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Jordan Busts in the Mookie

Howdy ho, everybody! At about 9:55 last night, I got a sudden craving for some Mookie, but found that I was down to a pathetic $5 at Full Tilt. Thankfully, it helps to have friends, and PokerPeaker was kind enough to front me the $5. With 20 seconds to spare, I registered for the event. The result, some great play, followed by one horrible play that took me out of the game. It seems to be a trend. I mentally lock up and drop the ball, but rather than take my word for it, read over the rest of this post, chronicling the ups and downs of my Mookie, and feel free to share your opinion of my last hand in particular.

Four hands into the tournament, I'm still sitting on my starting stack of 1500 when I am dealt 99 in the BB (30/60 blinds). In MP, my ole buddy DNasty raised to 90. In the SB, BobmyKnob (blog?) raised to 270. I really didn't like this spot. I was not in perfect position and I had two raisers ahead of me. However, I decided to see a flop, with the hope that I would hit a set or most likely fold. If D folded, that also meant that I would have position, so at least I wasn't in the SB. DNasty folded.

The flop came down 984, with two hearts, giving me the top set. Bob checks and I bet out 420 into the 600+ pot. Bob waits until he has 15 seconds to act and pushes all-in. I insta-call. He shows AKo, with no hearts, and the rest is academic. I double up early.

Nine hands later, I'm in the SB (blinds of 15/30) with QTc and 3120, about 2x more than my nearest competitor. For that reason and that reason only, I opted to call a raise from pureprophet to 90 from the CO. The extra 75 is relatively minor compared to my stack, so I'm willing to call to see a flop. Meltdown (blog?) in the BB calls as well.

The flop came down a near-ideal J98, with two hearts, giving me the nut straight. I checked, since it was obvious that most people will continuation bet, leaving me an opportunity to build my pot and/or check-raise. Meltdown checks and pureprophet is kind enough to oblige, betting pot, 270. It gets back to me and I consider what to do. Ultimately, I don't want to give anyone a cheap shot at the flush draw. I opt to raise to 720 total (450 on top), a number that will push out Meltdown if he is drawing, but may keep pureprophet if he has a decent pair. Meltdown folds and pureprophet calls time. This is where my loose image gets paid off. Fortunately, he then pushes all-in and I call. He shows 86d, for middle pair, shitty kicker. I have him near dead-to-rights...until he runner runners J and 8 for a full house. On one hand, I was annoyed; on the other hand, I was just glad that I doubled up early, allowing me to suffer through this blow.

Twelve hands later, I have 1605, and am dealt 77 in the BB (20/40 blinds). MEMPHIS00, in late position with 1665, raises to 120. I am the only caller.

The flop comes down 884, rainbow. This is a decent flop for me, but I opt to check. If I bet out and Memphis has a strong pair, he will raise me. He may also raise me if he has a bluffing hand, like AK or AQ here. I want to keep the pot small, since I'm in a tricky spot, so I check and he bets 200. The pot is 460 after his raise, so I decide to call the 200.

The turn is an offsuit 9. I check again and Memphis bets 475. I could sense some hesitation in his bets. The pot was 660, so the 475 bet seemed weak. Even so, I still had high pocket pairs in his range, and I opted to call, once again to control pot size.

The river was a 3, making the board 88493. By now, Memphis and I are both down to around 900. I considered pushing, since by now, I have the feeling that Memphis has crap. However, pushing in this situation is the worst possible move. I am only going to get called by a stronger hand. I'm better off check-calling, which I do. Memphis bets 475, I call and he shows A4s, for flopped bottom pair (now second pair after the rivered 3). My 77 holds up and I take down the pot. Memphis asked if I would've folded to a push. I replied, "I was hoping for a push." I meant it too.

I had been demonstrating a rush at the table, even if it was broken up by the flush v. middle pair, runner-runner suckout, so I decided to keep the pressure on. It didn't hurt that I was dealt TT two hands later in LP. I had 2400 at the time, the second most at the table.

Flip74 (blog?) limped before me, so I raised to 160, 4x the 20/40 blinds. I wanted to take down the pot uncontested or perhaps face one opponent max. Even though the blinds were still small, taking down the pot would allow me to build some heat, which can help accumulate chips early on. Everyone folded and I took down 100 profit without a sweat.

The next hand, I am dealt K9s, which seems to be happening a lot lately. I decide to keep on the pressure. My cards are almost irrelevant, except for the fact that I want decent drawing hands if I'm making this play. In MP, I raise to 120. I want it to seem like this is a standard raise. All players fold and I take down another 60 uncontested.

A few hands later, I am dealt 66 in EP/MP. UTG and UTG+1 both limp. The next guy folds and I am left with a decision. If I limp, I am playing for set value. But I also run the risk of having players act after me. Also, the pot was already 140 on blinds alone. If I can take it down uncontested or limit players and be in position, I won't need my set. I raise to 240, signaling to everyone to get the fudge out of my way. Only pureprophetwith almost 3k in chips calls in EP.

The flop came down AQJ, rainbow. Pureprophet checks and I bet out 400 into the ~600 pot. He waits until the 15 second prompt and then folds. See? I told you I wouldn't need my set if I could narrow the field. If I merely limp there, someone hits that flop and I lose 40. As it were, I took down ~350 profit.

A little over a half-orbit later and I'm dealt QQ on the button with 2825. Sweet. I may have gotten a bit of fancy play syndrome here, and I welcome comments.

Flip74 raises to 150. He is on my immediate right. Blinds are 25/50. I consider raising, but opt for a call. I'm in position and I can see a flop to make sure that it is "safe" before proceeding any further. Plus, there is deception value to checking here. If a player hits TP on a 9-high board, they will not expect me to have JJ-AA, and I may be able to extract a lot of chips.

The flop came down A96, rainbow. Donkette, who called the preflop raise from one of the blinds, bet out 475. Flip74 folded and I folded too. She must've had an Ace. I think the fold was right, but I wonder if I should've raise preflop.

I got into another odd hand with Memphis a couple of hands later. I was up to 2675, whereas Memphis was down to 620. UTG, he raised to 175, with blinds of 25/50. I decided to call in EP/MP with KQo. I wouldn't have minded more players in the pot, but if I ended up HU, that was fine with me. My potential losses for this hand would be capped to Memphis' 620, and since he was in a push/fold situation, I thought I could also exploit that come the flop.

Everyone folded and we saw a QT2 flop, all spades. I had the King of Spades, giving me the second-nut flush draw and top pair with a strong kicker. Memphis checked, and I checked too. He had little chips, so I wanted to give him an opportunity to "sense weakness" and "push me out of the pot."

The turn was a 5s, completing my second-nut flush. He checked and I checked again, hoping that he would try to steal and/or think that a weak flush was good on the river.

The river was a Ten of diamonds, pairing the board. Memphis pushed all-in for 445 more and I called. He showed AA, with an Ace of spades. At least I was right about capping my potential losses. After the hand, I commented that we both wanted the other player to do the dirty work for us. I don't particularly mind how this hand played out. AA was definitely in Memphis' range (when is it not?), but since he raised earlier with A4s, I still think the preflop call was justified. Still, it was a shame that he had the one spade that could beat me.

I must admit that right around the 37th hand, I stopped paying as much attention as I should have been. I had 2055, and AQo UTG when I decided, on auto-pilot, to raise 3x the 25/50 BB. DNasty, down to 655, pushed. It folded to me and I insta-called, another auto-pilot decision. Instantaneously, my brain thought, "500 more to call, thus capping me losses, combined with a 500 call to win the almost 900 pot. I called, he had 88, and he doubled up. I don't know if this was played poorly. I just don't like the fact that I acted without really thinking things through.

I tightened up once I realized I was playing on auto-pilot, and blinded my way down to 920 by the time we hit 40/80 blinds. I was in the BB with K9o (at least it wasn't K9s again), when Perticelli55 with 4k+ limped in from EP. Big Blueberry (blog?) with 1075 limped in from MP/LP. The SB folded and we saw a flop of KQ8, with two clubs. I checked, thinking that I would check-raise my top pair. Petricelli min bet 80 and Blueberry folded. That's when I remembered that I recently busted from one of these games when I check-raised a crappy top pair (Kings then as well) only to find out that I was check-raising a guy with two-pair. Since I did not have a complete grasp on where I was at compared to Petri, I opted for a call.

The turn was an offsuit 6. I checked again and Perti bet out 80. This time, I started to get the impression that Petri was making what I like to call Sweet n' Low bets, just a little bit to sweeten the pot without making the pot dangerous for his drawing hand. I pushed all-in and he called. He showed QTc, for middle pair and a flush draw. He bricked on the river and I doubled up.

God damn! When am I going to get to this freakin' busto hand!

So, we are at the 60/120 level and I have 1270, still maintaining a tighter game, since I am low on chips. But that all goes out the window when everyone folds to me in the CO and I decide to limp with T9c. I didn't want to raise preflop because I did not have enough chips to do anything but push, or perhaps make a small raise that I would have to fold to any re-raise. By limping, I keep the pot small and hopefully see a flop in position. What I see from there on out will determine what I will do. The SB, Donkette, called with 3775, and the BB, Petricelli55, checked with about 3k.

