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Battlestar McCain

I don't mean to get political, but this photo montage of Battlestar Gallatica photos and the Republican ticket is just too fun to ignore.

ADDENDUM: Since this pic has been picked up by two other sites citing back to HoP, I figure its due to give some what what to my college buddy Shay for passing this gem my way. What what. What what indeed.

Until next time, make mine frakking poker!

posted by Jordan @ 12:40 PM, , links to this post




Someone Made a Badugi

I played at the Wall Street Game a couple of nights ago for the first ever Lowball-themed 3/6 limit night. One of the great things about Jamie's games is the variety of games he hosts. If you like tourneys, he's go cheapo single table $30s running twice a night, once a week or so. If you like NLHE cash, he usually has one of those every two weeks or so. And lately, more and more, non-hold'em games are rearing their ugly heads at the WSG.

This was a particularly interesting night of poker. The roster of games was Razz, 2-7 Triple Draw, and Badugi, three games that are rarely available live. This reflected in the players, some of whom had never played these games at all. In fact, one player had trouble recognizing why it was probably best to fold his Jack/XX hand in Razz because, "I had two low cards underneath."

I am a great advocate of adjusting ones game to the conditions presented and when you have a bunch of newbies playing lowball games, the action can usually be pretty sloppy. Once players start calling the early streets, they feel locked in for the later streets. The result is that hand selection was paramount. It's true if you look at it another way as well. I know what constitutes a terrible, marginal, good and great starting hand in Razz. I have somewhat of an understanding of starting hands in 2-7 and Badugi. But all of this knowledge has come with hands-on experience, mostly from the Ship It Fish (Bradley) mixed games and the conversations that ensued. There just isn't that much out there to read on these games and frankly, none of these players would've read what is out there anyway. So one of my big advantages was hand selection. Accordingly, I played tight. Mostly. I mean. It is me.

I don't recall any real hands, but I got off to a decent lead, picking up some early pots in the first round of Razz by sticking with hands that had 3 cards 8 and below. After Razz, a new player, Roger, on my immediate left, hit the couch, sitting out for Badugi and 2-7, two games that require less players because of the multiple draws. Roger, as it turned out, hadn't RSVP'ed for the game, so Razz was the only game that could accomodate an extra player.

After coming out with an early lead in Razz, I slowed down considerably. I want to write that I was card dead, but that isn't exactly true. I wasn't getting an overwhelming amount of good hands, but then again, we weren't playing too many hands as it were.

The problem with new games, and perhaps new players, is that there is often a lag time in action. People are too busy looking with a confused expression at their cards to know it is their turn to act. Other people know it is their turn to act, but can't figure out what all those cards mean. When you add multiple games like Badugi and 2-7 with similar but significantly different rules, it can make things even worse. For instance, in Badugi, Ace is considered low (which is good). In 2-7, it is considered high (bad). That's a big fucking deal when you think you have a nut low but actually have a really weak hand.

Meanwhile, the Democratic National Convention was playing on Jamie's flat-screen, newly-wall-mounted TV. I swear, every time I go to the WSG, I'm amazed at what a great setup Jamie has. In fact, this was my first time playing on his new poker table, complete with padded rim, suede table top, chip racks and cup holders. It's fucking amazing.

Lately, though, poker has lost a bit of its grip on me. I think it is part of the summer doldrums, or perhaps its the realization that this game can be brutal, and not as romantic as we all once believed. Don't get me wrong, dear reader. These things won't take me away from the game any more than smog will take me away from breathing air, but it does make me want to breathe a bit less deeply. Or, you know, summer doldrums.

At about 10:15 or 10:30, we had completed the second round of Razz and Roger got ready to return to his spot on the couch. This is when I decided to make my early exit. I must admit, having wifey Kim and my apartment so nearby can make leaving a bit too easy at the WSG. First and foremost, though, I don't want to leave if it will bust the game prematurely. In this case, I would be doing just the opposite; by leaving, I was letting a player into the game, instead of taking a player out. The game itself was slow (that's just the nature of the beast) and my interest was fading fast. So was my stack.

I was up probably $20-30 when I decided to fuck around on one of my last Razz hands, playing 5/5T, hoping to force players out of the pot with my up-till-then tight play. I didn't start ramming and jamming until 4th street, when I got a 2(5/5T) and my opponents all bricked except for one guy who called preflop with a Queen showing. As the hand progressed, I hit another Ten and the Queen-guy hit another low card for my T25/5T vs. his A3Q/XX. On the next card, I hit another high card and he hit another low. I finally shut down my betting. By the river, he bet out and I folded. At least I saved myself the last $6.

When I cashed out, I was up $8. I made a big scene about how I ate my dinner for free thanks to the losers at the table, another tongue-in-cheek comment, because really, $8? Whatever. I tipped the house $3 and hit the road.

I wonder lately if my ADD nature is getting in the way of my live play, but the reality is that I just haven't had the right environment (time, place, and mentally) to play the long sessions I'd played in the past. I need to make a casino trip, where I feel that I am at war and the stakes matter. Until then, though, I'm glad to have Jamie and the WSG. After all, I can't play Badugi in AC.

Until next time, make mine poker!

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




Jim Beam Me Up, Scotty!

I don't watch much televised poker, but I caught myself watching the 50k WSOP HORSE event a couple of nights ago while I flew from CA to NY. Most televised poker has gotten stale to me, but the lineup alone made the event interesting. Add to the fact that the world is getting exposure to non NLHE games, and it made for one of the best poker broadcasts I'd seen in a long while (not that there is much competition). If you've missed it go check out the video clip at Poker Junkie.

Not surprisingly, the higher buy-in meant a star-studded final table, including Lyle Berman, Erick Lindgren, Michael DeMichele and Scotty Nguyen, with Scotty playing the role of the villain. He basically got drunk, something that you don't get to see too often in these big buy-in events. Like most table drunks, he eventually got on the nerves of some of the players like Berman. I hadn't seen a drunkard tilt a table that hard since Tripjax played shit-faced at the Imperial Palace last December. There was also an interaction with DeMichele which was very interesting. Basically, Scotty called out DeMichele for some improper ettiquete. I don't remember what exactly. DeMichele tuns to Scotty and says something akin to, "You are right. I'm sorry." Scotty keeps hounding him, so DeMichele momentarily snaps and basically says, "I know what you are doing and these games aren't going to work on me. I'm here to play poker and I want to conduct myself in a manner that represents myself and the game well." He started the statement pissed, but by the end he was totally composed and made a lot of sense. I have a whole new respect for DeMichele, who frankly wasn't even on my poker radar before this broadcast. Me, I woulda turned to Scotty and egged him on. Probably I'd say something like, "If I knew it would piss you off this much, I woulda started doing it a while ago." (I, in fact, used that very line on Willy at the Bay 101 when he snapped at me for splaying my bets instead of placing them in a neat pile...Suck it, Willy!).

