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Trophy Hunting

I don't think I've quite said it outright here, but I've really gotten into the goal of winning each blogger tournament at least once. My first memorable win came in the Hoy. I won DADI X a couple of weeks back. I've busted Wil in the WWdn, thus having it named after me for a week, but that doesn't fully count. I've won the WWdn Not once too. Oh, and then there is the inaugural RiverChasers tournament that I won. So, my scorecard leaves the following to conquer: (a) The Mookie, (b) new addition CC's Thursday Bash, and (c) the WWdn. Yesterday, I sorta added another trophy to my collection, the Mookie 2nd Chance tournament.

Wifey Kim was watching America's Next Top Model at her friend's apartment, a Wednesday tradition of late, and I had planned to go to Salami underground card club in the city for their $50+10 tournament at 7:30. The plan was to stay at work late enough to make a seemless transition, but at 6:30 I got antsy and decided to head home. I parked my ass in my chair and fired up the computer, knowing that wifey Kim would be home at about 9:30pm, so I had some time to kill.

I decided to play something that I haven't played in a long while, a single table SNG at Full Tilt. It was a long game, in which I did my best to stay in the top 4 or 3 most of the way. I didn't play aggressively until we were down to fewer competitors and the blinds were high. I was eventually raising with just about anything when we were 5 and 4 handed (i.e., on the bubble), mostly because the blinds were so high. Luckily, my eariler image paid off and I got respect. This was the plan, after all, as I didn't actually want to get called with my K9o (or on one hand 29o). Eventually, however, I was called with K9 v. A8, only to hit my 9, knocking out 5th place. I then had my A8 v. A7 and took out 4th place. By the time we got heads up, I was in a decent chiplead. However, my opponent fought back valiantly until we were about even. We got all-in with my 55 v. his AQo, and the flopped Q spelled my demise.

Still, a $30+ profit was enough for me, and I shut down my computer. Many hours later, after wifey Kim had fallen asleep by my side in bed, I whipped out the laptop once again. I was in the mood for a HORSE SNG, and since I do my best when I make my game selection on such moods/hunches, I decided to fire one up. Before I got there, I saw GCox online and shot him an IM. He replied back, Mookie 2nd Chance HORSE is starting soon. Well, shit, it was like it was meant to be, so I signed up and waited to begin the festivities.

HORSE SNGs and MTTs are difficult propositions. If you don't start to accumulate chips immediately, you'll find yourself shortstacked by the time you reach the first level of Stud Hi/Lo, if not sooner. Fortunately, I was able to win a solid hand in Razz, probably my strongest game in the lineup, and that allowed me to continue building.

I played a tighter game than usual, mostly because my cards were fairly dead across the board. When I did play, I played aggressively and more often than not got paid off. By the time we were down to the final table of 8 (from 20 total), I had taken a blow from playing my Razz hand a bit too strongly....during the Stud Hi round. I had about average, or maybe slightly more, but got back to my aggression. I got some good cards, sure, but I also extracted as much value as possible from them.

An interesting thing about my image. You probably all remember the big controversy that surrounded my win of DADI X under the GCox handle. Well, ever since then and slightly before, I had the feeling that my wins don't earn any respect. People see me as lucky when I win, and as much as I want to protest, I know that doing so will only make me look weak. The bottom line is that my style of play and my image allow me to dominate tournaments when I do get cards because people are paying me off. Even more than that, I know how to extract chips. So, when you think I'm a luckbox for my great starting hand, re-read the hand history. You may just realize that it wasn't ONLY the cards that allowed me to win a monster pot. It's my ability to build the pot and get in extra bets that matter.

On that note, I tussled a lot with 23Skiddoo. In one hand in particular, I bet a lot of the way in a Stud H/L hand. I didn't have a monster, but I had a good low draw and two pair (Aces and something er other) for the high. When the river came down and he suddenly re-raised me, I folded. His board was something like 3K7Q, and the way he played it just screamed 7-high straight, for a better high and low. So, I folded on the river and when he asked me why, I told him, You hit your Straight on the river, right? He said he did, and I believe him. That's the other thing about my game. Even if I'm playing loose, I know how to fold (happy RiverRun?). That was especially helpful in the Limit HORSE tournaments. Say it with me now: Limit Poker is all about saving and extracting each individual bet.

So, I took the beyotch down, with a commanding chip lead by the time we were 5 or 6 handed. When we were 4-handed, I held about 18k of the chips, with my nearest competition at around 7k. Dominating, once again, much like I did at DADI. No, I'm not talking smack. I'm just pointing something out. When I win these things, I'm often dominating. It's part and parcel to my style of play.

Now, let's look at some individual hands. I got one Razz for you and one Hold'em hand that I thought was fun. Let's get started.

We are playing what I think was our second round of Razz, with blinds of 150/300, and antes of 25. It may've been our third round of Razz. Whatever the case, there are six players at my table, and I'm the chipleader with 6,981. We all ante and 23skidoo with a Q brings it in for 50. A player with a 5 folds and Don, with a 6, calls. I have 4A/7, a Felicia-worthy hand, and decide to complete to 150. Everyone folds except for Don. I pretty much know from my experience with him that he has no respect for me or my game, so I'm glad he wants to dance. He only has 1812 in front of him.