The flop came down 854 with two clubs. It wasn't ideal, but it would do. Donkette min bet 120 in the SB, Petricelli folded in the BB and I opted to call. The upside potential on this hand was huge, and the downside was minimal. This is really where implied odds is important. The odds that I will hit my flush is roughly 60% (15 outs, twice). Assuming that Donkette lucked her way into two pair, my outs are only roughly 36% to hit my flush. The pot odds are 4:1 (I have to call 120 to win a 480 pot). So, the pot odds are there to call anyway. However, the implied pot odds are huge. I am likely to double up if I hit, so I want to see that next card and if needed, the river, for cheap.

The turn is a 7 of clubs, giving me a flush. Donkette bets out 600 and I push for 1030 total. She calls the additional 430 and shows A6o, with the 6 of Clubs. I double up. That was the worst possible turn for her.

God, I wish I could stop writing there, but at least I'm at the end.

Still at the 60/120 level, I am dealt AA in the CO. I have amassed 2480. Chitwood (blog?) raises to 360 from EP and I re-raise to 720. I want to play this HU. Only Chitwood, with 2600, called.

The flop was J97. Chitwood pushes all-in for 1800+ more. He has me barely covered. I think for a few seconds and call, convinced that he does not have a set.

I am wrong. He has 99 and I am out. Realistically, I should've folded the flop. This was the one error that busted me. Yuck! Even now it leaves an ugly taste in my mouth. At least I had played well eariler in the evening.

The lesson I keep learning is to always be cognizant of where you are and what your goal is and then act with purpose. It's a lesson I will keep on learning.

Until next time, make mine poker!

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




Gaming Aplenty

*** WARNING: NO POKER CONTENT ***

After work last night, I joined wifey Kim and another couple for some wine tasting in Jersey City, NJ. The wine bar's wine tasting menu for the night consisted of all champagnes and sparkling wines. After polishing off my four glasses of bubbly and helping wifey Kim down her last glass (and by help, I mean taking it while she was not looking and switching it with my empty glass...SCORE!), we returned home. I plopped on the couch, considered playing online poker and then heard wifey Kim from the kitchen. "A package came from Amazon," she said as she shuffled through the mail. Like a little kid on Hanukah morning, I tore into the package to see something that assured me that all was right in the world...


WELCOME TO MARIO KART!!

I then proceeded to stay up way past my bed time trying to unlock new courses.

For those curious, the game is freaking awesome. It has very intuitive controls, with or without the free Wii steering wheel that comes with the game. The wheel is really just a disembodied steering wheel (just the wheel, no steering column/neck/etc.) with a space for you to literally cram your Wiimote. In any event, the steering was intuitive, and the game play was impressive. Suddenly, I'm not so bummed out that I am missing out on all of the GTA IV hype. Due to my carpal-tunnel-like hand problems, I avoid most console games, but the Wii allows me the freedom to play without relying on button mashing. Sadly, this means no PS3 or X-Box 360, and therefore no GTA IV. Sad day.

Also in Jordan is a Dork news, I am participating in a rousing competition this upcoming Saturday. A few months ago, wifey Kim and my mutual friend, B, asked wifey Kim if she wanted to partner up for a Amazing Race game around NYC. Essentially, it's a wittled down version of the TV show Amazing Race throughout NYC, with 20 teams racing for a $250 prize. Since she agreed to join B, I was sans partner...until I called up wifey Kim's ultra-competitive brother, bro-in-law Marc. So, if you see me running around Manhattan on Saturday, keep out of my way. I have a race to win.

Aside from these diversions, life plods along. Work continues to stress me, even on non-stressful days, but that is more about me than anything else. Poker is practically non-existent and will remain practically non-existent unless I feel an urge to play an SNG tonight. I really need more live games, but socializing takes priority.

That's all the morsels of Jordan that you get for today. If any of you punks have Mario Kart yet, drop me a line. I'm pretty sure there is a way to play against each other via the wonders of the Internet. We can even play for money. After all, I need to build my bankroll somehow.

Until next time, make mine poker!

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




Jordan Gets Handy

It's time to actually discuss some poker, so buckle up, cause it'll probably be a bumpy ride.

My first hand comes from the BritBloggament. We were still in level 1 (10/20) and I had 1460 when I was dealt KK, UTG+1. After UTG limped, I decided to raise to 100 in order to, hopefully, narrow the field down to one player. Essentially, I do not want to play the monster hand against too many opponents. It folded around to Veggieman, the UTG player with 1460 chips, who called.

The flop was Q75, rainbow. Veggieman bet out 200 and I opted to call. It was a seemingly good flop, but I was mildly concerned about 77 or 55. Other than those two hands, I was ahead of just about anything. He probably didn't t have QQ, since he limped UTG. He didn't have AA, since he did not limp-raise. So that meant that he had 77, 55, some other pocket pair, QX, or was outright bluffing. I suppose he may've had a straight draw as well, if he played 46s or 68s, but even if that was the case, he had few outs.

To recap, I was most likely way ahead, but there was a slim chance that I was way behind. I called to either induce another bet from an inferior hand on the turn or keep the pot small, in case he actually had a monster. If I raise here, I only get called by top pair, strong kicker hands. AQ may even re-raise me. But I also run the risk of scaring off weak hands that my bluff the turn, or tempting monster hands to flip the script and either slowplay me or re-raise me, in which case, I stand to lose a lot of chips.

The turn was an 8, creating a diamond flush draw. Veggie bets out 300, and I opt to flat call for the same reason as before. If he is ahead, he is way ahead, with either a set or possibly a turned straight. Most likely, though, he is behind, in which case, I want to allow him to continue betting into me. Arguably, the pot was big enough here to warrant a re-raise to take down the pot, but I did not fear the flush draw or straight draws, so a re-raise would only protect me from hands that I dominated anyway, while allowing dominating hands to stack me.

The river was a 5d, creating a pair on the board and completing a runner-runner flush. I considered what I would do if Veggie folded. The pot was over 1200 and we each had 860 left. I decided that I would value bet 360 if he checked, since it is weak enough that it may look like a poor stab at the pot with our dwindling stacks. However, before I could do that, I needed a check...and it didn't happen. Instead, Veggie bet 360. I applied my own logic. It was a value bet, but the size was small enough that it warranted a call. I didn't think it necessary to push because his river value bet made me think that a flopped set, straight or flush (collectively) was suddenly more possible based on the betting pattern. If I call and I'm ahead, the pot was big enough. If I call and I lose, I still have 500 to play with.

At showdown, he had AQ. And I won the pot.

I'm not even sure why I saved this next hand, but we'll go over it anyway.

We're still in the BritBloggament, now down to 10 players split on two tables. We have 1700 chips, with blinds of 50/100. Everyone folds to us in the SB. The BB, Lisa, has 1060, and is the shortstack at the table. We have K9s.

I chose to min-raise here for several reasons, all of which are tied to Lisa's stack size. Lisa is at the point in the game where she will either push or fold. It makes little sense for her to do anything else with her nearly 10x BB stack (technically under 10x the BB with 960 after she posts her BB). I want to exploit the situation.

If she is in push or fold mode, then I need to figure out all of the different ways this hand can play out. If I limp in, I give her a free flop, where she can easily outflop me. Even if she doesn't outflop me, since she is in position, she can just push on any flop that I check. I don't want to give her that power, so I need to be aggressive. For those who don't know, folding is an aggressive play here, but I rather be the other type of aggressive, so I chose to raise.

How much I raise is key. Once again, we need to examine the possible outcomes. The first is that I raise and she pushes. Suddenly, I'm risking most of my stack on K9s, or, more accurately, folding whatever I raise preflop. Obviously, this is an ugly outcome that is worth considering. Another possibility is that Lisa has crappy cards and folds. This is definitely preferrable. The final outcome is that she flat-calls. Unless I bet really small, I doubt that will happen.

When I considered those options, albeit in a fraction of a second, the min-bet became obvious. It not only protects my stack in case she has good cards and pushes (or re-raises, since any re-raise really commits her to her whole stack); it also lends itself a deceptive appearance of strength. This is essentially a level 3 "bluff." I am betting small because I think that she will think that I am thinking that a small bet will get action. In other words, I want to appear as though I want action. Hence, a small bet. If she has a pushable hand, all I lose is 150 more than if I folded preflop. If she folds, I win 100 easily.

Surprisingly, Lisa followed the unlikely call scenario, which, as you will see, is just fine by me.

The flop was Q83, all diamonds. My K9 were spades. So, I bet out 200.

Why 200? See above. I essentially followed the same logic as the preflop action. She is either willing to push or not. At this point, calling 200 with her 860 stack is very unlikely. But if she does it, I go into lockdown mode and check-fold, because now I know she is trying to get me to bet into her. If she has a pushable hand, then I can fold. The 200 bet is small enough that, while it hurts my stack, won't cripple me or commit me to the hand. If she missed entirely, she's folding, plain and simple. However, even if she hit it somewhat, such as middle pair or even a single decent diamond (other than the King or Ace of diamonds), my small bet will appear as though I want the action and Lisa is likely to fold a superior hand.