Sure enough, drunk Scotty wins the damn thing after getting overboard drunk and obnoxious. Perhaps the most interesting aspect is that he eventually apologized for his behavior. I don't know if poker ettiquete is turning a corner (for the good), but having players like Scotty show the bad way to behave and then publicly apologize should be a good sign overall.

I forgive you Scotty. Everyone can be a jackass now and again (I've had my fair share of turns). But by apologizing, at least he was acknowledging to the poker public that he knows what's wrong and right.

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 9:12 AM, , links to this post




Refreshed

An interesting thing happened to me late last night, as I sat watching Firefly on Hulu.com. I felt...at ease. A small thing to some, perhaps, but I was on the tail end of a weeklong vacation with work obligations that will see me either uber busy or uber anxious over the next three to five weeks.

Yet there I was, at ease, calm with the world and ready for the next day.

I don't know about the rest of you, but Sunday nights have always been a special time for me. Mostly, it's about solidifying my hermit spot, i.e., the couch, and numbing my mind with TV, the Internet, poker, videogames or whatever else will distract me from the reality that the next day is Monday. On rare occassions when I've had late night plans on a Sunday, I invariably have one recurring thought, Get Home Quick. It's almost a localized agoraphobia. I want to be home on Sunday nights to prepare me for the week ahead.

Even with all of the distractions, I tend to have pangs of anxiety, depending on what's going on. Over the next few weeks, I have to gear up for multiple trials, including one trial where I will be the trial attorney. This will be my first foray as a trial attorney, something I didn't expect to do for another three years. In fact, I should take a little bit of pride in trying my first case before I turn 30. However, for the last three months, I've fought flashes of anxiety like no other. They'd keep me up at night, or visit me when I least expect (or want) it. I'd see something that reminded me of the facts of the case and immediately go flush as my heartrate sped up. Or I'd have a fleeting thought and be racked with guilt or fear or something that I just can't quite explain.

Finally, a few weeks ago, I began to see things in a different light. I had always gotten by with minimal work when I was a student. However, when crunch time came, I was also able to do what needed to be done. I may not spend the same amount of time as the other guy, but I used my time wisely when I did and I knew when enough was enough. I saw myself as a slacker, but the people around me saw me as a hard worker. I thought they didn't know shit, but all along, I was wrong. I do work hard. I just don't see it that way.

This all led me to a new philosophy. The trial is just another test, like the ones I'd ace in school with little preparation. I may not have the experience of a trial attorney yet, but I know most of the moving parts and I can think on my toes when needed. It is now my goal to prepare myself for the trial by knowing the case front-back-and-sideways. It sounds like a lot of work, but it isn't. It's just work. I've said this phrase a lot in my life: There is nothing to it but to do it. And it's the reality. All the worrying in the world won't make my life easier in these coming weeks. In the end, there is nothing to it but to do it and that's what I will do. I will take on these hurdles with eyes opened, prepared to do what must be done to succeed. And I will succeed. It's just that easy.

So, last night after a week away from work, with things piling up and trials coming to fruition, I felt at ease. And today, the ease has continued. I've worked like a dog all day, but the results are already paying off. And don't be fooled; attitude is everything. If you act like you can handle it, people will think you can handle it and will treat you as such, and then suddenly, you can believe it and you can handle it and it just is. I believe I heard it once like this: say it, think it, believe it, be it. It's that simple. Act the role and you will become it.

Oh and poker. Hmmm. No real rush to get back to the tables. I'm happy playing Command & Conquer 3 from scratch again. I have no idea why I love those C&C games so much. I think it's something about the methodical nature of the game.

Whatever the case, I did dip my toe in the FT waters yesterday. A very bad swing in some O8 games before my vacation left me with just $180 or so at FT. I decided to get back to the videogame aspect of FT and try to run up my "tokens" a playful word I use for the actual cash in the game (not the $T tokens). By seeing my balance as "tokens" the stakes don't bother me (too low or too high) much and I can focus on squeezing out small increases with solid play. That meant one thing, a return to limit hold'em, where I eventually was 4-tabling .50/1. I won about $20 when I signed off 45 minutes later. It's a small amount, but 20BBs, which isn't too shabby. And the most important thing is that I ran up my "tokens." Any progress is good progress. I expect to tackle 1/2 games next, now that I'm over $200 at FT.

Poker is what it is. I can't wait for more opportunities to play live, but until then, I guess I'll continue to dabble in the methadone of poker, online play.

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 4:13 PM, , links to this post




Play at the Bay (Bay 101 Trip Report)


I'm in beautiful sunny California as I begin this post on vacation with wifey Kim, and I couldn't be happier. The San Francisco portion of the trip was surprisingly cold. Mark Twain said it best when he said, "The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco."

The first day was spent walking around the city and sightseeing with wifey Kim's friend who lives in SF. The second was a driving tour in the morning and then my escape to Bay 101 for some poker.

The drive to Bay 101 was great. It was about 2pm and sunny out. I dropped the top of our rented convertible and threw on a cheapo snow cap to protect my precious head from the cold. The trip itself was around 1 hour south in the town of San Jose. Once you get off of Hwy 101, though, you are right at Bay 101, so I didn't get to see anything other than the Bay 101 card room, but frankly, that was more than enough.

The Bay 101 has an expansive parking lot, so I found a spot fairly easily. A fountain featuring dolphin sculptures is by the main entrance. Once you walk in, the room is clearly split into two main sections. To the left is table games, which I took a walk through but never played. -EV is not for me. To the right is a large poker room area with probably 40 to 50 tables, all completely full. Several lists were going, and I put myself on the 4/8 half kill O8 list, as well as the 2/3/5 NL Hold'em (max buy-in $200). Both lists were around 10+ people long, so I headed to the small cafe area and got myself a hot dog and a cookie. Both were pretty bad, but I ate most of them anyway, so I wouldn't be hungry while I played.

When I was done, little had changed on the lists, so I added myself to the 5/5/10 NLHE list ($400-1000 buy-in). A little while later, I added myself to the 8/16 limit HE list as well, trying to cover as much of the board as possible. After all, I was on a time schedule, so any poker would do in a pinch.

While I waited, I watched some Olympics on the TVs scattered around the room. I was watching girls' indoor volleyball when a pudgy, pleasant black guy came up next to me and started up a conversation about the Olympic games. We chatted briefly and I toyed with the idea of asking him to email me so I could get more info from an insider about Bay 101. As a poker player, I am fascinated by the variety of games available around the country. As a blogger, I am always interested in other people's views, especially if the other person is an insider with knowledge that I just don't have. I could tell that the guy, who I would later know as Willy when they called his name for the 8/16 game, was a regular.

Willy was called for 8/16, and I noticed that I was next on the list, so I neared the podium, anxious to pounce on the next seat. The 4/8 O8 game had an empty seat too, and Willy was ahead of me on that list as well. Between the two, he opted for the 4/8 and suddenly, I was sitting at an 8/16 table, admittedly the highest Limit poker game I had ever played at a casino.

