, Bodog has since changed the format, and there is $600 in freebies added by Bodog each week. Man, I feel like Smokkee, but Bodog has been good to me, so I might as well spread the word on this gem of a tourney. The game is every Tuesday at 9:05 EST, password bodogblogger. T$11 (i.e., an $11 credit that can only be used for tournaments) is given to the top 5 people to bust before the money, and T$109 is given to the top five players in the money.

I also had the opportunity to play the Skill Series last night, hosted by the Skilliest of Them All, Chad. It was a knockout Razz tournament, and I think a few people got to see the wrath of my Razz skills even though I eventually bubbled in 6th out of 40+ people.

The final tournament for the evening was the $75 token frenzy. Same old fold until I get a premium hand strategy, but I fell short this time. Still, its one of the easiest wins around.

Sadly, Bodog's software doesn't allow for easy access to hand histories and I missed some of the hand histories I wanted to keep from the Skillz tournament, but my memory is decent enough to discuss a couple of hands.

My favorite hand of the night had to be against Woffles in the Skillz tournament. He berated me for a good 20 hands after his one, but it was either tongue-in-cheek or he doesn't know as much about Razz as he thinks he does. I was the forced bring-in with a Queen showing and two low cards underneath. They must've been 5 or lower, and likely 4 or lower, but certainly not any bit higher. After the bring-in, Woffles, to my immediate left, raises. He gets one caller to my immediate right. I believe it was a 15 bring-in and maybe a 50 completion. In other words, I had to call 35 to see another card against two players who both apparently had good three-card starting hands. Most people expect to see a Queen to fold, and I'm one of those people. If I see someone calling a raise with a Queen exposed, I think, "Mark!" and start to lick my chops. But in this case, the call was 35 into a 150 or so pot, when antes are accounted for. Those odds aren't horrible, so I opted for the call and figured that I could decide my next move when the fourth street is dealt. Woffles and I were dealt low cards, but the other player paired up or got a King. I think Woffles bet, and now I decided to take one off. Part of the reason was that Woffles' card, whatever it was, looked like it may've paired him, based on his preflop bet and the totality of the circumstances. That possibility, combined with the fact that I now had a nice three-card hand started, led me to call the measely 50 bet. The fifth street brought a King or a pair for Woffles and gave me the fourth card to my low. I believe we both checked here. The sixth street paired one of Woffles exposed cards and paired one of my hidden cards. But by now, the situation looked a lot better for me. I had three low cards showing, and any Razz player would assume that I could only call the 50 completion if I had two low cards in the hole to go with my Queen door card. So, for all intents and purposes, it appeared like I got lucky and hit a low. Meanwhile, any logical Razz player would assume that Woffles started with three low cards, may've paired early, definitely took a brick with the King, and then took another brick when he paired his board. In other words, Woffles had a King-high hand at best, and was likely still drawing to a King-high hand if his fourth street actually paired him. If it didn't pair him, then at the very least, his check on fifth (when he hit the King) suggested he didn't like his hand all that much. If I were in Woffles' situation when that King hit, I would bet out regardless if my other four cards are a strong draw. So, since Woffles checked, I assumed that his hand was even weaker than it appeared. At best, he had to draw and at worst he had no draw at all. So, the only logical move for me was to bet. If he calls, I still have a strong draw. If he folds, easy money. He folded and then berated me for calling with a Queen in the first place.

Yeah, I'm the donkey. Hahahaha!

Another hand developed that made me look a lot smarter than I truly was. There were two shortstacks in Razz, and I started out with an 8-high three card hand. One of them completed and I opted to play, since it was obvious that the shortstack would end up all-in and I was willing to go the whole way with a starting 8-high. Another shortstack had called or raised between me and the initial raiser, so it looked like I was going to get both stacks all-in.

Once I decided that we were all going to end up all-in, I went very passive. One of the most frustrating things about Limit tournaments is when you are a shortstack and just want to push all-in. Obviously, you can't do that, so you have to do it one bet at a time. Usually, your opponent will raise you back and give you that opportunity. But since my hand was shaping up nicely and it was clear that my two opponents were trying to throw themselves onto the sword, I simply called until they were both all-in by sixth street, at which point I already had the hand locked up. After the hand, I got a bunch of "NH" in the chat box, likely because everyone thought that I slowplayed the two shorties. The reality was that I was protecting myself.

Let's assume that it is a given that both players are trying to get all-in. While Razz is a game of imperfect information, there is still a shitload of information to be had. Unlike Hold'em, you and your opponent are not playing the same board. The independent boards offers a lot of room for comparison. Let's assume I started with 35/8 and my opponents had XX/3 and XX/7. They complete and I call. I could raise and allow them to re-raise and get all-in, but if they are going to try to get all-in anyway, why not gather more information first. I call and get a 9 (again, for example) for 35/89. They get a King and an Ace for XX/3K and XX/7A. Now, XX/3K is going to keep pushing, since, for all intents and purposes, this is where he has to make his stand given his shortstack. He probably has two low cards underneath and he is desperate, so he is going to keep trying to get all-in since one brick does not a dungeon make. XX/7A probably will raise also, but at this point, it's still worth it to me to call, since my potential losses are capped by the shorties' stack sizes. Basically, unless I start pairing up or hitting all monarchy, I'm calling the shorties down. In the end, this is essentially what happened. One guy got a King and the other got a low card. I continued to check-call until I had an 87 low. The King guy was behind and the guy who didn't brick actually had a Jack in the hole. I won the pot and looked like I was milking the guys. But the truth is, they were milking themselves and I was just holding the bucket. After all, this allows me that little escape route (I might only save one bet or less) if I end up with an unwinnable situation.

