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Nyum-Nyum-Nyum

A proper write-up of the Bash may or may not be coming. Some of these trips lend themselves to lengthy reports, or as I heard a handful of times at the Friday night cash game in Pennsylvania, "Jordan is going to write another 4-part post about one hand." Fuckers. You know you love it. The Bash, well, between the booze and the booze, a lot is lost to the ethers of time.

However, there are some things that cannot be hidden from the prying eyes of my adoring public. So, I must admit this to you. In the Pub Olympics, your would-be hero took the role of last minute edition to Team AlCantHang, specifically to participate in a Buffalo wing eating contest against Team Otis' Falstaff. Make no doubt about it, my legion of fans, I intended to go in guns a'blazin', but I must also admit that I held my own concerns. While I may have spent four years at college in Buffalo, majoring in fried food with a minor in hot sauce, I had been out of practice, and, frankly, Falstaff looked like serious competition. Not only did he have me outranked in height and weight, but he also had me beat on reach AND coming off of some serious weight loss, Falstaff looked savagely hungry.

When the action finally started, I attacked the early wings agressively. My plan was three-fold: (1) eat all 'wing' wings, as opposed to the 'drumstick' wings, with one bite. This was the lynchpin of my plan developed from a technique I first saw and then perfected in Buffalo. (2) Strip wings of their meat with my hands while chewing. This would allow me to subtlely remove the excess hot sauce while also breaking up the food, which should have hopefully made chewing and swallowing that much easier. Finally, (3) I had to play to my audience. Let's be real for a moment. I was either going to win or lose, but there was no way I was going to go out without a spectacle.

So, when I broke into an early lead, I turned around in a sorta, "I don't even need to face the wings." When that got a nice pop, I played to the audience, pretending as though I was checking my watch and asking Falstaff to catch up. Someone said that I was up by as many as three wings (out of 10) in the early goings, but realistically, no one was watching the wing count thanks to my antics. From my recollection, we were about neck-and-neck the entire way. Finally, toward the end, the Rooster started to chime in with a movie quote. He told me it earlier in the day and I still can't remember its origin. Whatever the case, he was essentially yelling, "Listen to the wings! They want you to eat them!" So, I put my ear down to the plate and cupped my hand to amplify the wing sounds. Maybe it was the copious booze or the hallucinogenic properties of buffalo wing sauce, but I could hear the wings: "Eat me, Jordan. Eat me."

Sadly, around wing 8, I looked down to see Falstaff priming his last wing. From there, I could do nothing but watch victory and glory elude me.

Immediately after the competition, I held my hand out to shake the hand of the better man. I don't know where he put all those wings, but god bless Falstaff and his ultra-heavy-duty vacuum of a mouth. My face burned with the oddly earthy hot sauce (I think someone incorrectly added nutmeg to the sauce), and my hands and face were covered in red. I looked like I just left a vampire orgy. Falstaff, to his credit, shook my hand, the results of which is here:


Picture provided by BamBam.

I may have lost, but at least I lost to a Champion.

Until next time, make mine hot sauce.

posted by Jordan @ 2:22 PM, , links to this post




Gone Bashin'

posted by Jordan @ 5:33 PM, , links to this post




You Decide #61

Once upon a time, I used to post hand narratives fairly often and ask my readers to decide what play would be best or whether a given play was good or bad. It's time to dust off that old formula because I have a hand here that has got my brain going overtime.

Davey Ruff, who I recently visited for poker in the middle of a hurricane, sent me the following hand:

Dave Ruff, a bright, conservative player with the ability to play aggressively when appropriate, was playing heads-up $1/2 NLHE online against Shucks, who was playing fairly aggressively.

Preflop, in the SB/button, Ruff ($126.40) called with 87c. Shucks ($168.50) checked.

The flop was 7x5c4c, giving Ruff top pair, weak kicker with an inside straight draw and a flush draw, and a straight flush draw. Shucks checked and Ruff min bet $2. Shucks raised to $10 (pot-sized raise). Ruff re-raised to $26. Shucks pushed all-in, essentially a bet of $100, since he covered Ruff and Ruff only had about $100 behind.

I won't tell you what Ruff did. I'll hopefully save that for Monday, or perhaps just later today, depending on the responses. I will, however, give my analysis.

My first instinct is to fold. Those re-re-raises are scary and clearly represent a monster hand. Then I began thinking about outs, and thought that it might make sense to call. My analysis for calling is as follows:

Hand rage is key here. From the preflop action, one can presumably eliminate the uber-high pocket pairs and some other premium hands, but not much else. After all, our opponent checked in the BB, so he could have any two cards, literally (including those premium hands if he was playing tricky).

Once the flop comes out, Ruff was correct to bet out to build a pot while he drew to a better hand and to ferret out his opponent's hand. The re-raise to $10 by the opponent doesn't tell us that much either. He may think that Ruff's min-bet was weak, so he wanted to take the pot away immediately with any two cards. In hindsight, a pot-sized initial bet from Ruff on the flop ($4 instead of $2) might have defined his opponent's hand a bit better, but overall this is a minor difference.

The re-raise by Ruff to $26 is a solid three-bet play. It once again allows Ruff to get information from the undefined hand of his opponent. Frankly, I wouldn't be surprised if Ruff thought he was ahead here, and wanted to take down the pot without much fuss. However, once he is confronted with a re-re-raise all-in by his opponent, everything changes. Suddenly, hand ranges became more defined. And once that happens, I think it best to go through the possibilities.

At its most basic, Ruff is either ahead or behind. Yeah, VERY basic. But its the behind stuff that concern me, since the re-re-raise all-in shows strength in the face of adversity. An initial raise all-in may appear weak, but a re-re-raise is another story. The chance of a stone cold bluff is suddenly near nil, as is a weaker single pair. So, this really becomes a hand about outs, given the possible hand ranges of Shucks. Let's go through the different scenarios:

As previously stated, an overpair is less likely because of Shuck's preflop action. However, it's a possibility, particularly in aggressive heads up games, where players may be willing to limp in a pot if their aggressive plays have not received the type of action they would want with a solid pocket pair. While the possibility is remote, if Shucks has a pocket pair, he can't have a flush draw, so Ruff's flush draw is good, and he can't beat a straight, so the three 6s are good. Also, an extra 7 will give Ruff trips and another 8 would give him two-pair, so that's a total of 17 outs twice (9 outs for the flush, 3 for the straight, 2 for trips and 3 for two-pair). Not too shabby. But that is only one possible outcome.

If Ruff's opponent hit the miracle set (44, 55, or the unlikely 77), Ruff's flush draw and straight outs are still good, for 12 outs twice (9 flush cards, 3 straight cards).

If Ruff's opponent hit top pair with a better kicker, the flush draw is still good, as is the straight draw and an eight for two pair, so Ruff would have 15 outs twice (9 flush cards, 3 straight cards, 3 eights for two-pair).

If Ruff's opponent hit the miracle straight (definitely possible, given the action), Ruff has the flush draw outs and maybe even a higher straight draw, provided that his opponent had 36 instead of 68. That's 9 outs for the flush and let's do some rough justice and go halves on the outs for the higher straight, for an additional 1 out (10 total).

In contrast, if Ruff is ahead, it probably is to a hand that he dominates. He may be ahead to a simple straight draw (open ended), for which he holds one of the 7 outs. He may be ahead to a better flush draw, for which he has two of the 9 outs and would win with the 6c, negating another flush out for his opponent. Whatever the case, these are all acceptable scenarios, given the pot odds.

Even so, I would say that the problem scenarios are way more likely than not. Since the pot was about $150 ($4 preflop, $26 from Ruff post-flop, $124 or so from Shucks post-flop), and Ruff has to call $100, I think the proper move is to fold. Frankly, I'm just about ending the math here. It's rough justice in Jordan's world, and I recognize that at a table, I won't have my calculator to work through all of the scenarios. But overall, I get the impression that Ruff is behind and 1.5:1 doesn't seem to be the right price. I would want higher pot odds, probably 2:1, to feel comfortable calling with what I consider to be a drawing hand in this scenario.

So, to recap, my initial impulse is to fold because Ruff is likely behind. Then, I considered that the outs are numerous depending on multiple scenarios, so a call isn't crazy. But finally, pot odds were the deciding factor and it is my opinion that folding was the proper play.

So, what do you all think? Am I talking out of my ass? Is folding the proper play and if so, did you come to your decision based on different ideas?

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 11:42 AM, , links to this post




Mooking Old Skool

I cashed in 6th out of 94 players in the Mookie last night. It proved an interesting tournament for me, largely because I am finding my way back to my 2007 A-game. Over time, one's style of play naturally adapts to changes around you. Sometimes it's learning from experience or reading. Other times, it's an unconscious adaptation that has more to do with one's psychology than the game itself. At its best, adaptation should occur as a result of the changes in the game itself. NLHE is not the same game today as it was 30 years ago, and in fact, is not the same game today as it was 2 years ago, so not only is adjustment a good idea, but in many aspects, its crucial to continued success.

That all said, I had noticed that my play adjusted in a bad direction. I was way too content playing an early tight style, designed to allow me to avoid suckouts, second-bests, and bad beats in the early stages of a tournament. Unfortunately, while that is probably a smart strategy for some, it just doesn't fit my personality or my play. As I had prepared for the trial that was supposed to start on Monday of this week, I had to remind myself not to prepare an openning statement to mirror my boss's voice, but to mirror my own. You cannot speak to a jury in a character and expect them to believe you. Some guy from a small hick town might be able to play the "Aw shucks" card on a jury, for instance, but from me it would only seem insincere. Poker is the same way. I can play someone else's style, but ultimately, your opponents will consciously or subconsciously identify that you are playing out of your element, and they will benefit from your mistakes.

So, after missing the first 25 minutes of the event (I signed up early and lost track of time), I signed on to see that I had barely lost any chips. And then, I lost half. In no time, I was mixing it up with my opponents, the result of which was a third-bullet failed bluff, a foolish move to some people but in hindsight, a quite natural move for me. The player was an unknown, so likely did not consider me the loose player I am known to be. The board was well coordinated with straights and flushes by the river, but my opponent had turned two-pair and just couldn't let it go. I don't blame him either, as he may've thought that I was jumping in late and therefore trying to make up for lost time. He also had a decent stack, so he may've thought he could afford to gamble. Or, frankly, he may've just not given two shits about what I had. It doesn't matter. All that matters was how that play affected me.

