Outfoxing (Foxwoods Trip Report Pt. 3)
Thursday, July 31, 2008
When we last left our hero, he was back at the beautifully adequate Ramada Inn, trying to sleep while Roose and TwoDiamondPhillips operated heavy machinery in the room. That heavy machinery was their nostrils, apparently. Roose is well known as a snorer, an epic snorer, really. For that very reason, I always sleep with my iPod on if Roose and I are bunking up. That night, though, I needed something a lot stronger. Not only was Roose doing his best impersonation of a ban saw cutting through scrap metal, but TwoDiamond was pretending like he was a Mack truck gunning the motor. I don't know how they didn't wake themselves (or each other) up with the volume and seeming distressful snoring. All I know is that I was huddled on my bed, fetal position, wishing the trombone-playing monsters would just go away.
We woke up the next morning at 7:30am. We were all exhausted, but wanted breakfast before the 9am tournament at Foxwoods. The night before, 2d asked one of the staff about what time we should arrive to register. He was told, 8am the latest. Not good. Roose and I argued about having a full breakfast vs. getting to the game, but he won out, and we made our way to the Oh Boy Diner, just across the street from our hotel.
The breakfast was adequate, but mostly disappointing. I had an egg, cheese and bacon sandwich on an English muffin, and a biscuit on the side. I love me some biscuits. The sandwich came with home fried potatoes, which was nothing more than dice-sized potato chunks slightly browned. I finished the sandwich and half of the biscuit, but left the rest of my food on the plate. Among the side effects of poker is the complete destruction of my digestive system, so I wasn't much in the mood to eat anyway.
I paid for breakfast as a thank you to TwoDiamond for sleeping on the floor and to Roose for driving. We headed out and made our way to the casino. The poker room was active, if not overly busy, but that is to be expected in the early morning. We signed up for the tournament at about 8:30am. There was no line and only 16 people had signed up by that time. I mulled over whether TwoDiamond was busting chops with the 8am line or if some staffer was jerking his chain.
When the game started off, I was at a table of mostly caucasian males. I was in the 8s. The 10s was a square jawed dude who seemed to be taking himself too seriously. I was just trying to get comfortable and friendly. He had a look of steely coolness that hid a cauldron of insecurity. His girlfriend or wife or whatever pulled up a seat behind him. She was brunette, petite, and reminded me of wifey Kim in some ways. Wifey Kim, though, would never spend hours sitting behind me in a tournament, not because she would refuse, but because I wouldn't make her. I can't picture anything more boring than sitting behind someone watching them play when you can't see their cards and have no real interest in poker. I sure as hell couldn't see putting anyone else through that boredom, especially wifey Kim, whom I cherish and adore. But, hey, this guy was a tool anyway, so what was I to expect.
Before the tournament, Roose and I discussed our usual deal. On our last trip, we agreed that forevermore, we would swap 10% of any tourney we were in together. The only problem with this arrangement was that TwoDiamond wanted in. I don't mind swapping 10% with Roose, but 10 with Roose and 10 with TwoDiamond is a different story. First off, I'd seen Roose have a lot of success in tournament poker. In some ways, he is a more generous guy than I am, so he sees a swap as a way to get his friends in on the action. I see it as a hedging mechanism and try to work out deals that will not hurt me financially. I was willing to give up 10% of my action, but not 20%. And I was willing to give 10% to Roose specifically, but I hadn't seen TwoDiamond play casino poker in a long time (if ever) and I wasn't sure whether he was a good investment. I settled on a 5% swap with each of my cohorts, keeping the amount I give away the same, but lessening the investment on my two other horses.
Within the first hour or so, my starting stack of 5k had dwindled down to about 2k. I was playing at a table filled with a random assortment of skill sets. Some guys were obviously tight, other guys were mixing it up with lots of wacky raises, and still others were exhibiting early signs of calling station behavior. I, myself, just attempted to limp or call cheap preflop bets with marginal hands, hoping to outplay my opponents on a flop. I should have been tighter, in hindsight, but I had a lot of good drawing hands in multiway pots. Unfortunately, I couldn't hit a flop for shit, so accordingly, my stack simply dwindled away as I began to grasp the weak spots at my table.
I was able to win a series of small pots, bringing me up to 4k+ when my most exciting hand of the tournament occured. I was in the SB with J6d, with blinds of 100/200, no antes, when a certifiably loose player in MP min-raised to 400. A player in LP called, I called, and the BB called. The three of us saw the flop, Q42, with the 4 and 2 of diamonds, giving me a mediocre flush draw. I checked, as did the BB. The loose MP preflop raiser bet out 300. The LP player called, I called the small bet, and the BB called.
The turn was another 4, pairing the board but doing nothing for my bare J-high flush draw. I checked, as did the BB again. This time, the MP preflop raiser bet 400. The LP player called and I decided to make a move. Since I was in the SB calling a min-raise preflop, I could have just about anything. The paired 4 was an opportunity, so I raised to 1400 in an effort to represent the 4. The BB folded and the MP preflop raiser flat called. The LP player folded. I now had control of the hand.
I hoped for a diamond river, but instead, I got a blank. I only had about 2200 behind. I considered my options briefly. I couldn't wait too long, though, because a delay may induce a call if I chose to bluff. Well, bluff I did, announcing all-in. My opponent thought for a bit, looked miffed, and then folded Q7d face-up. He had top pair and a better flush draw. I took the opportunity to show my stonecold bluff. I felt it was proper at the time. I wanted to regain the table's respect from my early loose calls and as long as I was controlling the flow of information, I was confident I could use it to my advantage.
With a renewed stack and momentum, I felt more comfortable at the table. Nearby, I heard a player jump up and scream, "YEAH BABY!" when he hit some sorta miracle card, two tables over. I had made buddies with some of the guys at my side of the table, and said under my breath, "Geez, buddy, relax. He does realize that this isn't a televised event, right?" It was a throwaway comment to no one in particular, but the douschebag sitting across from me with his POA girlfriend behind him chimed in, "A guy's not allowed to celebrate?" I responded, muttering, "Yeah, I wonder how the other guy feels." It wasn't that big of a deal or even a confrontation, but I knew two things immediately. First, this guy was a student of televised poker and did not recognize the concept of poker ettiquete. It's one thing if he acted as though the celebrating wasn't excessive or even that while it isn't pleasant, what can you do; however, this guy acted like hootin' and hollerin' was an integral part of the game. The second thing I learned was that I wanted this mother fucker to bust before I did. He would become my nemesis, mostly because I didn't like the tone of his voice or his douschebaggy demeanor.
I had a little fun when his girlfriend got up and headed to the bathroom. Naturally, I followed her with my eyes as she rounded the table, to catch a peak at the ass, as I am wont to do when exposed to females who I deem to be even borderline attractive. Lesson for you kiddos out there, the ass is the first thing to go. If you were to show me a picture of a chick's ass only, I could tell you whether or not she had a good figure. The face is a complete variable with no correlation to ass-quality, but the rest of the body can be readily predicted just by those two rear cheeks.
After checking out her decent ass, I went back to the game. Three minutes later, the douschebag looked behind him and noticed that his chick was gone. "She went to the bathroom," I offered. "You keeping an eye on my girl?" he asked in a semi-serious, semi-joking way. I laughed. "Hell no, dude, but you might want to keep an eye on her." It was a duplicitous statement. It suggested that she was unattractive AND a philanderer, but I could always fall back as simply being helpful. I love territorial pissing.
A little while later, the table broke and I was sent to a new table, replete with several bigstacks, the biggest of which was on my immediate right. The gentleman was large and quiet. He didn't seem to want to interact with any of my shtick at first, but softened up after a while. I had about 3600 by this point, after squandering some of the chips I earned in my mega-bluff at the other table. I was the shortstack or thereabouts, and blinds were up to 200/400 with 50 antes, so I was clearly in the danger zone, looking for opportunities to double up or steal blinds. I folded for a while, bleeding chips all the while. Realizing that my dwindling stack looked unthreatening, I asked my bigstacked neighbor to swap my red 1k chips for two stacks of yellow 100 chips. He obliged and I joked about needing it for the psychological benefit of appearing intimidating when I eventually push all-in. I was semi-joking, in a way that apprises the listener that I am a goofball who may just be playing them. In my experience, it sows a bit of frustration and throws people off of their game. Am I some tool in a Superman T-shirt that is merely trying to be wacky, or am I a thoughtful player who is hiding behind the image of a tool?
I continued to fold until I realized that I was in dire trouble. Blinds were about to go up to 300/600, with a 75 ante, and I had yet to play a single hand at the new table. I considered pushing blind, but I feared that someone might see my blind raise, so instead, I looked at my cards, 78o, and decided that from MP/LP, it would have to do. I needed to accumulate chips or go home. I pushed all-in and amazingly it folded around. I joked about the psychology of my two yellow stacks as the next hand was dealt. AA. It got back to me and I pushed again, saying, "I hope the psychology works again." Two seats to my left, a guy pushed all-in as well. He had about the same amount of chips as me. Everyone else folded and I showed my AA. He had KK, and I just about doubled up while busting a player. "No need for psychology there," my bigstacked neighbor chimed in. "Guess not." I agreed.
An orbit later, I was dealt 99 in MP/LP and decided to push all-in again. This time, there was already an UTG limper, so when it folded to him, I wasn't too concerned when he took his time. He seemed really uncertain of what the right play was, which made me feel fairly confident that I was facing a horse-race at the worst. He finally begrudgingly called, saying, "I'll pay you off." He then showed QQ. I don't know what took him so long.
The turn was a 9, and no Queen came. I got lucky, busting the player and doubling up again. I was now up to 16k or so. My bigstacked neighbor, meanwhile, was watching his chips spread around the table.
I took my own chunk out of my bigstack neighbor when a player to his left min-raised to 2400 with blinds of 600/1200, 200 ante. My bigstacked neighbor called, I called and another one or two players called. At the time, I had 66, and was hoping to hit a set.