Meanwhile, at the Bodonkey, I had a great hand against lightning36. I was in the BB and blinds were getting high. Lightning, in MP/LP raises, and in the BB, I opt to call with 35d. The flop comes down 773 and I check. Lightning is short, and while I considered betting out with my pair of 3s, I decide to let him do it for me. After all, for all intents and purposes, he cannot think I hit that flop, just as I know that he did not hit it. So, if I check to lightning, it is only logical for him to push with any two cards...unless he has a monster. If he has a high pocket-pair, he is going to bet small or check to try to help me "catch up" enough to call from behind. I.e., if he has AA, why raise all-in there. Just check or bet small and hope that I call and see a turn card that will get me to commit my entire stack. Lightning, naturally, pushed as soon as I checked, and I called after contemplating the action. He shows AQ and I turn another 3 to bust him. After the hand, I got some "good calls." The key to the call, though, was lightning's post-flop action. I was able to see the flop for relatively cheap, and even though I barely hit it, lightning's push told me that he had a weak hand. Plain and simple, his continuation bet was over-aggressive, and it indicated to me that he did not want a call. So, I called. It was a ballsy play on paper since he may've pushed with 44-88 or even 99, but his range warranted the call, since any two high cards are pushing there.

Now, without hand histories, I'm going on memory, so feel free to correct me on any of these hands. But whatever the case, in all of these instances, I was on my game. I was making smart decisions based on the information at hand.

In the end, I bubbled the Token Frenzy and the Skillz tourney. I placed 4th in the Bodonkey for enough money to cover my other two losses, not to mention the T$109 I can't wait to use. Good times!

I've got a busy day ahead of me, so I'm out for now.

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 9:39 AM, , links to this post




Neither Cool nor Cooler

I played in the Hoy last night, hoping to cash in my second Hoy in a row. I didn't. In fact, I was crippled within 20 hands (if I'm not mistaken), in a hand that violates the HoP #1 Rule of Poker (say it with me now):

"If you know that you are behind, fold."

Now, before some of you leave a comment adding "...unless you have pot odds," let's just assume that whenever I use the #1 Rule, I am discussing times when you are statistically behind, taking into account pot odds. Got it? Good. Let's keep moving then.

The hand in question saw me losing almost all of my stack to GCox, preflop all-in in a deepstack tournament where we each had nearly 100x the BB. When the hand was done, I accepted my loss, but I couldn't accept the fact that I violated the #1 Rule. If nothing else, it demonstrates to me that I am not where I should be in poker. This is not a new occurrence. In fact, this very same situation happened months or years ago (I remember the feelings vividly, but the details elude me), and after that instance, I remember thinking, "Never again." I wish I could say the same this time, but it rings hollow. The reality is that it will always be difficult to do the right thing in this instance, but it doesn't stop me from challenging myself to live up to that high standard.

GCox seemed uncharacteristically aggressive in this game, so much so that I was having trouble believing it was GCox behind the helm. He was down to 2505 and I had 2940 when the hand occurred.

We were 5-handed when Cemfredmd limped UTG+1. With KK, I raised to 90 (3x the BB) from the button, with the hope that I would get one other player to see the flop with me. GCox, in the SB, raised to 330. It folded to me and I raised to 930. GCox then pushed all-in. This is the actual text from the FT chat box:

HighOnPoker: really, Gary?
HighOnPoker has 15 seconds left to act
HighOnPoker: I mean, really?
GCox25 has been disconnected
GCox25: yup
GCox25 has reconnected
HighOnPoker calls 1,575
GCox25 shows [Ac As]
HighOnPoker shows [Kd Kc]
*** FLOP *** [Ah 2d Jd]
*** TURN *** [Ah 2d Jd] [3c]
cemfredmd: wow
HighOnPoker: really.
*** RIVER *** [Ah 2d Jd 3c] [5c]
cemfredmd: 4 bets means aces
GCox25: thx bro
GCox25: bad spot
HighOnPoker: where were you 20 seconds ago, cemfred
cemfredmd: sorry.n
HighOnPoker: haha
HighOnPoker: its ok
HighOnPoker: do you think you coulda laid that down
HighOnPoker: i sure as hell wanted to
HighOnPoker: i just couldn't do it

I include the chat for a couple of reasons. The most important is the fact that I knew he had AA, but I still couldn't fold KK. Right now some of you are thinking that it was a cooler, and anyone in my position would have doubled up G. Other think that the call was justified because "you never lay down KK online" or "you never lay down KK in a donkament" or for some, "you never lay down KK preflop." Frankly, I understand all of those viewpoints. But the reality is that I sensed the AA. I even asked him about it, demonstrating that I knew my fate...but I still called anyway.