At first, it put me in an awkward spot. I was immediately amongst the short stacks with 1500 or so, although I was far from the danger-zone compared to the blinds. However, once I regained my footing, I became a man on a mission to reaccumulate that which I had lost. I had already established a strong image by bluffing with three bullets and showing my craptastic hand. I actually did tighten up as a result, but there is a big difference between starting tight and adjusting tight to take advantage of table conditions.

Over the next hour and a half, I worked my way back to even, and then through some aggressive play and some looser preflop hand selection, was able to catapult myself into a chipleader position. The major hand came when I held 33 in EP or one of the blinds. I had gotten myself up to 17k and the only close stack at my table was Daddy from Snailtrax, with 15k. He was fairly active and entered the pot with a raise, which a late position shortstack called all-in for less. The side pot was probably 3k+ after I called, whereas the side pot was around 1k. It was a bounty tourney, though, so whoever had the honor of busting the shortie would get a $2 bounty.

The flop came down 237, with two spades. I considered betting to protect against the flush. The sidepot was considerable too. I ultimately decided to check, hoping to check-raise. I'm not sure if the action happened here or on the turn, but Daddy and I eventually got into a betting war. I believe it was a harmless 8 turn, which actually completed the flush draw. I bet out, feeling like I couldn't just let a fourth flush card come out and potentially let Daddy hit a flush and take the bounty. My bet was $3000 or so, under the side pot. I think Daddy ended up pushing all-in immediately. I took my time and considered the flush, but I had redraws to outs to a full house, and I figured that it was not likely that he push if he had a monster flush. He may very well have a nut flush draw with the Ace of Spades. I called, he showed either A7 or A8, with no spades, the shortie showed AK or something with no spades, and I took out both players, won $4 in bounties and had 30k.

I suffered a suckout or two in there, but it was all good, since I had a big enough stack to live through those turns of bad luck. By the final table, it was already 1am, and I played for another 30 minutes until we were down to 6 and I held about $15,000 to everyone else's $50,000 stacks. It was just the way of the cards; I suffered a suckout or two, as I mentioned, and stole when I could to stay alive, but eventually, I'd need to make some magic happen. I didn't but 6th ain't too shabby, especially when I add the considerable amount of bounties.

I feel on my game, so I'm glad for that. I don't expect to play tonight, as I'm heading to Queens to hang with Davey Roose. But tomorrow, I'm heading to the Bash in the early evening, and while I love boozing, I'm more of a GA than an AA kinda guy, so anyone looking for a game, anytime, anywhere, should hunt me down.

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 1:32 PM, , links to this post




Woffles for Dinner and More Comic Stuff

The only thing worse than a non-blogging blogger is a blogger who blogs about not blogging.

Somehow, all of this not blogging about poker has got me thinking about poker. Yeah. I know. But the point is, there comes times when the desire to play becomes very tangible in my mind's eye. Now is such a time. There's still hours to go before I'm back in the Fortress of Solitude, but once there, it is a fair bet that I'll be hitting the virtual tables tonight, methadone for my poker habit. The game of choice will likely be the Mookie, since there is a side bet between Sir Woffles and LJ that Woffles cannot possibly win without 80 competitors in play. One thing has to be said about Woffles; when he puts his mind to something, he can be very successful. Unfortunately, about a month and a half after the success, he can also get very tilty and bleed his accumulated roll. That said, I'm not one to talk. The very same phenomenom haunts me online. Good luck to you, Woffles.

On a side note, I still hate that the Mookie starts at 10pm, has double stacks, and a bunch of tight players. That game takes forever. There is nothing worse that checking the clock, realizing that it is midnight, and seeing that there are still 30 people left in the event.

On another side note, I think my "contest" was a little too difficult, so I'm calling off the hounds. Quit your submissions, because while some of you were in the neighborhood, no one was going to guess the actual inspiration for the post's title. "A Polar Bear in the Fortress of Solitude!" is a bit of an homage to Kevin Smith and his difficulties writing a script for a Superman movie. Long before Brandon Routh did a great impression of Christopher Reeves in Superman Returns, a movie that actually dropped a steaming duece on the cannons of the Superman mythos, Smith, the writer/director of the upcoming Seth Rogen-starring Zack & Miri Make a Porno, was hired to pen a script for a new Superman movie. His script was a far cry from the Superman Returns script. Smith, a longtime comic book fan (and more recently, comic book author), tried to follow the Superman mythos. The studio, however, had different ideas and suggested that he needed more action. Their suggestion, a fight between a polar bear or two and Superman, taking place in Superman's Fortress of Solitude. Smith's reaction, paraphrased, "A polar bear in the Fortress of Solitude?! No way!" I mean, if a fucking bear can get into your fortress, you might need to get a new security system.

Since I'm geeking out on comic books, let's delve into that topic for a nano-second. For all you casual or former comic book aficionados, particularly those with an affinity for Marvel Comics, I highly recommend you dip your toes back in the water. The Civil War event that took place last year was one of the best "superheroes in the real world" comic stories out there, and its follow-up, the currenlty running Secret Invasion is a great mix of 1980's comic book sensibilities with a 2000's realistic edge. The best part is that the comic industry is developing all sorts of great ways to expand the story and brand. Perfect example: EmbraceChange.org.

And, as a recommendation for a new comic series that is a must-read (and soon to be film), check out Kick-Ass, the story of a average kid who decides to become a superhero in the real world. This is the epitome of "superheors in the real world" and the writing is top notch.

Okay, sorry about that. We now return you to your regularly scheduled poker blog.

Poker poker poker.

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 3:23 PM, , links to this post




A Polar Bear in the Fortress of Solitude!

I had a sorta first yesterday, poker-related, blogging-related, but not directly related to either. For all of my exhibitionist blogging, I am a rather private individual when it comes to real world interactions. A part of me likes to compartmentalize my social circles. I have people at work who I enjoy, but don't necessarily plan (or desire) to see them outside of the work setting. I have friends from college who I woudn't mix with friends from high school, and friends from law school who are all but quarantined from the rest of my social circles. It's nothing intentional or malicious. I just don't like worlds colliding (Jerry) unless the situation is appropriate.

And then we have blogging. From blogging, I've met and come to know a slew of fellow poker playing writers from around this great nation. (I include Canada as part of the United States as a courtesy to my Canadian bretheren). However, I have always been wary of openning my real life and my poker blogging life to each other. Most people in my real life d0n't read or know about the blog and no bloggers, with the exception of a couple of New Yorkers, have seen my apartment (or met wifey Kim).

Yesterday, after a long day of work, I got a phone call and text message from 23Skiddo. He was in town for an emergency meeting and wanted to see if I was free for dinner and/or poker. Jamie from the Wall Street Game was hosting a tournament, and Skidoo was able to get a seat.

Long story short, Skidoo and I met up downtown for dinner, where we killed the strongest Margarita pitcher I'd ever drank. This thing tasted like straight up tequila to me, but I needed a cocktail after the long day. By the time we finished the meal, we were both fairly drunk, with some time to kill before the next WSG tournament.

So, what to do?

Ok, it might not be a big deal to most, but to kill time, Skidoo and I stopped by my apartment in the city. That's the first I mentioned. Sure, Dawn and, I think, Alceste, may've been there before (or was it F-Train) for a homegame three years ago, but I had never had a blogger from outside of the NY area in my fortress of solitude.

After hanging for a half-hour or so and upping the overall state of inebriation, we stumbled over to Jamie's apartment where the first game was still going. Skidoo handles his drink well. He was actually hanging at a nearby bar before we met for dinner, so whatever I had drank, he had drank more. Still, he was fairly composed, whereas I was a fool, or so I felt. The game was in full swing and there was no room for me in the second game, but I decided to hang around for a few. Idle hands are the devil's plaything, though, so rather than passively watch the game, I took up the dealer's spot when a player busted and sped up the action.

Dealing drunk is fun stuff. I had a good grasp of the action, and thankfully, there were enough people sitting around to correct me the few times I dealt to busted players. Still, in my inebriated state, I couldn't help but feel like it was my fault when a couple of suckouts came. I didn't say anything, but I remember internally apologizing to Wendy, who was on the receiving end of a few of the uglier hands I dealt. I remember moving the action cleanly and smoothing, announcing bets and so forth like a pro dealer. I'd seen enough pro dealers to do it in my sleep, so it wasn't too difficult. I also remember announcing to the table in the middle of one hand that I was a bit drunk. That got some subtle reactions, mostly because I am sure it explained my extra gregariousness.

Down to the final two players, a chop was arranged. I stood up, free from my dealing duties, and said my goodbyes to everyone before heading out of the apartment. After all, I was just there to "drop off" Skidoo and say hi to the crew. It's a 5 minute walk from my apartment so the travel was easy.

On my way out, Jaime thanked me for stopping by and dealing. I responded, "Nah, thank you. It's good to have a game close by where it can be fun just to stop by and say hi to the table." It's true, too. Over dinner, Skidoo and I pontificated on the community of poker bloggers. It is amazing how people who had such disparate experiences could share such common values.

So, no poker for me last night. I was tempted, drunk and home, to play online, but then I remembered that online poker sucks. The biggest problem about not playing online as much is having less material for this here blog. But, the benefit is that I'm not wasting time or money on something that is little more than a video game to me. I don't mean to harp on the topic of why online poker sucks. I think I've done that enough over the last few weeks. I just sorta miss the content, even if I don't miss the habit.

Once again, I am reminded of the positives of poker blogging. It's introduced me to a slew of likeminded people, improved my game, and provided new opportunities to play in different environments.

Wifey Kim and I are already toying with our vacation plans for 2009. One thing I haven't told her is that I am toying with the idea of making a solo trip to Vancouver, home of bloggers like Fuel55 and Schaubs, to play some live poker and experience the local horticulture. I may even suggest a trip with wifey Kim to Atlanta, home of bloggers like Skidoo and Surflexus (is that right?). See, in Atlanta, I can probably pawn wifey Kim off on her friend who lives in the area, while I get my poker degeneracy on.