The flop was 348 with two spades. My bigstacked neighbor led the action with a bet of 3600. I don't recall our relative position at the time compared to the other players, but I am pretty sure we were both in LP and I already saw the other players check. I took my time, trying to determine the best move. There wasn't much play left with 600/1200 blinds, and I wasn't about to just try to fold to the money on a teeny stack. I had my neighbor outchipped at this point, so I decided to put him to the test. After taking my time, I announced, "all-in." All of the players folded to my neighbor. He paused for two beats and said, "Nice bet. Good hand." He mucked. And like that, I was up to 26,000. I had finally solidified myself as the biggest or 2nd biggest stack at our table, originally coming in as the shortie.
Remember the douschebag with the decent broad from the first table? Well, a little while later, he joined our table, taking the 4s. I was somewhere around the 7s. He had sunglasses on now, and his girlfriend was still hanging around like a good puppy. His stack looked large, but it was a lot of 100s. Regardless, he went back to his old style of play, making large re-raises sporadically and at times betting out with weak hands preflop.
It was with great joy that I saw him get tangled up with the guy in the 5s, a chap who had been fairly quiet for most of the day. The 5s was an elderly gent, wearing a baseball cap and a red and white flannel shirt with slacks. He was alert and pleasant enough, and kinda disappeared into the background. In EP, Douschebag made a small preflop raise, only to be re-raised by the 5s. Douschey took his time before calling, and they saw a flop, TXX, with two hearts. Douschey announces, "All in" and the 5s called pretty quick. Then they flipped the cards. Douschey had T7d, and had no business raising preflop and calling the re-raise preflop in the first place. The 5s had AKh. His preflop play made sense, but his call for a good amount of chips this late in the game with a draw and two overs is somewhat borderline. This story has a happy end, though, as the turn was another Heart and the 5s busted Douschey. Douschey looked crestfallen, which isn't that surprising, considering that we were down to 12 players with 10 paying. He just stared at the board as though he couldn't believe it. Internally, I danced a jig. He got up and his girlfriend followed suit. Sorry to the people who have their chicks sweat them, but I don't get it. Can you imagine playing a tournament for hours only to lose just out of the money? Now, imagine watching your loved one play for hours while you are bored as shit, only to have him bust just out of the money. Double disappointment.
By now, blinds were up to 1000/2000, with something like a 400 ante. My stack hadn't built much and my opponents had been busting each other out, leaving me one of the shortstacks. We were hand-for-hand until finally the bubble burst and we picked new seats for the final table. I was in the money, but was probably the shortest or second shortest stack at the time.
At the final table, I took the 10s. Another shortie took the 1s. He was in the 10s at my other table and over the hours of play, we built up a rapport. He both wished each other luck.
The button was a few seats to my right. Blinds went up to 2000/4000, so I knew I had to make some magic happen with my 30k or less stack. I folded my blinds to aggression. Finally, I was on the button and it folded to me. I decided to push with any two. I looked at my cards, 25o, and announced "All in." My buddy who was now in the 1s announced, "I guess I call." The BB folded. I leaned over the table and said, "I'm in trouble." He replied, "I only have a pocket pair." I replied, "I have two unders." I was right. His 99 beat my 25o. Whoops! And then, we went on a break. I had less than the SB left in my stack.
While the result of the 25o hand was a disappointment, I still feel that it was an intelligent move. I needed the blinds and antes to pay for another orbit and all I had to worry about was that one of the two players still in the hand had a pocket pair. Even AK is not too far ahead of 25o. I thought through the hand to make sure I didn't just fuck up, and resolved to chalk it up as a good play, bad result. Perhaps good play, bad timing is just as accurate, but there was no reason for me to know the timing was bad until after the action was complete.
After the break, I pushed all-in on my first hand, AKo. I lost to the BB, who had 57o and flopped a straight. I took 10th place and $285, for a modest profit. But cashing is almost more important than the money involved. I have a great track record in these types of tournaments. Still, I am not completely blind to the fact that if it wasn't for a timely suckout in the middle of the event, my 99 v. QQ, I wouldn't have cashed at all. Humbling stuff, this poker.
I wasn't too unhappy to be out because I felt I accomplished something. Also, Roose and TwoDiamond were ready to go, so I paid them their 5% each and we hit the road. We grabbed Subway again and started in on a traffic-filled rainy drive home. Several hours into the traffic and rain, Roose got frustrated by the slow movement and pulled over. "WHO IS DRIVING!? I'M DONE!" I'm stepped up and took over for the rest of the way.
Nearing NYC, Roose was extra impatient. I don't blame him. The only thing worse than waiting to get home on a Sunday evening after gambling is waiting to drop someone else off before you get to go home on a Sunday evening. "You can just drive direct to Bayside. It'll save us 30 minutes." "Yeah, but then I'd have to take the train and subway home and that'll take me an extra hour." "Come on. Just head back to Bayside." Roose was insistent. I had to clue him in. "Next time you plan on not dropping me off at home, you may not want to give me control of the wheel." And sure enough, I drove myself right to my apartment in no time.
A successful trip to Foxwoods. It ain't no AC for a variety of reasons, the main reason being that it is just too limiting. Not enough tournaments, variety or convenience. But it'd do in a pinch.
I have plans to write about my big win at the Wall Street Poker game tomorrow. Lucky you! But...
Until next time, make mine poker!
Hangin' with my SNGs (Foxwood Trip Report Pt. 2)
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
When we last left our hero, he had lost $410 playing 1/2 NLHE and had decided to join his pals Roose and TwoDiamondPhillips for a SNG.
The decision to play an SNG was not a light one. I didn't like the fact that I was down $410, but I still wanted to play, and an SNG would have the double benefit of capping potential losses and giving me a chance to win back most of my losses in one fell swoop.
Roose and 2d had played an SNG earlier in the day, with 2d taking third place. I asked about the structure and this is what I was told: The blinds go up fast, every 15 minutes, and at the 100/200 mark, antes kick in.
That sounded damn fast to me, but it was nothing new, either. I have played in all sorts of structures, from tournaments that seem like they will never end to tournaments that can't get through an orbit before the blinds go up. Each game requires a different strategy and more importantly, a different attitude. To play a turbo SNG requires an acceptance of the increased role of luck. It also requires a strategy that combines selective aggression with fearlessness.
We all bought in and hung around, waiting for the SNG to start up. It was probably a good 20 minute wait, while I thumbed through PokerPages magazine, skipping, as I always do, right to Pauly's column on online poker.
When the tournament was called, I grabbed my seat in the 8s. Roose was somewhere around the 4s. 2d was in the 6s or so. To my immediate right was a long-haired, tall guy, who could've passed for Chris 'Jesus' Ferguson's stunt double.
In the first hand, 2d got tangled up with Ferguson's stunt double when 2d's flopped set of Tens on a KQT board ended with a rivered Jack, giving Fegie a set of Jacks with his pocket JJs. Lemon! Amazingly, though, 2d held onto most of his chips, probably in large part due to the threat of a straight.
I played tight to start, hoping to let players eliminate themselves. Meanwhile, I chatted lightly with stunt man Fergie and a guy on my left, a greek, guy, probably in his late 50s or 60s, with a small, skinny frame, a craggly face, and a white t-shirt, the kind that appears like an undershirt. He had on jeans, and his whole demeanor from the neck down seemed to be that of a much younger man. He sat on his feet in the chair. He had a pack of smokes tucked into one of his sleeves. He spoke with a heavy accent, but seemed pleasant enough...until he started raising me.
But first, I should mention that fairly early on in the SNG, I made a big hand, allowing me to gain a large chip lead in the early-goings. I didn't keep notes on the hand, likely because I keep audio notes on my cell phone and I didn't have time to walk away from the game. However, if memory serves correct, I hit a strong draw and stacked another player.
Whatever the case, my larger stack afforded me with the ability to fold with reckless abandon, allowing the table to eat itself. Eventually, we were down to five players, including me, Roose, 2d, some young guy, and the Greek. The Greek, meanwhile, was driving me up the fuckin' wall. It wasn't anything he said, it was his play. When I would raise, he would push all-in. It happened probably five or so times, and each time, I had to fold, since the Greek had also accumulated some chips which, while less than me, was still a good portion of my stack. I didn't need to gamble, so I'd fold the marginal hands that were good for a raise to take down the blinds, but not good for my tourney life. Meanwhile, on other hands when the Greek would enter the pot without me, Roose, who had position on the Greek, would raise, and the Greek would fold. Initially, when the Greek was over-pushing on me, I thought he was full of shit, but his patience against Roose led me to believe that perhaps he really was just getting big hands against me.
It was with this conflicting read that I called an all-in from 2d or Roose with AQ, one of my better hands, only to have the Greek push all-in after me. It sucked, but I considered my options and realized that even if the Greek was pushing with KJ, he was still nearly a coin toss to win. It didn't seem necessary to look him up, so I folded my AQ and he showed A5o! Roose or 2d had a better hand preflop, but the flop was AQQ, giving the Greek two-pair. It would've given me a full house, busting the Greek and the other player and putting us in the money.
This was frustrating, especially since we were now down to four-handed and the Greek was still making seemingly crazy plays. Now I knew he had a crazy range, even calling an all-in with T8 or something. However, even T8 is has an almost 40% chance of winning against AQ, for instance. So, unless I got amazing cards, and I didn't, my play was severely constricted by my Greek neighbor.
Side note, I got into two hands with Roose that left him steaming. One earlier in the evening saw me in the BB or SB with AQ. The Greek called (or was the BB and checked) and Roose came in for a limp. I just flat called, trying to preserve chips. The flop was Ace-high and I checked. The Greek checked, which frankly surprised me. Roose bet out and I re-raised. I didn't want to check-raise a friend, but I was trying to get action from the Greek, who took shots at most pots when he was in. Roose looked pretty pissed. Down to four, I busted Roose when he pushed all-in with QJ to my AJ in the blinds. He wasn't too pleased about that either, but at the time, I was fairly short myself, and couldn't turn down the all-in.