The second thing worth noting was G's response to the "really?" line of questions. Take another look:

HighOnPoker: I mean, really?
GCox25: yup
HighOnPoker calls 1,575

Now, G and I are buddies, but we do not go soft on each other at poker. I play poker to win, and if I have to do it by felting G, I am more than happy to do so. The same is true vice versa, and I wouldn't have it any other way. But G still fell into a common "tell" both live and online. People will lie to you about all sorts of things when playing poker. But oftentimes, when you ask someone directly about their hand while the hand is in play, they will instinctively answer truthfully. This is even more common with monster hands. In fact, watch any poker broadcast and listen carefully. Even at the level of pros, players sometimes fall into that honesty trap. We are willing to bluff at the pot, but its a whole other thing, psychologically-speaking, to lie to a direct question.

So, not only did the situation (tight GCox puts in the fourth raise all-in) seem to indicate AA, but GCox's chat seemed to indicate AA as well. That's two reasons for me to fold KK here.

Finally, the last thing worth noting is Cemfred's advice:

cemfredmd: 4 bets means aces
HighOnPoker: where were you 20 seconds ago, cemfred
cemfredmd: sorry.
HighOnPoker: haha
HighOnPoker: its ok

I was busting cemfred's chops, but he is correct. The fourth bet often indicates AA. That said, I just cannot accept it as an absolute. I agree that in this situation, the fourth bet indicated AA, but I hate rules that are set in stone. To me, it is thinking like this (i.e., every fourth bet is AA) that limits an individual poker players' abilities. It is the same as the idea that you don't lay down KK preflop in NLHE online games or donkaments. The fourth bet might indicate AA, but it is not always AA. But maybe I'm just splitting hairs.

On a side note, I acted a bit peeved by cemfred's comment, but it really is okay. Donkaments should be the only place where it is appropriate to discuss strategy immediately following a hand. So, thanks cemfred. You made a good point, especially in that hand. But I still say hard-set rules are limiting to a poker player.

ADDENDUM:

I was reading through PoBloS (Poker Blogo Sphere) when I came across a gem of a post from CC. CC asked if anyone could fold to a re-re-re-raise early in an online tournament and then posted a hand history. If you want to read the hand history as it appeared, click on the CC link. Otherwise, I'll provide a quick narrative now.

It was the same Hoy tournament, at the same 15/30 level and the action folded to Hoy in the SB. Hoy raised to 90, and CC, with the hammer (27o) raised to 245. Hoy re-raised to 735, and then, after waiting for the 15-second warning, CC pushed all-in for over 3k. Hoy called with about 2700, and showed TT.

CC's play was definitely bold, but his point is valid. The fourth raise is usually indicative of Aces, so CC was trying to represent Aces. Yet, Hoy called what was 'obviously' Aces with TT. Why, Hoy, why?! I really would like his input on this. It may've been an awfukit play. It may've been that Hoy knew CC was smart enough to make the push-bluff, although admittedly that is a longshot. Most likely, Hoy figured CC for either AK, AQ or perhaps a weak pocket pair, and saw the push as an attempt to push Hoy off of the pot.

Whatever the case, it fits nicely into this discussion because in the CC-Hoy hand, we have an almost identical situation, with a very different result. Did CC shoot himself in the foot? What if he was facing QQ, KK or AA, instead of Hoy's TT? Did Hoy make a bad call, regardless of the outcome? And can you possibly have a different opinion of the Jordan-GCox hand as opposed to the CC-Hoy hand without being entirely results-oriented? I have a lot of questions, but zero answers.

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 10:04 AM, , links to this post




Excess as a Way of Life

In a world of excesses, it can become all too easy to accept excesses as a way of life. As children, we are taught to eat until our plate is clean. As young adults, we are taught to drink until its a party. As adults, we are prescribed medications that are nothing more than legalized versions of speed, downers, and heroine. Those are the legitimized excesses, but its those elicit excesses, like drugs and gambling, that have got me thinking.

I'm in the process of reading Gonzo: The Life of Hunter S. Thompson, a biography of the late, great author put together from interviews of the people who knew him. As a brief synopsis, Thompson was a man of excesses, and largely built his life and carrier around those excesses. By many accounts, he was a brilliant writer as he was gaining popularity writing for Rolling Stone magazine. He also had a unique outlook on journalism, often injecting himself into the story, or at times making himself the story when no story existed. But eventually, his reputation for 3 day benders involving any drink or drug imaginable caught up with him. He was forced (internally as much as by outside forces) to keep up with his reputation as a wildman, and eventually the excesses caused him to be reduced to a writer who couldn't write. He went from a guy who controled everything that was published under his name to a guy who needed other people to arrange the bursts of comprehensive writing put out during his drug/drink haze (sometimes a sentence, other times a couple of paragraphs) into a semblence of a story.