I may not be too much of an extroverted guy in person, but I will say that it is a pleasure knowing that wherever I go, there are likeminded people out there to offer some helpful local advice if not to meet up with. I've never been so glad as to have started a stupid poker blog three years ago.

Final thought, if anyone knows the inspiration for the title of this post, I'm very impressed. Drop a comment with your thoughts and if you are right, $11 is coming your way, preferrably via PokerStars.

Until next time, make mine live poker, but not online poker, even though it is more accessible.

posted by Jordan @ 11:10 AM, , links to this post




In Which I Babble About Geeky Stuff

It's been a great week to start, and it only looks to be getting better.

As some of you following along at home know, I had my first trial start on Monday. It settled in the eleventh hour, a result that is considered a Win (with a big 'W') for yours truly. After getting my client to sign the necessary papers, the realization hit me that my entire week (in fact, my last month, practically) was designed around this trial. With the trial out of the way, I now face a relatively light week. But there's more.

This last summer may have been the pinnacle of Comic Book Culture's recent foray into movies. It seemed like every week was another slew of comic book inspired movies, not to mention the copious previews for future comic book inspired films. As a self-identified (and semi-out-of-the-closet) comic book nerd, it was refreshing to see. In fact, a lot of the properties were not even obviously comic book related, the result of which is that they were accepted into mainstream pop culture without the usual stink of comic book films. A quick demonstration of the movies out in the summer of 2008 related to comic book culture:

Looking back, that list is actually kinda weak. I thought it'd be longer. But if you do the math, those are some of the (if not all of the) biggest box office draws this summer.

The future is bright for comic book fans too. Comic book inspired projects are popping up all over the place, the most lauded being the Watchmen. But there's more. Marvel Comics alone has the following characters getting films in the coming years: Spiderman (Tobey is signed for Spiderman 4 & 5), Captain America, Thor, Antman (done as a full blown comedy), the Avengers, Wolverine, and Magneto. Y: The Last Man is another future comic movie, based on a recently concluded comic book series in which a plague kills all of the men on the planet except one, our hero (by default) Yorick Brown, a slacker/wannabe magician. Another interesting idea is Supermax, a comic book movie about DC character Green Arrow. The great part is that these comic films are starting to focus more on interesting stories rather than the usual origin tales. Supremax takes Green Arrow, a second-rate character whose "power" is archery (think Batman with a sunnier disposition and a Robin Hood motif), who gets thrown in prison with a bunch of super villains he apprehended. Sounds a lot better than the usual Hero is Born storyline.

Of course, this is all me babbling on, largely because I am so excited by the Week of Jordan's slew of geek-culture TV shows returning. Terminator: The Sarah Marshall Chronicles continues to build upon the Terminator ethos. Heroes made its return last night and has already weaved a story so intricate, that its writing makes most other shows seem rinky dink. Add shows like Prison Break (when will they ever escape that prison!) and stupid reality shows that will be returning soon, and I'm happier than a pig in poop.

Of course, the Bash is a great source of my joy. This weekend, AlCantHang is hosting a Bash in Pennsylvania. I actually cancelled my hotel since I thought I'd be on trial. Now that it has settled, I'm going going back back to Penny Penny. The last time I was there, it was wall-to-wall party, and I expect this time will be no different.

So, what was the point of this post? Good question. To recap: Trial is done, comic book culture is sweeping the nation, AlCantHang is throwing a party, and all is good in the world.

Oh, but I haven't been playing much poker. That'll change soon, though, I am sure.

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 9:13 AM, , links to this post




AC Trip Report Pt. 4 (AC Trip Report Pt. 4)

I had been sitting at the 1/2 NLHE table for about 6 hours when I hit my peak of over $1000 profit. It took one hand to dip me below that watermark, and I decided to regroup and work my way back up. My goal was to play smart. I still had the big stack, but a new player across the table in the 2s was catching up. He was a good looking guy with a sly smile, and he had an aire similar to the one I try to cultivate at the table. Part of him appeared to be aggro jerkwad, but another part of him seemed like an affable guy having fun at the table.

After 6 hours, the table complexion had changed slightly. The Crazian in the 1 seat had moved to a new table and his girlfriend took over his seat. Her seat went to the guy I just mentioned, who I will refer to as Grey Hood, based on his outfit. To his right was a skinny man, approximately 45 years of age, wearing a Bellagio brown jacket. He had dark brown hair, peppered with gray, and sported a mustache as only men his age could. Grey Hood and Bellagio Jacket were chatting away, and I noticed a kinship forming between them. I was unsure if they were related, but they were so chummy, I began to get the impression that they were.

I saw Bellagio raise to $4 blind from UTG and asked the dealer if it was a straddle. The dealer confirmed that no straddles are allowed, and Bellagio announced that it was a blind raise. The girl on my left asked why anyone would do that; she had seen it done more than once. I explained, "He may be trying to loosen up the table or build an image. Sometimes it's just to fuck around for fun."

A little while later, I saw Bellagio considering a blind raise UTG again. His decision was made easier when I saw Grey Hood and his big stack hand Bellagio $2, essentially paying for half of his "opponent's" blind raise. That is clearly against the rules. Players are not supposed to fund other players' bets. In fact, in some casinos, they don't even like players giving each other change, since it can be a backdoor way to redistribute chips with some conveniently incorrect math. I watched this all go down, but I decided to bite my tongue. It wasn't a lot of money, and it was a tad annoying, but I didn't want to be a pain in the ass, particularly when there was no benefit to me.

A little while later, I saw Bellagio place a red bird ($5 chip) for his SB ($1). As the action progressed from UTG to UTG+1, I saw Grey Hood, who was on the button, plop a $1 chip next to Bellagio's red bird and then pushed the red bird back to Bellagio. Now, Grey was willing to pay Bellagio's SB too!? Fine. I accepted that they knew each other and decided to use that information to my benefit.

Before that could happen, though, I saw the final straw. The Squirelly Kid two seats to my right ended up all-in against Grey Hood, who called. Bellagio was also still in the hand and actually bet before Squirrel pushed, so he considered whether to call. While he considered it, Grey lifted his cards up as though he were playing 5-card draw in a Norman Rockwell painting, cards lifted high and splayed out to give Bellagio a clear view. I yelled across the table, "You can't expose your cards to another player! Dealer!" I directed the dealer to the bullshit. Bellagio folded as the dealer warned Grey. At showdown, Grey showed his flopped Broadway straight for the win. He, Bellagio and the dealer continued to argue about whose hand should had have been considered dead. I don't think the dealer fully got it, as he was claiming that Bellagio's hand was dead. It wasn't my battle to fight at this point, other than to say to my neighbor, "I had to call that out, because if he tried that in a hand against me, I don't want him to have any excuses when I call the floor." Regardless of his intent, that mofo was cheating and ironically may've cost himself a lot of dough from Bellagio. At the end of the session, Grey would felt Bellagio, and only then did it become clear that they did not know each other from outside of the game. As Grey said, "I don't know why he called me. It's not like I've been bluffing him at all tonight." Dousches.

I had another odd situation regarding the guy on my immediate right. He played for a while, maybe an hour, reading a newspaper between hands, and then got up around two, leaving his chips behind. It was 5pm or later when the floor finally picked up his stack. He left no identifying information, so they asked me for a description. I was way off, somehow mixing him up with Bellagio in description. When he came by around 7, I had to tell him his chip count so he could claim his chips...the floor said he didn't match the description. Whoops.

Time for some more fun hands. I only have three to go, so bare with me.

It was about 15 to 30 minutes after my big loss with a rivered straight to a rivered full house. I was dealt a premium pair, QQ in the BB, and a player in MP raised to $5. The player was an old guy in a flannel, button-down shirt. He was a mix between a calling station and a tight player. If he bet, he had a strong hand, but just as often, he'd just call. I saw him limp at least once with JJ. By the same token, at times, he'd call with top pair, weak kicker or middle pair, top kicker even though it looked like he was behind (usually the bets were manageably small though in those situations.

From MP, the old guy bets $5. There was a few callers before it got to me, so I raised to $15. Old guy called, as did Squirrelly Kid. There may've been one other caller.

The flop came down A-high. That wasn't pretty for my QQ, so I checked, as did the rest of the table. The turn was a blank undercard to my QQ. I checked, and it checked around to Squirrelly in position, who bet $25. I called, knowing that he was the type of player willing to take a shot at a pot. Old man called too, causing a bit more concern. The river was a blank. I checked, old man checked, and Squirrel bets $50. I folded and prayed that the old man would call. He did, and showed KK. Squirrel had A9s for top pair. Losing the hand sucked, but I was just glad that I saved myself chips thanks to the old man's tightwad ways. If he raises me back preflop or if the flop came out all unders, this hand couldn't spelled disaster for my stack. As it were, it merely set me further behind my goal of $1000 profit.

But the hits kept coming. A little while later, I was down to about $1000 total in chips, or $700 profit, when I couldn't catch my outs with 9Td. I played preflop, perhaps to a small raise called in multiple locations. The flop was KQ4 with two diamonds, giving me an inside straight draw and the third-nut flush draw. I called a $20 bet as did one other player. The turn was a blank, and the bettor bet $50. I wanted the juicy pot and I had a lot of outs, so I opted to call once again. The river was crap, though, so I folded to the bettor's river bet.

On one hand, the 9Td hand got away from me. On the other hand, I didn't want to overly tighten up merely because I wanted to preserve a profit. Part of me feared that I was turning into the Gotti kid from the first post in this series. He, too, was sitting on a big stack, feeling confident and seeking more chips when I saw his downfall (and, in fact, caused it). I didn't want to just give my money back to the table. Another part of me felt I was still getting the best of it at the table. I had reads on all of the players, so it was only a matter of playing long enough to continue my generally upward trend. The dips were just a blip on my course, or so I hoped.

This one is the last hand I recorded on my cell phone's notes function. It kinda shows how frazzled one's play can be when you are internally arguing between that feeling that you need to tighten up and that feeling that you have to remain loose to continue success. I held Q6o in the BB, and after a player in MP raised to $5 and got one caller, I considered folding. Still, $3 was a discount, so I tossed in my chip. The Crazian's girlfriend, now in the 1 seat in EP/MP, called as well.