It was down to the Greek, the kid and I. The payouts were $200 for 3rd, $300 for 2nd, and $500 for 1st. In a few hands, I was dealt 77 and decided to raise. Surprise, surprise, the Greek pushed all-in and I called super fast. He showed A5, missed all of his outs and busted. I suppose all of the folding was worth it in the end. It gave me a chance to read my opponent before dealing the death blow.
The kid and I played about two hands before someone suggested a chop. The dealer said that a chop would be $400/400; however, I had probably a 3:2 chip advantage on my competition. "How about I give you $50. $450/$350." He accepted and we chopped. It seems like I chop every tourney that I cash in lately. Well, some may see it as a negative, but I see it as an accomplishment. I only make deals when I think it benefits me (it may equally benefit my opponent as well, but that isn't a criteria that concerns me). In this case, the guys were waiting around and wanted to leave, I was hungry, the blinds were high, and a simple double-up would put my opponent in the dominant position. I also had some losses to make up.
REASON #3 WHY AC > FOXWOODS: Raging solo.
Remember our list of why AC is better than Foxwoods? Well, here is the next and probably greatest difference. In AC, all of the Boardwalk casinos are accessible to each other. Even a quick cab ride or free shuttle can take you to/from the separate Marina casinos. Since rooms are more affordable, AC also benefits from allowing players to stay in the casino/hotel without paying an arm and a leg. The result is that if Roose busted from a tourney before me and didn't want to play anymore, he could go up to the room or back to the hotel and I could make my way back later. In Foxwoods, we were staying in some random Ramada, 15 minutes away. The result was that Roose, 2d and I were tied at the hip. If one of us was in a tourney, we'd all have to wait. If one of us was done, we'd all have to leave or that person would have to stay.
After I got my SNG moneys, we walked around the casino to see the food selections. Nothing grabbed up, particularly due to TwoDiamondPhillips' #1 Reason Why AC > Foxwoods: Coke. Apparently, our Native-American-actor/low-card doesn't drink Pepsi and refused to eat at any of the Pepsi-only Foxwoods eateries. So, we hit the road. After all, on some level, we were all burnt out from poker.
While fucking around, I came up with the idea to see the new Batman movie, the Dark Knight. None of us had seen it, so using the Garmin and 777-FILM, we found a nearby theater with a 9:40 pm showing. I find few things more enjoyable than experiencing a local scene, like a movie theater, in a random place with no planning. Strolling into some random Connecticut movie theater in a random strip mall and grabbing a Subway sandwich is the Connecticut version of finding a cafe on the banks of some European river and grabbing an espresso, or finding a random hiking trail in the West. It might not be all that glamorous compared to some of those other places I just mentioned, but it is just as random, and just as satisfying in its own way.
The movie was great, even though it does not live up to all of the hype. As a comic book fan, I appreciated Iron Man more, which balanced the absurdity of super heros with the real world. Batman simply felt like a noir film, and had a few too many endings that were not endings. Still, it was extremely enjoyable and Heath Ledger did a fine job as the Joker.
After the movie, we headed back to the hotel. We hadn't really gotten much poker done, but we had enough to satisfy our cravings. The plan was to wake up early the next morning for breakfast at the 24-hour diner across the street from our hotel. After that, we would play the 9am tourney. And one of us would cash.
Stay tuned, loyal readers, to find out: Who cashes in the tournament? What did Jordan eat for breakfast? When did our heroes return home? Where is this going, anyway? and, How are you doing today?
Until next time, make mine poker!
Fox Hunting (Foxwoods Trip Report Pt. 1)
Monday, July 28, 2008
When time allows and Roose is free, there is only one thing that will safisfy our collective poker itch: Atlantic City. But this is not a story about Atlantic City. This is a story about our attempt to try something new, something different. And that something is known as Foxwoods.
In the New York City area, there are two legal poker destinations within a three hour drive. The first is my second hometown, Atlantic City, home to around eight to ten poker rooms of various sizes, the most opulent being the Borgata, a hotel that is isolated from the other casinos by being in the car-accessible Marina portion of AC. The others are either scattered among the Marina area (Harrah's) or on the Boardwalk, where all casinos are accessible by foot, about 45 minutes from one end to the next, with poker rooms scattered in five to fifteen minute increments. The joy of playing poker in AC is the variety of rooms. For some, that may not be important at all. I think specifically of the Borgata loyalists, who praise Borgata for its newest, biggest room, widest range of stakes, and copious amount of wannabe hotshots staying at the best casino hotel AC has to offer. But for a guy like me, who enjoys tournaments under $200 buy-in and a tad of variety in scenery, AC is like a buffet of poker delights.
The second NYC destination for poker is Foxwoods Casino Hotel, located in Connecticut, about the same distance away as Atlantic City. Unlike AC, a city that has legalized poker, Foxwoods is owned by Native Americans, who, in exchange for the slaughter of their people and the rape of their land, are now allowed to own gambling halls. Sweet deal! All us Jews got were control of the banks, entertainment, jewelery, textiles, and kosher food markets. Whereas AC has a slew of casino/hotels, Foxwoods has allegedly "six" casinos, but as far as I could tell, it's really just two attached hotels and one separate hotel, with a series of casinos set throughout the hotels. It's like saying the Tropicana Hotel in AC has five casinos because there might be five different casino areas within the one hotel. The casinos themselves were traditionally just known as Foxwoods. The "new" casino, MGM Foxwoods, is on the same general property and is connected to the other buildings, but somehow stands apart, in name and perhaps ownership, mostly. I don't much care about the structuring behind Foxwoods/MGM, but I only point this out to make it clear that the MGM was the real reason we were heading to parts unknown. For a brief moment, it seemed like Foxwoods was moving a tad closer to the multiple-casino appeal of AC or even Vegas.
In reality, MGM doesn't have a poker room. Hmm. So, if we were to play at the Foxwoods, we'd be playing in the same room the entire time. Wifey Kim had an event with the girls, and Roose was able to get a night free, so we planned to head to Foxwoods to check out the new MGM and play some poker. After booking a room at a nearby Ramada (Foxwoods was sold out and uber expensive anyway, and the Ramada was an easy 15 min. distance by car), I discovered that the MGM was poker-less. But, it was all about changing things up, so we left our plans as is.
I woke up early on Saturday to meet Roose at his home in Bayside, only to be greeted by Roose and his buddy (mine too, thanks to Roose), TwoDiamondPhillips. Roose mentioned that TwoDiamond (or "2d", in poker blog parlance) would be joining us, as Roose always does, i.e., after the fact, without letting me know. 2d is a funny mofo, though, and we'd played together a bunch of times, so I was glad for the additional company.
The drive to Foxwoods was smooth. We arrived at our hotel and dumped off our stuff before making it over to the casino, arriving in the afternoon. The night before, I checked out the tournaments offered and saw that the selection was a tad weak. So, let's begin our list of the reasons why AC is better than Foxwoods with:
REASON #1 WHY AC > FOXWOODS: Tournament selection.
The tournaments offered Saturday noon until Sunday evening are as follows, taken from Foxwoods website: Saturday, 12pm, $560; Sunday, 9am, $120, 12pm, $340, 6pm, $120. In other words, for under $200 I could either play the 9am Sunday game or the 6pm Sunday game, which logically is too late to play and then drive home 3 hrs on a Sunday night before a work day. So, one tournament. In AC, I can name a half dozen off the top of my head, and that only includes two of the eight or so hotels.
We were locked into the early AM tournament on Sunday, so I decided to start off with some 1/2 NLHE. I signed onto the wait list, which leads us to reason #2.
REASON #2 WHY AC > FOXWOODS: Poker room options.
With more poker rooms throughout AC, there is always a place where you can jump into a game quickly. At Foxwoods, some tables had lists of easily 20 players. The 1/2 NLHE had about 8 players when I signed up, and I expected a long wait. I will give Foxwoods this, though. They are quick, as once we reached 10 players, they started a new table. I don't mean to just piss on ole Foxy. Some things about it were good. But I still think that multiple poker rooms in the area would lead to less bottlenecking as all poker players head to the same place.
I wandered around for 20-30 mins while Roose and 2d decided to sign up for a $120 SNG. I opted to skip it, since I didn't know how the structure would be and I didn't want to wait to play. Once I was in my cash seat, the other guys waited for another 40 minutes before their SNG kicked off. Eventually, I found out that 2d took 3rd for $200 and Roose busted out of the money.
While Roose was losing $120, though, I was losing $410. Nothing was going well for me at the cash games, and I lost several pots to bad river cards. Even worse, though, was the fact that I was utterly card dead and could not hit a flop if my life depended on it. This led to a subtle form of tilt where I was playing too many hands for a limp and then folding AND trying to squeeze edges a bit too much. I didn't lose any monster pots, but it was a lot of -$100, -$100, -$100. Each time, I would rebuy back to the max, so I could benefit off of some of the worse players, but that time didn't come.
In one hand, I held QJh, and limped in LP. A blind raised to $10 and I called along with three other callers. The flop had a King and two unders, with two hearts . The blind bet out $30 and since I was trying to make some mula on my draw and had decent odds, I called. The next card gave me an inside straight draw as well, so when the blind raised all-in for $60, I did the math again and decided that the call was appropriate. There was $40+ preflop, another $60 on the flop, and his $60 bet; I had to call $60 to win $160 with 13 outs once. Someone else can do the math, because that may or may not be right, but at the time, I liked the situation, since I knew that my spending was capped. The river was another King, so when the blind showed his KT, I pretended like I was disgusted by his lucky river and mucked my cards. -$100, just like that.
I lost another hundred plus on a stupid river call, and the old adage, Rule #1 of poker: When you are behind, fold. It all started when I got my first strong hand of the day, AQs, and raised preflop to $12, getting a few callers. The flop was KQx, and when it checked to me, I bet out, getting only one caller. The turn was a blank, so I bet out again, fairly confident that I was ahead based on the action and my opponent's demeanor. He called, hesitantly. The river was a 9, and I thought, shit, he hit his straight. I think there may've been a flush draw that missed out there, but I distinctly remember thinking, 'I can't believe he hit his straight. I checked for the first time in the hand and my opponent bet $100. This was an uncharacteristically large bet for the table, even if it was proportional to the pot. I tried to consider why someone wouldn't just make a smaller bet if he had the nuts here, so I eventually called, thinking, 'He can't have the straight.' Well, he had JTo, so I was right with my first instinct. Another -$100+.