Poker is not without its share of addicts, and, as I am sure you all know, the addictions in poker are not limited to the game itself. Stu Ungar, argued by some to be the best poker player ever (not to mention his legendary Rummy skills) eventually succumbed to his addiction to crack. Countless players, including some in our very ranks, would probably qualify as alcoholics. Others use stimulants to play long hours and then rely on sedatives to bring them down.

I don't have any amazing revelations for you. I just have that burgeoning awareness that eventually, drugs, drinking, poker, and image can all collide into a dangerous cocktail. On a personal note, I do not much fear my own demise by this addiction cocktail. I have always maintained that my anal retentiveness has kept my addictive personality in check, a make-shift balancing of the neuroses. But the harshness of reality makes me take a step back and consider it all.

Can we become a victim of our own image? Could the appearance or reputation of addiction feed upon itself, regardless of its initial veracity? Is there a way to curb the negative influences that come with excess?

As a poker player, and even moreso, as a blogger, I have built an image around myself. I am the crass, devil's advocate of poker bloggers, with a reputation as a poker and action junkie. Does this image necessarily set me up for eventual failure?

To my friends and family, I also have the image of a poker addict. They know about the blog. They see how I talk about the game. Poker is, in many ways, one of the loves of my life, but to the unindoctrinated, it easily appears like I am overboard about it. But does that reputation fuel its own fire? Am I more desperate to play because people expect that of me. When I go to AC with the family, are my late-high sessions (after everyone is asleep) followed by early-morning sessions (while everyone is still asleep) an outgrowth of the expectation that Jordan will play poker, no matter what?! And will that eventually be what marks me forevermore as a poker junkie in certain people's eyes?

This is not a current issue. I am fine, but thank you for imaginarily asking (and for those of you who chose not to imaginarily ask, I am going to imaginarily cut myself because you don't love me). But it is something I eye toward the future, as much for my contemporaries as for myself. Living the like of a poker player means a life of individualism. It is a life of counter-culturalism. Frankly, it is a life of degeneracy. I am proud to be a degenerate, albeit more in heart than in action. But will that degeneracy eventually consume me?

I can offer a small example of excess that had, in the past, threatened to consume me, and that, in the future, I must constantly watch. Table games. I play poker for a variety of reasons, but I gamble for one: I like the feeling of being out of control. Unfortunately, that's not the type of feeling a skilled, smart poker player wants. It is, however, the type of feeling an action junkie wants, and part of my poker play involves that mentality. The site is called High on Poker for a reason (one which, most of you have heard me say a million times, so bear with me): I actually get a high by playing. In many ways, I play for that high. It's that rush of adrenaline that courses through me when I am making a bluff or value betting with the nuts. But that reputation as an action junkie even convinced myself that table games were an acceptable indulgence, until I found that I succumbed to excess, to my detriment. The height of that fall occurred when I was in Vegas for Roose's bachelor party and lost my entire bankroll to a drink-fueled roulette session. It shamed me to no end, and I promised myself for the 5th or 6th time to never play table games again unless I am with wifey Kim (and then, only for entertainment). I broke that promise to myself in Vegas in December, and I expect that I will break it again in the future. But I do my best to control myself. In my most recent AC trip, I was tempted to play some late-night Pai Gow (one of the few 'approved' table games, here at High on Poker), but was able to remind myself that I was there for the poker, there for the money.

Addiction is a horrific thing in any of its forms. Granted, I am coming from a position of relatively minor addiction, thanks in large part to my anal retentiveness. I play excess amounts of poker, but not excessive stakes. But the looming spectre of excess hangs over every one of us. Be careful out there, and take the time to realize when you are playing the game and when the game is playing you.

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 8:10 AM, , links to this post




In which Jordan say nothing of any interest...

My trip to the sunny side of variance was cut short by my most recent run at SNGs and MTTs. I'll save you the bad beat details other than to say that I lost two or three tourneys when I got all-in with a dominant hand, only to suffer the inevitable suckouts. No harm done to my psyche, though. I know this is all part of the game. I just remind myself that each unlikely suckout means that I am entitled to suckout on someone else down the line. I just hope it isn't too far down the line.

I've been getting lots of comments from people with ideas for poker trips. The most recent front-runner is St. Louis, MO. From what I hear, they have a good amount of poker handy and, unlike some of the other locations, actually have other attractions. Truth be told, I really don't expect to have much time for anything other than poker, but if St. Louis is my destination, then I will find time for some St. Louis style ribs. Sadly, I cannot go to some of the more 'exotic' places put in the suggestion box: Aruba and Jamaica. Plain and simple, this is going to be a solo trip or a trip with some buddies, so I cannot justify beautiful beach weather sans wifey Kim. She'd have my head. And besides, I really am looking to experience something a bit less typical. Mid-west looks like the place to be.