As a Poker player, and not just a NLHE player, I have no problem playing limit poker, but it isn't my strong suit. Since I was also not used to the higher stakes, I was a little perturbed as my stack dwindled from my starting $400 to about $160. A $240 swing, though, is not crazy at a 8/16 game, and aside from one mistake, I was making the right decisions.

The mistake came when I was on the button and everyone folded to me. I held K4s and decided to raise. The BB called. He had been calling loose preflop, so I figured he was defending.

The flop came down 679, which didn't do much for me. The BB checked and I bet. He called. The turn was an 8 and the BB checked again. I bet. He called. The river was a Jack and the BB checked. I figured he wasn't folding so I checked as well. He showed a bare Ace, and I folded. Everyone seemed to think it was a crazy hand and it was, mostly because I should've fired that last bullet. In hindsight, he probably would've finally folded. Whatever the case, that was my one major error, which arguably was getting involved in the hand in the first place.

I was card dead, so when I heard my name called for 4/8 O8 with a half-kill, I tucked my tail between my legs, wished everyone good luck, and made my way to the other game.

I sat down in the 3s. Willy was in the 6s and seemed to be jawing at the table. To my immediate left was a guy with a shaved head aside from a row of bangs at the front of his head. He wore a crazy mesh vest over a loud green jersey, both tucked into WSOP boxers that were clearly showing over the top of his sweatpants. He also was wearing a fanny pack or something with a WPT logo strap. He had the aire of crazy about him, but was pleasant enough as I got settled in.

I'm now at the airport as I pick up the story. I'm waiting for my flight to leave from San Diego to NY. I've gone over how to best tell the next part of my story about a dozen times. My greatest concern when writing a blog is balancing honesty and decency. I prefer for honesty to win out, but I do not wish to hurt anyone. So, as I go forward, honesty will win out, and I apologize in advance to one person in particular that will be the subject going forward.

Sitting at the table, I tried to bide my time, getting used to the game and the players. During the chit chat, the player on my immediate left, the same guy I mentioned two paragraphs (and almost a week) ago, lamented his bad fortune. It wasn't luck he was complaining about. It was the people.

"When I win, everybody my friend. Now, I've been losing and nobody knows me. Nobody." I am generally a friendly guy in such situations and agreed along with the guy, who I believe someone referred to as Sammy. "It's the sad truth about poker," I added, although I truthfully had little to add. I was just agreeing to be friendly. No sense in making enemies or goading someone on a losing streak.

Over the course of the game, he slowly let his story out more. "When I was on TV, everybody my friend." I heard TV, and I looked over Sammy. He looked vaguely familiar, but I hadn't watched poker on TV seriously in years. Plus, we were at a 4/8 limit game. What sorta TV pro sits at 4/8 limit?

My interest was piqued, and I slowly extrapolated more information. Admittedly, I probably stroked his ego a tad, too. Most poker players love their egos stroked. Hell, most people do.

Sammy was apparently featured to some extent in an episode of the World Poker Tour from Bay 101 casino. This all came out while Sammy's luck began to change. He began winning hands, specifically against Willy, the black guy who I chatted with earlier in the evening. I, meanwhile, was treading water, making all the right moves at the wrong times. I folded my second-nut low hands that were behind but would've hit on the next card. I folded my all-spades cards to see my nut flush flop.

In one of the hands, it was me, Willy and Sammy. I held A4 on a board of 258K. I had the second nut low, but after a raise from Sammy and a re-raise from Willy, I felt my hand could not be good. Willy was silent. Sammy, meanwhile, was jawing. I didn't really fear Sammy in the hand, based on the way the hand played out, but Willy concerned me. While Sammy jawed, Willy got red and finally yelled with fury, "SHUT THE HELL UP, SAMMY! STOP TALKING HIM OUT OF THE POT!" I had yet to act, but once I saw Willy's reaction, I threw in the cards and cracked a big smile. I replied to Willy, "I wasn't worried about Sammy, Willy. I was worried about you. Thanks!" As it turned out, Willy had A3, for the nut low...I'd call him a sucker, but the river would've given me the wheel. I still felt happy I used Willy's anger against him. He didn't know what I had, so the "lucky" river didn't mean shit to him.

This interaction solidified Sammy and my budding friendship. He began to tell me about how his losing streak had been tough. Players came by and asked a few of the regulars, Sammy included, about the $330 Omaha tournament the next day, but Sammy replied, "If I don't win today, I don't play tomorrow." Sammy's bankroll had taken a huge hit with his losing streak. He was not blind to the cause. "When you have bad luck and you start to play bad, the money can go quick." I did my best to agree with my usual refrain, "Losing begets losing." Sammy was already lost in his monologue: "You have to put out positive energy for good things to happen. I was negative, so I kept losing. You have to be positive."

Over the next hour or so, Sammy let on about his current situation. It shocked me. "I'm homeless. My landlord had some problems, so I was staying at a hotel for $60 per night. I stay with a friend now, but I pay him $40. It's cheaper than the hotel. And if I have to, I can play all night." His appearance began to make a little more sense. I originally thought his random clothing and multiple layers were a getup, like my Superman t-shirt and cargo pants that aid my goofball image. Maybe it was an image thing for Sammy, but it was just as likely that he didn't have many options.

All the while, Sammy's luck changed. His stack size grew and he finally reached a point of almost Zen once he was sitting as the table chipleader. In fact, it was as though a light switch turned, and Sammy went from loose aggressive to uber tight. While this was happening, he separated one of his stacks of chips and began to place other chips, one at a time, around the base. Once he had this first layer, he began a second layer of chips on top of the outer rim of chips. He continued this slowly for a good 20 to 30 minutes while we talked about the tough road of poker.

It was clear that building the chip tower helped Sammy reach a place of calm. He barely looked at his cards before folding. He was merely passing time at the table while he prepared his art. He pulled out a small box and opened it, displaying the contents. It was a series of trinkets, none more than an inch tall or wide. Some were insects, others were potted plants. He looked at them with pride. A female player to my immediate right asked about them. "What are they?" she asked, barely hiding the undercurrent of disgust. "This is a donkey, and this one is a fish, and this one is a...." He was making no sense. The chick cut him off. "No, I mean, what are they for." "I just like them," Sammy explained, like a little kid surprised that someone questioned why he would carry his favorite action figure with him. "They make me calm." And sure enough, they did.

He explained that during the WPT Bay 101 broadcast, they brought cameras over to his table just to film his chip tower art. "I could do much better than this if I had time." Apparently, it was his claim to fame. His chip tower art.

After completing his chip tower, Sammy began to add the trinkets. He added little shelves to the side of the tower to display more of his trinkets. Here was a man who was suffering through tough times able to find solace in quiet art, surrounded by people who couldn't give two shits if he built the Leaning Tower of Pisa or had dirty stacks of different denominations. This was his own personal therapy.