I lost a couple of more bucks when I bet my A9s in position to a bunch of checkers on a QQ9 flop. I got two callers. The turn was another Q, and I thought, well, no one has a Q. I bet out again, was called, and then re-raised. I let it go at that point. Sure enough, one guy had the Q and the other guy rivered a flush. Whatever. More importantly, though, the guy with the Q, an old dude, made some sorta offhand comment that "I knew what [Jordan] had." The subtext of his statement was that he played me, and on some level he had; by that same token, he slowplayed quads...not the most amazing play in the world. Whatever the case, it got me a bit hot and bothered so I stood up, found the floorman and asked for a table change. It was clear my image was shot anyway.
I was down about $400 and basically remained even for the several hours I played at the other table. At least I had more fun, drinking some booze and chatting a lot more with my tablemates than I did at the first table. The conversation focused around a chick several tables away with apparently glorious cans and a tight body to match. After hearing about her for 15 minutes, I ran some recon, scoping out the room while checking out the philly. She was alright, I suppose, but for the sake of keeping my tablemates happy, I reported back that she was a piece of ass. I also added, "She was a bit rude though. She refused to move her hair when I said it was blocking her cans." Amazingly, throughout all of this, a kid who looked like a 19-year-old Jamie Gold (and acted like him too) wouldn't shut up, dropping curses left and right in a way to show everyone how truly awesome he is. More amazingly, the dealers didn't do jack squat, allowing our foulmouthed table to drop F-bombs at will. I'll give Foxwoods credit for that much; they aren't pricks when it comes to dirty language.
After a while, a player who just sat down stood up, saying, "There are much easier tables." I got to thinking that he was right. I called Roose to see if he and TwoDiamondPhillips wanted some grub. He texted back, "We just ate." Later, I would bust his chops for not calling me and TwoDiamond responded, "I said we should get you, but Roose said that you were not leaving that table." "Well, I guess that's true enough when I last saw Roose, but by the time you all ate, I needed any excuse to walk away."
Down $410, I didn't feel so great about the beginning of the trip. The guys hadn't played any cash games, instead playing the SNG and checking out the casino. So, I suggested we play another SNG. It's more poker but a change from the game that was driving me so nuts.
And so, we complete the first part of the trip, a cash game debacle where I couldn't find my footing, couldn't hit any hands, and couldn't stop myself before I self-flagulated myself out of 400 bucks.
Next time, will Jordan make some money back in the SNG??? What is there to do in Connecticut for three degenerates with nothing but time??? Will Jordan and the crew wake up in time for a hearty breakfast before their one chance at a Foxwoods tournament?
Find out next time on, The Trip Report!
Until next time, make mine poker!
Friday, July 25, 2008
I played one tournament last night, the Riverchasers event, which had a paltry 15 players. I have been thinking a lot about the blogger tournaments, as I have played all four this week, the Monday Hoy, the Tuesday Skillz, the Wednesday Mookie and the Thursday Riverchasers. If I were in bankroll building mode, these would be the last games I would play. With dwindling numbers and the remaining players seemingly the best of the bunch, these tournaments don't offer much value. When you add in the fact that, due to dwindling numbers, the top payouts aren't even that significant, it becomes pretty clear that a bankroll-building MTT/SNG player would be better off in some of the 45-, 90- or 180-SNGs.
Of course, there are more than one reason to play poker, and I have come to accept that entertainment is probably my number one reason to play. Winning is the most entertaining, so that's high up there on my list as well, but competition is also a high priority for me. I wouldn't say I have something to prove; rather, I just like proving myself. It's the part of me that used to relish getting grades in school. I knew I was a good test taker, so that external validation fills an immediate need for accomplishment. Winning (or moneying in) a tournament has much the same effect.
Last night was a particularly tough game. At one point, I was sitting at easily one of the most aggressive tables possible in a blogger event. That included me, Hoyazo, Miami Don, Skidoo, LJ, CK, and Lucko, although I am sure there were a few more aggro donks in there with us that I just cannot remember. Oddly, I think it had the effect of making everyone a tad tighter at times, perhaps because we all knew what each other were capable of. Or perhaps we were all just card dead.
Whatever the case, I supposedly made a good laydown to Hoyazo when faced with a tough situation. In the hand, I held JTh and called an EP raise that Hoy also called. I was on the button. The flop was JT7 or something like that. The 7 may've been lower, because I don't think I feared a straight. The EP player bet, Hoy called and I opted to call, hoping that I could use my position to get in a check-raise on later streets after my opponents pumped the pot. The turn was a King, which frankly concerned me, as I could see Hoy possibly having two high cards. This time, the EP player checked, Hoy bet, and I think I called. Since I started the hand with about 3k and had about 1800 left for the river card, I don't think I raised. Whatever the case, Hoy and I saw the river, an Ace. Any Q screwed me, and that Ace could've given Hoy a better two-pair. He led out with an all-in bet or a Hoy (all-in minus one), and I took my time, ultimately folding and telling him my theory that the river or turn gave him two pair. He said I was close with my guess. I admitted my JTh and he said good laydown. I still don't know if it was a good laydown or not, though. I wouldn't put it past Hoy to fib about his hand; I've done it more than a few times myself, and its an effective way to deal with players who insist on knowing what you had. However, I think it's more likely that he had me beat. After all, I cannot imagine that Hoy thought he could push me off of a pot there, since I am known to be a bit loose, so his river push seems to support him having a strong hand.
I worked my way back up to about a starting stack, largely from a hand against Skidoo. Once again, it was play the player. I called his preflop raise in LP with 55. The flop was 983. I think we both checked. The turn was a 4. I bet a fraction of the pot and he called. The river was a blank and I bet 480 into the ~600 pot. He called and showed A4, for a lower pair. The river was a value bet. I knew he didn't have the 8 or 9 because he would've bet out on the flop, and from there, I was just trying to extract chips from a player known to be loose who knows me to be loose.
All that was for nought, though, as I busted when my flopped set ran into a flopped nut flush. This time, I held 77 and raised from one of the blinds when there were two or three limpers plus the SB coming for the ride. A player to my immediate left, I believe McLarich, called. The flop was all clubs with a 7. I bet out and only McLarich called. The turn was a blank and I bet out again. This time, McLarich waited until he was just about out of time, hit the TIME button and used up most of his time bank, and then re-raised, putting me almost all-in (250 or so left). I took my time and even typed, "the question is whether taking your time was just a ruse." It felt like a ruse. After all, why wait last second just to raise big. Most of the time, people who hit the TIME button are going to fold and just need to either save face or convince themselves to let go of a hand they want to play. Still, with middle set, I couldn't help myself. I think on some level, I knew I was behind and made an awfukit play. I guess I used up all my self control on the JT hand against Hoy. I called, the river was another blank and he pushed. I called and he showed AJc, for the nut flush. "RUSE!" I typed. And then, "nh."
I signed off and shut down the computer. I had enough for the night and ended up actually going to sleep early with wifey Kim. At least that was +EV.
Tomorrow, I'm heading to Foxwoods with Roose for the night. I'm a lucky man to have so much time for poker. It's been a pretty bland week online, since I have been mostly focusing on these blogger tourneys. Luckily, I won a satellite into a $109 tourney earlier in the week and unregistered for T$109, most of which is gone by now.
Expect me on later tonight. I just can't get enough.
Until next time, make mine poker!
Thursday, July 24, 2008
It's time, once again, to turn our focus to the world of online poker portals, this time settling on PokerIntensity.com.
PokerIntensity.com is a portal site that provides an array of information about this game we all know and love. Just take a look at PokerIntensity.com's absurdly extensive review of online poker sites and you'll instantly realize that PokerIntensity earns its name. For US players, a quick viewing of their online poker deposit methods section will help you get back in the game if you are ready to deposit now that the UIGEA has been proven to be nothing but a nuisance without substance.
Personally, I found the blacklist of online poker rooms to be interesting. Go to the right page and the site lists a slew of poker rooms that operate in the gray (or black) area of the law and should be avoided. The poker guides under online poker tips will also help you play your best online poker, if you are into that sorta thing. Me, I prefer donking.
So, PokerIntensity.com gets my seal of approval.
Now, I have to cut this short so I can go shower.
Until next time, make mine poker!
Tao Turns Five
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
This is super awesome:
Since the Borgata seat is non-refundable, non-transferable, and non-choppable, I suppose I wouldn't mind too much if you out-of-towners were to skip out and give me a better chance to win a seat into the Borgata Open's $5,000 event. But, you know, whatever. I'm still advertising the tourney to the masses because if it wasn't for Pauly and the Tao of Poker, there wouldn't be a High on Poker.
Until next time, make mine poker!
Yesterday, as I walked to the subway, I checked my voicemail messages. There was one there from my brother telling me that Estelle Getty passed away. To some of you, this may be just another celebrity death. For others, Ms. Getty doesn't even warrant the title 'celebrity'. But for me, it was a sad, sad day.
You can say what you want about her, but Estelle Getty, and, in fact, all of the Golden Girls, is one funny lady. The genius and beauty of the Golden Girls should not be taken lightly. Here was a primetime sitcom (aired, if I recall, on Friday nights, before the advent of TGIF, for my mutual kids of the 90s) starring four women in their later years. Can you name another sitcom that focused on elder females? Even to this day, the idea seems absurd and taboo. Youth is in, always has been, always will be. But these four chicks were able to transcend that with clever writing and (more importantly) genius acting. Make no doubt about it, Estelle Getty's Sophia was great because of her timing and cadence of speech, whether she was trying to pull one over her daughter Dorothy or snapping at Rose to shut up. The acerbic humor was sharp and her delivery sharper.
