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No Returns

Day three of my token frenzy saw me following the same pattern. I got home and immediately signed on to FT to start a $8.70, two-table tournament awarding 5 $26 tokens and 1 booby prize of $14. A little while later, we were on the token bubble (already in the money) and I was holding on, once again, by the skin of my teeth. I doubled up by pushing in mid- to late-position with K3o, the best hand I had seen in several orbits. In fact, it was a card dead tourney for me generally, with only no hands above 99, which I got once, and very few Top Ten hands in total. Maybe I got a 77 once, but beyond that, no 88, TT-AA, or AK/AQ.

That was fine, for the most part, since it almost aids my super-tight style. In fact, the money bubble broke when a guy decided to push all-in with a relatively healthy stack with KQo and was picked off by another guy with KK in one of the blinds. Ironically, though, the KQ guy ended up turning three of a kind Queens, to take down the pot and bust the KK. Hence, I don't mind not getting Top Ten hands, as long as I can coast along.

So with K3, I finally pushed and ran into AQs. King on the flop and I had doubled up and suddenly was healthy. The other small stack doubled up shortly after, but finally a player busted and I had my token.

It was several hours later that I decided to return to online poker. I was tired of the token tourneys, so I opted to use my new $26 token on a 45-person tournament. I played for a couple of hours, making it to the final table as one of the short stacks. 6 spots paid, and I'll just cut to the chase and tell you that I went out 7th, on the bubble.

All that work for nothing.

Thank god online poker is just a videogame...

In wholly unrelated news, I have a couple of trips planned in March. The first is for my college buddy Jefe's bachelor party. We are heading up to Hunter Mountain to ski. Er, well, at least Jefe is. I've already learned that skiing and snowboarding are not for me. I did a search for nearby casinos and discovered that my best option was 3.5 hours away. Shit. That ruined any prospects for poker on that trip.

The weekend after, I'm heading to Buffalo for my fraternity's 10-year anniversary. In college, roughly 10 years ago, me and 21 of my closest buds started a fraternity that is still going strong. We are all heading up there for the anniversary as an excuse to get drunk with old friends. Wifey Kim won't be going, so I'll have complete freedom to be the degenerate I used to be. That probably entails a trip up to the Niagara Falls casinos for poker Saturday afternoon or morning. I'll be hung over, but if I can arrange for a fraternity pledge to be my chauffer and man-servant, it should make for a good time. The fraternity may be throwing a home game, though, during that same time. When I asked about the stakes, I was told $10. Fuck. On one hand, I'd like to hang with the kids who are carrying on our fraternity. But at a $10 buy-in, it'll be hard to play seriously.

Wifey Kim has also convinced me that in addition to our Barcelona/Dublin trip this summer, we should also go to the Big Easy, New Orleans, in November for some speech convention. It didn't take me much convincing since I'd have ample time for some bayou poker while wifey Kim is learning about swallowing disorders. She has since invited some of her friends and their husbands to join us, since the wives are in the same field. On one hand, it's a fun crowd. On the other, I don't care who is there; I'm playing poker.

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 9:38 AM, , links to this post




Lent

For Lent, I'm giving up Judaism. That is all.

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 5:43 PM, , links to this post




Token Frenzy

Lately, every day feels like a struggle. It's nothing in particular. Perhaps its a bit of burnout. Now that wifey Kim is thinking (and talking) seriously about buying a home, I have no choice but to think long term. I've even started reading up on home shopping, getting a Dummy's Guide type book covering the topic broadly. Living in a rented apartment has been a joy for the last 10 years. If something breaks, it's the landlord's problem, my rent has always been manageable because I have found good deals, my commute is cake, and the amount of space, while limiiting, also means my household 'chores' are limited. I use 'chores' in quotes, since really, all I have to do is keep the place tidy. No need to worry about landscaping or household repairs.

My best guess is that we'll end up buying an apartment that will serve as our home for the next 5 or so years. After that, I wouldn't be surprised if we choose to move again to a proper home. By then (and I literally shudder at the thought) we'll probably have a rugrat running around and maybe another one, too. It's not so much that I don't want to have kids; I do. It's just, well, now? I like money and freedom way too much, and if you read enough blogs like PokerPeaker's, you start to comprehend that having kids means a lot of sacrifice.

Of course, all concerns aside, I know that we are making the right move for each other and our future family. I just wish there was a way to remain living the high-falutin' NYC lifestyle.

But this is a poker blog, so this all naturally leads to my token binge last night. I am, for whatever reason, way too excited for the beginning of the BBT4 (details available on AlCantHang's site). Since the first event is this Sunday, a $75 buy-in, I figured I'd spend the week trying to satellite in (for you non-poker players, ahem J-Dub, a satellite is a tourney that you must win in order to get into a bigger tourney). I came home and grabbed the laptop while wifey Kim prattled away on the phone with one of her many friends. As I undressed from my work gear, I signed up for the nightly 9:45pm EST $14+1 Token Frenzy, probably the easiest way to win a $75 token. Once changed, I popped open a few more windows to win some $26 tokens for the weekly Monday $24+2 RiverChasers tournaments, which are a part of the BBT4.

If you simply play very tight, the two table tournaments to earn a $26 token often come down to coin tosses. In the first match, I literally folded away until the first 4 players (out of 18) were busted. This all happened as I took care of other things around the house, looking back to the game mindlessly to fold my random crap cards whenever I heard the telltale FullTilt 'ding'.

My first tournament was relatively easy. I won the token after doubling up maybe once (with KK) and then folded into a money spot. When 6 spots pay out of 18 (only 5 get tokens, 6th gets $14 for a meager $5.30 profit), doubling up once along with some choice stealing can often be enough. Of course, after letting the first 4 players bust, I started paying more and more attention, and by the final table, I had a good read on a bunch of the players...not that it matters. Survival poker at its best. I wasn't looking to make any fancy moves.

While that was going well, I opened game number 2. Once again, I pretty muched ignored the game for the first 4 or so bustouts, and then began to pay steadily more attention. Of course, in the end, it all came down to a cointoss, this time when my AK faced 77. The bubble had already burst, but we were fighting for the difference between a token and the $14 bobby prize. My opponent and I were the two shortstacks, so it was really a cointoss for the seat. And it was a no-brainer for both of us because the blinds were so large, we were both in desperation mode when we got our top-10 hands. I took the booby, though, failing to hit an Ace or King. I guess the cash is better than nothing though.