Fourth street is dealt, and the boards are:

Me: A4/79
Don: XX/63

So, right away, it looks like I'm behind. But I'm not putting Don on two low cards in the hole because he didn't raise preflop. I figure him for a 9-high draw, maybe, so he's still potentially ahead, but its very early and I can easily take the lead. Don makes the obvious bet of 150 and I call. 5th Street is dealt and the board is:

Me: A4/796
Don: XX/632

It sure looks bad, but I'm drawing to a 7 with a made 9, so if he has a crappy card underneath, I'm likely ahead or drawing to be ahead. Plus, that 2 could have easily paired him if he liked what he had beneath. I'm still not scared when he bets 300. I call. 6th Street is dealt:

Me: A4/7969
Don: XX/632T

Okay, so where are we. If he has a high card beneath, then I'm still ahead. If he doesn't, then I'm probably behind, but have a great draw. Remember, I still don't put him on two low cards underneath because of his failure to raise preflop. Don bets and I call. The river is dealt.

Me: A4/7969/8
Don: XX/632T/X

SWEET! I hit my 8. Now, I'm still not golden, because he may've been going slow because of an 8 in the hole, so he'd be ahead if he has another low. Problematic, really. He bets, and I think about what to do for a while. His failure to bet preflop really seals the deal. He probably had one low card in the hole preflop and if he hit another on the river, so be it. Plus, I really do feel that Don doesn't respect my game and besides, he has to bet here hoping that I will chicken out. I don't though and call.

At showdown, Don shows his hole cards, shuffled because of Full Tilt's software. In the hole, he held K, 3 and 8. I don't know the order. If he held the K3 in the hole in the first place, I'm ahead the whole way, since he paired his 3 on fourth street. He just wasn't willing to slow down and he was overreacting to his own board. If he had the 38 underneath, then its the same deal. The only thing that might make his play a bit better was K8 underneath, but even there, I'm still ahead the whole way. Don screwed himself in this hand, and I had the reads and, just as importantly, the starting hand to call him down. After the hand, he got all pissy, calling me out and saying that he was ahead until the river. Well, Don, you lie, sir. But I don't mind, this is poker, after all.

This next hand is ye Olde Hold'em Shoppe. We are now 4-handed, and I have 12,325. The nearest competitor is Joanne with 8k, then Garth with 5k. I'm in the BB (150/300 blinds), and are dealt KK. Pretty damn lucky, right? Now lets maximize this mofo.

It folds to Joanne, and she bumps it to 600. Garth, to my surprise, raises. It's 900 to me, and raising it again looks right, but it also appears that Joanne wants to take the lead, so I'll let her do that. I call, and Joanne raises. We both call. Note that if Joanne doesn't raise, then I know she isn't that strong. Plus, I appear a bit weaker (whether she raises or not) by just calling preflop. Ah, sweet sweet deception.

The flop is 544, rainbow. Beautiful. Garth checks, and I decide to check as well. I expect Joanne to bet and besides, I want to get my opponent's comfortable so I can get more bets in on the later higher betting rounds. Joanne obliges and bets. Garth calls and I do too. I really only fear an Ace coming off. If either has hit their set, so be it. KK is just too good here with all the preflop action, and at least one of them likely has an overpair to the board. The other has to have at least a couple of high cards like AK or AQ, but more likely has a pair as well.

The turn is a 6, but I'm not worried about the straight. It does create a flush draw, but that isn't my immediate concern either. Garth checks and I check as well, since there is no way Joanne is not going to bet. She does and Garth calls. I check-raise from 600 to 1200. Both players call. By saving the check raise for the turn with the Button, Joanne, leading the whole way, I'm able to get an extra big bet from both of my opponents. I'm glad to see that Joanne didn't reraise me, since that might scare me a tad, and would probably scare off Garth.

The river is an offsuit Ten and I'm feeling good about my hand. I know I have a loose stealing image, so when Garth checks, I decide to check again. I'm really inviting Joanne to push me out of the hand, and she bets from the button. Garth calls and I raise it again. Both players call.

On showdown, Garth shows JJ. Joanne shows QQ. I take down the pot.

Was that a lucky hand? Sure! KK v QQ v JJ four-handed! Freakin' insane. But I read my players' actions and I predicted them correctly. As a result, I maximized the value of the hand by getting in not one, but TWO check-raises in the big betting streets. Go me!

Hence, I won the 2nd Chance Mookie tournament. Joanne took 2nd, and she was more than a worthy competitor. Next up, I'm hunting for some CC.

Until then, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 12:55 AM, ,

Here I Go Again: My Review of the ReviewMe Ads

The (self-proclaimed) Devil's Advocate of Poker Bloggers hasn't stirred up any harsh emotions in the last, say, two weeks, so let's get into it with my opinion on Review Me.

For those who do not know, Review Me is a site that coordinates advertisers and bloggers. Bloggers sign up for Review Me, and Review Me will give you a general rate for ads on your blog. The Ads are in the form of a Review made in a post. Advertisers go to Review Me, Review Me arranges which blogs will review the product or service, and Review Me collects a fee from the Advertiser, passing 1/2 of the fee onto the blogger.