I really cannot do Ms. Getty justice, so I won't even try. Suffice it to say that there were times that she had me laughing so hard I couldn't breathe, and there were times where she almost made me cry (almost because I'm a tough guy....AYE). I specifically remember the episode when she made friends with an elderly black man at the local beach, where they would sit on a bench discussing their dead spouses and life gone by. In that episode, Sophia eventually learned that her new friend had Alzheimers, when he flipped out and started yelling at her, asking who she was and why she was talking to him. The look of heartbreak on Sophia's face sold me on both the friendship between these two disparate characters and the torture the friends and families of Alzheimer victims suffer as they watch thier loved ones lose their grip on reality. Even now, I am touched just remembering it.
This is no joke. Estelle Getty was a great actress and has a special place in my heart.
Goodbye, Estelle. It was a pleasure getting to spend some time with you in Miami with the rest of the girls.
Until next time, make mine late night cheesecake!
Staked to Death (Colorado Trip Report)
Monday, July 21, 2008
Five days at an antisemetic wedding with an assorted list of people who will never be members of the HoP fan club has set me a little off of my usual routine. But five days 'vacation' was still a nice change from my usual grind, and I have been running roughshod through the office today, semi-recharged from the break and semi-panicky about the torturous months I have ahead. Yesterday, when waiting at the luggage carousel with wifey Kim, wifey Kim smiled and said to me, "We are going to California in four weeks." All I heard was, "You've got major pending deadlines just a little over four weeks away and a week in California to cut into your time." Not a good attitude at all, so I have resigned myself to simply do that which needs to be done, whether it requires weekends at the office or late nights five days a week.
I've got tons of stories from the antisemetic wedding, and I'll probably share a few of them here, including how I had to step in when some dude was hitting on my woman, how I made a drunk girl cry, and probably a few more odds and ends, as I begin to repiece together this weekend of drunken debauchery in Colorado. But since this is a poker blog, let's start with the poker.
When wifey Kim first told me that we had to go to Colorado for her college friend's wedding, I immediately thought of the Black Hawk casinos mentioned by PokerPeaker when I last saw Peaker in Vegas last December. Somewhere in the recesses of my mind, I have a goal to write a particular book on poker, something a little different than we are all used to, but nonetheless a potential money maker. I won't give the details here, but traveling to some random casino in the MidWest with crappy betting limits fell right into my book's plan. (By the way, is Colorado the MidWest? Everything east of Pennsylvania feels like the MidWest for this New Yorker.)
Wifey Kim and I arrived in Colorado Wednesday, early afternoon, and met up with her other college friend, H, and her fiance, Craig. Craig and I had met only four or so times before, but we got along well since he was a fellow poker player. We had already laid plans to head out to the casinos on the first night in Colorado while wifey Kim and H were at the Bride's bachelorette party.
After dropping the girls off, we followed the Garmin GPS to the Gilpin Casino, a random casino in Black Hawk, CO. I had chosen it after researching the various poker options in Colorado. Colorado law caps all bets at $5, so the usual cash games are $2-5 spread. For those not in the know, in a spread game, players have the option of betting any amount within the spread. So, after the flop, a player can bet anywhere from $2 to $5. The same is true on the turn and river. Most of the time, players bet the full $5, mostly because everyone was staying in the pot anyway. Whatever the case, though, since most of you are NL players, you can see how frustrating it must be to play a spread game with such small limits. (Rumor has it, there is potential legislation raising the max-bet considerably. A similar situation in Arizona allows bets up to $150, so casinos spread $1-150 spread games, which is almost like $1/$2 NLHE.)
The drive was surreal in and of itself. Black Hawk is a good hour and twenty minute drive from Longmont, the Boulder suburb where we were staying. Directions shown online suggested a direct route using mostly highways, but since we had the Garmin (and no printer) we just followed the GPS directions, which took us via a one-lane road through twisty mountains. The ride was pleasant, if at times harrowing and a tad long. Still, conversation flowed nicely, mostly about poker things and the absurd amount our respective girls were paying just to see their friend marry a wannabe Nazi that doubles as a spineless jellyfish (not that there is anything wrong with that).
It felt like we were in the middle of nowhere and I commented on how Colorado had so many wonderful places to dump dead bodies, which is always good for future reference. And then, we turned a corner and we were suddenly confronted by a strip of casinos in the middle of nowhere. Most look fairly new upon first glance, like a series of new, cheaply crafted townhouses, attached to each other, and backed by a mountain wall. We drove a short distance until we could turn and make our way to the Gilpin.
Upon entering, I found a security guard and asked about the poker. "Third floor. Take the elevator." He motioned to another room. He had a couple of missing teeth, but was dressed professionally enough. The room, albeit small, was filled with slots. It sorta felt like a mini-casino, complete with blue hairs spending their social security checks 5 cents at a time. We hit the bathroom first, and when we exited, I laughed at the Progressive Slots jackpot, now up to $342.65! Granted, it was a nickel machine, but that seemed like a pretty shitty jackpot when you use $20 in gas just driving to the casino.
We found the elevator and made our way to the third floor. The poker room actually impressed at first glance. There was probably twenty five to thirty tables, with only a handful in use. A sign stated that the bad beat jackpot was $60,000. I think it may have been casino-funded, but I also thought I saw a bad beat drop during our cash game session. More on that later.
I had chosen Gilpin because of its advertised $70 tournament. It was the most expensive tournament on the "strip" that night, the "strip" being the seeming strip of casinos in the middle of nowhere. The other options were $60 and $40 tournaments in nearby casinos with the same start time. All rooms seemed to close at 2am, likely also due to the law. As a result, there were no later tournaments.
Craig and I were impressed by the room's appearance at first glance. We saw a cage with a scrolling light board that said Tournament Registration. We walked up and I pulled out $70 from my poker wallet. The woman at the counter told me it was $100 tonight because of a special fan promotion. At least that's what I thought she meant. After paying, I discovered that fan was actuall WFAN a local sports radio station that was throwing the tournament and giving five seats to some October semi-finals to the top 5 finishers. I didn't even ask how much of the prize pool was taken out for WFAN's semi-finals or whatever, mostly because I had already paid and I didn't need to know how much I duped myself. Instead, I did what any other guy with an hour to kill would do....I saddled up for some $2-5 Spread Hold'em.
Craig and I were seated at the same table, and by seated, I mean the floor guy just pointed and said grab some seats. He took the 3s or thereabouts. I took the 7 or 6s.
The table was fairly quiet at first, but it took no time to start having fun. I hammed it up, as per usual, trying to justify losing money playing this dinky spread game. The waitress came over and asked about drinks and once I got confirmation that it was free, I ordered a beer. She was quick and courteous. A little while later, I asked to see a menu. I was starving and I didn't feel like leaving the table. As it would turn out, it was a good move; later in the evening Craig would go looking for food only to discover that the poker room was the only place serving grub in the entire casino.
I ate and donked off chips, eventually losing about $40, which wasn't bad considering my lack of cards and luck. I made some decent laydowns, which means folding to a river bet of $5 when it was obvious my opponent made his flush to beat my two pair. It was a hard fold, in a way, since "it was only $5" but limit poker is all about saving those extra bets. Someone else called down my opponent, who did, in fact, show down the flush with two random clubs.
Craig and I were both down about $40, but the tourney was about to start, so we cashed in our chips and headed to our respective tables. About a minute before the start of the tourney, I got up, tapped Craig on the shoulder and offered a last longer bet of $20. He agreed. We love our gambling.
The tournament started with something like 10,000 chips, with blinds of 25/50. The chips were probably the worst of my career. They contained no denomination markers, and the colors were seemingly chosen at random. 25s were orange. I can't remember 100s, but the 500s were gray. 1000s were violet. A single red 5000 chip was red. All of the chips were covered in a mostly-white design, the result of which was that, aside from the red, the chips blended together very well. I was wearing by brown-tinted sunglasses, so it all looked the same to me.
I was confused at first, so I asked the dealer about the denominations. I was in the 4s and the 1s was a buff-looking, goateed, short-haired, slightly older construction-type guy wearing a muscle shirt and showing off his tats. He was clearly a regular based on how all of the dealers asked him about his day and personal things like his kids. He was complaining about how is 22 year old son was bringing home hot chicks who walk around in skimpy clothing. I was biting my tongue not to say, "It could be worse; he could be bringing home dudes." It didn't look like that humor would fly with him.
He heard my question about the chips and offered some advice: "Announce your action when its your turn. If you throw in one chip, it's a call." I internally giggled at the thought that he was trying to be helpful. I considered embracing my image by forgetting to post blinds when it came around to me, but considering I was wearing sunglasses, had an iPod and a card cap Buddha statute, he must've be 'tarded to think I was a newbie by the time the blinds got around to me. Granted, the glasses and iPod could be the work of a WSOP/WPT fan, but the card cap at least suggests a minimum amount of live poker knowledge.
Blinds lasted 20 minutes. I did my best to fold away, trying to figure out if it would be a loose or tight table. There were more than a few calling stations which left me concerned, since I had no good cards.
I waited for my time to shine, basically folding away as I got a gauge on which players were calling light and which were nut peddling. The guy on my immediate right made some poor calls with Ace-rag preflop, so I kept him as a possible target.
As I got more comfortable with the table and the blinds raised, I took more opportunities to steal. This included doing the simple continuation bet when it seemed like the light preflop callers made, well, light preflop calls. It also involved raising preflop in position or from one of the blinds (which technically is in position preflop) to take down the blinds. In one such hand, there were three or so limpers and the SB before it came around to me on the BB. I raised from the 600 ante to 3600 and easily got everyone to fold to me, netting me some easy dough. I think I had 96c or something.
I didn't really see any good hands aside from an AQ which did not hit the flop. I continuation bet, but folded to a loose player who re-raised me and then showed his set of 5s on the flop. Everything was pretty straightforward.
Meanwhile, Craig was amassing a stack, or so I thought. About 20 minutes into the tournament, I checked out his table and saw him in great shape. By then, I was already dwindling a little bit as I tried to gauge my table. I figured our last longer bet would be a tough one.