I wish I could say it was all peaches and cream. Variance caught up to me when the I busted from my third tourney fairly early. I don't remember the specific circumstances, but I remember that somewhere around here, the night shifted for me. Suddenly, I was seeing suckouts galore.

For the rest of the night, I played a couple of more token tourneys, winning another token and losing another tourney. In the end, I had won 2 $26 tokens plus $5.70 profit from the one token bubble, for roughly $58 worth of winnings after investing $43.50. Yeah. $14.50 profit or so. Just lovely.

Of course, at 9:45pm, the $14+1 Token Frenzy started with over a hundred players with about 25 getting tokens. I had already felt my attention sagging, but the tourney was important enough to focus. To keep on my game, I decided to invest one of my recently-acquired $26 tokens by entering a single table tournament paying out 2 $75 tokens and a booby prize of $66 for the third place player.

An hour and a half later, I had reached the bubble in both games. For the single table game, I had my share of suckouts. In one particular hand, I had called a min-raise from the big blind with Q3h, from a player who had played more than 40% of his hands for the entire tourney. For those non-players, that's a very high amount and indicates that he was playing any two cards that remotely were coordinated. I was playing fairly close attention to his play, and it confirmed what the statistics told me. In the hand, the SB had also called the min-raise, so I was getting 6:1 on my money. The flop was Q-high, so I checked. The 40 Percenter bet out and I raised all-in for about 3x his bet amount. The other player folded and 40 Percenter called, this time showing KK. Go figure. The river was a 3 though, so I doubled through him to put me back in the running.

The blinds got insanely high, though, and eventually, I ended up in another coinflip situation, after pushing with QJs into TT. I missed again and left the room as the bubble boy, earning jack squat for my efforts. However, the Token Frenzy was still going, so I shifted my focus.

When playing satellites that pay out multiple players with the same prize, it's all about survival. With that in mind, I was at about 11th place with 40 players left and 25 spots paying, and chose to go into super tight mode. I didn't want to play speculative hands because I simply didn't need to. I was card dead, too, so there was little temptation. Unfortunately, as players dropped, so did my ranking, since I was giving up the juicy blinds and antes while others knocked out players and built up their stack. From 11th/40, I dropped to 19th/33, and then found myself super short as we neared the bubble. By the time we were on the money bubble (25 got tokens, and the 26th player got a silly low amount of cash), I was in 24th/27. I had all three windows open, watching my competitors and ran some simple math. With the 125 ante and escalating blinds, I knew that if I could fold for three more hands, there'd be at least two players all-in with such small amounts that (a) they'd get a lot of other players in the hand willing to risk less a Big Blind merely to take out the shorties, and (b) the chance of the two players both winning and making it past another hand was miniscule. I folded my 500 small blind, leaving me with all of 412 when the final hand played out. I had essentially put all of my eggs in one basket. If by some miracle the two shorties (on two different tables) both won their hands (against 3 players each, at minimum, all of whom were happy to check down the hand), I had my token. I crossed my fingers and waited for the results...and sure enough, it all worked out. I won my token by the skin of my teeth, happy to have my $75 token for the Big Game.

Then I realized that I have a wedding that night. Lemon! At least my profit was a bit better. I had spent $58.50 in buy-ins (the $43.50 on single table $26 Token tourneys plus the $15 for the $75 Token Frenzy) and had a tiny bit of cash ($5.70), one remaining $26 token, and a $75 token to show for my hard work, $106.70 total, for just under $50 profit. And yet, that's still not worth my entire evening.

Thank god I love this game.

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 10:56 AM, , links to this post




Where I'm At

I don't have much to write about poker because I'm not playing poker. Instead, I fill my evenings with a much more cerebral pursuit, Call of Duty: World at War on the Wii, where I get to team up with pimply 12 year olds to shoot other pimply 12 year olds with WWII era weapons. It's really not as pathetic as it sounds. Okay. It is.

Online poker is just a videogame to me, and lately, when I play, I'm doing it half-assed, so I once again have cut down my play. I really should just re-commit to HU games online solely, or find another angle to work. I've lately convinced myself that the single-table SNGs (that's Sit-N-Gos, a poker term for tournaments that start whenever there are enough people registered) are the way to go. It used to be my bread and butter. Unfortunately, it isn't working the way I envisioned. I'm treading water, breaking even, and really not enjoying it at all. I sincerely believe that the player base at FT has significantly gotten better over time, and there just isn't enough dead money to play distracted poker for a significant profit.

I suppose my lack of online play is actually a good thing since live, I'm doing very well. Of course, that isn't saying much compared to last year, but it is still a point of pride. I'm only playing once a week or so, and not at all this week, but with Wall Street regular Wendy involved in an underground card room in the city, it's only a matter of time before I get back into a regular live poker schedule.

Oh, and I'd be remiss if I didn't remind everyone that the BBT4 is coming up, a tournament arranged by the One-Man-Party AlCantHang. For all not in the know, the BBT4 is a series of online tournaments at FullTilt that award prizes based on a leaderboard. Besides the usual cash prizes of the individual tournaments, FT has added as the leaderboard prizes 2 seats to the WSOP Main Event and 5 seats to preliminary events. This is about the time that I grumble about being unable to actually use the Main Event seat if I were to win it, but since we all know that ain't gonna happen, we can just move along. A big thanks as per usual to the migrating AlCantHang for this great opportunity.

I had an interesting conversation with a buddy of mine, J-Dub, a few nights ago. Dub and I went to school together, everything from 3rd grade through college, but we don't get to see each other or talk as often as one would like, now that he is living deep in LI and I'm a city boy. As far as I know, he's maybe played poker once at an old home game I used to run, but never really took to the game.

While chatting, he brought up this website. I don't remember the exact reference, but he basically brought up something about which I wrote. I was surprised that he still kept up to date on HoP. Admittedly, if you are not a poker person, at least half of the content here is probably boring to you. But even more interestingly, Dubs had one suggestion about the site: a glossary.

It is all too common for us poker bloggers to type things shorthand. Small blind becomes SB. Big blind becomes BB. This is all obvious to the experienced player and probably decipherable to the casual player, but when you start using abbreviations for terms that when in their natural form still make little sense to the casual poker player, it can make for an unreadable blog. UTG, for instance. UTG, for those like Dubs, means Under the Gun, and referred to the first player to act after the BB (big blind). If you just knew that UTG = Under the Gun, that isn't even enough. You then need to explain what UTG (or UTG+1, etc.) means in context.

This, of course, leads to the next question: who is the audience? For most of us, it's inclusive. We are publishing for fellow poker players. But on another level, I'm sure we all want our sites to be accessible to the public at large.