On a related note, I hung out with my buddy Jefe and his new fiance. Jefe and I met up at Buffalo and he is thinking about going up there this semester to visit the old stomping grounds. I told him I would join...provided that I get at least one 3-hour window for poker. He doesn't play, but I have my priorities straight.

Interestingly, all of these travel ideas have taken place without any conversations with wifey Kim, other than a throw-away comment that I want to take a poker-trip this year. She's an angel and without any real details, pretty much gave me free reign. I will do my best, though, to arrange my trip when she is otherwise busy. As of now, she has some bridal showers in March, so once I get exact dates, I will do a search for fares. In the end, the cheapest and/or most convenient will probably win.

On the topic of vacations, wifey Kim and I are going to Playa del Carmen, Mexico in early February. Time is flying, but not fast enough. I need a vacation in a bad way.

3/6 limit mixed games tonight at the Wall Street Game. Sadly, since its cash, I can't bust out quick in order to play Guitar Hero...or can I.

I thought I had more direction for this post, but I guess I was wrong.

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 2:25 PM, , links to this post




Indiana Jonesing

Hey folks. A couple of days ago, I wrote about my desire to make a random trip to Tunica or Biloxi because I had never been to either place and I wanted to experience some new poker destinations. While perusing the PoBloSphere, or Poblos for short, I came upon another idea: Indiana.

The truth is, I know jack shit about Indiana. In fact, all I know is that they have casinos and corn, which, if you do the math, that means...well, shit. I guess I don't know anything useful about Indiana.

Except for the poker, that is.

So, here's where you come in. My goal isn't necessarily to go to Biloxi or Indiana or any other place. My goal is simply to travel to an offbeat poker destination. As long as the location has 1/2 NL or something similar, I'm good to go. Hell, even if the location only has limit poker, I'm in, because I am a Poker Player, not a NLHE Player or a Tournament Player, but a Poker Player.

Can you think of anywhere else that might be interesting for a poker trip? Naturally, California is a great location, but I am trying to find somewhere that is not Vegas, AC or California. And if you have any tips on Indiana or Mississippi poker, please share. I'm looking for advice for hotels, transportation or anything else you can offer.

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 3:26 PM, , links to this post




Online a Roll

I had a great time at the virtual tables last night. I originally thought I was heading to a game with Matty Ebs, but I got some dates wrong and the live game is next week. Since I spent Tuesday and part of Wednesday nights at the Wall Street Game, though, I was glad to have some downtime. My plan was simple: spend time with wifey Kim. The reality was a bit more frustrating.

Work has really amped up lately. I have a great grasp on all of my cases and I finished some large projects, but I have three new projects that are completely new to me. Those situations are invariably the most stressful, since I want nothing more than to be autonomous and self-reliant. Sadly, that makes new concepts a bit tough to learn from scratch, and my desire to be meticulous only adds to the stress level.

By the time I got home last night, I was steaming. I still had my headphones in as I entered the bedroom to change out of my work clothes. Wifey Kim was in the living room and called out to me. I came out and told her I needed 5 minutes to unwind, but admittedly, I said it in a sharp manner. She asked why and I went off on a diatribe about how she comes home to an empty house and gets ample wind down time, but I can't get 5 fuckin' minutes to get out of my work clothes. She replied that I looked cute in my work clothes. Hard to argue with that logic.

After getting over my mini-temper tantrum, I decided to put together the new standing lamp/shelf unit wifey Kim and I purchased from HomeDepot.com. I've purchased a lot of things over the 'net in my day, but I will never again order any sort of furniture. Plain and simple, each time, we receive some mildly defective merchandise. It's pretty clear that these companies think that online customers won't go through the hastle of returning the product, but I had enough and the $79 lamp was unacceptable. I knew something was wrong when I first saw the box, which had a huge gash in its side. Then I noticed that the tape holding together the box was clearly not the way the box was originally closed. This led me to believe that someone had already returned this lamp, but rather than simply assume that fact, I still decided to open the box. After all, maybe the offending defect had been fixed.

I removed the pieces, laid them out and then grabbed the first part of the base. I looked it over and saw two very obvious dents/divets broken into the wood. I thought to myself, Why the fuck would I pay $79 for a lamp?! By now, I was just steaming. I had not eaten, I was grumpy from work, and I felt like my evening couldn't start until I had assembled this godforsaken lamp. After seeing its defect though, I had an even more impossible task...getting the lamp back into the box. I started repacking the box, glad that I cut the tape instead of ripping the box like it was a X-mas morning and I was 8. By the third try, I was fuming. I had removed all of the styrofome (in chunks, as I was too livid to do it in an orderly manner) and discarded the extra cardboard meant to keep the already fucked wooden components from getting dented or marked up. Once I finally crammed the pieces back into the box, admittedly in a forceful manner such that at least one other piece is probably damaged, I grabbed the tape roll...and found out that I had just ran out. Mother fucker!

Fuming, I had wifey Kim call Home Depot to let them know we were returning their defective merchandise. After she hung up, wifey Kim announced, "We are so unlucky getting damaged stuff." I wouldn't have it. "We are not unlucky. We are stupid. This happens every time we order stuff like this online." Looks like I'm going lamp shopping this weekend.