Shock! Bloggers can make money blogging! Well, I'm not stupid enough to really start a thread that is all controversy (intentionally). So let me start with my rawest feelings on the subject: as a newly-self-identified Libertarian, I believe that each blog should individually decide on their own whether Review Me is right for them, and they should not be taken to task because of the monetization of their blog. I think we call all agree that 99% of us did not start blogging because of the big paycheck, wild lifestyle, and copious amount of groupies (not to mention the health insurance benefits!). No, we started blogging because we are all egotistical exhibitionists, or, if you prefer, creative poker-centric people who wanted a forum to share their thoughts.

That said, I do not think there is anything wrong with making money from your blog, plain and simple. There are two prevalent thoughts on the subject, and one subsection. Some believe that they should get whatever they can get. An ad doesn't cost the blogger anything, so making a few bucks for something that costs nothing is not only smart, but also logical. The other major group believes that there is an inherint value to your blog and/or reputation, and you will only sell it for the right price under the right conditions. A subsect of this group would not take advertisers because their valuation of their blog is too high, and advertisers aren't offering enough. But ask any blogger, ANY BLOGGER, if they'd sell their blog for $1,000,000, and I'd guess that they'd all say yes in a heartbeat. That's why I don't consider the non-advertising bloggers to be their own group. They just haven't seen their price yet.

Where do I stand in all of this. I stand squarely in the group that places some value in their blog and reputation. Sure, you see some ads on the side, but I don't take any affiliate deals because when I had them, I found that it was affecting my blogging. I'll advertise for you if you pay the price, but I won't do your dirty work, sending customers your way, because (a) if I don't emphasize your product in posts, I'm not likely to get a lot of benefit from your affiliate deal, and (b) if I do emphasize your product in my post, then I'm not blogging to express myself, I'm blogging to make money. That just isn't me, not that there is anything wrong with that.

Now, with all of that behind us, what does this have to do with Review Me and their post ads. It just won't work for me. I've considered it long and hard. Free money is nice, and that's why I don't blame anyone for trying Review Me out. But for me, when I see a Review Me ad on a blog, it just appears to be filler. I ignore it entirely, mostly because I know what's going on behind the curtain. I know that the blogger is just going through the motions and have no real interest in the product or service. It's akin to expecting your favorite show to be on, but finding an infomercial on instead. It just plain sucks. So, I ignore the post and wait for the next one.

One thing Review Me does right is that they have a disclaimer in each advertisement post. At least they aren't trying to fool us. Whatever the case, it's still just filler, and I doubt that the readers really care for it. At least the banners on the side are just trimming around the beautiful turkey that is my writing. When you put up an ad post from Review Me, the turkey isn't even real. It's a faux Thanksgiving, which is no thanks at all.

Do I condemn you for signing up with Review Me? Hell no! I was 5 minutes away from doing it a couple of times before I decided not to. If you are of the mind that the price is right for you or your blog, then take it. Who the hell am I to judge! No one, that's who. But will it work for me? Sadly, no. I'll have to leave that money on the table, because it just doesn't fit right.

So, what can we get from all of this? Live and let live, sure, I like that. Every man has his price, okay that too. I mean, if Review Me said, Hey Jordan, $200 per ad post, I'd be all, Where do I sign up? But for the time being it will cost me too much (my content) to take on those ads.

One last thought. Perhaps the advertising bubble has bursted in the blogosphere and Review Me is the only guy out there. If so, fine. I don't really need the ads. They were just some of the perks. I only mention it becasue for those considering Review Me, this may be the tipping point. But I haven't seen any evidence that the ads will end (just yet). Let's cross that bridge when we get to it.

posted by Jordan @ 10:50 AM, ,

Low Returns and Vegas Ideas

Poker has been a +/- $20 affair the last couple of nights, but its fine by me. I'm finding that after playing for 45 minutes, if I'm near even, I'll just call it a night, poker-wise. The joy of a new laptop means I can play stupid videogames once again, so I've found a new way to waste my time. Poker is still my favorite videogame, but since my live success vastly outweighs my online success, I'm still transitioning myself to a mostly live game player. With that in mind, I best be playing more live, so I'll be returning to the mixed game at SIF's home on Saturday from 1 to 6, but not a moment later. Jordan has plans, including a birthday party at a random bar and an off-broadway production of a play version of Saved by the Bell, a tongue-in-cheek idea that originated from college-pal Jefe.

Mmmm...mixed games. I likee!

On that subject, I've noticed a lot of success in the blogosphere lately. I don't want to list people because I'll surely leave more than a few out, but I will point out DADI-partner TripJax's Mansion Poker win for over $1K! I'll also mention that cracknaces, aka the SNG Machine, may actually be a fucking Machine, the guy kicks so much ass so damn consistently. What about me, what about Jordan! Kudos to both of them.

Onto another subject. Roose's Vegas Bachelor Party is going to happen, even if we have to wait till April to book our May flights. I've asked about this before and got little responses, but since a bevy of bloggers are heading out to Vegas soon, perhaps some people's Vegas-mindsets have initiated. My question is this: What should we do and where should we go in Vegas? There's a wide assortment of attendees, including Roose's father and older brother-in-law, some non-poker players, and a bunch of fellow degenerates. I'm very much for the idea of every man for himself, largely because of the size and variety of people coming. So, I'm really only interested in a few things that really apply to me and my fellow degenerates:

(a) Where and when can I get some great cheap meals, aside from Ellis Island, home of the $4.99 Steak dinner?

(b) Where are the best places for 1/2 NLHE poker?