She folded and I took down the pot.

It's all about knowing where you likely are in a hand, and determing what your goal will be. Aside from that, the key is timing, which, absent tells, really just means luck. If Lisa had KJd, for instance, I could've lost 400 in that last hand. I was "lucky" that she didn't. However, by knowing where I was relative to her stack, and having a goal in mind, I was able to make the right plays at the right time. The same is true of the first hand, where I played my KK very passively because I had a good sense of where I likely was and I had a goal in mind. Brainless Jordan just keeps raising there and might even push out TPTK. Instead, I let my opponent slowly hang himself.

In contrast, playing K9s (the same cards as the Lisa hand), on the 4-player bubble UTG was a much weaker move. My goal was probably to push out all players and pick up the blinds, but I was not cognizant of my place in the game. I had to go through 3 other players and I was weilding a shortstack. I let my brainless monkey impulses take over and ruin the 2 hours of work that came before it.

No poker tonight, as I'll be wine tasting in Jersey City. See you all around.

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 4:14 PM, , links to this post




When Life Gives You Lemons....

...its hard to write about anything except for lemons.

Poker continues to prattle on, attacking my very soul as I try to find my place in the poker world. I read about Woffles continued success and most of me is very happy for Woffles, but part of me wonders, WHY GOD WHY!? It's reverse schaudenfreude, lamenting the success of your contemporaries, even though their success takes nothing away from you.

At the office, we've been interviewing people for a paralegal job. This afternoon, one of the gentlemen explained that he took a summer off from his last paralegal job to play poker in AC. He paid the bills for a few months playing 10/20 Limit and 5/10 NL. Instead of thinking that he was a guy who I could get along with, I thought, "Mother fucker. No way am I have one of my hired cronies playing higher stakes than me!" I still expect him to get the job.

This weekend, I kept to my sobriety rule, avoiding poker unless I could drive an automobile without fear of a ticket. Through mad skillz, I made a comeback at the BritBloggament, played at Stars at 4pm EST on Sundays, before busting on the bubble. I was UTG, four-handed, with K9o. I was the short stack with less than 3k and 200/400 blinds with a 25 or 50 ante, and decided to push all-in, since there were only four players and I wanted to pick up the pot. As soon as I hit the bet button, I felt in the pit of my stomach that I made a mistake. The next guy called with JJ, I failed to improve, and I was out. It was a classic blowup, made extra harsh by the fact that something inside of me, my Spider Sense, knew that I was pushing into a top-5 hand.

I don't blame anyone but myself. And God. Mostly God.

I did win a $24 token this weekend in a 6-player SNG. I played expertly, getting a good read on all of my opponents before taking 1st place. I then took that token to a 90-person SNG and played unfocused poker until I busted somewhere in the middle of the pack on a play I knew better than to do.

And so it goes.

Fortunately, somewhere during my adventures I saved two hands in Blogger, so maybe I'll go over those tomorrow night.

No live poker on the horizon, which makes Jordan a sad panda. AC on May 16th weekend makes things a bit more bearable.

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 4:08 PM, , links to this post




Poker on the TV: Paradise Hotel


The time has come once again, my friends, to save you the trouble of watching craptastic television with only a tangential relationship with poker. This time, we'll be examining easily the greatest bastardization of NLHE tournament poker, brought to you by the sleazy mofos from Paradise Hotel 2.

For those of you who have a life, Paradise Hotel was a train-wreck of a reality show, in which a bunch of good-looking 20-somethings were picked to live in a hotel, and have their lives taped, to find out what happens when people stop being polite, and start being real. The Real World...erm, I mean, Paradise Hotel.

Paradise Hotel's (or PH's, as I like to call them in my PH fan club chat room at fan site ClownPenis.fart) bastardization did not start at poker. As demonstrated by its resemblence to the Real World, its bastardization started with the whole reality show process. Unlike other reality shows, the rules seemingly changed from week to week, with new guests coming in and other guests evicted...until...well...until the show chose to change direction again, at which point the guests were merely eliminated without replacements. And then there was some money at the end. And someone got money and someone didn't. Ah, who really cares anyway. We watch it for the trainwreck.

So, if this is PH2, when did PH1 happen? Oh, about 6 years ago, so clearly the audience was dying for a second season. This season, by the way, runs on MyNet or whatever the hell the old WB stations turned into, or Fox Reality for a late night uncensored (but no nudity) version.

It was with moderate surprise and extreme cringing that I learned that the most recent episode would involve a game of poker for an undisclosed prize that everyone and their sister knew was immunity.

I'll give the show this much for credit. The game was for the guys ONLY. The girls didn't get to play, because as we know, if you do not have a Y chromosome, you are physically unable to bluff.

Now, onto the bastardization. Everyone knows that NLHE tournaments play until there is one winner. But not at Paradise Hotel! Instead, the show put a time limit on the tournament. Let me put this in perspective. Clearly, the guests at PH do nothing all day, allowing them tons of time for drama built on nothing. So, why the hell do they stick a time limit on people with nothing to do all day. Farging ridiculous.

But the hilarity ensues when we realize that no one has any idea what they are doing. When the guests found out about their upcoming tournament, it became clear who the front-runner was, a hottie named Zack, who incidentally was also on Season 1 of PH, likely because they could not find any more tools willing to go on the abortion of a show. Why was Zack the obvious favorite? Perhaps because of this nugget: Zack's brother played in the World Series of Poker last year. Let's break that down. "Zack's brother" so we know it wasn't Zack. Clearly, though, poker is hereditary. "played in the WSOP" so we know that he paid to play in the tournament and did not cash. So, to recap, Zack is the best poker player in the hotel because his brother spent $10,000 to lose at the WSOP, an event open to anyone with $10,000. Oh, by the way, Zack lost.

How did Zack lose? That's the final part of this absurd look at poker. Zack, with 99, pushed all-in on the river when the board four-flushed diamonds and he held the 9 of diamonds. Not a terrible play. His opponent, however, had a tough decision, taking his time to decide whether or not to call. After long and arduous soul searching, his opponent finally gave up and called...with the Ace of diamonds. Dude had the nuts and sincerely wasn't sure what to do.

Ah, poker on the TV, the softest game in town.

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 8:04 PM, , links to this post




Security Check

I ran a basic security test today. I typed my first and last name into a search engine and did not find any connection with this here humble blog. I added the word "high" to the search and still nothing appeared. At least I have that little security checkpoint cleared.

We live in interesting times. Anyone entrenched in the poker blogging community over the last year probably knows about or heard about Bobby Bracelet's run-in with his corporate overloads. Long story short, they found his irreverant blog and consequently, he had to shut it down. Rumor has it, the One Man Party AlCantHang may have also been spotted by corporate watchdogs. Whether or not this is true, or what this may mean for ACH is anybody's guess. But it does underscore one of the trickier aspects of blogging.

Plain and simple, blogging is a public expression. Ideally, it is also a place where people can write anonymously. In many ways, a person's character is more evident in their blog writing than in their everyday life. At the very least, when a blogger posts something, you get an insight into what they are thinking or feeling at that very moment. It may change 30 seconds after he/she hits the "Publish" button, but each post still represents its own amber-coated moment in time.

Even so, I've found myself limited in certain ways at HoP. It's nothing that should concern you readers, but it is the reality we live in.

So, I raise a glass to AlCantHang, and to the rest of the blogging community, for providing me and the rest of the world with countless hours of filler, at the expense of their own time, efforts and, in some cases, safety.

* * *

I arrived at the Wall Street Game at 7:15pm last night for a rousing mixed game. It was Razz and some other random Stud game called Cowpie Poker. According to host Jamie, its spread in at least one cardroom in California, so it's a legitimate game. Frankly, legitimate or not, as long as you stick the word "poker" at the end of it, I'm up for the challenge. Sadly, that works in normal life, too. Just ask wifey Kim and her inventive Shoe Shopping Poker, Emptying the Dish Washer Poker, and No Limit Laundry Poker Hi/Lo Split.

According to Jamie, Cowpie Poker is a Stud game, where you have to set two hands, a 5-card hand and a 2-card hand, at showdown. The two-card hand must contain at least one of the players' down cards. The pot is split between the players with the best 5-card and 2-card hand.

Sounds simple enough. I really enjoy different variations of poker because of the joy of learning. It was one of the reasons I took to poker in the first place. When I first learned NLHE tournament poker, which is probably the gateway drug of poker thanks to television and the chance of a big return with minimal investment, part of the fun was learning faster than my homegame peers. It felt great to have an edge. When I played non-NLHE games in other venues, including online, the edge was more pronounced. Since I now play a variety of games, I have a natural edge over any strict NLHE player. I was hoping the same would be true for Cowpie Poker as well.