But suddenly, Craig came by with a look of resignation. His high pocket pair was called preflop by a woman with 9Tc who flopped a flush. The same woman was willing to call off a third of her stack preflop! This was the second or third incredulous call-and-catch from the chick, but Craig took it in stride, even if he did give her the verbal stink eye once or twice.
He stopped by and then decided to go on his hunt for food, eventually learning that the poker room was the only food venue. I played on, and hovered between 10,000 and 15,000. I was at about 12,000 when I got 99, one of my few pocket pairs, and my best one for the night.* The loose preflop player on my immediate right decided to limp, so I raised it up to 3000, hoping to take down the 300/600 blinds. It folded around to my neighbor, who called. The flop came down J64, rainbow. My opponent bet out 2000 and I read it as a weak probe bet. I only had 9,700 behind, but I felt confident that he did not have the Jack and I didn't see a set possible either. I sincerely thought his probe bet was weak, since it was less than my preflop raise. I pushed, and we counted it out. 7,700 more. He had me covered, but not by more than 3k. He thought for a moment and even flashed his card to his neighbor in the "could you believe what I got myself into" way. Then he called, reluctantly, only to show 66, or middle set. I missed the turn and river and am busted. I said my polite good games and walked off. I didn't feel much of anything. It's just a part of the game. I probably shouldn't have overpushed with 99 there, but I felt like his range was wide.* It may have been, but the bare facts was that he had me beat. Perhaps I over- or underestimated my opponent in this one. After all, I saw the small bet as a probe bet. In reality, it was just a value bet on the flop.
Craig and I considered our fates and opted for more cash games. That's where we discovered that it is impossible to win at 2-5 spread over the long run. The first indicator to me was the rake. I watched as the dealer pulled $5 out of each pot...prior to dealing the flop. I didn't do the complete math, but from what I could see, it didn't seem to be based on a percentage of the pot either, unless the dealer was working on the implied odds that no one would fold (which was highly likely). The other thing I thought I saw was an additional dollar set aside for the bad beat drop. Now, mind you, I'd been drinking, so perhaps I am off on these things. Locals, feel free to correct me. But that's a lot of money to take out of every pot. Consider this: if we saw 30 hands an hour (we probably saw significantly more), the total rake in an hour would be approximately $150 to $180, including a $1 bad beat drop in the second figure. If it's a 9 person table, that's $15-20 per hour being pilfered from each player's stack. Those might be beatable in the short run, but it must be impossible in the long run. As proof, all you had to do was listen to the players.
No offense to my CO readers, but I had never seen a larger group of losers in my life. The whole aire of the room was one of loserdome. There is no reason for a shark to spend time grinding at unbeatable stakes. Even if the game is beatable, the amount it is beatable for is likely less money that the average fast food gig. So, immediately, the stakes weed out skilled players.
What you are left with are a tiny amount of nits (super tight) and a whole lotta gamblers. There were players raising preflop with 26o because (I shit you not) "Sixes keep coming out." Oh, and he flopped a six on an AQ6 board and rivered a 6 for the win. 25o was another favorite hand. If there was a flush draw that hit, there was a player that hit it. After all, there were more than a few family pots or family -1 pots, most of the time subject to a late raise...which was called all the way around.
Now, lest I sound bitter, I should point out the real reason why the room was filled with "losers." The amazing thing was that throughout all of this, the cash game, the tourney, and the cash game after, every player was complaining about bad luck. I mean every fucking player. Every one. It was the most absurd group of sad sacks ever in my poker experience. And why were they complaining about bad luck? Probably because they did not realize that the rake made the game unbeatable and it surely couldn't be their stellar skills that caused their stacks to be reduced by $15-20 per hour.
When God gives your lemon, curse God, and then make some delicious lemonade. So after having a heart to heart with my lord Gambopolis (may he rain joy upon us, amen), I decided to do what any self-respecting poker blogger would do in this situation: drink my way to a profit or a good time, whichever came first.
The drink of the night was rum and coke, the official alcoholic beverage of High on Poker. They go down quick and get the job done. I had more than a few as Craig and I accepted our fate and decided to have fun with the game. We tried to see who could donk off their $100 stack first. He got close, getting all-in twice, but I eventually beat him out. During that time period, we yucked it up with the locals, doing my usual routine like booing when a late player raised preflop and complaining that it was a 'friendly game'. The drinks were flowing for a while, but toward the end, they began to slow down. I eventually got the waitress' attention and she came over to explain to me that I was cut off for a half hour. "I don't want to get in trouble," she said. All I could think is that I should have tipped higher.
With drinks flowing and the pressure of winning off, I enjoyed the rest of my time in the poker room. At about 10:30, after several hours of poker, Craig and I had both lost our final $100 and decided to head back to civilization. On the drive back, we contemplated what we would do with ourselves during other lag times, but we agreed on one thing: no more Black Hawk poker. It was a decent time, but too far out of the way, and too difficult to win anything meaningful at the stakes available. However, sometimes it's not about the money; sometimes it's about the experience.
I have a couple of other stories I could probably tell about Colorado, including the many racist comments made by the groom, the many differences between a New York semetic wedding and Colorado antisemetic wedding, and how I made a girl cry (not wifey Kim) in the early hours of the morning. But that's probably all for another post.
Heading to Foxwoods Saturday night, if anyone will be around.
Until next time, make mine poker!
*I cannot say this enough. Just because 99 was my best hand of the night, it does not justify overplaying said hand. I cannot understand players who justify bad play with a mediocre hand by saying, "It's the best hand I saw all night." It's the equivalent of eating a turd sandwich because all you had at home was white bread and a steaming pile of poop.
*Range, much like being card dead, is another common excuse for an error in play. However, it does not justify errors either. In fact, arguably, when someone argues that it was a good play because of range, what that person is really saying is that they estimated range incorrectly or overrelied on the possibility that he or she was ahead.
Calling All Colordans
Thursday, July 17, 2008
Hey all. I have to make this short, and a full trip report is coming, but I need to ask the help of the local Coloradan community.
I played at the Gilpin Casino last night and the 2-5 spread limit game was fun, but not profitable. In fact, the fun came from hamming it up and donking around a bit, a fine alternative to good poker if you can afford it.
That said, I am not interested in returning to the 2-5 spread limit scene while I am here. Full details will follow. However, I am interested in the rumored NLHE rooms in the city. I am assuming they are underground, so what I need to know is:
- If I'm looking to play around noon or earlier on Friday until about 4pm, are there any rooms open?
- Can I get in with my buddy without knowing someone? And if not, anyone wanna play poker Friday?
- Where the hell are these places?
Until next time, make mine poker!
A (Not So) Quick Word on Colorado
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
I cannot freakin' wait until the end of the work day and my sojourn to Colorado tomorrow for an antisemetic wedding. On Wednesday night, after waking up early and traveling across this fine country by aeroplane, wifey Kim will be joining her friends for a bachelorette party and I will be joining wifey Kim's friend's fiance for some poker in Black Hawk, Colorado.
A while ago, when I first found out I was heading to CO, CO-native PokerPeaker gave me the lowdown on the local scene.
For those who don't travel a lot, poker is legal in a shitload of places where you wouldn't expect it. Colorado was one of those places for me. Thankfully, one of the fringe benefits of having this poker blog is meeting people from all over the country and world who share a similar interest. Peaker is one such person.
Peaker gave me one major warning. Don't expect much for the cash games. Colorado apparently has a law limiting the Indian casinos to $5 max bets. The result is that the highest limit game at an Colorado casino is 5/5 Limit, whether it be LHE or LO8, which apparently is fairly regularly spread (likely, an unintended side effect of the bet limits). There is no NL spread anywhere.
To most people, this is a serious Lemon; NLHE is the game we all know and love. For me, it merely means an adjustment. I play poker, plain and simple, and the rules are merely guiding principles in how I play, not if I play. My plan is to play 5/5, predominantly, mostly LO8, if possible, and use one of two strategies. I will either play the role of the nut peddler, waiting until I have strong hands and always enter the pot raising OR I will play many hands to a limp and see how hands develop. They are two opposite strategies, but ironically, they are the two optimal strategies in No Fold'em games.
Nut peddling is pretty straight forward. If everyone is playing to the river, hands can get expensive, so limiting the hands I play will limit the variance. Since players are going to the river no matter what, I don't need to build a loose image and will hopefully be paid off when my strong starting hands hit.
Conversely, by limping a lot, I will be playing a high variance style that is designed to extract money from thin edges and superior post-flop play. In other words, if I can see a lot of cheap flops and extract a lot of chips when I hit (folding when I don't), I can still beat the No Fold'em players. The key to this strategy is suffering through the many limp misses and check-raising or doing other things to get extra bets into the pot when I am ahead.
The smart money is to nut peddle, but for my action-loving self, I will probably choose to play lots of hands, particularly in O8, where I can still make a profit winning half the pot, provided there are at least 3 people reaching showdown.
Of course, there is a loophole to the ole CO laws. Tournaments seem to shirk the usual laws in a lot of states. The result is nightly tournaments with buy-ins from $40 to 70 during the week in the location where I will be playing, Black Hawk, CO. I don't much know one casino from the next, but I expect to hit up a poker tournament Wednesday night at 7pm, most likely at the Gilpin Poker Room (Warning: Do Not check thier tourney schedule online. It's a PDF file that froze my browser thrice!). The other possibility is Central Station Casino's 7pm $60 buy-in.
If anyone is from the CO area and could offer some advice about those casinos, please do! I'm wondering if one place gets more players, or is nicer, or has a better structure. You can leave a comment or email me at HighOnPokr (no E) at Yahoo. If anyone happens to be in the area and is interested in watching me win a tournament against a bunch of CO hippies, please feel free to join. It may be a bit odd telling my compadre that I am meeting up with a stranger from the Intertubes, but he's a poker nut, too, and more importantly, I don't really care what anyone thinks.
Until next time, make mine poker!
Hey hey hey. Wednesday, I'm off to Colorado, but I'm already there in my mind. I've been playing my fair share of online poker to break even results. I'm just trying to enjoy the process after the first part of the year.