(c) Where are the best places for non-hold'em limit poker, like Omaha, Razz, etc. in the 3/6 to 5/10 range?

(d) Where should I play tournaments with a $100 or less buy-in (counting rebuys)?

(e) Is there anywhere else we should go to of any variety, including recommended sites, restaurants or theatre (naked variety preferred)?

Any tips would be greatly appreciated, and when you are in Vegas for the WPBT gathering, now you have an excuse to explain to your wife why you spent so much time at the Nudie Bar. "But honey, I'm doing research for Jordan!" She'll understand. Sure she will.

Until then, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 12:38 PM, ,

Losing like a Champion

Last night, as I was enjoying my evening with wifey Kim and Ernie the Cat, I received a telephone call from long time friend J-Dub. Dub had recently gotten married, and was just back from his honeymoon. As we chatted and caught up, I told him of my most recent trip to AC. We discussed the tournament and the two hands that caused me to lose ITM in 7th place. The first was AA v. 55 all-in preflop, where my adversary hit his 5. The second was AJs v. 9To, in a hand where my adversary did not mean to call, but was absent-mindedly counting his chips in front of his cards.

As I told him about it, he asked, "But doesn't that kill you inside, losing like that?" I knew what he was talking about. It's all too easy to lose at poker, and specifically in tournaments, and think that you were screwed, that god hates you, that luck is conspiring against you, and that you can never win with such luck. But I also knew that this was the wrong way to think about poker.

I explained to Dub: "Nah, I'm cool with it. In both of those situations, I was ahead, so at least I didn't mess up. Luck is part of the game, and after a while you come to accept that. You don't get mad at 2-outters, because it will happen and getting mad won't help you. Instead you just have to see tournament poker for what it is. It is largely a lottery (oversimplifying it a bit for my compadre). Luck is definitely a factor. But if you play smart, then eventually luck will come around and you'll win. That's what its all about, winning big and hitting that huge payout. It's the high payout that makes all of the long suffering worth it."

That's the bottom line, people. I don't mean to sound harsh. I've been in the luck doghouse before, and spent four months in the red this year. That may be a sign to some that I'm not one to take advice from, and if you decide that, then so be it. But I know this game, and at the very least, I've learned to lose with a tad of grace (if not consistent grace). This is a game of luck, and if you are having a bad stretch, sure, let it out. But if you can only focus on your bad luck and damning the poker gods, then man up, goddamnit! You are a poker player, aren't you?! If you are an 80-20 favorite, you are still going to lose 1 out of every 5 attempts. If that happens to you a couple of times in a row, its still within the realms of mathematical probability. All your tilting and wining isn't going to change it.

You have control over one thing in this world and in poker: yourself. Get control over how you perceive things and how you react to things. Learn to lose like a champion, because, yes, champions DO lose in poker.

And if you can't do that, there is always chess.

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 11:16 AM, ,

Bus Depot Poker

The Wednesday before Thanksgiving Day, Roose decided to throw a poker game. It's the biggest partyin night of the year, but somewhere between college and marriage, the bars have lost their thrill on me. My drug of choice is poker, damnit, and since we also had a bachelor party to plan for Roose, poker won out.

I left the wife at home, expecting to have a night out with the boys, playing poker, drinking beer, and taking my migraine medication. When I arrive in the Queens apartment, it was more like a busy bus depot. Besides the regular poker crew, several girlfriends and fiance mulled about, some willing to play, others just hanging around. I arrived early and tried to start a cash game. Players came and went, distracted by the TV, ladies, and copious booze. I mostly tried to keep the game moving. Wifey Kim was at home and I wouldn't have it any other way. It's not that I don't love wifey Kim's company. I'd choose her over anyone at the game, including Mistress Poker. It's just that when I play, I like to emmerse myself in the game, like an alcoholic to his bottle. In other words, to a non-player I'd be a complete bore, and likely to ignore everyone around me without chips in their hands. I'd never do that to wifey Kim though.

We made some perfunctory plans for the bachelor party. We'll be in Vegas in the middle of May, staying at the Excalibur, something I was very excited about until I heard of their new, in-the-middle-of-the-casino-floor poker room. Even so, their prices were unbeatable, and that was most of what mattered. We are awaiting airfare prices from Jet Blue, now selling tickets through April (as they have been doing now for three months), so our flights aren't definite, although I'm guessing we'll be flying for about $360 round trip. So, we really got nothing new done, but we did re-up our commitment to making this trip happen.

Finally, when enough players had settled down, we got started on our first $20 tournament. I lobbied for 20 minute blinds, but lost to people who insisted on 15 minute levels. I guess their goal was to get two games in. I'd rather get one good game though.

The first tournament was fairly uneventful. I stayed afloat until the final table and went out with 6 people left. There were about 15-16 people. The second tournament played a lot better. I got lucky with QQ vs. AK and 66, tripling up as we got into the final table. I kept the pressure on, dominating the players until we were down to 2. By then Greg had caught up with my stack by sheer will. He's one of the other poker aficionados in the group, a dealer from an underground club on LI. Heads up, we considered chopping for 5 seconds before we decided to play it out. The final hand saw Greg slowplaying me into pushing with my turned pair of 2s. He had flopped a set. I take home 2nd place money, $80, enough to book my 6th or so consecutive win at the Roose Home Game. It is also probably my 9th or 10th consecutive live session win as well.