The flop came down 664. With three 6s, I decided to check. The girlfriend bet out $20 and got one caller. When the action got to me, I decided to get the money in early. I raised to $80. She called, but the other caller folded. The turn brought a card that created a flush draw. I didn't like the situation, and the pot was swollen at more than $200 at this point. I eyed my opponent's stack. She had probably $450 or so. Truth be told, I couldn't believe that she was ahead of me. I had been playing with her for hours. If she had flopped the full house (44), she would've re-raised me. She was not one to set traps or slowplay...and frankly, after my sizeable raise on the flop, only a fool wouldn't re-re-raise with a flopped full house in that situation. I doubted she had K6 or A6 for similar reasons. Frankly, all three hand combos, 44, K6 and A6, were unlikely because they either required the two exact remaining 4s or the one exact remaining 6. That said, it was possible that she was on some sort of draw, since the flop had a flush draw as well (creating two flush draws by the turn). I didn't want to fuck around, so I decided to take the pot right there. "I'm all-in." She grumbled, looked at her cards and complained to her neighbor about having to fold. She did, and then I asked her if she would like to see one of my cards. I held them both out and told her she could choose. "I don't wanna see," she answered. Grey Hood jumped on it and said, "The right one! The right one!" I shut him down. "Sorry, but the lady doesn't want to see it and the offer was to her." I mucked my cards and took my pot.

The rest of the play was fairly quiet. Grey Hood finally got up the nerves to talk some direct shit, complaining that he was just waiting for me to get into a pot so he could get all-in against me on a draw. "I like your plan," I told him. "Let's see what we can do about that." He had about as many chips as me at the time.

I had the hammer twice in the late goings. On both instances, Grey was in one of the blinds. In both instances, I raised to $12 and the table folded to me. In both instances, I showed my cards and asked what Grey Hood was so scared of. When he'd raise, I'd usually fold my 46o or 23o. It was coincidental that I always had such crap cards when he raised, but silently I was happy. I didn't need to get tangled up with the only other big stack, especially since he was a good aggro player.

At some point, Squirrelly Kid busted and left the table. Not five minutes later, he was back with a look of panic on his face. Apparently, he lost his cell phone. I offered him mine and he called and, when that failed, texted himself to no avail. I helped him search the area. I felt for him. It wasn't that long ago that I had lost my wedding ring while playing poker, a story I'll save for another day.

A little while later, he came back with his phone. It was given in to the lost and found. He returned to poker, down several $100 buy-ins. He busted in short order again (twice) and as he left, I reminded him, "At least you broke even in cell phones."

Around 6pm, I was sorta anxious to go and lock in my profit. It was around the time that I was bleeding chips, down to $750 profit or so. Alceste, however, was still playing 1/2 NL a table away from me and KJ was still in the tournament. At around 8pm, though, KJ was busted, in the money (as was Mary; congrats to them both). Alceste and I cashed out and the three of us headed back to the car.

The ride back was, well, the ride back. Alceste was kind enough to drop me off at my apartment even though he lives in NJ and had to drive into (and out of) NYC for me. He's a real class act.

The poker was great. I refound that guy who went into a room with a taste for action and a mind for poker. I felt more in control than I have in a long while.

Last night, on a whim, I signed up for the Skillz game and ended up taking 2nd and a few bounties, eventually losing to Maigrey aka the Poker Princess, an old skool blogger who I had played with in person a bunch of times. It was Stud H/L, and much like the live cash game, I felt somehow more in control even as I chased the action. It was my first online poker game in a week or so, which is a refreshing change for me.

Live poker is where it's at. Online poker is great for those games less commonly available live, like Razz or O8. It can be fun as a recreational activity too. But overall, it just doesn't have the complex human elements that make live poker so exciting. There is something about making a call aided by a person's breathing pattern, or seeing the look on your opponent's face when you raise their bluff that cannot be replicated online. But it's still the methadone of my heroine-like poker addiction, so I'm glad its available.

Thanks for reading 4 posts about 9 hours at a poker table in Atlantic City. Over those 9 hours, I won $825 and probably tipped a good $50 or more between drinks, dealers, and whatever else. I even tipped a floor guy when I asked to change seats. He said, "Looks like your current seat is doing fine by you." I thought it over and agreed. After winning two of the next three hands, I felt he earned a little sumthin sumthin.

I'm back to AC in December for X-mas, and in Vegas in December as well. I may be back in AC a lot sooner though. Wifey Kim is working on some weekend plans in late October, so poker is always an option.

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 1:39 PM, , links to this post




Grandma's Implants (AC Trip Report Pt. 3)

Well, I'm back. Going over these hands have been a bit of a welcomed distraction from the upcoming trial. After my client chose to back out of the settlement offer, the Judge was rightfully pissed. The offer is still technically on the table, as far as I know, and my client will hopefully understand that he is now in a much worse position now than he was when he took the offer. It's put me in an odd spot. On one hand, the pressure is off. The case is fucked, so no matter what happens at trial, no one is expecting success. On the other hand, I cannot help but feel upset by the fact that my client is shooting himself in the foot. I shouldn't care, but I do. It isn't just my hard work going to waste, it's also the difficulty of watching someone, who you are trying to help, hurt themselves.

So, instead of focusing on that debacle, I keep marching forward. And so, we shall march forward with some more hands.

Somewhere around $700 or so, I decided to take a brief walk. I wanted to get away from the table and clear my head. Part of me was concerned that I would lose my feel for the table. A lot can happen over a short period of time to change the table's play. But part of me also needed a mental break. I stopped at about 11:30am to get some lunch at Fatburger, downstairs. I opted for a Baby Fat (smaller burger) and chocolate shake. Both hit the spot.

It was now two hours or so later and I felt the urge to check on Alceste, KJ and Mary, who were still playing in the $340, $100,000 guaranteed tournament across the casino in the Event Hall. I walked over and combed the isles, looking for my crew. I eventually found KJ, who pointed me to Mary and Alceste. All were holding up with less chips than they had started with. Mary had already survived a KK v. AA confrontation, which she lost. I also bumped into Wendy, a regular from the Wall Street Game. It never ceases to amaze me the level of degeneracy in our group. It seems whenever I am in AC, I bump into Wendy or one of the I Had Outs-Wall Street Game crew.

After saying my quick hellos, I walked back to the game, downstairs. The Crazian was gone, but his stack remained. His girl and the doof to my left were gone too, leaving their chip stacks in their stead. The table was shorthanded at 5 players. The guy to my right, a quiet guy who read a newspaper for the first hour that he sat down, had left as well. In hindsight, he left before I did, but had yet to return.

I took my seat and counted out the players. 6 players in many casinos means half rake. I asked the dealer if that was true and she replied, "It's half-rake if you request it." "Well, I'm requesting it." And that's how the next hand was half-rake.

6-handed, I was dealt 44 and decided to limp. The button bumped it up to $12. Both blinds called. An EP player hesitated. He finally called. I called as well. The flop was 468, with two hearts, giving me bottom set. The EP player decided to start off the action by betting $20. I decided to thin the herd, particularly because of the flush draw on the board, so I raised to $60. The action folded to the EP player who pushed all-in. I don't remember how much he had behind, but I am fairly certain it was more than $80, but not more than $140.

I replayed the hand, first in my head, and then aloud. When I'm stuck on a decision, I like to talk to my opponent. I turned to him, "I have a good hand. My only concern is that you have the straight." I thought to myself, 'He doesn't have 66 or 88, because he hesitated and looked like he wanted to fold preflop. If I have to worry about anything, it's that he got lucky and hit the straight.' I said aloud, "I'm not too happy about the flush draw either." I considered this all and stared at my opponent. Once again, I noticed the telltale signs of discomfort. I can't recall what it was exactly, but I remember getting the impression that he was squeamish. I asked the dealer if I could show my cards and she said no. I then pulled the trigger. "I call." The river was a blank. I showed my 44 and he showed A8, for top pair, top kicker. Another one bites the dust.

Within the next 30 minutes, I went on a mini-rush. I had decent cards, which I bet preflop, usually got one caller, and would take down with a continuation bet. More often than not, I actually had a good hand. It was clear that my image was established as a dangerous player. Big stacks tend to do that. Also, I guess the table noticed I was making the right calls. Fear was on my side.

With some of my table mates gone, a new crop of players joined the fray. All these players knew about me was what they could see with their eyes: I was sitting on the big stack by a decent margin, and was dressed like a goofball. Those are conflicting indicators that would suggest that I was luckboxing. By demeanor, however, I was running the table, so that could've apprised them of the reality, that I was playing well and in control.

It was about 3:30pm when I decided to have some more fun. I had 45s and after a slew of limpers (maybe 6 or more), I decided to raise to $4 (a min raise of $2) from the BB. A new player in MP, a good looking guy of about 25 years wearing a grey hoodie and a baseball cap re-raised to $6. I could rell immediately that he was a gamer, and by 'gamer' I mean that he plays the game in all its aspects. He had been playing well and by min-raising me, was demonstrating that he could take it and give it. It wasn't threatening as much as it was his attempt to join in the fun.

Everyone and their sister called and by the time it got to me, I decided to end the shenanigans by calling. The Gamer looked a bit disappointed. The flop came down A45, with the 4 and 5 of clubs. I hit an unlikely two pair, but the board was fairly coordinated. I bet $20 straight away, since I didn't want any more free cards. There were a bunch of folds and the last player left in the hand, two seats to my right, called. He was an Asian man with a squat frame and a big round head. He raised to $50. I considered the situation and called.

The turn was another club. Gulp! I didn't think my opponent would bet with just a flush draw. It was all too likely that he had an ace. I checked and he bet $50. I considered raising to rep the flush, but decided that I was still probably ahead and didn't need to tempt fate. I called.

The river was a final club, creating a four-club board. I checked and he checked. At showdown, he showed 45h. We had the same hand. It chopped and I exclaimed, "All that work for nothing!" People love that shit.

A minute later, I was involved in two back to back hands with QJ. The first one, I flopped a Queen and bet out, getting one caller. I bet the turn and took down the pot. In the second, I also flopped a Queen. My caller called me down this time, until I rivered two pair and got paid off. I am a bit light on details, but I was steamrolling the table. I had reached over $1000 in profit. But that wouldn't last for long.