After all of this, wifey Kim was able to sooth me enough that the green left my skin and my tattered purple pants went lax as I returned to my normal human form. We sat on the couch and began to watch Celebrity Apprentice. A little later in the night, I was listening to the Howard Stern replay as he complained that Celebrity Apprentice is crap because none of the celebrities really want to work for Trump. I love Howard, but sometimes he's pretty ignorant. Regardless, this also spills over to the argument that Reality TV is not real.

For all of you naysayers and complainers out there, I'll go real slow for you. Enough with the semantics. Celebrity Apprentice does not have to be the same as all of the prior Apprentices. It merely has to be entertaining. And it is. The celebrities approach tasks like no season before them because, frankly, they can trade on their celebrity status. And they should! Just because its called the Apprentice, it does not mean that the competitors have to want to be Trump's employee. They merely need to be put in situations where they have to use their business accumen and their skill sets to be successful at business-related tasks.

For you "Reality TV" naysayers, its the same concept. How many times have you heard, "It's not Real! They are on the island, but they have contests where they can win food! You can't win food on a real deserted island!" Look, dousche, its called Reality TV because it is unscripted. The people show real emotions because they are really placed in these situations. Even if the situation isn't really that they are stranded on an island, it is real that they are on an island playing for a million dollars in a game about human interaction. So quit getting hung up on the semantics and look at the content, damnit!

Side note: The rash of "reality TV" shows that are nothing but scripted shows purporting to be real is nonsense and should be put out of its misery. It was funny when Andy Dick did it 5 years ago on his MTV reality show where he searched for his new assistant, but it is not funny when Snoop Dogg's reality show is nothing but silly editing and sillier set-up situations. Sorry, Snoop, you're my boy and all, but why not just call it an improv sitcom or something. Or just a sitcom. Ffft. Liars.

Ah, but poker. While watching the show, I looked over and saw wifey Kim had fallen asleep. Apparently, keeping Jordan from temper tantrums can take a lot out of any person. The clock had just hit 9:20, and I was hoping that Riverchasers started at 9:30. I was wrong, again. I basically experience this every month and a half. I always hope Riverchasers starts at 9:30, yet it never does.

Woe is me, I thought, as I fired up Bodog and entered a $25 buy-in turbo SNG. I also opened up FT and signed up for the $75 token frenzy. After a while, I fired up Poker.com to play a $11 SNG with the last $13 I have there. I won the Bodog SNG, easily won the $75 token frenzy, and took 3rd place money at Poker.com. I lost a 6-person SNG at Bodog after all of that, but by then, it was no big deal.

In hindsight, there really isn't much to say about the tournaments. I simply played well. I kept the TV off, watched my games for reads, and played tight or loose as the situations dictated. The best part was moneying in the $75 token SNG only to see that Emptyman and Pushmonkey (blog name?) were at my table. Congrats, guys.

Yeah, so a bit of bait and switch by your loyal blogger. I guess this was more a post about me being a whiney bitch than about poker. But hey, I'm still a profitable whiney bitch.

Until next time, make mine -- STUPID FUCKING LAMP! GET IN THERE! -- poker!

posted by Jordan @ 11:53 AM, , links to this post




What Work Taught Me About Poker

A while ago, I wrote a post about What Poker Taught Me About Work. With all this recent chit chat about the disproportionate amount of lawyer poker bloggers, it got me thinking about how being a lawyer has helped my poker game. This is a very different discussion than why there is a disporportionate amount of lawyer poker bloggers, though, so let me touch on that topic first.

The issue isn't that there is a disproportionate amount of poker players who are lawyers. It's a disproportionate amount of poker bloggers who are lawyers (or at least, that's the concept before us, regardless of its veracity). Poker bloggers are a very specific lot, with the major characteristic that defines a poker blogger rather than a poker player being, naturally, a blog. I would argue that there probably is not a disproportionate amount of lawyers who play poker, any moreso than financial professionals, tech guys, or construction workers. Poker attracts people from all walks of life. But its the convergence of poker and blogging that seems to attract lawyers, and the reasons, to me, are quite simple.

Lawyers, by their very nature, are usually competitive people. Getting into law school is a competitive process, so to make that first step, you need to have a competitive drive. Also, the law is a profession that is provided a certain amount of respect and reverence in our society. Watch TV and you'll see that TV shows are either about cops, doctors or lawyers. Plainly put, the profession of the law is held in high regard, so those of us who go that route are likely looking for that level of respect (subconsciously or otherwise), albeit for some its the respect that comes with money and for others its the respect that comes with the title "Esquire."

This is not to say that I wanted to be a lawyer because of social status, but it was a factor. I wanted to be able to provide for a family and I'm a naturally competitive, argumentative person. Law just seemed like the right fit for me. But apply that all to poker. I'm competitive, argumentative, and I want to be on top. That's poker right there.