The only problems with the game at Roose's is the distance (trains suck, if only there were an actual nearby subway), and the distractions. The booze and other distractions can make for a difficult game, where players are constantly getting up for another drink or some food. For a serious player, it can make the game a bit difficult, but fortunately it is not a place for serious play. It's more a place to cut loose.

A big thanks to Scotty as well. He was there for the game and brought Roose and I aside to discuss the WSOP Circuit event. Scotty offered to back us, and was shocked to find out that his cut amounted to $170 each only. I appreciate his support, and it gives me more confidence in my game. Now its time to deliver.

By the time the second game was done, it was just shy of 2am. I checked the train schedule, the only way to get from Roose's Queens apartment, and expected to find a nearby train. Sadly, we were officially into Thanksgiving Day, and the schedule was severely limited. The next train was at 4am. Luckily for me, Hole and his lovely girlfriend were still hanging around. I had to find a way back to wifey Kim. We had plans for the next morning, and nothing beats the comfort of one's own bed. After much planning, I found a random subway not too far from Roose's home. It wasn't in a particularly good neighborhood, and the train ride would take me probably over an hour from door to door, not including the wait time for the Holiday 2am train, but at least I'd be moving. As we drove to the train station, a cab pulled up next to us at a light. I rolled down my window to see if he'd take me to the city. He obliged and I switched vehicles. By the time I was back home, the cab cost me $40. My net win for the night: $40. Sometimes, things just work out.

Thanksgiving was great. My mother made a spectacular meal, and wifey Kim and I spent the night on LI. The next day we had brunch with her friend and her family in their new home. What assholes. The highlight of the meal was when wifey Kim's friend's father said nonchalantly, "We don't pay big firm prices at our firm, but we pay more than you" to me, during our meal. Internally, I was thinking, "And how do you know what I make, asshole?" Externally, I kept my cool. Protesting would only make me look petty. Fucker. The second highlight, when wifey Kim's friend at the table in front of everyone had a conversation with her husband that went like this one the other conversations died down: "...yeah, well he's across the table and here we are talking about him (I was the only male across the table). Do you think he knows?" "Knows what?" I stupidly took the bait. "Lauren is engaged." My ex-girlfriend from like 9 years ago. Somehow, this bitch always brings her up. What a C U Next Tuesday. I played that one off too: "Good for her."

The rest of the weekend, aside from seeing Borat, was uneventful. Yesterday, my mother and father came by to drop off their cat. They'll be heading on their 13th vacation of the year (god bless them), so we are cat sitting again. Ernie the cat, sans balls, is actually a lot calmer now. And he chose to use wifey Kim's toes as chew toys last night. NICE!

More fun poker this week, mostly via the Internet, unless I can make it to an I Had Outs homegame. I've got AC for the WSOP Circuit event the weekend after next, while many bloggers will be in Vegas for the WPBT Winter Classic. A couple of weeks later, I'm back to AC for Christmas. I'm already excited.

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 9:51 AM, ,

Tales from the CourtSide: Over Aggression in the Workplace

I already used the title "Tales from the CourtSide," my ironic take on Tales from the Darkside, a kick-ass tv show from my youth that featured horror stories somewhere in between Tales from the Crypt horror and Twilight Zone spooky.

Well, this ain't no horror story, but I had the pleasure this morning of experiencing another absurdity while at Court.

The morning was going to be hectic. On the fourth floor of the Courthouse, I had a preliminary conference, where the parties set up a schedule for everything to happen up to the date of trial. On the second floor, I had a compliance conference, where the parties meet up several months after the preliminary conference to argue about what was not done in compliance with the preliminary conference order. In other words, I'd be pulling double-duty, and the compliance conference case, case BM, was going to be contentious. To make it worse, BM wasn't even my case. But it was on my shoulders, and I could do no less than argue on behalf of my Team Leader.

A clerk from our office joined me for the Court appearance. She was supposed to have the day off, but the Big Boss Man insisted that she come in a half day to babysit one of my cases while I handled the other. I insisted that it was unneccessary, until I was informed that at our firm, we don't send one person to be in two places at the same time. Well, okay, but I settled the preliminary conference in a half-hour and sent my cohort home to turkey preparation as I readied myself for the compliance conference.

There are few things more difficult than working out discovery issues in a case without actually knowing the case. But, I had some papers with me and expected that I could call Team Leader in the event of any complications.

I called out the case name, "BM!" a procedure standard in the court room. I heard back a meek cry from the back of the room. "bm." I started to get up, but opposing counsel motioned for me to stay put, he grabbed his papers and joined me at my bench in the courtroom. He had already filled out the paperwork.

As I read through it, I saw that it was all in his favor. He requested a myriad of authorizations for a case where all of these things should have already been done. I bit my tongue on most of it, since I figured why argue. If he wants to include it, so be it. After all, if the authorizations were previously exchanged then that would be our response after the fact. If they were not, well, they were sort of entitled to the authorizations. In other words, I was giving the opposing counsel the benefit of the doubt. That was, until I saw the request for our client's primary care physician records.

Remember, I don't know the case well. However, I'm always looking out for the client's best interests. I pointed out the request and told my opposition, "This is fine, as long as we limit it to records regarding injuries related to the accident."