Alas, it was not meant to be. After some cancellations, the game was canceled for the first time in my experiences at the WSG. I missed Jamie's message, but since it was a short walk to his place, it was nice to stop by and say hello to him and Pervy Pauly, the other guy who didn't get the cancelation message. I headed home, money intact, and had dinner with wifey Kim from a nearby organic-themed burger place. I then played the Bodonkey, which had a huge turnout of over 50 players. I busted in the middle of the pack about 3 hours into the game. At least I played well early on, chipping up slowly and steadily. I busted when my flopped set lost to a turned flush. I pushed into the flush, hoping to force out any four-card flush draws. Sadly, my opponent was already in flushville with the nuts. No paired board on the river and IGHN.

More pokery goodness soon, I suppose. No Mookie for me tonight, since I don't have 6 hours to play. But have fun. Even though the Mook is too long for me, it's still a great tourney.

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 10:58 PM, , links to this post




Ka-Ching! or How Jordan Is Almost Back to Even

Poker is a helluva game. You can spend hours or days or weeks or years building a bankroll and lose the whole thing in one hand. But sometimes, the opposite can happen, too.

Poker this year at the Wall Street Game has been nothing short of frustrating. It isn't the cast of characters or the venue, as much as it is my inability to win against an all-star cast of players. It didn't help that I was on a cold spell for the first 3 months of this year, and confidence was dipping to an all-time low.

But poker is a fickle bitch, and I guess the tide turned. Friday started out like most other WSG nights. I arrived a tad late, since it was a cash game with open seating. I spent the earlier part of the evening with wifey Kim and Hudson, my buddy Jefe's cat. Jefe is in Texas for the Jewish holidays, so wifey Kim have his cat for the week. I didn't think I was allergic to cats, but since we've had Hudson, I've felt like crap. I'm congested with a runny nose and scratchy throat. But, hey, it is what it is.

Over at the WSG, I strolled in with my usual jovial spirit. I took the 10s, with Jamie acting as dealer (only, as in, hosting, dealing, but not playing) and Matty Ebs in the 1s. Ebs is a friend of mine, but I have to admit, it can be a bit annoying having him on my immediate left. The fact that I think he has my number doesn't help either. Once again, I bring it back to the idea of confidence. In the past, I felt like I knew how to play against Ebs. That feeling alone brings about an aire of confidence that translates into decisive, winning poker. But if losing, particularly to Ebs in this case (most recently, the KK v. K7s hand mentioned HERE), undermines that sense of confidence, the results are often indecisive play and further losses. If you were to go back and check the hand I mentioned, the key to my failure and Ebs' success came in my failure to listen to him when he pretty much announced his hand. That failure was not one of poker prowess as much as one of paying attention. So, ostensibly, such hands should not create in me the feeling that Ebs has my number, but sadly, confidence is not solely in the realm of logic. There is a lot of emotion there that can get the better of you.

I lost some minor pots early, trying to play to each player specifically. I don't remember much in the way of details, but I eventually caught some heat with a string of decent cards. I never saw Aces, but I got Queens a couple of times, some Big Slicks, and some Jacks. I think I got Kings once as well. For the most part, I tried to play these hands hard, but perhaps a bit too hard, as I rarely saw a river card. I evenly leaned over to Jamie to share in my delight. "My luck has turned around," I told him. "I'm finally getting good cards." I thought again. "Maybe I shouldn't say anything until the game is done."

With good cards, I was able to chip up to a solid $200 or so profit when I was dealt AK in LP. A player to my right, whose name I honestly never got...or can't remember...no offense, since he was an easy-going guy...had been limping a lot and folding to my raises. It's easy to notice these kinds of trends, so I was surprised when I raised with my AK to $10 and got folds from everyone except for my out-of-position neighbor. The flop came down King-high with two diamonds. He checked to me and I bet out $10, hoping to keep him in the hand. To my surprise, he raised $25 on top. I checked the board again and tried to determine what he had. I cannot remember exactly what told me that I was ahead, but I felt it. It's probably one of those Blink moments, where you subconsciously pick up things that can tell a lot more than those things you consciously seek. I eyed his stack and asked for a count. He had $95 behind, so I opted to push. He called, and we flipped over our cards. I had AK, he had A6...of diamonds. Jamie slowly dealt out the turn, and hesitated to allow us time to work out a deal (i.e, run business). No deal was made or even discussed, as I begged Jamie to deal the river quickly, like ripping off a bandaid instead of the slow, painful peal. He obliged by dealing a 7 of diamonds, bringing me from my lofty ~$200 profit down to a meager $40 or less profit.

That hand really rocked me, as I felt the fear of losing once again. I folded steadily for a bit while I regained my composure. I ran the hand through my head multiple times and tried to remind myself that I had played the hand correctly. Eventually, I convinced myself.

And then, the big hand came. I had been dealt a steady stream of KQ all night, and saw them win for other players in multiple hands, so it was easy to limp for $2 from LP with KQh when there were several limpers ahead of me. All-in-all, probably 6 of us saw a flop, AJ3 with two hearts. It folded to me, so I bet out $10, enough to hopefully get some callers and hopefully hit my draw. Jesse, in Ebs' old seat, called, and Dennis, who had apparently won hundreds of dollars earlier in the night before going to dinner, raised $25 on top. When I first arrived at the game, Dennis was still at dinner, but I got the impression from the other players that he was a bit of a wild card. He seemed like a mild-mannered, slightly graying gentleman. He wore glasses and had a gentle demeanor at the table. All of this belied the fact that he seemed to play fairly manically at the table. His raise was called by CK in the next seat, and then called by me as well, after I thought it through. It was easy to guess that someone had an Ace, and probably a strong one at that. Someone may've also had two-pair. Flush draws were also possible, and that created a double-edged sword. On one hand, it worked in my favor, since I was drawing to the nut flush and would likely felt any lesser flushes. It also worked against me, since two of my outs would be dead.

To my surprise, Jesse raised $100 on top. It was completely out of nowhere. Almost as amazingly, Dennis decided to call. At this point, CK got the point and folded, which left me with the tough choice. I eyed both players' stacks and realized that (a) they both had around $150 or more, and (b) I had them both covered. I took my time considering my options. I was scared to lose my entire $300 buy-in, but I was just as scared of letting opportunity pass me by. I called and we saw the turn, a non-heart middle card. Dennis pushed all-in for $168. I did some more math. There was easily $300 in the pot from Jesse's re-raise alone, and another $100+ from my initial flop bet and Dennis' re-raise. Dennis' push added over $150 to the pot, making for a $168 call to win about $600. If Jesse called, my odds would get even better. I considered the possibility that someone else was drawing to a flush, thus dropping my outs from 12 (9 hearts and 3 non-heart tens for Broadway) to 10 (7 hearts and 3 tens). I did not do actual math, moreso than just considering the totality of the circumstances. I called, and Jesse called all-in for less.

The river was a Ten of Hearts, giving me the nuts. I showed my cards, Jesse showed his 33 (for a flopped set) and Dennis mucked. I would expect that Dennis had AJ, but we'll never know.

That hand alone would've wiped out my entire losses for 2008, but I played for another two hours, losing about $100 in the process. In the end, I walked with $490 profit, wiping out my losses to two figures. I feel a renewed confidence in the game, and a bit of relief.

But make no doubt about it, I'm still me. I busted from Uncle Chuck's Basement Game when I decided to induce a bluff when I had top pair and the would-be bluffer had top two pair. LEMON!

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 2:15 PM, , links to this post




Obscure Random Celebrity Sighting

While eating my grilled cheese at a greasy spoon diner last night before heading to a charity comedy show, I saw a tall, old man exit the restroom and make his way to a nearby booth. That man was...

Abe Vigoda!

Sadly, I was the only person at our table to recognize Tessio, and everyone else thought I was insane. Heathens!

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 10:50 AM, , links to this post




Sobriety Check

No poker yesterday means not much poker blogging from HoP today. But alas, I wanted to pop in to announce my new goal in poker. It's a simple one really, and one I look forward to breaking in the next week's time (probably Sunday), if I know myself.

Only play sober. That's it, plain and simple. I think the leaks in my past, particularly online, are due to playing suboptimal poker in an inebriated state. This includes a lot of my blogger tournament plays.

Inebriation and poker tend to go hand in hand, so I do not consider this a small feat. However, if I hope to reclaim the confidence and skill I once had, I have to do something.

Other changes include my recent attempt to actually utilize PokerTracker to analyze my play (which utterly failed...why is it such an unruly program? or am I just a technotard?) and reading about poker again, albeit a freebie book that I am reading so that I can give the author my opinion.

Final though on yesterday's post about Jamie's folding gaff: Anyone else in my exact situation would be an asshole to hold Jamie to his declaration, BUT if you change some variables, then holding the player to his declaration is perfectly acceptable. Those variables include location (at a casino, I would argue that the verbal declaration stands), the player (I may be more inclined to push the verbal decalaration against a stickler for rules), and the general game atmosphere (cutthroat players = stickler for the rules).