I wish it was all good though. "See this one?" Sammy showed me a flower pot with individual hand-crafted flowers. "This one cost me $37. I get it from this guy in Chinatown. His eyes light up when I come in. I spent $300 or $400 on these things at a time." He even referred to them as "these things." They had no real purpose or identity other than that given to them by Sammy. The chick heard this and snickered. I wasn't there to judge. I just remained agreeable. "It's cheaper than booze, drugs, or women." "I used to spend on those too, but not anymore. Just these." He seemed to reflect. "They make me feel good." I acquiesced, "That's all anyone can do, try to be happy."

I, meanwhile, had earned back most of my losses. When I finally stood up, I was down $94. At my worst, I was probably down about $300+. Sammy was still sitting pretty now that he was in fold mode. We tussled in one hand, and when I lucked out to hit a low (I had a good high too), Sammy said he was happy that it was me. I told him that if anyone had to beat my high, I was happy it was him.

I gave him my card and asked that he take a look at the site and email me. I wanted to ask him some questions and post his response here. I knew he didn't have access to a computer to easily, but nowadays, any public library has free Internet access. Or maybe his friend had a computer where he was crashing. We exchanged pleasantries and he told me he'd email me. I'm still waiting on the email.

If anyone knows Sammy or his chip tower from the WPT broadcast, hit me up with a comment or email. I couldn't find any record of the guy who I believed to be named Sammy Bruno, just based on overheard conversations. I never asked him directly. Odd how that is, I got to know the guy pretty well over a few hours, but his name was unimportant in the nameless world of the poker table.

Speaking with Sammy reminded me of the reality of the poker world. Fame and money is fleeting. Negativity can bring anyone down. But so could obsessive behavior. Poker can be an obsessive pursuit, and many of the people who are attracted to poker are also susceptible to the other obsessive, self-destructive pursuits out there. Women. Drugs. Booze. Even dinky trinkets. No homeless man needs $300 worth of mini flower pots, even if they make him "feel good."

I wish Sammy the best of luck. In the end, he is no different than any one of us chasing the dream. Poker is a brutal reality, though, and I am just glad that I can vacation there, but I can live elsewhere.

The rest of my time in California was amazing. Hiking the novice trails in Pt. Lobos (thanks for the advice, BrianMc) was a nice change of pace for wifey Kim and I. The small town of Cambria on the coast was an experience in small seaside living. Santa Barbara was surprisingly hip and had a lot to do within walking distance from our hotel and beach. LA was a different sorta place altogether, and frankly, should be classified a big town, because it doesn't fit within my definition of a city. However, it had a lot to offer too, including some surprisingly great comedy from Improv Olympics, the place where the Real World Hollywood cast "worked" last season (all wifey Kim on that one, but it turned out to be great fun). The beach at La Jolla was fantastic, and probably the best beach we went to during the trip, and the San Diego Zoo was, well, a zoo, but a good one at that.

Thus concludes this California trip report. I hope you all had a fun week without me. Lord knows it was nice getting away for a bit.

One last thought. Aside from Bay 101, I didn't play a lick of poker during this trip, even though I had Internet at every hotel. Thank god for the break. I needed some time away from the videogame we call online poker. Of course, don't be too surprised if I binge like the addict I am when I return to New York.

Thanks for reading.

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 9:09 PM, , links to this post




Some Law, Some Bash, Some Vacation

Blogger just changed their blogger interface...and it's blowing my mind.

Of course, my mind was previously blown this morning by a Judge. I'll give you the whole story in a Cliff Notes version. About a year ago, the defendant in a lawsuit, let's call it Lawsuit X, made a motion requesting that the Court dismiss the lawsuit because it was brought in the wrong State. I diligently did the research and had a cogent argument about how the motion was premature and incorrect regardless. The Judge decided for the defendant, we appealed to a higher court, and the higher court agreed with us. The motion was premature, the parties would exchange more documents and depose certain people, and the defendant could remake the motion.

Well, all of that stuff was done, but sure enough, the motion ends up in front of the exact same Judge. And here is a quick lesson in rough justice and human nature: Judges hate, and I mean hate, changing their decisions. After all, if the Judge suddenly saw it our way, he would essentially be admitting that he was wrong earlier. So, I go to the Court, the defendant orally argues, I respond and the Judge gives his oral opinion...by reading it from a sheet of paper. He had already written his decision before we entered the Court room. And, surprise-surprise, he found for the defendant.

It's times like that when I know I shouldn't expect anything different, but I get upset anyway. What can I say, I hate losing. But I have to accept that even the right play may result in a bad result. Sounds familiar?

My guess is that we will appeal it again...and the process continues ad infinitum.

So I've been thinking about the Bash, hosted by AlCantHang. I went two years ago to the last Bash, which you can read about HERE. I had an amazing time that year, with my roomies TripJax and PokerWolf. I remember a few days after the Bash, Trip and I were chatting or emailing and he said something akin to, Sorry we didn't get to hang out. I had to remind him that we hung out for most of the night...unfortunately, it was the part of the night he could no longer remember. Good memories...for me at least.

The Bash is, in my experience, just an amazing time. Picture dozens of people that you read and enjoy, drinking and gambling with reckless abandon. Perhaps that's not the full picture, because it is also really about hanging out and chatting, drunk or sober, with people who share common interests. Plus, the Bash seems to create a weird environment where bloggers from around the country all feel like they are in their own home town bar. It's just super comfortable because you know everyone on some level, either directly or through other people, and the host and location welcome us with open arms.

I considered for a moment that I might skip the Bash this year. If Trip goes, he'll probably go with his wife, and I don't think Wolfie is going at all. Plus, I'm busy as shit with vacations and whatnot.

But really, how could I miss the Bash?! It'll probably be one of the most fun days I'll have all year.

So, um, anyone need a roommate? If so, email me at HighOnPokr (no E) at Yahoo. I'll probably come in Saturday morning, so I'll only be there overnight, but I'm tidy, don't snore, and like to snuggle.

Hell, maybe I'll just rage it solo, but I thought I'd give some of you an opportunity to save some dough. I'm so generous.

I'm heading off to California on Saturday morning. Wifey Kim and I will be driving the coast, from SF to SD, with lots of stops throughout. I hate to sound like a dork or worse, a fanboy, but I have to admit that Nick's Diner in LA is on my list of places to visit, all because of Dr. Pauly and Change100's posts. Yeah, I'm ghey like that.

My posts will be few and far for a week, but bare with me. Hopefully, I'll have some good poker content if I can sneak away for a few hours in SF to check out Bay 101 or whatever.

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 12:22 PM, , links to this post




LivePokerRadio Blog Addendum

Look, I like Instant Tragedy, I really, really do, but I cannot let this stand.

I'm all for blogger tournaments, and if you host one and decide to do a live blog, I'm all for that too, but you can't miss the big hands, especially when you are in the hand. I mean, Jesus!

Ok, let me back up a minute. IT hosts the LivePokerRadio.com Monday night tournament, which has taken the time slot vacated by my favorite weekly tournament (largely due to buy-in, structure and the Monday spot), the Hoy. I was ripping shit up in the Hoy this last few months, so I figured I'd bring my brand of awesomeness to the LPR game.