All that said, I think the only solution that makes sense is to simply explain the abbreviated terms when used. A glossary sounds nice and all, but to draft such a document would be a pain in the ass, and there is little reason to believe that a reader who doesn't understand a term will actually find a link to the glossary amidst the crowded sidebar. So, expect to be seeing a lot more explanations of terms in the future, if only so that Dubs can follow along.

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 4:36 PM, , links to this post




90 Second Rant: Miley

*** WARNING: NO POKER CONTENT ***

God damnit, I am so sick and tired of this nonsense surrounding Miley Cyrus. I was watching the Academy Awards Red Carpet Show last night with wifey Kim (under protest), and I was absolutely disgusted with the degeneration of pop culture. Every fucking thing eventually led back to the most vapid, absurd "star" of them all, Miley fucking Cyrus.

Let me make it painfully clear, even though I'd guess a good 95% of my audience alreeady knows this: Miley fucking Cyrus is a talentless hack, and I don't blame Miley or even her father Billy Ray for her explosion. I blame the motherfucking media who are willing to drink the motherfucking Disney Kool-Aid. It goes without saying that Miley fucking Cyrus can't sing worth a shit and sounds like a 40-year-old, 3-pack-a-day smoker. I've tried to watch her sing at various televised award shows, and each time I am left dumbfounded at what I see. She has a sub-par signing voice, zero stage presence, and songs that just suck. She is also fucking 15 and in a relationship with a 20 year old pedophile, but no one has a problem with that (they do have a problem with her taking a photograph with her eyes squinting -- FUCK YOU AMERICA!).

Here's what really got my goat: this has become a Miley-centric Hollywood.

Ryan fagging Seacrest was on the Red Carpet aching to get his Miley interview. When he did, he danced around the fact that she didn't have her kid-toucher boyfriend with her. But the focus wasn't on the fuckedupedness that is a barely 15 year old girl dating a guy about to turn 21 (keep in mind, that's a high school sophmore dating a junior or senior year college student). It was his desire to get a scoop on Miley's love life. Why not ask her if her heiman is broke yet, Seacrest, you fucking scavenger fuck!

But the final straw was when the vapid douschebags running some red carpet show actually showed fag-hag and #1 butter-face (everything's good, but her face) Sarah Jessica Parker wearing a gown and said, paraphrasing, "She's got a little bit of a Miley-look going."

No, dipshit. Maybe Miley has a SJP thing going on, but I seriously doubt that the (what is she, 80 now?), 80-year-old Sarah Jessica Parker is going out of her way to emulate 15-year-old fashionista and apparent fashion icon Hannah Montana. That's what I mean about the Miley-centric Hollywood. These vapid hosts are acting as though Miley is her own fashion template and that old (or in SJP's case, ancient) Hollywood is clamoring to be a part of it.

In reality, I'd like to think that even the self-centered douschebags in Hollywood think that the Miley sensation is purely fabricated. It's one thing, though, when a bunch of retard kids start to bop along with Hannah Montana and friends and decide that the cookie-cutter child porn star is worthy of adulation and hero-worship. It's another thing when grown adults treat the teener bopper hack as the next goddamn sex symbol, master thespian, and artiste!

I guess I should really blame the Olsen twins. Then again, we should have learned a lesson from those emaciated hobos: the gimmick of choosing underaged girls and accepting without thought their sex-symbol status while eagerly anticipating their 18th birthdays doesn't usually work. Instead, you have a bunch of sick fucks obsessing over an underaged girl and then ignoring her when she gets old enough for those pervs to realize that her only appeal is her perverse illegaility.

My sincerest apologies to Miley if she reads this.

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 9:37 AM, , links to this post




Wall Street Variety Hour

I spent last night playing a live HORSE tourney at the Wall Street Game. It was my first time playing a HORSE tourney (that I can think of), and while the results were good, I still have my doubts about some of the games' adaptability to limit tournament play. I'm looking at you, stud games. It seems like whenever I play a HORSE tourney, particularly online where it is more common, the somewhere around the second time we hit the Stud games, the tourney can quickly devolve into a limit version of pushmonkey poker. Basically, after 8 levels (the first round of H, O, R, S, E and after the next two levels of H and O), the limits usually are high enough that if you are still near your starting stack, the Stud games are like a wrecking ball. Since there is an extra round of betting (5 instead of four rounds, like in Omaha and Hold'em) and the extra round is for a big blind and it takes a while to get a made hand, there is just way too much of a luck factor. If you get a good starting hand, you raise until you are all-in and then hope that the rest of the cards come your way.

This isn't really a complaint as much as it is an observation. The obvious solution is to accumulate chips early, but in many tournaments, particularly single table events, it is all too easy to just tread water, trading hands with your opponents, until you are still at a starting stack an hour into the event. That's practically what happened yesterday. By the time we were up to the 300/600 level (10,000 starting stacks), no one had touched their six $1,000 chips. In other words, no one was even at a half-stack. Granted, this may be more specific to our particular tournament due to the caliber of play or plain old luck, but it still felt odd when I realized that the first hour plus of play really was just a warm up session, followed by the crap shoot that accompanies high blinds.

Let me make this clear, too: The problem was not the structure. Jamie did a great job of picking a structure that saw us at the bubble at 10:30 to 10:45 pm. Granted, we all hovered at about the same size stack, but I think we easily could've wrapped up the event by midnight....if we hadn't agreed on a four-way chop. I can't speak for everyone, but it definitely felt like the chop was due to the tediousness of play after a while, rather than the desire to cut a good deal. I think we all accepted that four-handed with even stacks, it could easily be another 45 minutes before the bubble breaks, depending on how play went, and then from there, it could very well be a literal lotto game.

One possibility: a PL or NL HORSE game. I know that most players are not used to Stud games as NL or PL, but that doesn't mean it can't be done. In fact, those games used to commonly be played NL or PL, so it isn't even unheard of. Of course, that may make for a TOO QUICK game, seeing as how some people (read: me) play stud games.

One thing that does deserve a big honking dose of respect is the sheer variety of games available at the Wall Street Game. At the WSG alone, I have had the opportunity to play:

.25/.50 NLHE
.50/1 NLHE
1/2 NLHE
3/6 HORSE
4/8 Omaha 8 Limit
.50/1 PLO
Single table NLHE tournaments (both in a league set-up and as a one-shot)
Two-table NLHE tournaments
A HORSE tournament
and a slew of other mixed games.