The first four months were abysmal, poker-wise. I wasn't losing a lot, but I was losing a little fairly often. And then I chop one tourney in AC and I'm back in the black and then some, with a whole new momentum behind me. Sometimes, poker can be a whole lotta nothing followed by a quick something, so I'm trying to just enjoy the game for its gamery and let time take care of the rest.
With that attitude has come a new curiousness about poker. I'm looking at hands in a whole new light, considering different elements of the game and hopefully whittling down my game in the process.
I saw some good press for my gambling home away from home, Atlantic City. According to some schlocky article on Yahoo (sometimes it seems like any dumb-ass can get a gig writing on the Internet...[pause for irony]...), Atlantic City has the BEST BOARDWALK in the whole United States.* That should bring in the real tourist money from all those Boardwalk aficionados who never heard of Vegas' little developmentally disabled brother.
Still, it's nice to see AC getting some positive press. It really has come a long way in just a few years.
Meanwhile, I played some poker against a bunch of silly gooses. That's the only way I can explain these players after the following hand.
We're playing the $9,500 KO Guarantee, with blinds of 50/100. We are table chip leader (6885) and in the BB when we are dealt 95s. UTG, the second chipleader with 6860, limps. UTG+1 with 5735 limps as well. Two players fold and the CO (2775) limps. The Button (4960) limps too. The SB (1630) flat calls. I mean, Jesus H. Christmas. Maybe this doesn't seem odd to you, but I don't think I've seen this many limpers online in a tournament well over a year. I must not be playing enough.
When the hand was first dealt, I assumed my hand was going nowhere. Suddenly, it's a freaking 600 pot and I'm freerolling.
Of course, the flop comes down AKQ, all spades, flopping me the third-nut flush. The likelihood of another player having JXs or TXs is really slim, considering that I have two flush cards and three are on the board. However, with this many limpers, anything is possible and a player could even draw out with a single Js or Ts.
The SB checks to me, so I raise pot (600). I don't necessarily expect to get any callers, unless I get someone calling with two-pair or a set. I really just don't want to give any free cards for the spade flush draws with Ts or Js. The UTG folds, and UTG+1 raises to 2400. At first, I'm kinda excited, but then I start to worry. Why re-raise here unless you have an extremely strong hand? That still includes sets and whatnot, though, so I feel calm until the Button re-raises all-in for 4860! WHAT?! How could he NOT have a monster hand to re-re-raise all-in like that with sizeable stacks and small blinds. He must have the JXs or TXs, and if he doesn't then in all likelihood the UTG+1 has it. I grumble, but decide that maybe, just maybe, the Button has a lower flush and the UTG+1 will fold his weaker hand. To protect myself from the possibility that UTG+1 actually has a superior flush draw, I push all-in. UTG+1 takes his time before calling 3235 all-in. At showdown, UTG+1 shows KQd for two pair and the Button shows JTh for a flopped straight. They are both drawing dead and I take the tourney chip lead, only to lose it later and bust out around 100 out of 680 or so players. At least it was a KO tourney.
Call me crazy, but I just don't get these two players' over excitement of their hands. The guy with a straight may have rationalized that no one flopped the flush, but with so many players seeing the flop and the action ahead of him (raise from a BB who could have any two cards, and a re-raise from an EP limper who could easily have limped with suited cards), I don't see why he pushed all-in there. He was probably trying to protect against a flush draw, but really, he should have called and saw what the turn brought before pushing a flush draw off of his/her hand. After all, by pushing he is offering a set price to see two cards, which can be tempting to someone who already bet 2400 and may have a pair or whatnot. By calling and re-evaluating on the turn, you can instead offer that all-in price when your opponent has only one card to go OR alternatively, check it down if the next card is another spade.
The guy who flopped bottom two pair is even more stupid. AK, AQ, JT, any two spades, the list of hands that have him beat is pretty wide. Add in the fact that he, too, is vulnerable to draws, and I wonder why he didn't just flat call the flop if he was hoping to turn/river a full house. He must have also thought he was ahead when he raised and wanted to force out the flush draws, which is a better strategy for him than it was for the Button, since UTG+1's raise to 2,400 with chips behind may have been a deterent to anyone hoping to see two cards for cheap. But once he faces a re-raise push and a re-re-raise push, he has to know that his two pair is woefully behind.
Hence, silly gooses. It's the freakin' epitome of players who cannot see past their own hands.
In a whole other category of silly goosiness is the player who builds a pot and then gives it away. Simply put, you cannot just give up a hand like the one I am about to discuss.
I was playing a $8.70 turbo 2-table token SNG, with 1875 at a now 6-person table, with blinds of 30/60. I was in the BB when I was dealt 46h. UTG+1 limps and the button raises to 150, which is a mere 90 more than the BB. When it folds to me, I opt to call. Normally, I just fold here in a Token tourney, but I was feeling like mixing it up and the price was dirt cheap. I also had a hand that could make a lot of money if it hit, but could be easily folded if it missed. The limper folds, which, frankly, is another really weak play. But, whatever.
The flop was 872, rainbow. It's not a terrible flop for me if he has two high cards, but I try not to bluff in these token tourneys. I check and the Button checks too.
The turn in a King of Clubs, creating a club flush draw. This is a scare card, since the button could be playing just about any King, and especially AK and KQ. I check, and he checks too.
The river is an offsuit 4. I have to assume I'm ahead here. I bet out 180, and he folds.
I don't care what this guy has. Facing my check-down behavior, he should have at least sent out a probe bet on the turn. Arguably, I could be slowplaying. HOWEVER, why build a pot in position if you are just going to lie down and play dead once the flop misses you. You are in position, mofo! Use it! If he truly feared being called down or re-raised, he should have bet out a small amount. Frankly, my river bet of 180 is a small enough amount, but even a simple 2x the BB 120 would have been enough to push me off of the pot OR trigger a re-raise if I somehow had a hand and was slowplaying.
I just don't get some of these people. I don't mind them either. But looking at the hands I discussed, its clear that some people just refuse to play smart poker. I like to refer to those people as my bread and butter.
I may be quiet for the rest of the week while I am in Colorado. I'm semi-tempted to bring my laptop, but I don't know if I'll have use for it. All I know is that I will be making at least one trip to the local casino for some 2/5 Limit poker, the only games they spread.
Until next time, make mine poker!
*Continental United States only.
WSOP Prop Bets Finale
Monday, July 14, 2008
At the beginning of June, HoP started its epic quest to destroy bankroll building with tiny prop bets on the World Series of Poker, the greatest event in poker history. This is the result of that epic quest:
- Main Event Attendance Over/Under ($15.55): My pick is OVER 6218. Success! The actual result was 6,844. +15.55
- Pick 3 Total Most Cash Won ($8.25): Fuel chose Phil Hellmuth, Johnathon Little, and Sorel Mizzi. I chose Phil Ivey, Allen Cunningham, and Johnny Chan. Fuel had one final chance to catch up with Phil Hellmuth's deep run in the Main Event, but Hellmuth's ~$150k payday was just too little, too late, netting another win for the HoP. +8.25
- Highest Main Event Finish (Best Single Finish) ($11.85)- Fuel chose Negreanu, Matusow and Kirk Morrison. I chose Cunningham again, Todd Brunson and John Juanda. Matusow outlasted all other players, netting Fuel this victory. -11.85
- Main Event Attendance Over/Under ($5)- I chose UNDER 7325. Another fine victory! (+5)
- Most Bracelets Won Total ($10)- Ingoal chose Johnny Chan and Greg Raymer. I chose Gus Hansen and Patrik Antonius. No one won any bracelets, making this an official push. (push)
- Most Total Cash Won ($5): Ingoal chose Chris Ferguson and Daniel Negreanu. I chose Bill Chen and TJ Cloutier. Chen and Cloutier better have had good runs at the cash games, because neither did much of note at the WSOP. This one goes to Ingoal. (-5)
UWannaBet ($9, subject to change)
- Main Event Attendance Over/Under ($10) - I chose OVER 6700. I just narrowly took this one, sweeping all of my Over/Under bets. (+10)
- Pick 3 Final Table/Bracelet Competitions ($3 per final table, $10 per bracelet): UWanna had two more final tables than I, and even has one of his horses left in the WSOP ME, Brandon Cantu. Let's hope that Cantu busts before the final table. (-6 minimum, possibly -9 or -16 depending on if Cantu final tables/wins the ME)
- Lime Throwing Championship, Pauly v. Otis ($5): It looks like I have this one in the bag, depending on any updates from Pauly. His last update is as follows: "Lime Tossing Results.... Otis 150, Pauly 150. We played Inside the Limes... two limes each. I threw first and went way left. Otis nailed his toss to go up $150. On his second throw, he missed wide right. I had a chance to tie it. I totally tilted Otis when I skipped my lime into the $150 zone to even the score. Push! Overall I'm up $70 this summer. Looks like a winna to me. I suppose more could happen before we get to the final table, but I'm going out on a limb and calling it for now, subject to possible change. (+5)
All losers (I'm looking at you Fuel) can send the money to HighOnPoker at Full Tilt or HighOnPokr (no E) at PokerStars. I don't think it needs to be said, but just in case, hold off on sending anything until everything is set, UWanna.
Until next time, make mine poker!
Another fine series of blogger prop bet wins, brought to you by HighOnPoker!
My Multitasking Mind
Friday, July 11, 2008
I grew up on the cusp of the information explosion. As a kid of the 1980's, I had the pleasure to grow up alongside the technology we live with every day. When I was a young child, the Atari was still new, creating moving blocks on a black screen that was supposed to represent space ships or men riding flying ostriches. As I began to learn to write and read, the Commodore 64 was introduced into our home, still more of a destination for entertainment than for serious thinking. During my early teens years, the Internet was first introduced into my world, initially from my tech-savvy friend's Prodigy connection, then by another friends BBS fascination, where we would slowly download illicit pictures and fractal programs that created amazing visuals for our impressionable minds. From there, I got my first computer in my room, with an AOL account and an ability to meet strangers and friends alike online...mostly strangers, as me and my goofball friends would pretend to be obscure celebrities or their family members. I believe "Kevin Nealon's son" was a popular one, if only because it seemed so random that people believed it to be true. By the time college started, most people had a computer in their dorm rooms and AOL Instant Messenger was common place. By the time I left college, everyone had individual computers in their rooms, instead of one computer for 2 to 4 roommates, and AIM was left on 24/7, thanks to the school's high speed internet. By graduation, high speed internet was available in more places than just college campuses. Today, I spend a good 80% of my rime at a computer while working, and a decent amount of time when I am away from work.