When IT mentioned that he was live blogging, I decided to keep an eye on the LPR site. After all, IT was at my table and I hoped to get some insight into his play while in progress. So, when I took most of IT's chips with a fantastic play, I sat back and hit that refresh button waiting to see IT sing my praises. Well, I wait to this day.

For shame on you, IT, for shame!

Oh, and IT won the friggin' thing, even after I shamed him with my superiority. What a luckbox.

So, allow me to create this addendum to IT's live blog of last night's LPR tournament:

To be inserted between the 9:10 and 9:14 entries, which notably is Central Time, by far the second worst time zone in the Continental US. Yeah, that's right, second. Don't look at me like that Mountain zone. You know what you did.

9:13- I, Instant Tragedy (4290), limp with KQo for 40 in early position and then call a raise to 140 from that very handsome devil, HighOnPoker (3840). I call because I find him so oddly appealing that it makes me question my own sexuality.

The flop is KAA. HoP hesitates and then bets 300 into the 300 pot. The pot bet looks like a steal on the scary flop and he probably doesn't have an Ace, so I call.

The turn is a 6 of diamonds, making a possible flush draw.

Ah hah! HoP checks out of position, so he clearly does not have an Ace! I'm in great position, so I bet 550 into the 900 pot, hoping to keep the sucker on the line. He re-raises the minimum, which is odd and confuses me. I just call, assuming that he doesn't have the Ace and either has a weaker King-kicker or still is trying to make a move. Oh, silly HoP. When will you learn that you cannot win at poker with your pretty, ocean-blue eyes and well-trimmed beard alone.

The river is an inconsequential 8, made extra inconsequential because I've got him dead to rights.

WHAT?! HoP bets out $1100??? Why, that's like most of his chips?! Why would he do that?! Does he have a hand? Oh my Lord. What am I to do?! I can re-raise, but then he's priced in. I can fold, but based on the way that he played, there is no way he has an Ace... Oh, I'll just call.

HoP shows AQo. WHAT!?! He totally pwned and owned me on that one. Good god! He cannot be stopped. Let's hope he has to sit out for 30 minutes when the blinds get high because he prioritizes wifey Kim over poker and she wants to spend some time with him. I'm crossing my fingers. Oh me oh my.

That concludes the addendum to the LPR live blog.

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 9:16 PM, , links to this post




The Leak: Football Season

It's been a while since I've discussed one of my leaks, not that they've gone away. Probably my most fun leak, though, are Football Pools. This year, I've joined two leagues, headed by 23Skidoo and Miami Don. Both involve a small buy-in, $10 and $20, respectively.

So, if you want to play in a pool with dead money like me (my knowledge of football, like most sports, couldn't fill a thimble), here are the details:

23Skidoo's Pick'em League
Group ID#: 13700
Password: poker

MiamiDon's Survivor League
For details, email miamidon@cox.net

If you are looking for something a bit more involved, you may even be interested in Skidoo's Fantasy Football league. Check out this page for more details.

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 5:13 PM, , links to this post




Anything But the Poker

I see I ruffled some feathers with the last post. I still maintain that people's personal lives are their own, and infidelity should not be a roadblock to political office. But we are all entitled to our own opinions and more importantly, you aren't going to change my opinion and I'm not going to change yours, so let's just accept that this is a fucked up world filled with fucked up people with fucked up opinions and move forward.

Poker, huh? What about it? It's the same as it ever was, and it's starting to get on my nerves. I once again doubt my ability to play online poker after losing $200 playing 3/6 LO8. It didn't help that it was after a long night filled with booze.

That left me with a poker hangover that I still haven't shook (shaken?). But part of me thinks, whatever, because online poker is a fucking videogame. Some people might be great at the videogame and make oodles of cash, but it's still a goddamn videogame.

Naturally, I'm not entirely self-delusional. I recognize that online poker is just another form of poker, one that is not ideal for my impulsive self. But at times I can't help but think that I am just chasing my tail with this one.

So, if poker is annoying, let's instead focus our attention on the rest of my life. First off, I had an excellent weekend. I spent Saturday playing a round of golf. I'm pretty bad and need lessons, but I still enjoy the game. There is something about the open expanse of a golf course, with the bright greens and blues, that instantly brings me joy. I guess living in a concrete jungle can do that. Shit, I'm just as happy seeing the random monarch butterflies and red-breasted robins than I am swinging for the fences and landing about 10 yards ahead of me at the girl's tee.

I also got to try a new (to me) restaurant this weekend, when wifey Kim and I joined her upstate friend and the upstate friend's family for brunch on Sunday. Her friend, H, is an absolute sweatheart, and her fiance is a poker fan, so we get along really well. In fact, H and fiance C were two of our cohorts at the recent Antisemetic Wedding in Colorado.

We ended up at Max Brenner's, a restaurant that specializes in all things chocolate. I ordered the Lazy Breakfast, which was an omelette with two items (I chose cheddar and bacon) served with toast, and, for the toast, butter, apple preserves, melted pure chocolate and peanut butter. It was way too much food, especially since it was all delicious. I'm always prone to finishing my plate, but I had no chance at Brenner's. For any NY people who want to try something different, I recommend it. However, try to get there early, as it tends to fill up.

After that, wifey Kim and I walked around the city running errands. Later, I returned home where I killed two hours watching a random flick I DVR'ed from Starz, Next, starring Nicholas Cage (fun fact: Nicholas Cage, who is a huge comic book fan, chose his last name from the obscure, yet recently popular, Luke Cage, a black superhero with inpenetrable skin). I haven't been a fan of Cage in a long time (think Face/Off), but I felt compelled to check out the film because of its roots, a Phillip K. Dick novel (or was it a novella?). Dick is also the author of the source material of one of the best, if not the best, sci-fi movies around, Totall Recall, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger. So, I crossed my fingers and hoped for the best, and amazingly, I was not disappointed.

Next is actually a pretty clever film about a guy, played by Cage, who can see approximately 2 minutes into his own future. Once he sees his future, however, he can change it. So, his precognition abilities actually allow him to "try out" a bunch of scenarios before choosing the best one. By day, he works as a magician doing cheap tricks interspersed with his "mentalist" abilities, allowing him to hide his abilities in the spotlight. By night, he grinds out extra dough playing in casinos.

Long story short, the FBI want him to help find a bomb and Jessica Biel gets involved somehow as a love interest, but the clever storytelling and heady concept actually works. I think the movie bombed in the theaters, but I'm still advising you guys to check it out (chicks can pass, naturally). So, that's two random-ass guy flicks in two weeks that I am pimping here on HoP. Maybe I should change the site to HighOnFilm, although the term "Film" is a bit too high brow for this fare.

Just out of curiosity, if anyone else would like to recommend a good guy film, please feel free. The joys of Netflix allow me to see just about anything out there, and I'm always interested in recommendations.