I should make this statement one more time, since I cannot see how Jamie is not taking some of the comments personally: I am not critiquing Jamie, his play, or his game. Jamie has been a good friend to me since we met, he plays well and this gaff was a one-time slipup, he is not an angle-shooter, and his game is one of the best-run homegames around. So, thanks Jamie for hosting, as always, and thanks for the blog fodder.

Tonight, I head with wifey Kim to a charity comedy show, where, rumor has it, Dave Atell may appear. Tomorrow, I'm back at the Wall Street Game for some 1/2 NL.

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 3:19 PM, , links to this post




I Fold. No No No NoNoNoNo

"I fold." A simple statement, really. According to Merriam-Webster's Online Dictionary, definition number 7a, fold means "to concede defeat by withdrawing (one's cards) from play (as in poker)."

"I fold." A refrain we have all heard and said many times in our poker lives.

"I fold." A declarative statement that is binding in the game of poker.

"I fold." It really means so many things, but at the poker table, it carries just one meaning. Defeat. Worse, surrender.

It was with this understanding of the words, "I fold" that I entered last night's Wall Street Game. The agenda included two single-table tournaments for the usual $30 buy-in. My goal was to win money, to both break my losing streak and remind myself that winning is possible.

Prior to the game, I was reading the manuscript of an upcoming poker book sent to me via the Intertubes. The book emphasized aggression, and I began to reconsider my recent play. Sure, I am known as an overly aggressive player, but was I actually playing that way. The book seemed to emphasize the importance of aggression as a means to build a stack and avoid busting out when the inevitable bad beat arises.

I am not 100% in agreement with the principles in the book, but regardless, reading anything affects the way I act. When I read Rumpole books, about a satirical, anti-establishment British barrister (lawyer), I find myself taking on his satirical ways. When I read Dhali Lama books, I tend to feel a greater sense of peace and compassion. When I read the Anne Rice vampire books, I used to feel vampiric (I shit you not). I wouldn't throw on a barrister's gown, buddhist frock or vampire teeth, but those books definitely affected the way I saw the world, if only for a short while after reading.

With this in mind, I entered the Wall Street Game with plans to play aggressively and shed all fear of bad results. Sadly, at least in reference to the first tournament, bad results did come. I can sum up that game into one hand, since it was the only significant hand I played. I had about the starting stack of 2500 chips. The blinds were up to 50/100, and there were a couple of UTG limpers before host Jamie raised to 600. I was not paying close attention so when it got to me, Jamie's bet surprised me. "Wait, you raised to 600?" It was an uncharacteristically high raise. "Yeah," he replied, "with all of those limpers its about right." True enough, I suppose, but the oversized bet relative to the blinds and stacks made me question Jamie's strength. The JJ in my hand screamed for a raise, as a simple call would leave me with no information and an overcard would hit the flop a good 65% of the time. "I raise," I took my time contemplating my move. "1200." The action folded around to Jamie, who looked disturbed by the turn of events. "How much do you have left?" he asked in a manner that suggested that he was going to push or fold. I had about 1000 left and told him so. "Ah, hell, I'm all in." I had the sense that he did not like his situation, but when I called, he showed QQ and after five community cards, I was out.

I went to the couch to watch some Diggstown and mull about my play. I still don't hate the play with Jacks, but I'm not married to it either.

When Game 2 started, I was raring to go. Once again, I chose to be selectively aggressive. Since I was card dead, that meant folding and folding and folding some more. And then, I got into the "I fold" hand.

I held 99 when Jamie, on my immediate right, made a preflop raise. I considered my hand and decided to...you got it...be aggressive. I pushed all-in. Jamie said, "I fold" as he removed his card cap. I heard, everyone heard it. And then with just a moment's hesitation, he said, "No no no nononono. I meant call. It's obvious I meant call." He flipped over his pocket Kings. "Sorry, buddy. You said 'I fold' and its a binding declaration. Push the pot over here." I beckoned to the pot at the middle of the table with a wry grin. "Come on, its obvious I was calling. I meant call." "You said fold. Binding declaration."

All this while, I had a shit-eating grin on my face. Truth be told, it took a split second for me to decide that he, in fact, did intend to call. As the host of the game, and at a game where friendly vibes are more important than cutthroat gamesmanship, there was no doubt in my mind that I would hold him to the technicality. Would you, my dear reader? It's a decent question, and one for which I would sincerely like responses. If you are playing in a friendly game and someone obviously misspeaks, do you call them on a technicality or do you make nice?

I chose to make nice. "Come on 9!" I called out. I had already resigned myself to losing, but not in a hangdog way. Sometimes, that's just how poker is, and I didn't want a loss to ruin my night. "Come on 9!" The flop was useless to me. I saw that this was the end of the road. "Come on 9!" And then the turn was dealt, a 9. BOOM!

Suddenly, I changed my story. "Hey man, I warned you. I tried to get you to fold, but no, you insisted that you called. You did it to yourself, man. You did it to yourself." I gathered up the chips in the now-significant pot. All in fun, I guess.

From there, I continued my aggression, accumulating chips at a decent pace. In fact, I had so many chips that I joked with my new neighbor to my right, British Matt, that I would carry him to 2nd place since he was new to the game.

Then, the crappy began. I got KJ all-in with his A8 vs. my AK, and he flopped two 8s. I doubled up Alceste when my ATC couldn't beat his ATC (he was ahead with K5 to Q2). I doubled up one or two more people on lost cointosses and suddenly, I was among the shorter stacks near the bubble.

Don't lose focus, I thought to myself. Don't play like a pussy just because you want to make the money. And so, with only 2400 left and blinds of 300/600, I pushed all-in with 73o and took down a pot. I even showed the table, to help establish the idea that I was intentionally setting myself up as a madman. In other words, show the crap cards and they'll assume it is a setup and the next push will be with good cards. In fact, the next push was probably better than 73o, but not much better. Luck finally turned my way when KJ busted, followed by Alceste. That left me and British Matt, who had accumulated more chips than me and busted both of the aforementioned players. Instead of carrying him to 2nd place, he carried me.

I counted my chips and had barely 5k, leaving British Matt with roughly 17k. It would not have been an insurmountable task to take him down, but it was 11pm and I wanted to get home. We worked out a deal in which he tossed me an extra 20$ or so. After saying my goodbyes (and realizing that, hurrah!, I was up for the night), I headed home.

I return to the Wall Street Game on Friday for some 1/2 NLHE. Wish me luck.

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 2:16 PM, , links to this post




One Hand's Luck Examined

Ah, poker. Not much to say. I played a few MTTs and SNGs this weekend, mostly at Bodog. I moneyed in one of the MTTs and a couple of SNGs, but I think it was break-even overall. aise

I was in one hand that had me thinking about luck again, and how it rarely is as it seems. Here is the hand, without reference to which player is me and which is the other guy.

Player A raises preflop with AJ in EP/MP and gets called by the player on his immediate left, Player B, who has AT. The flop comes down TXX, and Player A continuation bets. Player B calls. The turn is a Jack, and Player A bets out again. Player B calls again. The river is a blank, Player A bets, Player B calls, and Player A wins the pot.

Looking at that hand, Player B faced some bad luck when that Jack came on the turn. He could have prevented that bad luck by raising TPTK on the flop, a move that I think is at least worth consideration.

However, that's merely the surface answer to how luck affected the hand. The reality was that Player B got "lucky" on the flop by hitting his Ten. Before the flop, he was behind about 69/31 to win the hand. That lucky flop brought him to a 86/14 lead. That's a big turn of events, especially considering that calling with ATo to a raise preflop is a questionable play at best.

We really cannot argue with the fact that Player A got lucky on the turn by hitting his 3-outter. But it isn't enough to merely say that Player A hit a one-outter to get lucky and win the hand, since he first had to suffer a 3-outter to get behind.

I suppose it all becomes a chicken-or-the-egg predicament. Was the flopped Ten lucky or unlucky for Player B, now that we know how the action played out? We already said it was lucky, just by statistics, but now that we know the eventualy outcome of the hand, wouldn't it have been luckier for Player B to miss the flop and avoid losing a stack of chips with ATo? On the flipside, that's an unlucky flop for Player A...or is it? Without the Ten flopping, Player A would not have gotten action when his Jack hit on the turn.

When its all said and done, this is really a lesson in semantics. The real key to poker is not in labeling luck and skill, but in determining which events are changeable and which are inevitable. Bad luck is inevitable; allowing opportunities for bad luck is not inevitable. I don't have the hand history, but depending on the size of the pot after the bet by Player A, Player B arguably should have sought to take down the pot immediately with TPTK. There may have been some concern about Player A having JJ-AA; however, calling does not assuage any of those concerns, so raising is still warranted to define the hand. As we now know the cards, a raise on the flop from Player B would have won the hand and avoided an opportunity for bad luck.