At this point in the proceedings, I was running the table. I was on a mini rush of cards and most of my reads were accurate. I considered walking once I hit $1,000 in profit. I even texted wifey Kim as much, but once I hit the number, I wanted more. Why not, after all? If I was able to accumulate three buy-ins with relative ease, what's to say that I'm not a favorite to win a tad more.

After my QJ hands, I instantly limped in the next hand with J9d, hoping to extend my rush. The flop came down KTx with two diamonds, giving me a flush draw and an inside straight draw. I liked the results, particularly because I was on a rush. A player bet the flop and I called. I was the only caller. The turn was another Ten. It wasn't an ideal card. My opponent bet out again, this time, I believe $25 (the first bet was in the $10 range). He had a shortstack with only $80 or so behind after his $25 bet, so I called once again. The turn was a Queen, offsuit. It gave me an extremely well-hidden straight. My opponent bet out $30 again and I considered my options. I could flat call and leave it at that, or I could raise all-in and take his last $50. I figured my straight was well-hidden, so my opponent wouldn't be concerned with that river. I cannot tell you why now, but I also recall that I did not think that he was happy with the flop. I just couldn't place him on a flopped set, and that was my only concern. Or so I thought. I pushed, he called, and I showed my hidden straight. He showed QQ, for a rivered fullhouse. I suppose I was never ahead in that hand, but I had a good drawing hand. Little did I know that when I hit one out of the 12 outs I sought, it would actually be one of the two cards that he would need. And don't hurt your brain on those numbers. It's all relative. Whatever the case, I misplayed the hand and admitted it fairly aloud. At this point, I had new neighbors and we all got along just dandy.

On my left was a female player who had a good grasp on the game, even though she wasn't able to get much going with her lackluster cards. We chatted lightly until she mentioned that she played with me on another occassion. "Are you a sports writer or something?" "Well, not really." I hesitated and then outed myself, "I write about poker at a website, though, HighOnPoker.net." That didn't seem to ring a bell for her, but I have a fairly distinctive look and personality, so I tried to think up more reasons why she might think I write about sports for a living. "I may've told you that I am a freelance cartoonist for the New Yorker. It's not true, but I tell people that every once in a while." That didn't ring a bell either. "How about my shirt? Was I wearing a Superman shirt?" No dice there. Oh well, she probably did play with me. She seemed familiar too.

I mentioned that I really couldn't do much about the J9d hand and then corrected myself. "Actually, I could've just called the river bet...or folded preflop. Shit." I didn't like how I bled some chips. I had hit my $1000 profit mark and then just fell off of it. I was down to about $885 when I finally assessed the damage. "Damnit." I joked with my female neighbor and the new guy in the 10 seat, a friendly guy with a dark beard. He was chatting with the female neighbor, so we all began chatting and got along fairly well. The dealer was also playing along with some of the table banter. "I need to win another $115 and then I can leave." The portly, bubbly blonde dealer looked at me quizzically. "I'm trying to win $1000 for my grandmother's operation..." I paused for a beat, "She needs new implants." I got some laughs from my corner and the dealer. For the rest of the night, $1000 was referred to as new implants. When I lost a pot, I'd say, "Grandma is going to be pissed." When I won one, I would say, "Grandma is getting double D's baby!" Ironically, I got the whole one-two punch of (1) playing for grandma's surgery (2) for new tits from another player years ago. I love found shtick.

I recovered from the J9d hand by remembering that I was well in the black and that barring small losses, I'd been accumulating chips for hours. I knew I could turn it all back around, or at least I'd try.

More fun stuff coming up, including some odds and ends I missed from earlier. I still have a half-dozen or so hands to discuss, although I don't remember anything particularly exciting from here on out. Or maybe I'm wrong. It has been several days and the high of poker may be fucking with my recollection.

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 10:53 AM, , links to this post




Hero Calling (AC Trip Report Pt 2)

I had just about doubled up my stack before I had my first bit of adversity at the tables. I had been playing fairly tight early on, getting my sea legs and more importantly, my feel for the table. You can know who the gamers were right away. Seat 1 was an Asian kid/guy, anywhere from 21 to 41, but he had the attitude of a young hotshot. He was playing to his court, his girlfriend sitting in the 2s and the hefty, goofball Asian kid on my immediate left. The kid on my left was wearing a jumpsuit. That just about says that. I made friendly with him, and frankly, the whole table, mostly because it was a lighthearted game. The Crazian in the 1s had been pushing all-in a lot, but rebuying for $100 or $200 at a time. A real baller rebuys for a full stack, so I knew his bravado was full of shit. His girl seemed to play very ABC, so she was of little concern.

The 3s was a beyotch though. He was playing adequately but getting very lucky. He had amassed chips and seemed to revel in the ole preflop raise, postflop continuation bet. It was winning him pots consistently.

Remember how I said I was playing fairly tight? This is when that went out the window. The 3s decides to bet $7 for the second or third time in a row. There is a caller when it gets to me in the BB. I call with T7o.

The flop is T84. I hit top pair against a guy who seems to be full of shit. He bets $12 or 15 and I call. The turn was a 9, and creates a flush draw. I check. He bets $30. I think for a while and even consider moving all-in, since he only has maybe $110 behind. I figure if he missed the flop like I think he has, he'll have to fold. But I choose to call. I think I'm ahead, but if I'm wrong, a push would be catastrophic.

The river is a blank. It goes check-check. He shows QJ, for a turned inside straight. Sonuvabitch! But I really shouldn't have been in that hand in the first place.

Losing can fuck with a man's mind. For a second, I felt the tilt coming on. And then I remembered that I was playing poker. I slowed down my breathing and got back to work.

A couple of seats to my right in the 6s was a squirrelly kid. He has a tad hairy, quiet, and had eyes that seemed twice the size as would be natural. They darted around the table gathering information like nuts. When he made good plays, and he did make a few, I told him good hand, or gave him the raise of an eyebrow. He was riding the shortstack, so it was clear he was still getting comfortable with casino poker.

He was in MP when he raised to $12. I called preflop with QJd. I was sitting on a decent stack of $550 or so and I was in position, The flop comes down KQx with 2 clubs. No one seems to want to take a stab at the pot. It checks around to the Squirrelly Kid who bets $16. I didn't like the bet. His stack was dwindling and that piddling bet was embarrassing. If he had a good hand, he'd raise more to get people off of the flush draw. I could tell that he knew that much. I'm the only caller. We see the turn, a Jack, giving me two pair. The Kid takes his time and then pushes. I consider the hand. There are a lot of ways this hand might turn out. He may've hit that x card for a set, or even have KQ or KJ for a better two pair. He might have a straight if he lucked into it with ATc or T8c. It could happen. He may just be on a naked flush draw or AKc and will river his flush. I considered all of these things and I didn't know what to do. The push was $76. I turned to the Kid for help?

"Do you want me to call you?"
He turned to me with eyes wide as a Disney cartoon. He didn't want to say a thing. Poor guy. He was in tell lockdown.
"Okay, you got it. I call."

The river was a club. Fuck. I turned to the Squirrel and waited for him to show me his nuts. He paused. "Dude, you go first," I reminded him. "You got it," he answered, and flashed his cards, 86s. I tabled my two pair and raked in the chips.

I had been at the table for about 2.5 hours by now, and it was clear that a major theme was going to be overaggressive players trying to push each other off of pots. Squirrel just took his shot at me and now it was the 1 seat Crazian's turn.

I held KQo in EP/MP when I limped for $2. Someone, I think Crazian, raised to $7 or $12. Whatever the case, when the action got to me, I called. The flop came down Queen-high, with two diamonds. I liked my hand. I bet out $23, announcing that it was 'Prime Time', i.e., the portion of the evening when I only bet prime numbers. In hindsight, I'm pretty sure the preflop bet was $7, which inspired my 'Prime Time' spiel. The action got to the Crazian and he raised to $50. It folded back to me. Odds-wise, the bet was callable; however, I had to be wary of the likelihood that he actually had a hand. My decision to call was a confluence of things. It didn't help the Crazian that I had seen him make bold plays with shit cards before, nor did it help him that his doofy buddy on my immediate left kept calling out his friend as a loose donk. I opted to call. The turn was a blank. I checked and Crazian immediately bet $80. I wish I could tell you exactly what told me he was bullshitting. Quite frankly, the size of the bet was a tip off. Based on pot-size, it wasn't abnormally large, but every table has its usual patterns and this table was not betting big at all. His play was uncharacteristic and didn't seem to invite a call. Part of me figured him for an underpair like TT or 99 or a flush draw. I thought for a while and called. The river was another blank. I checked and the Crazian bet $120. I thought once again and found that the same logic applied. He wasn't trying to pump the pot, he was trying to take it away. I called and he sheepishly said, "Good call" and flashed A8, for a pair of 8s on the flop. I showed my KQ and established my image as a player. My stack had swelled to probably $700 by this point, but it wouldn't remain at that level for long.

I'm breaking once again. Off topic, my settled trial unsettled this week. It's a long story not fit to be retold, but the net effect is that I'm back to being busy as sheet. That said, I'm enjoying these posts, so expect more to come in the days ahead.

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 11:32 PM, , links to this post




The Options (AC Trip Report Pt. 1)

It was 7:30am on a Saturday. The last time I was up this early on a Saturday...well, I don't remember the last time. I was probably doing the same thing though.

In the dark of my apartment, I fumbled around for my glasses. Bespectacled (I've been wanting to use that word for a while now...SCORE!) I entered the hallway, where a pile of laundry sat on the floor.

This was my poker gear, the clothing set aside for a day at Atlantic City. The night before, after packing my poker backpack, I laid the clothes outside my bedroom so I could get dressed quickly and easily tomorrow morning without waking up wifey Kim.

I dressed quickly and made myself some breakfast. Within 30 minutes, I was at the corner, suited up, packed up and ready to go. Alceste drove up within a few minutes.

I first met Alceste through the I Had Outs girls, or perhaps through F-Train. I also spent some time with him at the old Ship It Fish mixed games from a year or so back. Since college, the opportunities to meet new people are less frequent. In a way, they are also less necessary, since the majority of my days are no longer spent partying. But through poker, I've met more people in the last three years than through any other activity. Well, maybe I met a few more as a lawyer, but I don't consider many of them friends.