This week is packed to the gills with little poker. Tuesday night, my mother and grandfather are coming into the city for dinner. Wednesday night, I'm meeting some high school friends for drinks. Thursday, I have a comedy show to attend, with Matty Ebs on the stage. Friday, I pack for California, and on Saturday, I am on vacation. Oh, sweet, sweet Saturday. I anticipate thee already.

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 10:02 AM, , links to this post




John Edwards Got His Dick Wet

Whoopdeedoo!

Time for another rant.

News recently broke that John Edwards had an extramarital affair (and he isn't even running for president anymore).

There are various reports that John McCain has had extramarital affairs.

Newt Gingrich had an extramarital affair while he was seeking the impeachment of Bill Clinton, who had an extramarital affair.

John F. Kennedy boned Marilyn Monroe, even though he had that fine chippy Jackie O at home. And that's just the tip of the iceberg. He was also linked with Vegas stripper Blaze Starr, painter Mary Pinshot Meyer, and mafia wife Judith Campbell Exner.

FDR himself was getting some side action until Eleanore Roosevelt found out. He promised to stop and did...for a while, eventually returning to the scene of the crime.

Circa 1920, news broke that presidential candidate Warren Harding had an extramarital affair. He was then elected to president.

In 1884, Grover Cleveland admitted to having an extramarital affair and a bastard child to boot while running for president. Admitting his transgression was said to have contributed to his success in the presidential race.

Thomas Jefferson had an affair with at least one slave. In fact, it was just a few years ago that the members of the Jefferson family tree hailing from some of the darker branches were invited to the annual Jefferson family reunion.

All of this is to say that extramarital affairs amongst politicians is hardly something new. AND, there is no indication that any of these morally unfit presidents were bad for our nation just because they liked a bit of the strange.

So, remind me once again why the media acts shocked and appauled when a political figure is accused or admits to adultery. Yeah, exactly.

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 4:04 PM, , links to this post




Jordan Is....Wondering What's the Point

I'm really fascinated with social networking sites. I had written in the past about how I didn't understand the real point to these social networking sites. It seemed to me that it was all a self-perpetuating circle jerk of people signing up at a myriad of sites, emailing their friends to join, followed by a linking frenzy and more emails out to more friends, all for the purpose of...well, what? Getting a job? I didn't need one. Meeting new people? I'm married and I don't like people anyway.

The one exception to the rule has been Facebook. I got into Facebook for the games. Scrabulous (which was rightfully shut down, since it was a direct ripoff of Hasbro's intellectual property rights from Scrabble) was the gateway drug. Now, it's other random stupid applications, but it passes the time and feeds my dual needs for games and competition. Still, there are some things I will never understand.

Facebook has an option where you can post what you are doing at any given moment. This is displayed to all of your "friends." I put "friends" in quotes because, let's be honest, if you have more than 20 "friends" on Facebook, you probably haven't seen 80% of them in years. In fact, wifey Kim and I have lately been competing to get the most friends. To be more accurate, she gloated about having more friends, so I accepted the old friend requests from people I haven't seen in years or just plain don't like. So much for my exclusive ring of friends.

But this whole announcing-to-the-world-what-you-are-doing bit just baffles me. I see the irony and all, since I write almost daily (and twice today!) about nonsensical nonsense that is a hair away from the nonsensical nonsense making up the here's-what-I'm-doing Facebook application. But at least my goal is to entertain in brief spurts, and I use this site as much to work out my own thoughts as I do to present them. But this whole Facebook thing, and Twitter for that matter, is a whole new level of lazy narcissism dressed in useless information.

Let's poke some fun at fellow bloggers for a moment, all of whom are my friends (for realz, yo, unlike the recent batch of number-padding "friends" I added at Facebook) for a little inspiration.

Someone is happy that he is getting his tile installed today! Fantastic! I'm wet with anticipation! I'm so glad that I know about your tile situation. Now I don't have to write you that long correspondence asking for more home-improvement updates!

Someone else
has been chilling in NYC for the last couple of days. So, now I know he is in town and that he didn't think to call me to hang out! Lovely! Of course, I really take no offense, but damnit, if I were a more sensitive guy (or liked people in general) a statement like this could rub me the wrong way.

Another person is waiting for someone to clean up the pigeon mess. Lord knows what that means. I can only assume that some pigeons shat on her or her belongings. Either that, or there was a pigeon massacre and pigeon blood and guts have made a nasty stain. Either way, I don't take kindly to bad mouthing pigeons, if you don't already know.

And frankly, these all are very tame (and I repeat again that I really like all three of these people, so I mean thee no harm). I've read all sorts of status messages, including people contemplating their dating troubles, ecstatic about career situations, and just generally sharing whether they are happy or sad.

I suppose on some level, I understand the need to self-express, particularly when you know it is going out to a select group of "friends." However, I wonder why we all need to share to immediately and so publicly all the time, myself somewhat included. Twitter is another fine example. I don't mind reading about your evening the next day on your blog, but I don't need a Twitter message saying, "I just got a pretzel and now I'm going to eat it." And I really don't need, "I just finished the pretzel and it was delicious!" I would accept, "I'm choking on a pretzel...call the police!" but anything else is useless information. What am I going to do with the knowledge that you are enjoying a salty carb-based snack at this very moment! WHAT? Just tell me what and I will do it. Otherwise, fuck you and your Twitter.

All of this naturally leads to my own status on Facebook. I still think it is a silly feature, but I may as well use it for some comedy. I've been changing it every few days (and twice today) with sarcastic nonsense. The first was:

Jordan...wants you to mind your own business.

Then came,

Jordan...wonders why you care so much about what he is doing.

Today, I added the peculiar and vulgar:

Jordan...is taking a shit. Not right now, and not even today, necessarily, but eventually.

Then I remembered that wifey Kim's mom "friended" me recently (hey, I needed the numbers for my competition). That's why I had to change it from the shit comment. It now reads:

Jordan...asks that we never speak of this again.

Hell, I guess I don't have to understand the need for the application to pervert it to my own needs. Now, I just need to come up with more evasive, obnoxious status messages. It's my new Facebook game!

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 2:43 PM, , links to this post




The New Black

I don't have much for you. The grind is wearing me down. But I was thumbing through a set of pictures online, after following a link from the AOL homepage about some silly celebrity news. I really didn't even look at the heading of the slide show, content on mindlessly clicking the NEXT button. Still, I soon realized that the pictures were all of black celebrities who have been on Reality TV shows. That's when I saw the name of the site, Black Voices.

All of this is fine and dandy, but I have to point out the peculiar site that is photo #10. After 9 photos of black celebrities, and another 41 photos to follow after #10, #10 was the very popular African American star:


Ron Jeremy

I can only assume that he was included because he is half-black...from the waste down. BOOM!

You can see the photo gallery, including pic #10, HERE.

Until next time, make mine poker!