The blogging aspect, though, is key. There was a saying at law school that every lawyer is a wannabe writer. In fact, you'll see that a lot of novelists are/were attorneys by trade. Plainly put, most lawyers are writers. We do it daily at work. We are used to expressing ourselves and arguing our viewpoints. And we generally always think that we are right and everyone should hear and agree with our opinions. That's blogging right there.

So, to make it simple, there are a disproportionate amount of lawyer poker bloggers because the same people who are attracted to a career in the law are attracted to the competitive aspect of poker and the narcissistic argumentative nature of blogging. Tada!

Okay, so enough of that crap, which is all just theory and has been argued ad nauseum by a slew of bloggers in posts and comments. What I really wanted to address is how working as a lawyer has affected my poker game. Here goes:

Everything is Zero Sum. I am a litigator. Basically, if I win a case, the other side loses. Even if we settle, whatever I get, they lose. Poker is the same way. There is no compromise. It's just you and him. Either he gets your money or you get his. Being a lawyer has taught me that there is no two ways about it. And this leads us to...

Aggression is key. As a plaintiffs' lawyer, specifically with high value cases, I have one simple mandate from the Big Bossman, "Keep cases moving." Defense attorneys have it easy. They can sit on their asses and react. Me, I have to act. I need to ride these fucking defense attorneys to get the documents I need, or the depositions I am entitled to receive. I need to constantly attack because there is no impetus for defense attorneys to work. I've always said defense work was easier. As a plaintiff's lawyer, I have to set up my case. All they have to do is look for flaws. I often use this analogy: "Being a plaintiff's lawyer is like building sandcastles; being a defense attorney is like kicking over sandcastles. It's a shitload easier to kick them over." My poker game is very similar. I am aggressive because its how I get people to do what I want. You want them to call your bets, bet hard and fast and they won't have time to think it out before they hit the call button. You want them to fold, raise big and scare them off. But the key is aggression. Nothing happens with passivity.

Start off as friends... Even though I might be aggressive in law and in poker, my first goal is to be friendly. You get more flies with honey than vinegar, although I hate that quote because you get the most flies with shit. But I digress. In the legal profession, I am constantly dealing with defense attorneys who are stupid, or dishonest, or lazy. They'll tell me one thing and do another. They'll promise me things only to deny it later. Because of this, I used to start off on a very defensive stance. I didn't trust anyone and I brought down the hammer with reckless abandon (not that hammer). I have since learned that I was holding myself back. Even though I am competition with my opponents in law or at the poker table, I benefit myself by starting as friends. Sometimes my opponents are not jerks. Sometimes they are, but I can get them to work with me if I can find some common ground. For example, at a recent court appearance, I played the role of the overworked underling because it seemed to fit the situation. It started off because on that morning I was slightly flustered by the time I met my adversary, a young guy. I made some half-assed comment about how busy I was (I was hardly overwhelmed, but I was busy) and my opponent shared my lament. It became clear from our conversation that he was just a day-laborer sort. It wasn't his case (he was covering for a colleague) and he just wanted to be done with it. So, I remained friendly and gently guided him into a deal that worked for me (read: railroaded him into the deal because I had learned he did not know the case well and we "shared" a common ground as attorneys who just wanted to be done with it).

Whether at court or in the poker room, being friendly with your adversary can provide a lot of opportunities. Information is more freely shared. The other side might be a bit softer on you, since, hey, you're a nice guy. In the poker room, this may mean learning, through friendly conversation, that your opponent played in a WSOP event, and therefore probably has money and/or experience. Likewise, you may learn that the person is a newbie or is just playing for fun. Being friendly could mean that your chummy status with the shark next to you results in less clashes on the felt. Any of this information or influence is invaluable.

...And end as friends. Ideally, no matter how much you fight over hands or over court orders, you want to end as friends. You never know when you are going to see your opponent again, so it doesn't hurt to keep it cordial. This will also keep the losing players from quitting the game altogether, and keep you from getting banned from the homegame you destroy every week. It may even get you invited to new games if you make friends with the right people. And this is all on top of the inherent benefits of meeting new people.

Reputation is key. This one is fairly obvious. My firm has a reputation for aggression, and I have built up a little reputation myself with other attorneys and other players. That reputation can often pay off, even when it is not true. Some firms know we are aggressive, so they take that into consideration when it comes to settlement discussions. If you lead them to believe that you are 100% fine with going to trial, they'll buckle. If you demonstrate that you are going to push the case to trial as fast as possible, they'll buckle faster. Once you get that rep, though, they'll immediately start off with the thought that they will eventually have to work out a deal. The parallel is obvious. In poker, an aggressive reputation is something I utilize regularly. You need people to think that you are willing to go all-in, even if you are not. That expectation will often pay off in dividends. Players will go more passive, or be willing to give up on hands easier. The key is building a reputation and exploiting it.