It's hard to find a decent NLHE home game nowadays, so to find this treasure trove of games is a sheer delight. In fact, I've said it before, but these other non-Hold'em games bring me the excitement I first felt when learning NLHE. I still love NLHE more than the rest, but if it was all NLHE all the time, I think burnout would be a lot more possible.

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 11:16 AM, , links to this post




Wall Street ADD-itions

I returned to the Wall Street Game last night for a little 1/2 NLHE action. It's my favorite game Jamie spreads, mostly because a win at the game is usually significant enough to feel like an accomplishment. Winning $60 via a cheap homegame tourney is fine and all, but winning potentially hundreds of dollars in a cash game where there is no chance of early bustouts and 2 hour waits is much preferred.

Of course, Jamie runs a great game, as per usual. I arrived probably 5 minutes early and the game was already in motion with probably about 7 players at the table, not including Jamie, who was acting as a dedicated dealer (not playing). I grabbed a seat to the left of Liezl and to the right of an empty seat that was locked up for another player after I made sure that the "other player" wasn't Darko. No need to set myself for trouble by being on Darko's immediate right.

I started off with $200. I got down to about $115 before I was able to start my comeback. My big comeback hand came at the expense of one of the two buddies whose names I never quite got. Both look like, well, typical Caucasian guys. They looked like WASPs, I guess, a bit formal in appearance, although that is probably more of a sign that they came directly from work. Both of the guys, who I guess I'll call the WASP twins, seemed to like bigger bets. An Asian guy was also there, another one of this new class of player. The Asian guy also liked the big bets and was a play maker. I did my best to avoid him until I got wind that he was making plays. Then I strategically re-raised him (with air, if necessary) when I realized that he took me for a weak player. Basically, a couple of hands, I missed the flop and he bet in position. I saw him do this with other players, so I just followed my pattern, raising preflop, missing my flop, checking, and then, when he puts out the bet, check-raising 3x his bet. And it worked.

The WASP twins, though, were tricky because either they liked the action (no hesitation firing several bullets, each one progressively and exponentially higher) or were incredibly lucky. After a while, I had to settle on the former. The best sizing from these guys was like an announcement to the world, "I WANT YOU TO FOLD!" But since I was card dead for most of the night, I had to comply with thier requests most of the time. Finally, I decided to call the far WASP's preflop raise with JTc after limping in EP. There was another player in the hand (or maybe two more) so I wanted to see a flop and I was willing to gamble the extra 9$ or so to call. The flop was JTx with two hearts and I checked to the WASP raiser. He bet out a large sum, I think $50, and I pushed all-in for another $50 or so more. He called and announced that he had outs (before seeing my cards). The turn was a Ten and he said, "Maybe I don't have outs." I showed my full house at showdown and he mucked. Even so, I don't think he even had the flush draw. My guess is he was straight drawing. That's just the way those guys were playing.

I played KK terribly but still made some money. The table was in transition with one player cashing out, so Paul-in-the-Hamily was dealing while Jamie was cashing out the other player. I finally got my first pocket pair above 4s, KK (and my only pocket pair above 4s, aside from maybe 7s, for the entire game...come to think of it, I never had AK, AQ, AJ or KQ either). I guess I had a brain fart, because even though I had a great starting hand and there were a couple of limpers, I just limped along. I was hoping one of the later position players, which included the other WASP twin and the Asian guy, would raise, since they tended to be fairly aggressive when entering a pot. Not this time, as they both limped, and we saw a 776 flop with two hearts. I think I bet out here and only got one caller, the Asian guy. The turn was an Ace, further ruining my hand. I think the Asian guy checked and I put out another bet, hoping that I could just win the pot right there. He called again. The river was another heart, and when it checked to me, I had to check back. An Ace beat me, a 7 beat me (which was possible since he was in one of the blinds and saw the flop for free) and now the flush draw got there. I didn't want to give this guy a chance to check-raise. At showdown, I tabled my hand and he mucked. Poorly played, but I was able to squeeze some money out of it.

The last significant hand of the night for me was against my neighbor, Shawn, another one of the newer players (Note: The only reason why these players are "new" is because I just started joining this previously-private 1/2 game; they may be regulars to this game for all I know). I had K5h and was in one of the blinds. After the flop came down, I was already on the phone with wifey Kim and I was surprised I was still even in the hand. I guess I was just in my own world for a moment there. The flop was A86 with two hearts, so when Shawn bet a small-ish amount, like $6 or $7, I decided to flat call, as did about three other players. The turn was another heart, giving me the nuts. I think Shawn bet again, $11, and I considered re-raising, but since I had the hand in a lock, I wanted the two other players in the hand to come along for the ride. I also hoped that someone else had hit their lesser flush draw; based on the post-flop action, it was definitely a possibility. If so, I felt they would take the initiative and I could then re-raise and possibly felt the sucker. So, I called, as did the other players, ruining my hopes of a re-raise. The river, a final fourth heart came, which was not quite ideal. I still had the nuts and Qh might get fooled into thinking he/she is good, but short of that, I didn't expect much action from anyone. This time Shawn checked, though, and since the pot had grown significantly, I bet $30. I wanted it to look suspicious. Everyone folded around to Shawn who finally called stating, "This might be a very bad read." It was. I showed my hand and took the pot.

A little while later, I found myself up and about, moving around the apartment just to clear my mind. Sometimes, I think my self-diagnosed ADD gets in the way of poker. I just couldn't stand still any more. I also noticed that I was talking way too much at the table, giving away all sorts of information by analyzing hands or explaining situations. This isn't the usual Wall Street Crew, where I don't worry about those things. I was on a mission to make money, and I couldn't do it by being off in my own headspace while I jibber jabber away.

I finally decided to pack it up around 9:45pm. It was still very early, but there was a player waiting for a seat and I was getting hungry, since I skipped dinner. I left up $180, which was a fine score. For the year 2009, I'm almost 50% of the way to my 2008 total, which is as much a reflection on my shitty 2008 as it is on my wonderful 2009. ADD or not, I'm just happy I keep progressing along.

While I'm at it, let me also congratulate Jamie on his fine 3rd place finish at a $300+ buy-in tourney at Mohegan Sun recently. It couldn't have happened to a better guy, and probably couldn't have happened at a better time. Also, congratulations to WSG regulars Viet and Liezl on their upcoming new addition to the family. I have $5 on it being a boy, which in hindsight was a suckers bet since 51% of births are female...sadly, Jamie wouldn't give me $5 to win $5.05. I guess I should've figured that out before we shook on the even money proposition.