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




9 Days and 12 Hours

It was July 26, 2008 at approximately 11:04am when my 99 faced QQ all-in during the Foxwoods $120, 9am tournament. I had put my entire life on the line utterly dominated preflop, only to hit my 9 on the turn and propel myself until 10th place, the lowest money spot.

It was August 4, 2008 at approximately 10:28pm when I re-raise pushed all-in against LJ during the LivePokerRadio Tour. She called and her 99 faced my QQ. I had finally reached the dominating position. She hit her four-card straight on the turn.

Like that, I was out of the tournament. Yet, all I could think was, That didn't take long.

Variance is apparently on a 9 day, 12 hour backlog. You have been warned.

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 10:29 PM, , links to this post




Double Booked

I was really looking forward to two events this weekend in my poker world. The Wall Street Game will be hosting another night of mixed games, this time $3/6 limit, Stud Eight or Better and Omaha Eight or Better. I love mixed games, and have been playing them rather often on Full Tilt lately, to some mediocre success and a whole lotta enjoyment.

The second event is more exciting. I remind you all once again that Dr. Pauly is celebrating his blog's 5th birthday with a $5 tournament at PokerStars, with the first place winner receiving a seat in a $5k event at the Borgata. Full details are available HERE, but I want you all to realize that you cannot take the $5k and skip the event. It is a must-play prize. Also, no chops are allowed for the seat. Pauly, thankfully, has avoided all of the future complaints by setting up clear rules in advance. Kudos to Pauly on offering this awesome opportunity and organizing it well, to boot.

With all this great poker to be had, I realized this morning that there was only one hitch: they are both scheduled for Tuesday. And since I cannot turn down live mixed games 5 minutes from my apartment or a tourney in which I can win 1000x my buy-in against a reasonable field, it looks like I will be multitabling live and online poker. God help me.

I don't have much to say about poker right now, but I sometimes like to use this little space as my own personal babble board, so here goes with a review of a movie that I just saw at random.

In film, as in life, the best thing one can do for his/herself is to go in with the right expectations (or none at all). You can't watch a classic horror flick and complain that it lacked a love story, much in the same way as you cannot call up your straight-laced friend for help to hide the hooker's body and not expect him to do something ridiculous like call the cops. So, when I heard reviews of Shoot 'Em Up, an over-the-top action flick starring Clive Owen and Paul Giamatti, I was surprised by how many of the reviews seemed shocked at the hole-heavy plot and crazy action. The truth is, if you go into the flick with its intentions in mind, it is actually a masterful film.

The first key is to figure out the intentions behind the film. The title alone hints at the fact that Shoot 'Em Up is a hyper-action film. It is in many ways a send-up of action films. At times, Clive Owen as the hero, Mr. Smith, even states plainly that he hates when the hero does x or y, all the while actually pointing out the foolishness inherent in most action flicks. This, alone, does not a good film make, but when you add the insane non-stop action, solid pacing, and creativity, the results are actually quite enjoyable.

A quick synopsis of the story: Mr. Smith is sitting at a bus station when a pregnant girl limps by panting and holding her stomach. A guy follows her with a gun, ready to kill. Mr. Smith decides, reluctantly, to follow the pair, only to step in right before the gunman shoots the preggo chick. During the ensuing scene, in which the gunman's pals, including leader Giamatti, chase after Mr. Smith and old Prego, Prego gives birth. The rest of the movie is Mr. Smith's efforts to protect the newborn infant with the help of his hooker "friend" while Giamatti uses his absurd logic and observation skills to find Mr. Smith wherever he goes.

This is not a love story, so don't expect Mr. Smith and his hooker pal to have a plausible relationship. This is not even a serious film, so don't expect Mr. Smith to be anything but bulletproof when faced by an army of villains chasing him across the city. But it IS supposed to be an action flick, and aside from Mr. Smith's odd fascination with sliding on random surfaces while shooting people (rollers on a conveyor belt, spilt oil, etc., etc. and so forth) the action is consistently innovative or at the very least, exciting.

The action is without a doubt over-the-top, but the sheer fact that Mr. Smith always has a stash of carrots (which he uses to kill at least a few baddies) is a sign that the writer/director wanted to make the violence cartoon-like. After all, the carrot is a clear nod to Bugs Bunny, and Giamatti is playing the role of Elmer Fudd.

If you are a dude who likes action, check out Shoot 'Em Up. I don't want to give too much away here, but it's a great action flick that balances the absurdity of action flicks with some awesome ultraviolence. It pulls no punches, and for that reason, it deserves a big thumbs up.

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 4:28 PM, , links to this post




Wall Street Reads

High-dee ho, neighbors. After writing what felt like a novella on a simple overnight to Foxwoods, my poor blogging fingers are almost as worn out as my blogging brain. This week has been nothing but non-stop work, followed by fits of relaxation in the evenings. No complaints from the J-man, though, as I realize I am lucky to be where I am, who I am, doing what I do.

And in that vein, I had the extreme pleasure of returning to the Wall Street Game on Wednesday to play some .50/1 NLHE, with a max buy-in of $125. Last week, I received an evite from host Jamie about two tournaments held on Monday. Jamie's amazingly well-run tournament is actually a series of events with a small percentage of each buy-in going to a prize pool that is awarded half to the season's top ranked player who played 1/3 of the events and half to the winner of a freeroll played between the 2nd through 10th top ranked players for the season. It's all quite impressive in scope, but when you haven't played a single tournament in a season, giving up that 10% buy-in per game and the lower stakes in general make it less than perfect for a guy like me. This is in no way a knock on Jamie or the structure. It's merely a statement as to the fact that the tournament is no longer the big appeal for me at the WSG.

Jamie is nothing if not a generous host, so when I RSVP'ed No to the tournament game with the statement, "I can't lose my money fast enough in a tournament," he was kind enough to set up the .50/1 NLHE game on Wednesday. Jamie has probably 80+ people on his evite list, so by the time I saw the evite a few hours later, he had already maxed out on players. Lemon! Fortunately, a few days later, a player dropped out and Jamie looked out for yours truly, adding me to the list.

I strolled into the game a little after 7pm. The place was already pretty full, and players were buying in for their starting stacks. I opted for $100, and found a seat to the right of Bacini Mary and the left of Paul in the Hamily. To Paul's right was Brian, one of the more aggressive players in the game. He and I would tangle more than a few times in the game.

The game started out pretty hot, with players willing to raise decent amounts from the getgo. I've played at the WSG too many times to count, but Wednesday night was a particularly interesting evening, mostly because of the fast and furious action. I suppose the other particularly interesting aspect was my reads, which were, for the most part, dead-on.

We'll start with a hand where I got a little frisky, limping with a marginal (if not dangerously weak) KT. There were a lot of limpers and the button raised to $3. By the time it got to me, no one had folded, so I called as well.