"Well, um, well, eh, I think we are entitled to it. Um, I think you have a claim for loss of enjoyment of life. Uh..." That's when I got my first look at my opposition. He was a guy, probably my age or perhaps a year older, with a look of sheer terror on his face. His hands shook like he held pocket Aces, but his eyes told me that he didn't even know how to play the game. A newbie, I thought. Much like myself a year before, a newbie can be sniffed out with nary a thought. They are nervous about everything. They usually are under the thumb of a partner (real or imagined). And worst of all, they have no capacity for reason. Fair enough, I thought. We'll go back to this issue later.

We moved on to the next issue, the deposition of some nurses from the defendant Hospital. The problem was, we didn't know the names of the nurses. All my opposition would give me is a general statement that we can depose someone from the Hospital. That wasn't enough for me. I had explicit instructions to have the defendant provide us with a list of nurses in the ER. I tried to work out other avenues with the opposition, but counsel just wouldn't veer from his script. It was clear that he was concerned about what the partner would think. I used the soft approach, trying to find middle ground, but I wasn't going to budge if he wasn't. Finally, I laid it out: "Look, you and I are not getting anywhere. Let's take it to a Court Clerk and get a decision." I took the sheet and dropped it into the basket requesting a conference. That's when my opposition got up to make a phone call.

Back up a second. This wasn't the first phone call made by my opposition. It was actually about the 3rd. After our two other issues, he went running to make a call, presumably so that his partner can crack the whip and reinforce that he was to get XYZ and only XYZ. On the prior occasions, I took the opportunity to call my office. Of course, Team Leader was in a meeting with Big Boss Man, and I was SOL. I had to pretty much work on the fly.

We were called up to the Clerk, and had our conference. Most of it went my way, as I was squarely in the right. Once done, my opposition and I shook hands. I didn't mind the kid. He was a little inexperienced and certainly spineless, but its not easy starting out in a career like ours where you pretty much sink or swim.

Hence, my surprise as I waited for the Court to officially stamp our order. My cell phone was vibrating, and since using a cell phone in a Court room is a serious no no, I quickly moved to the doors. As soon as I was outside, I picked up and heard the voice of my Team Leader.

"Jordan, I just got a call from the lead attorney from the defendants in BM."
"Really?" I asked. "Everything is under control here."
"She told me that her guy called her to tell her that you were being too tough."
"Yeah, she called me and told me to call you and tell you to stand down."
"Are you serious?"
"But..." I was dumbfounded and searched for the right words. "But...I've been taking it easy on the guy. He's shaking like a leaf in there, so instead of arguing with him, I said we should take it to the clerk. I don't get it. I'm making an effort not to be aggressive."
"Well, whatever you are doing, I'm not telling you to act differently. I don't care what they say, even if you are being a complete jerk, I'm giving you that leeway."
"Um, thanks." In my head, I was still figuring out where this was all coming from. "I'll be done here and back in a few."

So, I wrapped it up, shook the hand of the scared kitten that was my adversary and headed to the office. When I entered, Big Boss Man saw me. "Woe! Calm down there over aggressive guy!" he joked. All I could do is smile and laugh. Sheet, I'm over aggressive even when I'm trying to be passive. I shot back, "That's what all my dates say." And that was that.

posted by Jordan @ 4:37 PM, ,


Let's talk Razz. Since my recent Razz posts and my heavy endorsement of Razz at Full Tilt, more than one person has told me that they've picked up the game and had good results. I played a little 8/16 and 3/6 (very shorthanded) tonight, and had great results, netting about $120 in 15 minutes while waiting for a PLO MTT to start.

I truly love Razz. The game has a subtlety to it that is unmatched in any other games. Hold'em will always be the kingpin of poker, but Razz is the drinker of the, a subtle drinker...think Al.

Let's look at two hands to see the vast advantage some simple knowledge will give you over the common Razz donkeys.

We are sitting at $8/16 Razz, with $1.50 antes. For "intimidation" purposes, you bought in for $400 and are now up to $412. You are second chipleader. No one has impressed you yet.

I am dealt 7A/6. Igot brings it in for $2 with a Jack showing. A nine and a jack fold. I raise, because I have a Felicia-level hand, basically 3 cards 7 or under (my standards to play are 8 or under). You are ok with winning the blinds, as they amount to $11 of easy money. Soes, a player I sort of know to get into a lot of hands, calls with an Ace showing. Everyone else folds.

Realistically, this is what I know: (a) he doesn't have a 5 and under or else he'd raise, (b) he likely doesn't have a 6 and under, so I'm possibly ahead, (c) he very well might have a dead card underneath, like a T2, because frankly, that happens more than you think at 8/16.

The turn is:

HighOnPoker: 7A/66
Soes: XX/A2

That looks terrible. I freakin' paired and he has two ideal cards showing. So, what will logically happen is, he'll bet and I'll fold. Well, he does bet, but I decide to call. The next card could change everything, and we are still at the $8 betting stage. If I hit another low an he whiffs, I can take him for bets the rest of the way. If I whiff, I fold. It's just too early to give up this hand, especially when I give him no faith for good cards underneath.

HighOnPoker: 7A/664

Here's the beauty. We are now essentially even. We are both hoping to draw to one more good card. His Jack-high is no good. My 66 is no good. We both need that next card.