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 9:28 AM, , links to this post




A Certain Unnamed Poker Player Gets Pwned...

...er, actually, by "pwned" I mean won chips from me in a hand...

I won't say who (PirateLawyer) because I think it is morally superior to discuss someone without naming them, but certain bloggers can get under my nerve during blogger events. In fact, one unnamed person (PirateLawyer) tends to chat more than the average bear, and usually, the topic of conversation is his disbelief in how a hand was played. This unnamed person, who for convenience sake we'll call PL for Poker pLayer, seems to befall the trap of many an online poker player. He complains about his bad luck almost constantly, only taking breaks to talk about how poorly you've played a hand. Oftentimes, players like PL are just plain wrong. Their internal frustration or whatever it is that makes them an alternate complainer/shit-talker blinds them to some of the realities in front of them. Instead, they only see that which they wish to see.

Now, before I give this unnamed person too hard of a time, I've in the past asked this person quite directly, "Are you kidding or serious?" during a blogger event when he was berating my perfectly logical play. I can't really tell if it is shtick or serious tilt at work. Whatever the case, it really doesn't bother me too much. Either he is kidding with his selective memory/perception and complaints, or he is serious, in whcih case it serves no purpose to engage him. But since he chided/berated me about a play in last night's Skillz Game (PLO8), I thought it best to explain the hand here. This unnamed PL thought that I had misplayed the hand...at least that's what it seemed like from his table chatter, questioning my play. But rather than delve too deep into that, let's just look at the hand and the undeniable reality that, mathematically, my play was not only correct, but practically required, given the situation.

The blinds were still 20/40, and I had lost a few chips from my starting stack of 3000, down to 2,780. I was UTG+1 when I was dealt AQ42, with the Q and 2 of hearts. TwoBlackAces, UTG, limped for 40. I raised to 120. I had great low potential, along with decent high cards and an Ace. I was looking to build a pot while eliminating some of the looser limpers. It folds around to a random player, PirateLawyer (2,915), in late position, who called. Like me, Pirate Lawyer, who we will shorten to PL for convenience (although not to be confused with the unnamed Poker pLayer above, also referred to as PL), seemed to be playing a lot of hands. He actually held AT25, double suited with the A and T of diamonds and the 2 and 5 of spades. So his call makes perfect sense. It folds to TwoBlackAces ("TBA") and we are off to the races.

The flop was 347 with two spades. I had already flopped the nut low, as had PL. TBA checked and I bet pot, 420. PL raised to 840. I called. I knew I was a lock for the low, but I could very well be quartered. My top pair wasn't that great, but I had a nice draw to the wheel as well.

The turn was an offsuit 7. I was first to act and did the math. I had about 1800 left in my stack, and the pot was over 2000. PL had me slightly covered. I figured that if I were to get all-in, the worst case scenario is that I lose the high hand and I chop the second hand. With 2k in the pot and another 3,600 going into the pot (my 1,800 and PL's 1,800), the pot would be almost 6k. 1/4 of 6k is 1,500. Rounded down, figure that the low, quartered, would earn me 1,400. Do the math, folks. That meant I was really only risking 400 at most. I needed time to figure this out, though, so I clicked the TIME button and took a few moments before checking. I figured PL was good for a raise, and if he checked, at least I'd get a free card. He bet 600 and I pushed. He took his time, said, "this could be a cooler" and then called.

The irony of the situation was that I was ahead. Sure, we were tied for the low, but my AQ beat his AT for the high pot. Naturally, the river was a Ten and PL took the pot. Then that other guy, PL, made a comment about pushing all-in on a nut low only. Hmm...ok, PL. I corrected him, pointing out that I had top pair with a decent kicker. Of course, this is when I looked at the hand history and realized I was ahead (albeit, he had a bunch of outs).

Still, all of that is for naught. What I find most interesting about this hand was the math. I was a lock for 1/4 of the low, so I really had very little exposure during the check-raise. I was gambling 400 to win an additional 4,500, assuming I was behind in the high portion of the hand; alternatively, I was getting all of the money in good with the best of it.

Let's go over that worst case scenario again. I have 1,800 in my stack. The pot is about 2,000 (actually slightly more). If I'm behind AND chopping the low, only 500 of that pot is mine. But pushing all-in, I can obviously win by getting a fold, giving me the full 2,000 (actually more like 2,600, since I chose to check-raise). But assuming no fold, the pot will grow to about 5,800, at which point my share of the pot, worse case scenario, is 1,450, only a 350 loss! I'm really onl;y exposing myself to a possible 350 loss in order to try to push my opponent out immediately or gambool for the high. If I get lucky and hit the high, then I'm betting 350 to scoop at 6k pot!

This nuance of hi/lo play is probably old hat for those experienced hi/lo players out there. I suppose it should be for me, too, but it was such a unique experience that I had to run these numbers on the fly.

Ok, so I used PL as a bit of a foil for the post. Take it as free advertising, PL. I'll do my best not to take your table chat too seriously, and I hope you do the same for this post.

Until next time, make mine poker!

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




Bad Logic

Via Karol's post on I Had Outs, I stumbled upon an 'article' (I loathe legitimizing it by actually referring to it as an article) whose main premise is that the popularity of Texas Hold'em caused the recent financial meltdown. The article's author was referencing a few out-of-context paragraphs from a book by George Akerlof and Robert Shiller called Animal Spirits. The paragraphs are from a chapter on how corruption and bad faith can influence the business cycle, which examines the national shift away from bridge to poker, and specifically Texas Hold'em. As described, Texas Hold'em is "...played by individuals for themselves alone, emphasize a type of deception variously called bluffing and 'keeping a poker face,' and are generally played for money." Without rehashing all of the article here, the final question asked by Animal Spirits' authors was: if card games played by millions of people shift the role of deception, wouldn't we be naive simply to assume that such shifts do not also occur in the world of commerce?

This is another one of those times where some douschebag has decided to take two trends, unfairly link them, and then completely fabricate an explanation for the connection. We have th following two trends, which we will assume as true for the purpose of this argument.

1. The financial crisis was caused by an increase in unscrupulous business practices.

2. Poker has become more popular over time.

Naturally, you can attack #1 for all sorts of reasons, but we'll assume it's truth since that's the easiest way to link the two trends. The article/book suggests that the increased popularity of poker has somehow spurred a nation of people to become liars who only look out for themselves, particularly in matters of money. And while those two things might be happening (increased popularity of poker and decreased ethics) the two are not necessarily cause and effect as the article wishes to opine.