Alceste had offered me a ride to AC after reading a post from a few days prior. He was heading down with KJ, another guy I met through the NY poker social hub that is Dawn Summers. We were to meet Bacini Mary in AC. She had gotten a head start the night before. Dr. Pauly, AlCantHang and probably some other folks were also in town for the Borgata Open, a series of poker tournaments. So, we made our way from NYC to AC, a 2.5 hour trip. We arrived in 2.

Alceste, Mary and KJ had plans to play the $300+40, $100k Guarantee 11am tournament. On the drive, I toyed with the idea of joining them. My 'bankroll' is fairly, um, shallow. I have only funded it with poker winnings, and I have made several big deductions over the years, as part of my "If poker doesn't mean more money to enjoy for wifey Kim and I, what's the point?" rationale. On one hand, I had played two $340 tournaments in the past, both WSOP Circuit Events, and each time, I was confronted with the reality that $340 tournaments and $100 Showboat tournaments attract the same quality players. And I've made the Showboat tourney my bitch. On the other hand, in both of my past forays, I was card dead, and when the blinds catch up to you in that situation, there is only so much you can do. That and suckouts, bad beats, second best hands, blah blah blah. Basically, I could lose the $340 tournament on one bad luck hand entirely out of my control. In a cash game, I can rebuy. But in a tourney, it's all over. That finality hung in my head as we drove to AC.

I joined Alceste and KJ on line to register. It was about 10:30 and with 30 minutes until the event started, I was anxious to get signed up. The line had at least 50 people in it, and while there were several employees handling registration, until I confirmed it with my own eyes, I could've sworn by the pace of the line that there was only one. I hung out with Alceste and KJ for 10 or so minutes, chatting about online poker and other light topics until I couldn't take it anymore.

"Have fun guys. I'm going to play cash." If there is one thing I hate about poker, it's the waiting. When I wait to play, I play poorly. I'm like a teenager getting overexcited about his first experience with the ole love box. By the time I get to actually participate, I'm so raging with excitement, I tend to blow my load prematurely. For the kid, it means embarrassment. For me, it means a buy-in...or a tournament.

I made the long walk from the event area to the poker room alone. I prepared mentally for the game. I was wearing my old school poker uniform: my now tattered Superman t-shirt, camo cargo pants, my hunting motif baseball cap, sunglasses and a new hoodie. I had considered dressing more, well, normal for the game, but instead, I decided to go back to my old poker mindset, in which I play the role of loud mouth jokester. I want people to not take me seriously, so they don't notice how I seriously extract their chips from their stacks. Oh, and they leave happy. No need to piss off the customers.

It was still before 11am, so the poker room had plenty of open seats, even though Borgata's huge room was more than buzzing. I grabbed the 7 seat in a 10-handed, 1/2 NLHE cash game and bought in for $300. I stuffed my bag under my seat.

Two or three seats to my right was the big stack, an Italian kid who looked like one of the Gotti boys from that A&E show. He looked like a dousche, but he had a BIG stack. It was no surprise he was on my right. I scoped the table looking for the sweet spot. The 1 seat was an Asian American kid with a decent stack and shit load of cockiness. He was also one to watch, but it was the Eye-Tal-EE-Un kid that caught my attention. The Asian kid was likely a gambler. The Italian kid likely would try to push people out of pots with his big stack. Between the two, the Italian seemed more profitable.

That last paragraph may seem absurd to some of you, but I always size up my players immediately, and usually via visual clues like clothing, nationality, gender, attitude, and body language, come up with a general theory of their personalities, and by extension, their playing style. As play wears on, I refine my reads. It's just the natural course of things.

I won my first hand of the night with a little bit of luck. I had K6o in the BB, and by the time the action got to me, there was a bunch of limpers. I checked. The flop was T64. I checked my middle pair and a player bet $10. There were three callers by the time it got to me. I couldn't believe that my 6 was good, but with $50 or so in the pot, I decided to call for $10. The turn was a blank and everyone checked around. The river was a 6. I bet out $20. It folded to a geriatric man (he was beyond old) in the 4s who called. Everyone else folded. I tabled my K6 and took down the pot. It was nice to get an early cushion.

While I folded away, I chatted lightly with my table mates. Specifically, I chatted up the Italian kid. He actually started it. As I sat down, he asked, "Have you been playing all night?" I may've been yawning or otherwise looked exhausted. I considered a lie, but opted for the truth. "Nah, just drove in this morning. I was up early. How about you?" He answered, "Yeah, I've been here for hours." "Looks like it's been good so far." I motioned to his stack. Sometimes, I like to point out people's success at the cash game poker tables. For the right type of player, it can actually set off a weird paranoia. For others, it causes overconfidence. Either way, it certainly can't hurt. In Gotti's case, I think it caused a bit of embarrassment of riches. To help him, I took a bunch of his chips.

With KTh, I decided to call a preflop raise to $12 from Gotti, who was in MP. I had position, either on the button or the cutoff. The flop came down with three low cards, two of which were hearts. Gotti bet $25, so I decided to call. The turn was a duece of diamonds. It didn't help my hand. Gotti bet $25 again, which set off signals in my head. Betting the same amount on two consecutive streets can often mean weakness. I thought I might be able to take the pot away by raising. As a backdoor plan, if he were to call a re-raise, I'd be hiding my flush draw, in case it hit on the river. That would likely net me more money than just calling and hitting my flush, since if I just call and my heart hits, he'd be wary of the draw. I raised to $75, $50 more than his bet. He called. I tried to remain internally calm. The river was a heart. BOOM! He checks, and I bet $150. I figured that a large bet would look more like I was just trying to push Gotti off of the hand. I guess it worked. He called. I showed my flush. He showed two black eights. He had an overpair to the board...except for the flush draw. Ironically, I had more outs than I knew.

After that hand, I was sitting pretty with a nice cushion of profit.

Over the course of these series of posts, I'll probably go through another dozen hands or so, so I've decided to break up the report into multiple parts. I tried to record all of the memorable hands over the 9 hour session, so while you may see some odd hands like K6o winning money, these things tend to happen over a really long session. Overall, though, my play was selectively aggressive. I rarely bluffed, if at all, and I only played marginal hands for a limp.

It wasn't much longer after my KTh victory when I was dealt TT. And by not too much longer, it may've been 5 minutes or 30 minutes. Time has little meaning for me at the poker table.

With my first premium hand of the day, I opted for a $12 raise from EP, hoping to thin the herd of limpers. I got what I wanted. My only caller was the Crazian gambler in the 1 seat. He had been pushing all-in a lot with his stack, which at one point was under $100, but was now probably closer to $200. He played aggressively, and I hoped to use that to my advantage.

After the Crazian's call, we saw a beautiful flop of T42, rainbow. With top set (the nuts) and no serious concerns about draws, I checked to the Crazian. He checked as well. The turn was a Jack of Clubs, creating a club flush draw. I checked again. I still didn't have anything to fear. If he somehow hit a backdoor flush through my passive play, well, I'd deal with it when that came. Crazian finally took the bait, betting $15 into the pot. I took my time, trying to act like I was upset but I couldn't believe him. I then raised to $50. He took the bait once again, announcing "All in" to which I simply said, "Call." He asked immediately, "Do you have a set?" The river card came down as an offsuit blank. "Yep, Tens." I tabled my hand and he mucked. In hindsight, I should've made him show, but I knew I had the hand (and all of his chips) lock, stock and barrel. He rebought for $100 or maybe $200, and for that I was glad.

A quick sidenote. The Crazian was playing with his chick, who was sitting in the 2 seat. To my immediate left in the 9 seat was another friend of the Crazian. They had tangled in a few hands, and each time, the friend would say how the Crazian is playing, well, like a Crazian. Having your friend announce your shitty range is not optimal strategy. But, I guess not everyone is thinking of how to maximize and control their image.

That's it for now. Expect more later, including a series of "hero calls."

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 11:43 AM, , links to this post




Free at Last

Free at last! Free at last!

Yesterday, I had a particularly rolloer-coaster-ish day at work. I had planned to meet my client after lunch to continue our trial preparation. I had arranged for my law clerk to act as opposing counsel to grill my client for cross-examination. She dutifully prepared a slew of questions, as I received a telephone call from the Court. The judge's clerk started off the conversation very directly: "Your trial is on Monday and we haven't received the pretrial submissions..." I stumbled for an answer. Each Courthouse, and often each judge, has different procedural rules. In many cases, pretrial submissions are provided at the time of trial. At least that is what my two partners told me. Accordingly, the slew of pretrial submissions had not even been started, but here I was with the Court on the phone wondering why the documents, actually due 7 days in advance of trial, were nowhere to be seen, even though the deadline came and went.

As a kid, I used to commonly forget to do homework or lose things, so I developed a bullshitter's repetoire of deflection techniques, sorta like responsibility jujitsu, for such occassions. I immediately deflected the blow and countered. "You haven't received them yet? There must have been some sort of oversight. I will make sure they are in your office by tomorrow." Everything I said there was accurate and truthful. I verified that he hadn't received them, explained the oversight (mine), and offered a solution. And it worked. The clerk thanked me and I assured him that if he did not see it today, he'd get it hand-delivered the next day. And with that, I went into triage mode.

Triage mode simply involves gathering my resources, prioritizing the emergencies and taking care of the biggest problem first. The first thing I did was get my clerk off of the cross-examination stuff and into some research needed for the pretrial submissions. This was a project expected to take a few days at least, and here I was with about 1/2 of a day. I then canceled my appointment with the client, with the hope that we could reschedule for Friday. I sought the help of the brains of the firm to set me on the right course, informed the head of the firm of the problem so it wouldn't come out later and look like (a) I did something wrong and (b) hid it, and I went about busting my ass getting about 5 different documents together from scratch.

My morning was a race of adrenaline as I prepared the pretrial submissions. My afternoon, though, came with a bit of a surprise. As I eyed the clock, wondering if I could find time for lunch, I received a telephone call from the defendant's counsel. Instead of the incompetent woman who had been litigating the case from its inception, a mild-mannered gentleman was on the other line. He explained, "[The incompetent woman] had to take emergency medical leave. (read: bitch went crazy). I'm going to ask the Court on Monday for an adjournment."