Player A, on the other hand, seemed to do everything right. Raising preflop with AJ can be considered questionable, but certainly acceptable. Continuation bets are standard procedure in a lot of situations, and by all accounts, a Ten-high board does not appear dangerous. Assuming Player B got lucky with a set or some other monster hand, a raise is likely, thus giving Player A all the info he needs to fold. In other words, unlike the passive Player B, Player A is getting information with the flop bet which was utilized on the turn. Once Player A knows that Player B has some sort of decent hand, Player A knows that he can get paid out on his hidden TPTK; superior hands will likely raise the turn at this point, given the size of the pot. I do not remember the river bet, but I do not think that it was overly large by Player A, thereby operating as a blocking bet.

When you look at it that way, Player A really didn't get very "lucky" at all.

* * *

I have accepted the fact that my $8,000 goal for 2008 may be difficult to meet. I have yet to turn a profit for the year, so I need some major payouts in the next 8 months to reach my goal. The year is still early and it is doable, but my frequency of play (and quality) has been suffering, and my diminished roll will make it difficult to get back on course. On the other hand, the siren's call of Salami Club is back (for newer readers, Salami Club is not just a delicious sandwich, but an underground NYC card room). We'll see if I ever finally give in.

Oh, and for those curious, it turns out that we won all of the money due Bossman in the recent lawsuit. Go me.

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 3:51 PM, , links to this post




Tourney Losses Continue

I had a helluva day yesteday. I woke up early, drove 3+ hours to upstate New York (Binghamton), met with a Judge for 15 minutes and drove 3+ hours home...only to leave my house immediately to meet some friends at a bar in midtown manhattan...only to call GCox from the bar to request that he sign me up for the Bodonkey...only to arrive home and bust around midnight when my AQ could not best 88. I had played well all evening and I had a decent stack, but it still paled in comparison to some of my other adversaries and I figured it was time to double up or go home. Apparently, I chose to go home.

I should also probably mention that I bubbled the Hoy the night before, thanks to three hands and a bad table. The long and short of it was that I had a decent stack when we were at the bubble, probably around 7th out of 9, with one real shorty ready to fall. Since we were playing a 6-handed tournament, I was at the table of 4 players and the other table had 5 players. I also had three of the largest stacks sitting with me.

The first fateful hand didn't even involve me. The shorty at the other table doubled up in a cointoss situation, weighted against his/her favor. Hey, it happens.

The second fateful hand saw my TT falling to AQ, in a hand that amazingly did not cost me more. Preflop there was raising, we both checked the KJ9 flop, I turned a straight with a Queen, I bet and he/she called, and then the river came down with a Ten, giving him/her a better straight. At least I didn't go broke there...

Now the shortstack with over 5k, I ended up pushing all-in in the BB with 99 over a raise from the button to 1200 or 1800. He/she called, showed KQo and flopped a King and Queen.

Lovely.

So, I lost, and it sucked, because I really felt like I earned a win with some of my play earlier in the evening. But it doesn't work that way, and to my credit, I was not too upset. I just accepted my fate and did my best to move on.

My world of pain continues, but I will tough it out as best I can.

Before I head off, I was perusing the interwebs when I stumbled upon a private tournament being thrown by those boys over at Uncle Chuck & Friends. It's open to everyone and scheduled for 4/20, so if hop on over to the Uncle Chuck & Friends blog and join those guys for what will likely be the most laid back tournament ever to hit the Blogging Dome. My guess is that there will be a lot of people timing out.

Until next time, make mine poker!

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




Stablantic City

Atlantic City has a variety of poker rooms, each with its own personality. If you want to play poker in an atmosphere that is private and cozy, I recommend the Showboat. If you want to play in the biggest room in town, complete with a bevvy of wannabe hotshots tossing their money around with reckless abandon, I suggest the Borgata. And if you want to be the victim of a crime, I suggest the Trump Taj Mahal.

Before the poker boom and the Borgata, the Taj sported the largest poker room in AC. It also was known as a dirty room. This meant two things. First, their chips were filthy. If you played at the Taj, you could pretty much guarantee that your fingernails would look black with caked-in dirt by the end of a session. Second, the players were dirty. I had heard rumors of collusion before, and I even experienced something that wreaked of collusion the last time I played there, many moons ago. Since then, whenever I have brought up the "dirty" Taj room while at AC, I am usually regaled with a story from a local about a team of signalers or other dastardly deeds.

So it comes as no surprise that the following took place in AC. This Saturday, a black gentleman was playing 1/2 NLHE at the Taj and, after busting, asked that his seat be saved so that he could get more money. While players heard him, the dealer did not, and gave up the black guys seat to an old white guy. When the black guy returned, he was noticeably miffed. The floor was called and it was decided that the seat was forfeited to the white guy. Not long after, the white guy left to take a smoke break outside. This angered the black guy more, as he had been dethroned for a player who wasn't even playing.

As the white guy was walking back to the poker room, the black guy confronted him. According to third-party accounts, the black guy began to accost the white guy, grabbing the white guy's cane and hitting the white guy. That's when the white guy pulled out a knife and slashed at the black guy, cutting the carthoid artery in his neck, spraying blood on both of the participants in this macabre dance. The result is one dead black guy and an arrested old white guy.

At least the Taj Mahal is maintaining its street cred.

The full reported story (with meager details) is located HERE. The other details were provided by good pal Dave Ruff, and likely comes from a third (or fourth) source.

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 10:43 AM, , links to this post




Whatever Comes to Mind

Maybe I'm being a bit too sensitive, or maybe I'm not being sensitive enough, but all you folks complaining about the BBT3 really need to some your whining. How many posts do I need to read on how mean table chat is forcing a mass-exodus from the BBT3. Just face the facts. Mean Girl chat or no Mean Girl chat, the BBT3 pools have been the largest ever, and suggesting that it is not worth Al's trouble to host such an event is not only a kick in the sack to all bloggers, but is a swift kick in the apple sack of the One Man Party, AlCantHang. I know it isn't what you are trying to do (and that addresses multiple people, so no need for you, individually, to defend yourself, but feel free), but it's what you are doing. If enough people say something sucks, it eventually becomes true, so, once again, suck it up or walk, but try not to complain your way out the door.

People are mean. Get used to it, pussy.

I have some hot plans for tonight. Wifey Kim is getting some bridal party dress sized tonight, so I'm raging solo. Sadly, that may merely mean sitting at home in my BVDs playing online poker. I would join the $1 Rebuy Donkarama, but I'm broke at FT aside from tokens. It's all part of my Only Play Token Tourney strategy at FT. Basically, I only play token tourneys. Why? Because I like em. The only shortcoming is that it makes my options at FT somewhat limited. Fortunately, I have fundage at Stars (where I moneyed in a Razz MTT yesterday in 15th/120) and Bodog. In fact, if anyone wants to swap a small amount between Stars and FT lemme know.

Things went exceedingly well yesterday with Bossman at his trial, but during lunch he offered me a suggestion that I come into the office every other weekend to do a basic case status update for all of my cases. Such suggestions sound an awful lot like mandates, and even though I was planning on coming in anyway, having it 'suggested' makes me disdain the idea. I'll still be here come Sunday, though.

I was in the can today, listening to Ron & Fez and playing Backgammon on my iPod Nano while evacuating myself. Someone walked into the john and seemed to stand at the door of the stall next to mine. "Are you in there?" he asked, in a deep, creepy voice. I took off my earbuds and listened, to determine if he was talking to me or not. I felt my door rattle and then heard, "Sorry." I heard him ask again, "Are you in there?" and then open the stall next to mine. He made some other statement, half to himself and then said, "Was that you? Sorry." I finally responded, "No problem." Then I shut off my iPod, left the stall, washed up and left as fast as possible. What a freaking psycho. It didn't help that he was moaning the entire time I heard him dropping his dueces. It sounded like water shooting out of a stopped-up hose. Freak!

If anyone can offer some advice on how to set up a private tournament at FT, it'd be greatly appreciated. I have something in mind coming up, but FT didn't respond to my emails for help.

Not much else is happening in my world, so I'll end this quick instead of dragging it on.

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 3:35 PM, , links to this post




Penlessness and the Way of the Poker Face

*** WARNING: MINIMAL POKER CONTENT ***

Man, I have to tell someone this story, because frankly, I can't tell anyone at the office. It's just too...embarassing, sorta.

A while ago, on the day I returned from my vacation with wifey Kim in Mexico, I was greeted in the office by the head secretary and Big Bossman, beckoning me into his office. My assignment was to cover a case for the Big Bossman in a smaller court. It seemed odd to me that we would even have such a case until I saw the plaintiff, Big Bossman. Unlike my other cases, this wasn't a case for the firm, necessarily, but the individual litigation of my boss.

I won't go into details, but it was my job to essentially babysit the case at court. If the judge wanted to start the trial, I was to call Bossman immediately. If not, I was supposed to get the trial date.

Surprising to me and Bossman, the court ordered the case to mediation, where both parties meet with a court mediator with the hopes of settling the case. I protested briefly since I thought it would be pointless to this particular action, but once I got the okay to mediate the case from the Bossman via telephone, I went about going through the motions.