Quite simply, assuming both to be true, it is highly likely that the increased popularity in poker was caused by this nation's decent into depravity, rather than vice versa. With the increased emphasis on money, people may have found poker more interesting or applicable to their everyday lives. With decreased virtue, players who might otherwise avoid gambling may decide to give it a try. But make no doubt about it; people do not learn poker and then decide, oh hey, thanks to poker, I now have no quams about making money at other peoples' expense in the financial markets. Likewise, people don't try poker and then decide to change their entire moral code.

I don't even know if I am over explaining it. I'm just saying that poker's popularity probably benefited from the new American Dream, which has shifted from Making it big with hard work, to Making it big with no work.

God damn, I hate the manipulation of facts for propaganda purposes.

Until next time, make mine poker!

Disclaimer: The article is not definitive and even states that it is just a theory, unsupported scientifically. It still annoys me though.

posted by Jordan @ 6:13 PM, , links to this post




Bub and Flub

Last night, I bubbled the Mookie. It was a funny thing, too, because I was so half-assed playing for about 99% of the tournament. I was watching Top Chef with wifey Kim and had pre-signed up for the event, missing the first 20 minutes or so. I then signed on but sat out, only playing major hands...until I got frisky on a flush draw from the blinds and lost 1/2 of my stack after playing all of 2 hands. I went back to uber tight, barely looked at the table or my opponents, and slowly worked my way up. I was getting no respect for bets (probably rightly so) and ended up getting paid off big time on a couple of hands by some odd callers. Whatever the case, I entered the final table comfortably, but lost a good portion of my stack with AK v. JJ. The hand came down to a preflop decision. If I called and lost, I would have a little over 10k left, with blinds of 400/800 with an ante. The pot was 17k without the call, so I figured getting 1.7:1 (is that the correct way to write that or is it 1:1.7?) was pretty good for a hand that was almost definitely a coin toss (1:1) and possibly way ahead. I obviously missed and went from a secure stack to one of the shorter stacks with either 7 or 8 players left and 5 spots paying. Finally down to 6 players, I was the shortstack with something like 4 or 5x the BB (500/1000 with antes...the antes were killing me), so I open pushed with J7o only to be called by AQo. I lost and that's all there is to it. Lemon.

From time to time, I check out a website called ACPG (Atlantic City Poker Guide). I'm not one for forums, but since it was AC specific, I thought I'd give it a whirl. I started to post links to my trip reports on there and sure enough, this time a player at my cash game table, who I dubbed Friendly, Dim-Witted, Blue Collar Guy ("FDWBCG") found my post. He commented in response to my ACPG post in a friendly manner (I got that description right), but also noted the "dim-witted" part of my description. To be fair, he wasn't actually dim-witted. In actuality, it was my early read tha the was going to be a straight-forward player. I didn't expect anything fancy, based on his clothing (flannel, rather than the sweatshirt I recalled), his size (he was a fairly big guy) and his general blue collar demeanor. In actuality, he played a very solid and sharp game, but for the sake of convenience, I just left that DW part of the description in.

This isn't so much of a formal apology as it is a sorta revelation. First, it's odd that now two players from that table have found my post. HoP, while being the SIXTH most popular poker blog by click-thru according to Yahoo*, really isn't the Juggenaut it was just a scant year ago. And yet, two AC players at my exact table found my recap. On one hand, it's great. I'd love to get their sides of the stories that I told. On the other hand, it makes it a lot harder to call your nameless opponents things like "dim-witted." Not that this will change, because ultimately, the vast majority of the time, no one at the table will find the post. It does mean, however, that I have to be somewhat accountable for what I type. That's nothing new though, as I take a personal responsibility to be as accurate, unfiltered and honest as possible.

There is no live poker on my horizon, which is a tad disconcerting. I have off on President's Day, which is a surprise to me, so maybe I will see about an impromptu day trip to AC. Realistically, though, I think I want to go somewhere for a long weekend with wifey Kim, somewhere besides AC.

I'm on the verge of booking a trip to Europe this summer, Ireland and Barcelona specifically. If anyone has any recommendations, we'll be in Dublin and want to go somewhere in the Irish countryside for a few days, although we don't know where. I know next to nothing about Barcelona, so any advice there would be much appreciated.

Until next time, make mine poker!

*And, no, I don't take this seriously.

posted by Jordan @ 11:25 AM, , links to this post




Planes, Trains and Automobiles (Including Buses)

Some exciting news from Atlantic City. The new Atlantic City Express Service, known otherwise as ACES, starts this Friday. For those not from the NE (or, um, NYC, specifically), ACES is a new train line running express from New York City to Atlantic City. I've got a slew of opinions about the service, but before we look into it further, let's talk generally about the state of casino poker for New Yorkers.

If there was one word that epitomizes the NYC poker player's casino adventures it would be this: travel. The nearest legal live poker room is a minimum two hours away, assuming you live across the river from the city in New Jersey. More realistically, for anyone leaving from the suburbs to the North of the City or (god forbid) the East of the City (which requires a drive through or around Manhattan), the trip is going to be a good 2.5 to 3 hours. Add in rush hour City traffic on any weekday, New Jersey shore traffic during the summer, and any other excuse for traffic this city has seen, and you have a recipe for a long wait.

So what are the options for a New Yorker who feels the need for casino poker? Planes, trains and automobiles, with buses included for good measure.

On my most recent trip, bro-in-law Marc and I chatted about the easiest way to AC. He had the definitive answer, although I can only discuss it from the third-person: plane. Several years ago, Marc and wifey Kim's new step-mother would make semi-regular trips to AC. I don't know a lot of the details, but I do know that she had some sorta high roller status, the best perk of which was the free flight to AC. Marc went one time, flying out of a small airport in Long Island (suburbs east of NYC) and into a small AC airport. Small airports are the key, since it avoids the usual traps of air travel: busy airports, delayed flights, obnoxious (but necessary) security protocols, the need to arrive 90 minutes early. From there, they were picked up by a limo and brought straight to the casino. Absolutely ideal...if you didn't have to play through what must be hundreds of thousands of dollars (as a conservative estimate).

If you can't get a plane, though, there are several other options. The one I've used most frequently is simply driving. I don't have a car (the joys of City-living), so usually that means that I must rely on one of my ne'er-do-well friends. Even though I'm living in the lap of luxury, usually picked up from Manhattan, the ride is a pain in the ass. Once you factor in a NYC stop, you have to deal with the traffic around all exits from this great island we call Manhattan. That can easily add another hour or more to your trip. Then you have gas and tolls, and a round trip costs easily $50-60, on the conservative side. Of course, that's split among passengers, so it is fairly economical. Plus, you have the freedom of a car, which is a bonus. Naturally, if you don't own a car, though, the cost will be several hundreds of dollars in rental costs, making it non-economical for NYers without driving friends.