He bets $16. Now, the way I see it is, there is already a lot of dough in that pot. There is $59 in the pot with his bet, and I have to call $16 for a hand that is essentially the equivalent of war. He gets one card, I get one card and whoever has the better one wins! I like them odds, as I used to dominate War when we played it at home (its one of my specialties along with PL 5-card draw).

HighOnWar: 7A/664A
Soes: XX/A2J2

Okay, terrific. I have two pair. How come this never happens to me when I play stud? Fortunately, this is the one instance in which this street was not War. I now have an opportunity to bluff. We are both still drawing to one card, first of all. His pair hurt him just as much as mine hurt me. However, my board is very deceptive. Any advanced player in his position might be able to piece together that I had an Ace underneath, considering my initial aggression, but most likely, he has a J in the hole anyway. Players are just too loose and stupid sometimes. Not all of them, mind you, but you can suss out the bad ones pretty quickly.

Soes checks, I bet, he folds, and I win a hammerific $72.

And now, for the intermission:

Welcome back. Let's take a look at one more Razz hand before we call it a day. Same table, but I've dipped a bit to $395. I am still the second big stack though. Me and my five opponents post the $1.50 ante.

A King brings it in for $2, and a ten calls. First off, this guy with the ten is an idiot. He's got two players behind him with 2s showing, and he's calling out of position with a ten? Just mail me your $2 and save us the rake. Moseley is next and has a 2 showing. He bets $8. I'm right behind him with 56/2, another Feliciable hand. After me are a Q and a K, so its really me and Moseley squaring off with 2s. He's the player with more chips than me, but that doesn't bother me in the least since its a limit game. I just use my stack to intimidate min buyers, which is a whole other story. If I have 3 under 6, I'm probably ahead. Even if I'm not, the next card is nothing but possibilities. I raise to $16. The Q and K fold, but, now get this, the TEN calls! $14 cold! With a god damn TEN! Moseley calls also, but notably doesn't raise, so I've ruled out A3 and probably anything 5 and under.

Moseley: XX/28
HighOnPoker: 56/29

Okay. So, TEN likely has two really low cards beneath. Either that or he's "special." I figure I am definitely behind Moseley. Oddly, he checks first, which should have been a hint to me that he already had an 8. Otherwise, any self-respecting player in his position would be out. I check anyway, and so does TEN.

Moseley: XX/28K
HighOnPoker: 56/299

Not good. Suddenly TEN is in the lead?! He doesn't wait a moment and bets out $16. Moseley is a little bitch and folds. He definitely paired the 8. I am behind, but how behind am I? If he was playing the Ten in the first place, I'd assume he had A2 beneath. If not that, A3 would be the next most likely. He sees the messed up boards and knows our hesitation to bet so he takes the lead. I know what's up too. I'm drawing to a 9, which so far looks good if he misses the next card. Also, I really have a feeling he paired the Ace. I call.

HighOnPoker: 56/2993

I hit my 9! And at best, he has a 9 as well. My next card is a 6, and thats low enough to make me feel confident. I'm still eying him for a pair of Aces. He bets and I call, because he could have me beat. In the unlikely event that he was loose enough to play a Ten showing with two low cards that are not an Ace, I do want to minimize my losses somewhat.

HighOnPoker: 56/2993/9

I have a 96 low. Not too bad. Who knows what he has. I am hesitant about what to do until he checks to me. Then I easily check. I win $120 for my trouble.

And what were TEN's other cards. Well, Full Tilt mixes up the cards at showdown, believe it or not, so I don't know exactly. But I do know that the three cards were T, 4, and 3. So, he probably started with 34/T. What a tool! He paired and then hit the Ace and then bluffed at the pot because I was passive and had paired 9s. Also, he was ahead of me on that particular street, my 99 to his 44. But I called him down, confident that a 9 would carry me through. It was definitely a risky hand, and looking back, I almost question my play a bit, but overall, the tipping point was his willingness to play a Ten. Anyone who would play a Ten to a reraise are going to give away their money. Let's call TENLOVER exhibit A.

I believe that is enough for right now. Hopefully, you see the benefit and fun that can be had by playing a variety of games. After all, are you a Hold'em player or a poker player?

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 9:14 PM, ,

Tournament vs Cash PLO8

There is definitely a difference between tournament PLO8 and cash game PLO8. In my experience, the biggest gap between the two involves the low. In a cash game format, players are able to fold more, since the blinds do not escalate. In tournaments, the escalating blinds seem to loosen up the crowd, and correct folds in a cash game become sometimes foolish in a tournament. Here is a good example from a recent Double Stack PLO8 MTT on Full Tilt.

We were at 15/30 blinds and I had 3,500, 500 more than our starting stacks. In MP, I was dealth JhJsAs4c, a hand that could potentially win high and low, but was not overwhelmingly coordinated. After it folded to me, I decided to limp, since I was already ahead 500 early in the runnings. Two other players under 3000 called from the CO and Button, as did the SB and BB.

The flop was a troublesome 2d 2h 5c. Starting with the high hand, we can see that my spade flush draw is DOA. I have an overpair of Js, but that isn't worth anything in PLO8. I have an inside straight draw to the wheel, which is slim to hit, especially since the limpers likely have low cards. However, if I hit that wheel, I'll probably be a high-low lock, although I'll possibly splitting it with another player with A4. As for the low, I'm drawing to the second nut. If someone has A3, I am screwed unless a 3 hits, so I normally would be cautious.