Somewhere in there, something happened to my brain. Perhaps it was always there all along. Multitasking. My first memory of multitasking came when I was in 7th grade. I was sitting in math class, my teacher going through some algebra problem as I doodled in the margins of my notebook. I had been doodling for the entire class, and my margin-art was spilling over to the rest of the page. I eventually turned the page over to have the entire back for my doodling masterpiece, likely some variation on the Incredible Hulk or Spiderman. I remember hearing something from the teacher, something important, and then turning the page back to add that tidbit of useful information to my notes. I looked around the class, this I remembenr vividly, and noticed that when I was done with my brief notes, they all continued writing. Those who didn't had returned their attention to the teacher. Granted, I was in an advanced class, probably considered the worst of the best, but I was still amazed at their focus. Where were their doodles? How was I the only one in a class of thirty to be completely bored by the teacher's useless lecturing. For every important nugget of information, there were five minutes of story telling and three minutes of bullshit. And I was able to do the two things, doodling and listening for important information, at once.
Years later, I would literally sit in class with a paperbook open in my lap. I would listen while I read, taking notes as needed and ignoring the rest of the prattle. When computers came into play, my multitasking just heightened. I would sign on, begin a download and walk off for 20 minutes while the picture of Samantha Fox loaded. When the tech got better, I would chat with multiple people at once. Common things; things that you and I do today without a second's thought. In college, I would be on the computer, writing a paper, doing research, chatting, with the TV on, all at once. I perfected my multitasking there. In law school, I would play games on my laptop while the professor taught. I would surf the net and even play online poker in my (ironic) Computer Law class, once the school introduced wireless internet.
The incidence of ADD in children today seems alarming. In my day, I don't think ADD was even invented. If a kid couldn't pay attention, it was because they lacked discipline. And yet, I wonder if I have developed ADD or had it all along. At work, I have no less than three things going at a time. I can't help it, or perhaps I can, but choose not to. I accept that this is the way I work. My brain hates to stick to one task. I start writing a motion for work, switch to a quick letter, then some research, call a client, back to the writing. And it's rapid, too. 20 minutes here, 10 minutes there, 5 minutes elsewhere. At home, I can barely make it through a 22 minute sitcom (no commercials, thanks to DVR). Halfway through I feel a sense of boredom or restlessness. A need to check my email (again) or switch to poker or a videogame or something, anything other than what I had just been doing for the last 15 minutes. Even now, typing this, I have an urge to switch windows, check out what's on sale at Woot, or who posted a new entry in their blog. Sometimes, I even stop reading a blog after a few paragraphs, only to go back to it later. It's not that I didn't enjoy the first few paragraphs. It's that I have grown restless.
My brain is constantly looking for more input, more stimulation to stave off the boredom that eats at me every second of every day. Boredom is my enemy, and my weapon against it is to keep my mind busy.
And so, last night, I hit a new multitasking high (or low). After signing up for the Riverchasers event, wifey Kim decided that she wanted to play Mario Kart. We mostly play on the internet mode against other players. Each race takes between 2 and 4 minutes with about 45 seconds lag time between races while players pick their vote for next race. I have learned to live in those 45 seconds. I can fold laundry while playing Mario Kart. I can read blogs. I can do a whole lot in those individual packets of time. And yesterday, I played poker, a tournament no less, in 45 second increments for about an hour. Wifey Kim > poker, so I chose to let the Riverchasers tourney sit while I played a race, only to play for a fleeting 45 seconds before the next race began. I would never do such a thing, save for the fact that it was a cheap enough tourney ($11 donation, essentially) and spending time with wifey Kim always comes first. Of course, I ended up busting shortly after finishing Mario Kart, so I suppose there is a touch of irony involved too.
Sometimes I wonder if I have ADD. I think that I could benefit from seeing a doctor and getting on pills that would increase my concentration. Perhaps these magic pills would save me from myself, easing the mental Restless Leg Syndrome kicking around in my head. But most of the time, I embrace my multitasking mind. I give it what it wants. It's the way I work, be it at school, office or home. It's gotten me this far and to deny it is to deny myself.
So, I continue on with multitasking mind, even now pulling me to some other unnecessary task or perhaps a necessary one upon which other less addled-minded folk would focus entirely. I don't know if it was growing up with computers (literally) or if my mind was already going in this direction. But it's me, and it's worked so far.
Until next time, make mine poker!
Thursday, July 10, 2008
I moneyed in 3rd in the Mookie last night, good for $81 and a bunch of knockout bounties along the way. It was an interesting tournament, as my good bud from the 'real world' Dave Roose felt a hankerin' for some online poker, so after I got him outfitted with a couple of bucks, he joined the fray.
"tight!" he exclaimed via AIM. Tight was right. Roose, who is not used to playing against bloggers, was initially surprised by the style of play. Play poker just about anywhere, online or live, and you are bound to find your share of donks willing to pay the fare for the funnest (or most depressing) carnival ride on Earth. Play poker online with a bunch of bloggers, though, and unless the game is intentionally rabid, the play is decidedly more conservative. For what its worth, I consider the tight style to be vastly superior to the donk style of which I just spoke, so while some naysayers would poo poo bloggers as worse than the average player, I have to maintain my stance that bloggers, on a whole, are better players than the average bear.
I considiered a last-longer bet with Roose, but he got off to an early lead at his table, so I kept my mouth shut. Meanwhile, somewhere the gods were on vacation, because I became a freakin' card rack (that's right, gods, I know your stupid little plan. I shake my fist at thee. SHAKE!).
I saw more KKs and TTs then I could count, but unfortunately, Roose's characterization of this particular tourney was right, and most raises were met with folds. I was called a card rack evenso by NewinNov, accurate to a point, since I was getting my fair share of premium hands. Unfortunately, one such hand, a QQ, ran into AA. Un-unfortunately, after the money got all-in on the under-card flop, the turn was another Queen, saving me from my temporary turn of luck.
Before I continue, though, I should take a step back to discuss a fun hand. Fun for me, that is. I was sitting on about 3200 or so, from a starting stack of 3000. I held 33 and PirateLawyer, from EP/MP pushed all-in for 210 more than my SB (I don't recall the blinds, but I know the call was just 210 more). When it folded to me, I took a while. Obviously, 33 is not a monster hand, especially in this spot. I figured it was 50/50 that he had an overpair or two overcards. Logic will tell you that in the former situation, I was drawing extremely thin, whereas in the latter, I was only slightly ahead, close to a coin toss. Math will tell you that, assuming this range, my chance of winning the hand was probably only about 35% (against an overpair, I'm 20% to win; against overcards, I'm about 50% to win; average the two, and voila!).
But, I called. It was a knockout tourney, I had some momentum, and I could afford the tiny amount of chips. PirateLawyer showed 84c, missed the board and I won an extra $2. There were some words exchanged afterwards in frustration. Something about "Call with 3s!" I thought it was funny, overall. I was trying to donk some chips to the Pirate. I figured I was behind, but he was so low in chips that I didn't mind doubling him up. After semi-joking that I was trying donate, I finally just said, "It's not my fault you push with 84c." Ok, a bit cutting, but you get the point. Don't be mad at me for your play. If 84c doesn't push there, he doesn't get called by 33 or any other pocket pair or high Ace; after all, he was in EP/MP, with a lot of players left to act.
I had a nice hand at the final table, although I did not keep the hand history. It was against RecessRampage, a player who I know to be intelligent and plays well. I held 55 on the button when Recess raised pot or thereabouts from MP. I called, set farming. One other player called.
The flop came down 567. It checked to Recess, who bet out. I considered raising, but wanted to keep the EP caller in the hand. I also figured that Recess was not likely 'catch up' to my hand. If he had a high pair, he could hit a set, but it was a slim chance. If he had two high cards, he would fold to a raise anyway.
The turn was a 9, if memory serves correctly. I think Recess checked, and this time, I bet pot, which was the majority of my remaining stack. Recess had me slightly covered. He took his time and even took the TIME option, which had a whopping 40+ seconds. During that time, I feared his fold, so I did what I usually do at live games when I want a call but the player looks like he is going to fold...I began talking (or chatting, as it were). All paraphrased, naturally:
Me: "43 seconds! That's a lot of time to decide!"
Recess: "I'm not good enough to fold this."
Me: "then don't."
And so, he didn't. He put me all-in for a few bucks more, I called, and he showed AA. He was busted not too long after by someone else, reaping the benefit of my hard work.
I came into the final table as the shortstack or second shorstack, but by the time we were down to 8 players, I was in the top 3, all of whom were head and shoulders over the rest. The top three changed while people busted out, but I remained up there most of the time. Finally, it was just down to me and two other players. I had about 25k, the other shortie had 25k, and Obie (blog?) had a whopping 100k+. And he played that big stack like a freakin' champ. I had to admire his play as he essentially raised 6-10k for the first 6-8 hands. He slowed down a tad when we started firing back, but he had such a lead, it was no sweat for him to fold a few hands. Finally, in pushing mode, with blinds at 1000/2000 with antes and barely over 20,000 each, the other shortie and I got allin against each other. I did the pushing from the SB with QJs. He called from the BB with A7. Two Aces flopped and I go home.
Not for a minute did I seriously entertain the idea of winning a Mookie. I don't know why, but I just don't see it happening, and I don't care to envision it happening until it happens. But, it was nice to have a decent cash and my decent results in blogger tournaments continues.
Until next time, make mine poker!