Before the ACES line, if you wanted to travel to AC by train, you had to probably purchase through Amtrak (which, frankly, should have been bankrupt YEARS AGO if not for huge government subsidies, basically pork barrel spending from states whose residents actually rely on Amtrak for travel...shiver...). Right now, the price would be between $55 and $120 each way and takes about 3 hours. If you can do any math, you can see that this is a bum deal. It takes longer AND costs more than driving. Which leads us to...

Buses. I was very anti-bus at first, but since my last two trips via bus, I'm a complete convert. The bus is dirt cheap at $35 roundtrip, with a $20 cash voucher (just cash it in, no play through) upon arrival at the casinos. The trip has taken an easy 2 hours 20 minutes or less each of the four rides I've taken, regardless of weather or traffic. This is largely due to the fact that the busses have special lanes to escape the City, which is where the biggest traffic congestion occurs. For $15, roundtrip, you can get to AC faster and cheaper than any other form of travel. If you look scary enough, you can also ensure your own seat most of the time.

And finally, we come across ACES. When ACES was first announced, I thought it was a great idea. Express train service from NYC to AC is a no brainer, and I was shocked they didn't have it before. Then I heard rumors that the price would be prohibitive. Well, it's not quite as bad as I first thought. Each way on ACES costs about $50, cheaper than a regular Amtrak ticket, and definitely cheaper than renting a car or losing enough to earn a comped flight. However (and this part kills me) the trip takes about 2 hours and 45 minutes by train, at which point you have to get a shuttle (free) to individual casinos.

Why can't they just get it right? I know it's not easy or cheap. In fact, some of the casinos actually got together to fund the ACES line, merely to bring in more customers. And I suppose it does its job of offering a means of travel from NYC to AC for those without cars who refuse to ride a bus. But why is it $100 round trip and takes LONGER than a bus?! This is a problem that does not just permeate the ACES line but rather many train lines around the US. The Japanese have had the Shinkansen (read: bullet train) since 1964, traveling at about 130 mph. Test runs have even gotten up to 275 mph. Yet here, in the US of A, we are traveling around on slow ass trains, moving at a speed equivalent to an automobile. What the hell, America?! Hell, even South Korea has a bullet train. If I am going to pay $100 round trip, I expect to get there FASTER than a car.

In the end, ACES is a waste for a player like me willing to take a cheaper and faster bus. I hope ACES succeeds, merely because I like to see AC succeed and I like the idea of more players. However, time will tell. With so many other options around, the ACES line targets particular customers: players who are too elite for bus service but are too broke for car service. With the economy in its present shape, maybe that will be a lot of people. My guess, though, is that it won't.

I'm crossing my fingers for ACES and AC, but frankly, I think this one was off the mark.

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 9:46 AM, , links to this post




You Decide #66

Lately, I've been writing a lot about my mistakes, whether it be some sloppy action in a home game or a poorly played hand. I was thinking about that as I reviewed a couple of PLO8 hands I saved, and it cause me a bit of concern. If I only post about my poor play, will that make me appear to be a poor player? Then I realized that this was all bullshit. I post to get insight into play, and it just makes more sense to focus on the flubs, because you can only learn so much from posting hands or situations where I played awesomely.

Of course, there is a larger picture to all of this. I think I've come to realize that there is a recent for my mistakes. I'm playing poorly lately. I can't even pinpoint why that is, other than complacency and laziness. I'm just not working enough or thinking critically enough about my craft when I play. I'm thinking about it moreso when I'm not playing, but when the game starts, I'm relying too much on instinct and not gathering enough information and playing focused poker.

If you have the time, drop a comment about the following two hands. In both hands, we have a common theme, a river fold that might have been too tight. But maybe not. Hence, why I'll leave it up to you and call it:

You Decide #66 - PLO8 Tournament Edition

I was playing in a $10+1 PLO8 MTT on Full Tilt, in the early 20/40 blind period. It was a deepstack event, and I was just slightly lower than the initial 3k starting stack, with 2,930. I was dealt 2c 3c 5x 6x and decided to limp for 40 from early/mid-position with no limpers before me. BJ (2,585) called in MP. WrongP (3,305) in the SB called, and Dorton (6,915) in the BB checked. We saw a flop: 5c 4d 9c. It gave me a draw to a baby flush, a wrap straight draw (any Ace, 2, 3, 6, or 7 gave me a straight), a crappy middle pair weak kicker, a draw to the nut low (Ace), and a draw to the third nut low generally (any 2, 3, 7, or 8).

WrongP checked and Dorton bet half-pot, 80. I decided to flat call to see which draw would come, if any. I also wanted to keep the other players in the pot. BJ folded, giving me position on the rest of the players. WrongP also folded, leaving me heads up with the big stack who bet out on the flop.

The turn was a Td, a card that was of no use to me. Dorton bet 120, which was just 1/3 of the pot. It seemed cheap enough to call, and call I did.

The river was an 8d, giving me the third-nut low and pretty much nothing else. I had my pair of 5s, but that's pretty much rags in Omaha. Dorton bet 200...and I folded.

Good fold or bad fold? The pot was 560, plus the 200 bet, for 760 total. I assumed that I could only win the low, so the max I'm going to get for my 200 is 480 (760+200/2). I'm betting 200 to win 280, at most, and possibly losing to a better low (A2, A3). It just didn't seem worth the call at that time in the game, but I'm not super adept at the odds in PLO, so if anyone has insight, please feel free to share.

In the same tournament, the blinds were eventually 150/300, and I had worked my stack up to 18,221. I was in the BB when I was dealt Qs Js Tc 4c. UTG, Imeat (26,025) raised to 675. In the cutoff, Wing (15,520) called. On the button, Obi-Wan (5,770, apparently without the force) called. The SB folded and I called the extra 375, after which the pot was 2,850.

The flop was Qd Ah Jc. I had a weak two-pair and an inside draw to the nut straight (I needed a King) that could very well end up splitting the high. With only one low card, I wasn't worried about low draws (yet). With the Jc, I even had a backdoor flush draw, although not to the nut flush. I opted to check. Imeat continuation bet, 1,762. Everyone else folded and I thought it over. Frankly, I'm not sure why I called. I think I figured him for c-betting, and with my draw to the nut straight, my two-pair, and the lack of a low, I felt it was worth pealing off a card. In hindsight, maybe a fold was in order...I'm not quite sure.