When I was in law school, I acted as a mediator in Small Claims Court in Queens, NY. Because of this, I knew all of the tools of the trade, and I enjoyed watching the elderly mediator go through the motions as though he were a hack actor reading a script. He was terrible, but once I got him to see that the case could not settle, he rubber stamped us and we were told by the court that our trial date would be today, April 3. For the record, it was a bench trial, decided by a judge instead of a jury.

When I returned to the office and told Bossman about the results, he told me matter-of-factly that I would be trying the case. I should note that I had never tried any case (trials are something that young attorneys rarely do), but I did my best to see the opportunity as something positive. First of all, it demonstrated that the Bossman had faith in me. Second, it was a pretty easy case and a good one to sink my teeth into for a first trial.

The pitfall was obvious, though. My client was my boss and if I messed up, I would not only mess up in front of my boss, but I would, in fact, cause my boss to lose money. Both are not pleasant concepts.

This week, I hoped to meet with Bossman daily to prepare me for the trial for which only he knew the details. Yesterday, I finally met with the Bossman and to my surprise, he decided that while I would direct his examination on the stand, he would do the rest of the case, with me as second chair. This was actually fine by me, since it was easier to prepare for one witness, my boss who is an attorney, rather than prepare for several in the short time I had.

Once again, the plan was for me to go to the court and babysit the case, calling the Bossman once I knew it would go on trial. He was only 30 minutes away, and most courts will allow that minor delay, since there is enough for them to do in the meanwhile.

Everything went according to plan this morning. I got to the court early, since I couldn't sleep. I wore my power suit and tie. The courtroom opened at 9:30, and it wasn't until 9:25, though, that I realized I didn't have something that is crucial in every case...a pen.

I shit you not people, I forgot to bring a fucking writing utensil. I searched my bag, where I assumed I would have pens aplenty, only to find one bright orange highlighter. I thought about running down to the newstand in the lobby to see if they sold pens, but it was too late. I resigned myself to babysitting the case, with the hope that I would find an opportunity to sneak downstairs at some point to procure a pen. I didn't know anything in particularly required a pen, but logic would dictate that a pen would at the very least be handy.

At one point, before entering the courtroom, I sat on a bench in the hallway next to an older attorney. This wasn't the first time I'd been penless. The last time, though, was probably grade school.

As a kid, I was a very forgetful person. I'd often lose things or forget to do homework. I always got by, though, because I was a quick thinker and I was able to BS with the best of them. On more than one ocassion, I was sans pen or pencil, and at times, I'll admit that I would do whatever was necessary to procure one. Usually, that meant relying on friends and desk neighbors to help me out when needed. When that happened too often, it meant sneaking over to someone else's desk and swiping one. Sometimes, it meant scanning the room for an errant pen left on the floor or on an unattended desk or window sill. I was like a freaking ninja/cat burglar, with my skill at stealing pens for my own purposes.

Sitting next to the older attorney, I felt like a grade schooler once again. I considered asking him if he had an extra pen as a professional courtesy. When he got up to go to the bathroom, I considered patting down the bag he put down, open, right new to me, but I thought that my petty grade-school theft was no longer an option as an adult. But it did cross my mind...more than once.

The second time was while I sat in the courtroom. A clerk had a couple of pens at his desk, and I considered swiping one as he was constantly up and about. Sadly, when I was in striking distance, the only pen was red, and the risk was not worth the reward. Now a black pen would've seen me pull off some crazy caper-like stunts, but red...no sir.

The law clerk told me that the trial would start in 30 mins, so I called the Bossman. He was at the court in 30 minutes with his witness in tow. We all chatted outside and at one point, my Bossman told me that I would do the entire trial. I have to admit, my internal jaw dropped, even if I kept my poker face on. I could handle Bossman on the stand, since I had prepared for it and practiced, but I didn't know what to do about the other witness and the defendants' witnesses. As I previously mentioned, I'm good at BSing, so ultimately, I felt confident that I could handle the situation. However, that's when Bossman turned to me and said, "Now, I need you to take some notes for the other witnesses. Go into the court and bring out a pad."

GULP, I inwardly thought. I knew that I did not have a pen, and while I could BS my way through some notes with a highlighter, I could not prepare for several new witnesses that way. I reentered the courtroom without a plan. I considered asking Bossman if he had an extra pen. I lined up my excuses...(1) I just switched work bags and did not realize that I did not have a pen in this one. Sounds plausible, but still irresponsible. (2) My pen exploded and I did not have a backup. This was a possibility, but there would be no evidence of an exploded pen. No pen, no ink stains, nothing. Also, why didn't I have a backup pen? (3) My pen(s) ran out of ink. I figured I could pull this off for two pens. "I thought I was good, but the pens were dead."

When I entered the courtroom to grab my pad, the judge called out the case. "One second, your honor, my client is in the hall." He motioned for me to go, and I stepped into the hallway. "Bossman, we are on." I felt a bit nervous, but also a tad relieved. "Okay," Bossman replied, "tell the judge that you'll handle my testimony, but I'll do the rest." And in one fell swoop, the fortunate coincidence of our case being called just as I was sent to grab a pen saved me, not only from admitting my penless ways, but from trying a case I was not prepared to try.

The trial went extremely well, and the Bossman told more than a few people that I did an excellent job. My penless cover-up also went exceedingly well. When we approached the plaintiffs' table, I left my bag in the bench area of the courtroom. This way, if I only had my highlighter, at least one would consider that I had pens with me, but just in my bag. I relied on my highlighter as a pen, taking brief notes, and the Bossman did not seem to notice or mind. At the end of the trial, the court handed us an envelope to write down our name/address. Conveniently (cough cough), at that exact moment I began packing up my things. Bossman, who was doing nothing at that moment, took the envelope and began to fill it out. Another penless crisis averted.

Once again, my poker face and ability to bullshit saved my ass. Truth be told, not having a pen is not such an egregious offense, but it does demonstrate a lack of care and/or preparation. I've always felt that getting through difficult tasks largely is about confidence. If you act like you know what you are doing, people will think you know what you are doing and will treat you as such. That was the key to my success...that, and my constant search for alternative solutions.

Back at the office, I wanted to share my clever deceit with someone, anyone, but I knew I could not, lest my ill preparedness be exposed. But I have you, my loyal readers. You won't tell, will you?

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 3:48 PM, , links to this post




Assholes to Honey

I haven't written as often as usual for two primary reasons: (1) I haven't been playing as much and (2) the results continue to be abysmal. It reminds me of the losing streaks I had in 2007 and 2006, but oddly that's a comforting thought. When I need to, I think back on my total lifetime wins to remind myself that any temporary down tick is merely that: temporary.

I've noticed that the posts regarding table etiquette, particularly in blogger tournaments, have continued to trickle in. I can't blame a lot of the players that have chosen to take a break from these tournaments, since one of the keys to playing well is comfort. If you are uncomfortable with the stakes in a game, for instance, you are likely to have difficulty playing your A game. Similarly, if you are playing in a game of hostile players, it can also be difficult to concentrate of play optimal poker.

Naturally, those considerations only matter if your goal is to make money. If your goal is to socialize and have fun, then playing optimally may not be the most important thing to you. However, playing with a hostile crowd is even worse for a fun-time player than it is for a money-time player, since the fun is literally negated by the assholery on display.

I am not going to judge those who may be assholes at the tables; nor will I judge those who have decided that the assholes have ruined blogger games. But I will touch on a tangential topic that I think is worth discussing.

I love poker. (Wow, I haven't made that statement in a while). Love it. And while it may be a bit of a bitch now and then, I will play it under most any condition. NLHE or Mixed Game is fine with me. Tournament or cash game are both okay. Casino or home game sounds good.

But part of this general easiness is this concept: If you got money, I'll play.

I've said this before and I'll say it again, even an asshole's money is good. Sure, I play poker to socialize, but I'm not above socializing with assholes. In fact, many of my good friends could be considered assholes.

When I first started playing poker, my boy Mikey Aps would win practically every homegame I held. He was also a grade A asshole, from the Hellmuthian school of assholery, and many of the players became frustrated by his behavior (which probably could have been overlooked if he lost more than won). This put me in a weird spot because some players complained that they would not play if Mikey was there (sorry, Mikey). Now, Mikey's shenanigans got under my skin, too, but I am nothing if not inclusive. Fortunately or not, my homegame folded before I had a chance to figure out what to do, but since then I've noticed that asshole-banning is a relatively common practice.

A while ago, I used to play in a Brooklyn mixed game hosted by a player who was banned from the IHO games because of his assholery. I should probably stress (since that player probably reads here every once in a while) that I use the "assholery" term loosely, and it is more about what other people think than what I think. Whatever the case, even though he was banned from the IHO game, I still went to his homegame. Why? Because (a) he had money as did the other players in his game and (b) there was poker. Truth be told, I got along with the guy too, but I got along with him because I don't judge. In fact, my general principle in relationships is simply: If you are cool to me, I'm cool to you. It's that simple. And the host was cool to me. He invited me, was always cordial and ran a good game. He may've been particular about rules, but I can play along. After all, the most important thing was the poker. The socialization comes a close second, but make no doubt about it, its second.