The flop came down T93, with two diamonds. I had top pair, second kicker. When it checked to me, I bet out $8. I was immediately raised by Liezl, a female player sitting a few seats to my left. From my experiences, Liezl is a tricky player to play against. I've seen her overcommit to overpairs or even just pocket pairs, but I've also seen her crush the souls of mere mortals when they have underestimated her holdings. There's a certain level of unpredictability, so when she raised to $16 and everyone else folded, I didn't know what the right move was. She might've had AT, which would have me crushed, or even 33, for a flopped set. Hell, she could've had T9 for two-pair, for all I knew. After all, there were so many players in the hand preflop, she could've played any two for the simple limp and the pot-odds $3 call.

I flat called, hoping to control pot size and get more info on the turn. The turn was an 8 of spades, creating a spade flush draw to go along with the diamond flush draw. I checked, and Liezl bet out $15. See what I mean about being unpredictable? She actually bet less on the turn than on the flop. I still didn't have a full grasp of what she was doing, but I decided to call again.

The river was a baby spade, filling the possible spade flush draw. I checked and Liezl bet out $50. I tried to talk it up a bit. "$50?! I thought this was a friendly game?!" I tried to read her for a tell; she seemed to be pretty quiet, which led me to believe that she was not entirely confident. I literally turned away from the table as I worked out the action in my head. Preflop calling, raising the flop, small bet on the turn, big bet on the river. $50 may not have been big in relationship to the pot, but it was a big bet in terms of psychology. It felt like the type of bet that is designed to push the opponent out of the hand. All of this pointed to a call, but I still internally argued whether I was reading this particular player right. It may be that 9 out of 10 people raising $50 here are trying to push out their opponent, but if Liezl IS a calling station, as some might argue, wouldn't she be that 1 out of 10 people who bet like this without thinking that it'd push out her opponent. I don't want to go so far as to say it's a "value bet." But perhaps she really thought she was best and bet according the perceived-strength of her hand.

Finally, I had to go with my initial reaction. Something about the weak $15 followed by the strong $50 seemed odd, like it was a blocker or probe bet followed by the old, "I can only win this pot by betting big." I kept my head turned away from the table and shielded my face with my hand as I pushed $50 into the pot with my other hand, like a little kid watching a horror movie between slotted fingers. "I have a 9," I heard her announce. I saw her A9 and tabled my KTo. And that was how I started building my stack.

The action was loose and the crowd was friendly, so I found myself really hamming it up when I was dealt AQo in the SB or BB. A player in EP raised preflop, so I complained that the person was raising because he was taking advantage of the fact that he knew I had crappy cards in the blinds. It was all shtick, keeping things light and, frankly, a tad absurd. There were a few callers and when it got to me, I considered raising, but opted for an out-of-position call. I figured if I missed the flop, I would cap my losses and let the hand go, but if I hit it, my lack of preflop action would be deceptive.

The flop was Ace-high with two spades. I checked, and leaned over to Mary, who was already out of the hand. I used my most absurd stage whisper to announce, "I didn't hit the flop." In hindsight, I realize that it is considered poor ettiquete to discuss your hand while play is in progress. In that regard, I guess I sorta regret my behavior. However, it's a friendly game and it was pretty clear that I was just tooling around, so I hope no significant harm was done.

It folded to a player I had never played with before. He was an Asian gent and seemed to have a solid grasp on the game. In LP, the Asian Gent, or Agent, for short, bet out $10. When it folded to me, I opted for a flat call, hoping to get more in with a check-raise on the turn. The turn was a Queen of spades, giving me top two pair but completing the flush draw. I checked again and Agent bet $15. I considered raising, but feared that the flush card would either kill my action. In the alternative, it might be called and if a spade river hits, I'm screwed. I just called.

The river was an offsuit Ten, which, assuming I was ahead on the turn, would only help TT and KJ. I considered check-raising again, but realized that I could not give up the chance to bet. I bet out $35 nonchalantly and my opponent reluctantly called. I showed my top two pair, AQ, and he showed A8 and then mucked. Ka ching!

AQ popped up again in one of the oddest hands I have ever experienced. I held AQ and raised preflop, getting two callers. One of the callers was Brian, who was out of position against me. I was the big stack, but he was close behind. The flop came down with three low cards, something akin to 853, with a flush draw. It checked to me and I bet $15. Brian called. The turn was another 3, and created a second flush draw. Brian bet out $35 immediately. It smelled like bullshit, and I stared him down for a long while, trying to figure out what it all meant. He couldn't have a 3. That just didn't make sense. I doubt he even hit the board. Yet on the other hand, he couldn't have an overpair because it wasn't like Brian to just limp-call preflop or call from the blinds preflop with 99 or higher. I considered all of this and determined that he was bullshitting me. I raised to $85. He took his time in response and then announced all-in. I had to fold. The pressure point was just too high and I couldn't risk most of my stack with AQ. After I folded, he showed K6o, for a complete bluff. And I commended him for it. I'm not above admitting that I was outplayed. I wouldn't mind knowing a bit more about his reasoning there, but suffice it to say that it was an amazing play by him and he deserved to win the pot.

With the last hand still in my head, I was dealt K9c in EP/MP and decided to call a straddle of $2. When it got to host Jamie, who was in position, he bet out $14. It folded to Brian, who called. I called as well, mostly seeking revenge against Brian.

I should note that Jamie hadn't been playing for most of the game, so this was probably his first hand that he played. The flop came down KQx, giving me top-pair, middle kicker. Brian checked and I checked as well. And out of nowhere, Jamie pushed all-in for $96.50. Brian folded and I had a tough decision. Top pair, middle kicker is no monster hand, and Jamie's range included numerous cards that had me drawing dead. Once again, though, I thought about the story that had developed, and the all-in on the flop made little sense. It seemed designed to push out two loose players who already demonstrated that they missed the flop. I took my time and then figured I needed more information. I asked if I was allowed to show a card, and after I got the ok, I showed my King. I didn't get anything off of Jamie right away, but then I saw the sign that sealed his fate. He was shuffling his cards, a tell that usually indicates that a person does not like their hand; they are subconsciously trying to change their cards. I called, flipped over the 9 to accompany the King and then waited as the dealer dealt out the turn and the river Queen. I feared he had a Queen, but he just mucked and I felted him. While I didn't keep the hand history, a little while later, I played K9s and turned a flush against Jamie as well. I guess K9 just worked for me that night.

When I cashed out, I was up $420. I was easily the big winner of the night, and happy that my success is continuing. I'm still a far distance from where I want to be in my annual goal, but all I can do is continue to play my best and hope that the cards do the rest.

After the game, I returned home, where wifey Kim was sprawled across the bed sleeping. I kissed her head and told her that I won $420. I put my roll away and hit the couch.

Lately, sleep has been difficult, and I spent the next two hours trying to ease off of the adrenaline high I get from poker. The next morning, I spoke to wifey Kim and she asked how I did. "I won $420," I told her. "Oh yeah," she replied, "now I remember." Wifey Kim is one impressive chick. She has already acclimated herself to listening to my poker stories in her sleep.

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 10:27 AM, , links to this post