The turn was a 4s, negating the chance of a flush, opening the possibility of a low (although I still wasn't concerned based on the flop action), and giving me a useless third pair. Of course, if I rivered another 4, that turn wouldn't be too shabby, but as it was, it was essentially useless.

I checked. Imeat took his time and then bet 1,500...less than his flop bet. That confused me, and I took it for weakness. Since the pot was already almost 6,400 before the 1,500, the now almost 8k pot called to me, and I decided to call again.

The turn was a Qc. It gave me Queens full of Jacks. I checked, expecting to call or check-raise. My opponent bet....10,049. WTF! Then it dawned on me. AA. The dude had AAXX. That explains the preflop raise, the flop continuation bet that was a fraction of the pot, the turn bet when perhaps he feared the low draw or conversely welcomed it because he was drawing low too, and then pushed on the nuts river. I just couldn't fathom a push on that river absent AA or maybe AQ. It just screamed AA to me. So, I folded.

Was I seeing monsters under the bed or did I make a good laydown in a game where it's easy to be second best. Looking back, I think my mistake was getting wrapped up in the hand without getting my bearings. A raise on the flop would've cost me more money, but would've also given me insight into where I was an maybe cooled his river bet to callable (or re-raisable) levels, if he did not have the full house. Conversely, if he was really strong, he'd probably re-raise my flop raise and I could get out of the hand.

Thoughts?

Until next time, make mine poker!

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




2 Mistakes

Last Friday night, I spent a few hours over at the Wall Street Game, playing 1/2 NLHE with an assorted cast of characters. Jamie has been hosting a bi-weekly (or bi-monthly, whichever means once every two weeks) 1/2 NLHE game at the behest of another player who had arranged for his corporate crew to play in Jamie's fantastic apartment. I had joined a few weeks ago and was happy to return on Friday. 23Skidoo was in town, so that was an extra bonus. As per usual, I was home and ready to go way too early, so I took my time walking over and eventually arrived about 5 minutes to 7pm.

The table was already full. I don't mean to be a baby, but I just can't wait. Having my home so close to the game is way too much temptation. Fortunately, several other people arrived shortly thereafter and we started a second game, first playing four-handed. We eventually reached 8-handed at one point, but never had a full table.

I love shorthanded tables. I got a feel for the table relatively early by folding a bunch and seeing how hands developed. Everyone was fairly tight at first, but then the table opened up. The other table was full and had a slew of dangerous players. From my perspective, it seemed like serious poker was going on over there. In contrast, our table was cracking up and having a jovial time.

I opened up to an early lead and eventually pulled ahead about $150, but lost it all in a hand against the newest player at the table, an Asian guy who I believe was named Rich. Rich had arrived late, and if I deciphered the conversations correctly, he was the brother of our dedicated dealer. I could tell immediately that he was a serious player, largely from the way he talked and handled himself at the table. In the hand in question, I flopped a straight with J7o. It was one of those tables where most hands could be limped for cheap. Even so, I normally wouldn't play that hand, so I must've been in a blind. The flop was 89T, rainbow, and by the turn, a blank diamond, creating a flush draw, I check-raised all-in to get the most out of my hand. My opponent called and the river was another diamond. Of course, my opponent had 67d, proving that (a) it wasn't my mad skillz that got him to overcommit, it was his flopped under-straight, and (b) you shouldn't count your chickens before they're fried. His improbably flush took a lot of wind out of me, but I was able to get back on the horse.

At some point, I began to realize that my brain was fried. It may've been a week's worth of work taking its toll on a Friday evening; it may've been that last hand I mentioned; shit, it may've just been that I wasn't on my game that particular day. Regardless, I made two stupid errors that finally made me decide to walk:

Mistake #1 - Misreading a hand. I was in a hand against Cheryl where my Q8 rivered the idiot end of a straight. The flop was QXT, the turn was a Jack and the river was a 9, giving me a Queen-high straight. I bet out, as I was the entire time with top pair against Cheryl, a player who can sometimes be manic. By the river, I was simply praying that she did not have a loose King with whatever other card was worthy of calling me down. She called the river, which to me was a clear sign she didn't have the King. After all, the only hand that could've beaten a King was Ace King, and the hand didn't seem to go that way. When she called, I tabled my hand and announced, Queen-high straight. She put down her cards and announced, "I have the King." I growned inwardly. As I thought about the shitty result, I looked at the board. The flopped Ten was a diamond, the turn was a Jack of diamonds, and the river was a 9 of diamonds. I then looked at my cards, sitting exposed on the felt, Qd8d. SHIT! "Wait! I hit a flush." I paused a beat, "Um, it's a straight flush." The donk that I am, I didn't even realize that the board went runner runner flush and didn't think to check my cards for their suits. Fortunately, the pot had yet to be shipped, and I took down the pot.

Naturally, I apologized profusely to Cheryl for the rest of the night. I don't slowroll unless you do it to me first, so I felt like a complete tool.

Mistake 2 - Playing Like a Donkey. Eventually, a few players left the main game, and being a must move, I was sent to the big boys' table. Fairly early, I flopped an open ended straight draw with 89s and after calling down bets from Alceste, I hit my straight on the river. Being out of position facing a bettor, what did I do? Bet a stack of my chips immediately without counting, totaling $53 in all. The pot was apparently about $30, if not less, at the time, so Alceste folded. On one level I hoped that he had a strong hand like two-pair, but that's just rationalization after the fact. The truth is, even considering that possibility, a smaller bet was in order, since it could induce a raise from great hands and a call from good hands, both of which I could beat (my straight was the nuts). A while earlier, Darko and I were discussing prop bets and he proposed one in which either player can call out any other players' hand after all action is complete, and if he gets it right, he gets 3:1 on the bet. I rejected it several times, knowing full well that the game gave Darko a significant edge, since he'd played it before and the game really comes down to picking your spots. He, naturally, announced my hand, 89, to which I replied, "Oh, come on! Everyone and their sister knows I have 89!" Fortunately, I already rejected his prop bet. At least I wasn't a complete donk.

That hand really disgusted me. After all, it's one thing to have bad cards and another to have bad luck, but to squander the good luck you have is a terrible crime. I ended up cashing out up $79 at 10pm, after a bit less than 3 hours of play.

Profit is nice, but if I didn't recognize my sloppiness, it would've been gone quick. I suppose I did do one thing right.

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 4:20 PM, , links to this post