SoxLover at one point was also banner and then unbanned and then rebanned from the IHO games for one reason or another. Admittedly, Sox is an opinionated guy, but that wasn't enough to bother me. Shit, I'm as opinionated (if not moreso) than the next guy, and I can even be a bit of an asshole at times if you don't consider where my comments are coming from (a deep well of sadness that engulfs my soul...or my keen sense of sarcasm and snarkiness). But once again, I was okay playing with Sox because (a) his money was good, and (b) there was poker. And like the aforementioned host, I got along with Sox, too. He was friendly to me, and when he made a comment that annoyed me, I just let it go.

Lest I sound like a complete prick, I should mention that these last two examples aren't ideal examples, since I liked both Sox and the aforementioned host on a personal level. However, on the rare ocassions when I discussed the two with the people who banned them, I simply explained this common denominator approach. They had money and poker, and that was all I needed to know.

When I was still a first-year attorney, I remember calling my mother midday to ask some advice. I was working under a partner who was a real asshole. He was the type of guy who could tilt you as soon as you enter the room. My mom told me something that has stuck with me to this day: "Your career is filled with assholes, Jordan. It attracts them. So, you better get used to it, because there are plenty more out there." She was right. The law attracted assholes like a siren's call. And poker is much the same.

Take a second to think about the characteristics of an average poker player. They are likely competitive, aggressive, independent and combative. Or, in other words, asshole-like, assholish, assholery and assholeness. As a people, we practically live outside of society, playing a largely-illegal game in underground clubs or other venues where the goal is to take money from the weak.

This is all to say that it is to your benefit to get that thick skin if you are playing poker for profit or to gain experience. There will always be an asshole at the table as long as you do not control the guest list. You should welcome these assholes and learn how to take advantage of their assholery. Because after all, they have money and they play poker. What else do you need to know.

This isn't exactly the case with blogger tournaments, which fit into another category of games. If you are playing poker to have fun and you don't find the games fun anymore because of some assholery, then you should take a break. I don't begrudge anyone that option, and I largely prefer it to the alternative, which is playing the game and then consistently bitching and moaning about the assholery (although, I don't begrudge anyone that either; sometimes people need to vent).

While on that subject, I'll leave you with a brief story I probably told here less than a month ago. I was at the Wall Street Game and a new player complained about a couple of rules. Specifically, I had a prop bet going with a few players to see what cards would come out on the flop. If our card came out, the winner had to announce it or else he/she would not get paid. As a result, if a 3 came out, a player would announce, "3!" and get a couple of dollars tossed his/her way.

According to the new guy, it was wholly improper to call out the cards on the board. On one hand, he had a point, since players should have to read their own board. On the other hand, we were in a homegame and the type of announcements did not necessarily give away any information. It would be one thing to announce, "Four clubs on the board!" It's another to announce "3!" As the complainer put it, "What if I had pocket 3s and hit my set?" What a tool! As if someone with pocket 3s would not notice their set? Or, on the flipside, as if the guy playing against the pocket 3s would go, "Oh, I didn't notice that 3...he must've hit a set." His complaining was actually more than complaining. He was downright pouting and would not get off of the subject. I believe his ultimate argument was, "They wouldn't allow that in a casino."

This was a tricky one for me. On one hand, I liked his money, but on the other hand, I had reached my fill and I had enough of his complaining. This was the ultimate in assholery to me. You show up at someone else's home game, you ask for a rule clarification, and then you push for your "casino" rules to be in effect! I'm not against nudging a bass ackward game into something resembling legitimate poker, but at some point, a guest just needs to shut up and play poker.

When I was finally fed up, I offered this suggestion: "You know where the door is. If you don't like it, you can leave." It wasn't my place to say it, but it had to be said.

So, in closing, I can play poker with just about anyone as long as their money is good. But if a game is not enjoyable to you, your best option is to leave, because more often than not, all the complaining in the world won't change the game.

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 3:07 PM, , links to this post




Dawn of the Red (Sauce)

I headed to the Wall Street Game last night for a rousing game of 1/2 Limit Stud 8 (Hi/Lo). The game was the brainchild of Stud 8 impressario Dawn from I Had Outs. Back in the day, I used to play in a random mixed game in Brooklyn. I got the invite thanks to a guy I met at Dawn's homegame, and the first time or two I played the mixed game, Dawn was in tow. Dawn at a mixed game is like taking a hooker to the prom. Not only will you definitely get some, but if you don't keep your eye on her, half the football team will get some too.

Naturally, even a blind squirrel eventually gets a nut, and Dawn's blind squirrel nuts was Stud 8. It's amazing how winning two hands in a row by drawing out against superior hands can make a donkey think she is a pro, but there's no telling the limits of Dawn's self-delusion.

This is all to say that when I entered the apartment and saw Dawn, my eyes literally turned into cartoon dollar signs. Literally. I'm having corrective surgery tomorrow.

The game started off well. I won a couple of hands early, giving me an early profit. I'm fairly sure all of my money came from Dawn, not due to my expert skill (which was, naturally a factor), but rather because of her donor ways.

Sadly, my losing streak continued, though, as later in the evening I visited Brick City and then Card Dead Canyon. Yippee!

When I left the game, I was down about $50, but I still had lost less than the chip-spewing Dawn, which I suppose is some sort of victory. But that isn't saying much, since we all know how Dawn plays poker. If you need an example of her donkosity, I suppose this will suffice.

Stud8 is a tricky game to play with a 9-person table. Since each player gets 7 cards in their hand, if a lot of players stay in the pot, you may run out of cards before the river. In such situations, a single river card is dealt face-up in the middle of the table. Everyone shares this card.

This only happened once or twice last night. The first time, Matty Ebs, rocking the dealer's box, dealt out a burn and the river. In my vast pokerly experience, I have seen inexperienced players expose their cards by not protecting their hand. I have seen inexperienced players misdeal. But I have never, and I mean NEVER, seen an "experienced" player reach into the muck and flip over the burn card in the middle of a hand while she is still in a hand and river action has not even commenced. NEVER! Until last night. As we all stared at the rivered King, with the burn neatly tucked right under, Dawn took it upon herself to flip over both cards, exposing a burnt Jack and hiding the King. It was an odd move, especially for someone who claims, futilely, to be smart. But frankly, its patently obvious that Dawn hates males, so it makes perfect sense that she would be indignant about the male King. She was also probably mad because it was a Red King, and Dawn only likes Blacks. Let that ruminate for a minute. I can only imagine her disappointment when she saw that the burn also was male. That would certainly explain her sad panda face followed by her howling, "I HATE MEN! LESBIANS ROCK!" I can't argue with that logic, but what a weird chick.

Final thought on the night. What is your favorite pizza topping? According to trusted Internet sources, most pizzerias find that pepperoni is the most popular topping, followed by sausage, mushrooms, and a host of other toppings. In fact, the same trusted source lists these as the common toppings: extra cheese, ham, ground beef, chicken, onion, green pepper, bacon, olives, pineapple, and tomato; and these as the "exotic toppings": shrimp, salami, hot pepper rings, and ancho­vies.

Do you know what you don't see? Extra sauce. Do you know why? Because extra sauce SUCKS!

A long time ago, Polly O string cheese had a commercial where a couple of teens go into a pizza parlor and put in a weird order. The lead teen says, "Give me a pizza, extra cheese." The pizza maker repeats, "Extra cheese!" The teen continues, "and hold the sauce", to which the pizza maker asks confusedly, "Hold the sauce?", and the teen finishes with, "and hold the crust." "HOLD THE CRUST?!" In the end, the teens get Polly O string cheese, to which they rock out.

This is the version from Dawn's household, circa 1982. "Hey ma, can I have a pizza?" "Shut up, I'm trying to watch Dallas!" "Hold the crust." "SHUT UP!" "Hold the cheese." "That's it, back in your cage."

Of course, when we first called the pizza place, we had no idea Dawn was about to shanghai the order. Now, I realize that this was a foolish mistake on our part, because to Dawn, extra sauce is a way of life. The fact that she was drinking a tomato sauce Slurpee when she entered the game was another tip off. When she desecrated our pizza order by insisting on extra sauce along with the pepperonis, I said nothing, lest I get her evil stare. For those in the know, its kinda like her "I just pooped myself" stare, but with a little more squinting. Hence, thin crust pizza with pepperonis floating on a sea of red sauce. It was more of a soup than a meal.

And here is another logic puzzle that a "smart" person like Dawn should be able to figure out. Pizza + extra sauce = messy and messy is not compatible with poker. Perhaps next week, we can order spaghetti! Or even better, sloppy joes! Ooh, let's get ribs, smothered in barbeque sauce. Oh, no napkins for me Jaime. I'll just wipe my dirty, dirty hands (and soul) on your cards.

So, there you go. I was the second biggest loser and had to drink my pizza.

Until next time, make mine poker!

Oh, and PS, I've read Scrabble boards that were more literate than Dawn's many blogs.

posted by Jordan @ 8:59 AM, , links to this post