My brain was racing. An adjournment meant a few things. First, since it was a medical emergency, it was going to be granted. Second, the case would be pushed back for weeks, if not months, to accomodate the Judge's schedule. Third, I would have that much more time to worry about this case. Fourth, the pressure for settlement would be off. I gulped down that reality hard until I saw the silver lining. The gentleman added, "Has there been any talk of resolving this case?" BOOM! or CHOO CHOO! if you prefer.

I explained the present problem with settlement. The liens, also held by the defendant, were too high, so without waiving liens, we could not accept the present settlement offer. The crazy female attorney said it couldn't be done, so I offered another solution: offer us enough additional money to cover the amount liens. And the gentleman replied, "Let me get that for you."

When we hung up, I was relieved. He seemed pretty sure he could make it happen. But until then, I still had to prepare the pretrial submissions as though the case was going forward.

For the rest of the day, I worked tirelessly on some papers that would probably never see the light of day. I was hopeful about settlement, but this new guy might not know about the obstacles he would face.

I completed all of the pretrial submissions and put my feet up, satisfied, around 4pm yesterday. At about 4:15, I learned about the other documents overdue with the Court. Shit! And it all started over. For the next three hours, I raced to put together two more documents. If I left anything out, it could hurt my (potential) trial, but part of me also felt that settlement was inevitable. Those are odd competing factors. On one side, I had to work fast to get it to the Court on time. On another, I had to work smart, because if I left something out, I might've been precluded from using necessary evidence at trial. On yet another side, none of it likely mattered if the case settled.

This morning, I came into work and received an email from the defendant. They couldn't waive the lien, but he did get me enough money to cover it anyway. Success!!! All of yesterday melted away. I was a free man! Now, I just need to get my client to sign some papers. He has consented, but I have to make sure he doesn't get feisty.

So, no trial for Jordan. Part of me is disappointed that I didn't get to do my first trial. Part of me is ecstatic that all of the stress and preoccupation distracting me over the last month is done. All of me is glad about this weekend.

Atlantic City is a go. I'll be heading down on Saturday with Alceste, Bacini Mary and KJ. I always read about their AC trips via I Had Outs and had bumped into them in AC on more than a few occassions, but I had never made the 2-3 hour drive with the crew before. It looks like I'll be heading down Friday early morning with Alceste and KJ so they can play in the $300 Borgata tourney. I may even choose to join them in that event as a self-congratulations for the settlement. Alceste plans to head back to NYC that night, and I may join him, but otherwise, I'll try to crash wherever Bacini and KJ are staying and/or catch a late night bus back. It all depends on how the poker is going.

I feel so relieved in so many ways. AC is just a cherry on top.

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 11:05 AM, , links to this post




Gamblin'

I appreciate everyone's patience with me as I reduce my blogging duties to focus on my upcoming trial. I'll admit that the lack of posts is due in large part to my lack of play. Lately, I want nothing more than to kick back and play some mindless videogames or watch some mindless television or my new favorite, sit out on my roof with an after-dinner drink while I clear my head.

My trial is coming up on Monday, and as we approach it, I feel more and more certain that the case will settle. My client seems to finally understand some of the pitfalls of his case and hopefully has accepted my explanation that a settlement ensures that he has at least some money even if it won't make his life whole again. The alternative, naturally, is to try the case, but the difficulties with his case, coupled with the uncontrollability of a jury means that he sincerely has no chance of getting the amount of money he thinks will make him whole.

In the meantime, I've been slugging away, preparing the case while juggling my other cases. I expected my trial to be a lot more time consuming than it actually is. Apparently, a lot will be done on the fly if the trial does happen, so all I can do now is get my ducks in a row and expect a super hectic week next week. Or, it'll settle and I will have the exact opposite, a very quiet week. It's hard gambling between those two extremes, so I will hope for the best but prepare for the worst.

This weekend, wifey Kim made plans with her pregnant friend in Connecticut and another friend from Long Island. Wifey Kim and the LI girl will be heading to Connecticut on Saturday and staying overnight. Her trip conveniently alligned with what I expected to be a cramming weekend in prep for trial, but as I near the finish line, I am finding that I have time to build sandcastles. That's when my mind starts working overdrive and I find myself considering another gamble.

Atlantic City.

The scenario, if it happens, will go something like this. Content that I can do no more to prepare myself for trial, I can probably catch a bus to Atlantic City around noon on Saturday for about $33. Once we arrive at AC, I get a voucher for $20 from the drop-off casino. I will cash that in and head over to a poker room. I can play all day and night at my own pace, and when ready, catch the return bus home. Assuming I catch a noon bus and arrive in AC around 3pm (more likely 2:30), I can get in a solid 6 hours and still catch a 9:30 bus home, arriving back to NY before midnight. Or, if I so choose, I can catch a midnight bus back or later, and sleep late on Sunday.

It's a real gamble for a couple of reasons. First, the idea of heading to AC solo is a gamble. I've done it once before, but in a place where people are engaging in vices with reckless abandon and I am carrying a roll of cash, safety is always a concern. Second, this may not look good to the family and I don't want to be the kind of guy who lies about his vice. Third, and probably the most important, if my head is elsewhere (the trial), will it affect my play? This is my greatest concern. Heading to AC for a few hours and winning some cash can be a nice day. Going to AC for a few hours and losing a lot of cash? Not so much fun, particularly when I need to shore up the confidence going into Monday.

Gamble gamble gamble. What to do? It's not the worst problem in the world to have, but it's definitely an odd one.

Until next time, make mine poker.

posted by Jordan @ 9:57 AM, , links to this post




For the Love of the Game

I had an interesting experience this weekend. Wifey Kim had made plans to see one of her friends on Saturday night for a little chick bonding time, so I made my own plans to see good pal Dave Ruff for a rare Dave Ruff home game. The game was slated to kick off at 5:30 pm on Saturday night, .50/1 NLHE, after which, we would watch the UFC fights on PPV at 10pm.

Unfortunately, somewhere around noon, a severe thunderstorm warning was in effect for the NYC area, with threats of rain up to 2 inches per hour and wind up to 50 mph. All this was happening while I sat comfortably in my apartment, oblivious to the outside world. Wifey Kim, meanwhile, was off with her mom attending a baby naming or some such thing. She called me up at about 2pm to see if my plans had changed.

I thought it over for a tad and reconsidered the poker. Ruff lives in West New York, New Jersey. Just to keep it straight, that's a town called W.N.Y. in the state of N.J. His apartment is just over the water, and I could get there in a couple of ways. One involves multiple trains and takes over an hour. Another takes one subway and a ferry, but takes about 40 minutes, on paper at least.

Given the threats of monsoon-like weather, I considered canceling on Dave. I had received a call from my mom, semi-frantic. I could hear the radio on in the background. She was in the car with my father.

From the radio: "One to two inches of rain per hour."
Immediately after from my mom: "One to two inches of rain an hour!"
Radio: "40 to 50 mph winds"
Mom: "50 mph winds!"

I considered my travel options. There was no chance in hell I was taking the multiple train option, if for no other reason than the fact that it involved some complicated train lines. The ferry, meanwhile, meant being in the middle of the water in monsoon-like conditions. Maybe wifey Kim and my mom were right.

Me: "Okay mom, I won't go."
Mom: "You promise."
I thought it over for a second and answered: "Well, I can't promise. But I can tell you that I probably won't go and I'll be very safe." I guess on some level, I knew how this would end.

I then called Ruff to discuss the situation. The rain didn't seem hard from my window, but as my mom and wifey Kim told me, "It's coming in waves." Fine then. If the two most important females (hell, people) in my life were advising me to skip the game, how could I do any different. My conversation with Ruff:

Me: "Did anyone cancel yet?" I was scoping the scene to see if the game was going to break without my exit.
Ruff: "Yeah. One down. Only 6 left."
Me: "Am I counted in that 6."
Ruff: "Yeah. We need you."
Me: "Ok, then. I'm there."

There were two things in play. One, I had flaked on Ruff a couple of times in the past. My favorite instance was when I missed his birthday party because of a blogger freeroll. When I realized I had double-booked, I intentionally tried to bust in the freeroll, pushing recklessly for the first thirty minutes. The result was that I had a massive chip stack after a slew of suckouts, so I decided to stick out the game. At first, I texted Ruff that I would be late. Then later. Then not at all. I ended up taking 2nd for $450. I sent Ruff 20% or $90 as a birthday gift and a semi-apology. You can read about it in my post called The $450 Question. Basically, I didn't cancel out of loyalty to Ruff and his game. I owed him at least this much.

The second reason why I didn't cancel: poker. I haven't been playing as much live poker as I might like, and I had been looking forward to the game for days. How could I not go?

I packed my backpack with the usual items: a hoodie, baseball cap, ipod, sunglasses, and bandana. I added a few extra items because of the weather: an umbrella with a plastic bag so I could place it back in my bag wet, a change of socks and a change of pants. I figured I might get a little wet. I then headed out of the apartment. I took the subway to 42nd Street and 7th Avenue, a short walk from the ferry port on 39th Street and 11th Avenue. Or so I thought. It felt a lot longer and from Google Maps, I just learned that I walked .9 miles.

.9 miles is no big deal, particularly in the light drizzle. I called wifey Kim while walking. "This isn't that bad. I don't see what all the fuss is about." She reminded me of the fact that the rain would come in waves. I laughed it off and told her the waves would wait until I'm safely in the ferry. She also told me that my mom had called and sounded upset that I decided to go to the game. "I'll call he when I'm in the ferry terminal."

I kept walking in the light rain, passing by a teenage couple who seemed oblivious to the rain. They were on an abandoned street, him apparently pleading with her for forgiveness or something similar. I remember thinking it odd, since there was nothing around but a construction site. That, and they didn't seem to notice that it was raining. As I turned a corner, the wave hit. My mom and wife were right. The rain started changing from a drizzle to a patter to a deluge. I started to run, sensing the change in rain. I crossed the empty street to find a small alcove, the only protection from the rain. I considered calling Ruff and canceling again. My pants were already fairly wet. My body was covered in sweat. The backpack was starting to soak through too. It wasn't a pleasant feeling.