Know your rules. This one is simple enough. Nothing is more important than knowing the rules in your arena. When I first started practicing in NJ, I had to learn a lot just to keep up with my opponents. Lawsuits in NY and NJ are both lawsuits, but its the little nuances, rules and customs that are crucial to success in either venue. The same is true in poker. You must know the rules of the game, and more specifically the rules of the place where you are playing. When I was in Seattle, I was lambasted for playing a straight-flush draw too hard. I was shocked at the reaction, but my opponents were right...if I played softer, I could've taken the chance of hitting my straight flush and winning the big jackpot. Unfortunately, I jumped into the game so quick, I didn't even know there was a jackpot. When I was in Puerto Rico, I didn't know that you could raise the $5 blinds to $15 preflop in a $5/10 game, so I only raised to $10 when I was dealt aces, probably leaving money on the table. Knowledge is key.

Frankly, I could go on for hours about the parallels, but I think I got most of the big ones done.

Until next time, make mine poker!

Jordan, Esq.

posted by Jordan @ 11:45 PM, , links to this post




Biloxi Blues

It seems kinda unlikely that I will attend this year's Okie Vegas festivities. About 3 years ago, I was chatting online with GCox when I told him that I wanted to check out his homestate of Oklahoma to hang with He Who Shall Remain Tight. From that kernel of a conversation grew Okie Vegas, but ironically, I couldn't attend in 2006. It was a confluence of things but the largest thing holding me back was money and fear of the unknown. When I attended in 2007, though, it was a blast. GCox and the lovely Mrs. Cox made me feel right at home, and by the time I left, I felt like a part of the family. Plus, there was a surprisingly large group of bloggers in for the event, so it was a great time hanging with this degenerates' club we've formed.

Sadly, this year, the festivities are scheduled for the weekend before I head to Colorado for wifey Kim's friend's wedding to the Antisemite Monopoly Player. Side note on that, before the whole Monopoly fiasco, I was chatting with the Antisemite's fiance, wifey Kim's friend, while we stood outside in the cold catching a smoke. I was feeling out the situation in Colorado, since I know they have some poker and I wanted to try to arrange a meetup with my 2007 WPBT Winter Gathering roommate and Colorado native, PokerPeaker. Wifey Kim is in the wedding party, so I figured she'd be busy with the girls primping and prepping. I asked the fiance if wifey Kim would be busy, and she responded, "Yeah, during the bachelorette and bachelor parties." I didn't think she understood what I was getting at, but I didn't want to push the point. I figure that wifey Kim will probably be getting her hair did and her nails all shiny, so at some point, I expect some downtime. But even before the Monopoly fiasco, I remembered thinking, "Does this mean I have to go to a bachelor party of some dude I don't even know?" God, I hope not. Especially since he hates them Jews.

But I digress. The Colorado trip is the weekend after Okie Vegas, and even though wifey Kim is entirely cool with me heading to OKC, I don't think I can make it work. Simply put, I can't take a couple of days off for OKC and then take a couple of days off the next week for Colorado. It wouldn't fly around here, and besides, I don't think I could stomach all that traveling in such a short period of time. Add the fact that I don't have much vacation time, and suddenly OKC seems worse and worse.

My bad, G. But it ain't over yet. I'm still sitting on it to see what I can do.

I was mulling this over today when suddenly a thought came to me. Biloxi. As in Biloxi, Mississippi, home to a few poker rooms/casinos. I've never been to Biloxi or Tunica or Mississippi for that matter. In fact, all I know about the state is (a) there are casinos with poker, and (b) it has the heighest rate of illiteracy and the lowest quality of public education. Add those two things together and you get JUICY poker action.

As I toyed with that idea, I began to check dates and rates online. When its all said and done, I may try to squeeze in a three- or four-day weekend to Biloxi or Tunica some time in August. If anyone has any advice or suggestions as to when to go or where to stay or play, let me know. I was thinking of staying in one of the major casinos with a poker room, and pretty much gorging on poker the entire weekend. In fact, I was largely inspired by Jamie from Wall Street Poker, who recently spent around 2 wks in Vegas raging solo. In fact, go check out his trip reports. Fantastic stuff.

These are all just the seeds of an idea, but a late August trip to Biloxi or Tunica might be just what the doctor ordered. I desperately want to see the country through the eyes of poker. I have had it in my mind to travel around this fine nation to the variety of poker rooms, whether it be a craptastic Seattle room, an mediocre international poker room, or a lavish Vegas room. So, maybe I can cross another place off of my list.

As of now, I am envisioning this trip as a solo adventure, but I will probably see if some of my local degenerates would care to join me. If any of you degenerates would care to join, maybe we can work something out as well.

Or maybe this will all be for naught and I'll end up in Okie Vegas.

I return for a quick tournament at the Wall Street Game tonight. Last night was a very special Wall Street Game in honor of 23Skidoo's monthly sojourn to NYC. I ended up bubbling the tournament and winning $60 in cash games, due in large part to a suckout (JJ v AA preflop all-in for a $100 pot). Hopefully today I can take down the tourney and squeeze in a little Guitar Hero, which was recently purchased by Jaime. I played it for the first time last night and it fucking rocked. But I guess you probably already knew that.

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 5:37 PM, , links to this post