I waited in the alcove for a few minutes, hoping the rain would let up. It wasn't. I decided to just go for it. I could see the terminal in the distance. I timed out the lights and went for it. I was inside the terminal in a minute or two, but the damage was done. My umbrella did squat. I was soaked.

Once in the terminal, I bought my ticket and waited with the throngs of other daredevils, willing to ride a 10 minute ferry in the monsoon. I called my grandmother to wish her a happy birthday and then called my mom.

Mom: "What are you doing, Jordan?"
Me: "I made a commitment, mom. I have to be there. Besides, it's a ten minute ferry ride and I know how to swim. His apartment is just on the other side, and if the weather is bad, I'll stay at his place overnight."
Mom: "Let me put your father on the phone."
Dad: "Be careful Jordan."
Me: "Okay."
Click. My dad gets right to the point. After all, I'm an adult and it's rain. It's not like I'm a child and it's a tornado.

The ferry ride was easy, if a tad uncomfortable due to my wet clothes. By the time I arrived in NJ, the rain hadn't let up. I decided to wait at the exit until it died down. I saw two guys decide to run for it. About 30 feet from the exit, I saw one drop a gift-wrapped box. I called for them three times, but they couldn't hear me through the rain. I decided to run for it. Opening my umbrella, I tried to steady it against the wind and rain as I picked up the box. I chased after the guys some more until I finally got their attention. My plan to wait was ruined, so instead, I ran to a small tent set up probably for a ferry shuttle. I hid out there while I called Ruff.

Ruff: "I can see you from up here."
Me: "Yeah? I'm fucking soaking. I better win today. Do you have a shirt I can borrow?" It was the only piece of clothing I didn't bring a replacement for.
Ruff: "Sure. I already lent Bridge some shorts." Bridge is one of Ruff's buddies, a good poker player too.

I finally got up the courage to run for it. It didn't hurt that I was already saturated. Short of drowning, I couldn't get any wetter. I dodged some puddles and plodded through others. Finally, I was at Ruff's place, wet, but alive.

Ruff: "You don't look wet."
Me: "That's because I am so wet, you can't see the wet spots. It's all wet spots."

Upstairs, Ruff, Bridge and Al were hanging out. I hadn't seen Bridge or Al in years since the last Ruff home game. Both used to work with Ruff. I threw my clothes in Ruff's dryer and changed into my drier clothes. Drier, but still a tad wet throw my backpack.

After a while, high school bud Timmy Bones and Ruff's other former coworker and Crazian, Yen, showed up and we began our 6-handed .50/1 NLHE game, each with $100 stacks. Early on, Yen remembered me from the earlier games. "You're the crazy player!" I shrugged. Lately, I don't feel like the "crazy player." I feel more like the cautious player, a role that I don't enjoy or advocate. It may have been my tough first half of the year or my lack of live play recently, but hearing Yen's refrain got my juices pumping. At the very least, I could use the instant table image to my advantage.

Within two hands, I had almost felted Bridge, who was sitting exactly opposite me. He had raised preflop and I called with KQ. The flop was JTx, with two diamonds. He bet out and I called. The turn was an Ace of Diamonds. He bet and I raised. He called. The river was a blank. I didn't have him on the flush, so I felt confident I was ahead. I made a big bet, hoping to appear like a crazy gambler. It paid off when he called. He had two pair, and I took the pot.

I continued to play semi-aggressively, tangling with Bridge a few more times. Meanwhile, Al, on my immediate left, was accumulating chips by betting at just about every pot he was in. Al isn't a pro-level player but it was clear that no one had the goods to look him up, even if they were openly calling him a bullshitter. My stack dwindled until I was up only $30 or so, down from my high of about $70 or 80.

I didn't keep notes, so I won't go through many hands. However, I found myself down to about $45 profit when I decided to tangle with Yen, who embodies the Crazian gambler mentality. Yen had offered to drive me home, and since the weather was terrible, I decided to accept the offer. We were going to leave after the orbit, so I made a play for a pot and he called me down after flopping two pair with 83c. My single pair was no good, so I mucked and chided him for calling. I had worked out the math so that my unsuccessful betting left me up only $5. I announced it to the table and said that I had just enough for a few blinds.

The very next hand, I am dealt AKo, UTG. I raise $4 preflop, which was on the higher end of my preflop betting range. I was typically raising $3 or $3.50. It folded to Yen in the SB and he called. Ruff, in the BB, called as well. The flop came down, T3K. I was ecstatic about the King. It checked to me and I bet $10 or so. Yen folded and Ruff called. The turn was an Ace, giving me two pair. Ruff checked again, and I bet out $15 or $20. He raised. I stopped for a moment and looked at the board. I couldn't fathom a QJ, although it was possible. I didn't really know what he had, but I did know my loose image would affect his range. I still felt confident with my top two pair. I called.

On the river, Ruff bet out $40 or so. I decided to push all-in for another $25. After all, I was leaving soon and had announced it to the table. "I'm doubling up or going home." The river was a blank and at showdown, I showed my top two pair. Ruff showed KT, for flopped two pair. The turn was a suckout...sorta. At least, it was a suckout insomuch as the KTx flop was a suckout. It's all about perspective.

I may've won another hand or two after that. When we left, I was the big winner, up $136.50, $20 of which I gave to Ruff for food, beer and a donation to the UFC fight. Yen and I left before it started, but I was just glad to have an easy trip home.

When I got home, I called my mom first, to let her know I was safe. I mentioned how poker wasn't just a hobby, but a passion. I find I've been using that phrase a lot lately. My mom said that she was concerned for me. I tried to explain it to her by being honest with myself.

Me: "I'm not playing poker because of the money. I play because I love the game. It's not like I play for big money. I'm very responsible. It's just that, as an adult, you only have so many opportunities to play games of any sort, and poker is a respectable adult game because of the money. It's how I socialize. If Ruff wanted to meet at a bar to drink all night, I'd be less interested in going. It's boring. But add poker, and it's something fun to do."

In reality, that is poker for me. A game. Something I enjoy doing for the sake of the game itself. The money just legitimizes my pursuit as something for adults. The money also makes the game fall in most people's vice category. But I'm not most people.

Sometimes, when I play online poker, I feel myself getting bored with poker, or worse, disinterested altogether. I worry that the love affair is ending. Then I play live and I feel that pulse of adrenaline, when I get literally high on poker, and the love comes flooding back.

No live games on the horizon, but if I feel confident with my trial (coming up on Monday...and likely to settle on Monday as well), I may make a day trip to AC on Saturday. Wifey Kim has a baby shower or something.

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 10:07 AM, , links to this post




Democrats v. Republicans - The Battle Continues!

*** WARNING: NO POKER CONTENT ***

Democrats
: "Barack Obama's DNC speech was amazing! He was persuasive, eloquent and tough when he needed to be. John McCain's RNC speech was dull and themeless. It was just more of the same old speech from the same old Republican party that drove this nation into the ground over the last eight years. The right-wing nuts at Fox News should be ashamed of themselves for their blind support of John McCain!"

Republicans: "John McCain has the experience and leadership abilities to protect our nation from foreign threats and help the economy! Barack Obama's DNC speech was all rhetoric with no substance. Change? What change? It's just the same old liberal bullshit. The left-wing media like CNN is too busy kissing Obama's ass to give fair and balanced reporting!"

Let those two argue for several months, both with their minds made up and their heels in the ground. Pull up a chair. If you agree with either side, just block the other one out and sing your Hallelujah or Amen. Agree until your heart's content or alternatively until you heart is boiling in its own juices.

But it's all a dog and pony show. I tried watching some of the McCain speech last night. Boring. I won't even put forth a definitive political view here other than to say that I am bored of it all. Ok, Barack will ruin our nation. Fine, McCain is the anti-christ. Whatever. One of those fuckers are going to end up running our nation, and amazingly all of the discourse on the Internet, TV, radio, newspapers, conventions, whatever, is just theatre. Thousands show up at the DNC to jerk off to Obama. Thousands show up at the RNC to beat their meat to McCain. Good for you both, but it's still just masturbation.

As a kid, when I started to develop my love for debate, I would discuss religion and politics as a perfect jumping off point to deep discussions. My father always warned, "You don't discuss religion and politics." At the time, I thought he was warning me that those topics were private and taboo; that by discussing them, I was rude and invading others' privacy. Now I realize the truth. It's all very futile. 90% of you have already made up your mind about who you are (or, are not) voting for. The other 10% probably have made up their minds too, but like the label of being independent. They sure as hell must be leaning one way or another by this point.

Meanwhile, as I typed this, the Republican and Democrat from above have gone on to discuss the vice presidential nominees. My guess is that the Republican will praise Palin and smash Biden. Meanwhile, the Democrat will praise Biden and smash Palin. Let's check:

Democrat: "Sarah Palin should worry more about her fucked up family and less about running for VP. This is the same woman who raised taxes just to build a $15M hockey rink for her kids in Alaska...Isn't there ice already in Alaska? As for Biden, he's the perfect choice for VP. He's experienced and will help national security and the economy."

Republican: "That Joe Biden is a hack, a racist and a plagiarist. Great pick, fucking Democrats. As for Palin, she's a god damn hero. She fought corruption, terrorism (not one Al Queda attack has occurred in Alaska since she was elected into office!), and will lower gas prices by allowing mining for oil!"

And as they prattle on, I wonder to myself, why the fuck do I care? The president is elected via the electoral process. My one vote in New York, a state that will undoubtedly vote for the Democrats, will not change a damn thing. And I'm a freaking independent! Maybe the rhetoric from both sides is designed to mobilize otherwise dormant voting blocks or convince en masse the independents, but on a personal level, it doesn't mean shit to me. Republicans will continue to wack off to their candidate, Democrats will continue to fellate theirs and the whole masturbatory political process continues.

I finally learned why my father didn't like to discuss politics. It's a fucking waste of time and energy. In the end, you just end up looking like a tool, preaching your version of the Bible to your own congregation and baiting trolls from the other side to throw some vitrol around. And the other side is doing the same thing too.

So, have at it, political masturbators. Just do me a favor and clean up after yourselves when you are done. I'm going for a beer. Let me know when this whole class president thing is done.

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 9:17 AM, , links to this post