It checks around to me and I check as well. The Button bets pot, 150. It folds to me and I decide to call. I sort of fear A2, which is a common hand to play, but with no preflop action, the potential for a wheel, and a decent low draw, I decide its worth playing 150 more against a player who may be making a position raise. Also, players seem to love to play their lows strong in these tournaments, so I figured that I may actually have the high if he is betting a low draw from position. The CO calls as well, which mildly concerns me.

The turn is a 7s. I've made the second nut low, and still have only an overpair to the board. It checks to the button who bets pot, 600. Now, here I may think its time to let the hand go. I made the second nut low, but in a cash PLO8 game, second nut lows aren't worth crap. Here, however, the bettor is potentially betting from position and by betting pot, he seems to want to push out the competition. I think I may have the low, but even if I don't, I might have the high if he hit his low with A3 and holds nothing else of importance (like maybe 58 or something similar--players' ranges seem to widen in these tournaments). I call 600, and the CO finally takes the hint and folds.

What was the river? Why its a Jd! That gives me the nut full house, so I'm definitely ahead for the high and my low is the second nut. Should I check it? Hell no. I bet pot, 1,800. He rer-raises all in for another 308 and I call.

At showdown, the Button tables 6d Ac Qs 2s, for a set of 2s (as expected) and an A6 low. My full house beat his set, and my A4 low beat his A6. I scoop and he's busted.

What happened here? Well, I did sorta get lucky by the river, but I figured that my opponent was probably not super strong for the high AND low, even though he may be strong for one or the other. Possible holdings included A2, but that wasn't enough alone. If he had A23x or AA3x (which would give him the nut low and a superior high hand until the river), I'd expect a preflop raise. Instead, I had to figure him for one or the other A2xx or A2xx. Maybe he even had 25xx for a flopped full house, but I couldn't put him on 2345 or A235 because of his lack of raises preflop. Also, post-turn, his pot-sized bet didn't appear to be a value bet as much as it was an attempt to win the hand outright. Had he slowed down and bet 400 into the 600 pot, I would have been more suspicious.

Would this hand be the same if it were a cash game? I don't really think so. In those games, players can be more patient. Plus, they are playing with real money, not tournament chips. The result is that a pot-sized bet in a cash game usually means strength. The same player that can justify pot sized bets with sub optimal hands in tournaments would clam up at the thought in a full ring game.

Opinions, thoughts? I don't think I played this hand optimally. I just saw myself as having lots of outs, and since I had a bit of a cushion (500), I allowed myself to see some extra cards in full preparation for a fold if it didn't pan out by the river.

Ultimately, I made a good run in this tournament before my flopped nut straight (9Txx with a QJ8 flop) lost on the river when the board paired 8s and my opponent pushed with Q8. I've found this to be my biggest shortcoming in these tournaments. The board pairs, I know I'm against a full house (I assumed JJ or QQ), but I still call. Shame on me. That said, I still look forward to trying some more of these.

On that note, I have to reconsider my recent jump in stakes. Variance has swung around and I had two very tough nights at 1/2 NL and 5/10 LO8. I'm still not sure where I'll take it from there, but whatever the case, I'm glad I got some exposure to the higher limits.

I player in the Hoy last night, I think. I barely remember, honestly, as I was half-distracted by Heroes. When I busted and Heroes was over (btw, my Heroes prediction: Horn-Rimmed Glasses will be like the Professor X of the Heroes when they join forces, even though they've painted HRG as a mysterious evil guy so far), I decided to play some video games on my new computer. I really enjoyed myself too, moreso than the poker. Don't get me wrong, I still love poker, but I can't deny that I have a much better record live than online. It really makes me want to reconsider my usual routine. As it stands now, expect to see less of me at the tables and more of me playing stupid mindless videogames. I know, I've said this before, but I mean it now that I have a new computer that can actually play the freakin' games. It really isn't much of a change in routine, as I've been playing online poker like a mindless videogame anyway. Oh, and if you see me in every blogger tourney for the next 2 wks, just try not to rub it in. It's hard leaving poker, no matter what I say.

18 days until I play in the WSOP Circuit event at Harrah's. Until then, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 3:28 PM, ,

And into the Black (AC Trip Report Pt. 2)

When last we left me, I was eating a burger and enjoying the cool Atlantic City breeze. On my way back to the cardroom in preparation for the $60+15 tournament, I received a call from good buddy Danny Platinum. I was excited to tell of my good fortunes, "Hey bud, I'm in AC and I've locked in a $200 profit already." "Really?" pause "it's my birthday."

SHIT! I knew it was DP's birthday, but I had told him I'd be in Foxwoods with Woffles. Now, I wasn't even at Foxwoods. His birthday had just slipped my mind. "Ah, shit man. I'm sorry." "Ah, its no big deal." "I'll take you out to lunch tomorrow." "Yeah, I might have plans. We'll see."

I finished up the walk and decided to put Dan out of my mind. I had to focus on this tournament.

I've already voiced some of my problems with the Hilton, and they just continued through the tournament process. We did not get started on time, mostly because they have a backwards system. Instead of giving out seats during registration, each player had to pull a tile. Once I was seated, I noticed that the line was still growing. At the very least, there were 7 tables going, which was a good thing. The big Italian-looking, loose, wannabe pro guy from my earlier table (I'll have to give him a name, like Moose, just cause) told me that they usually had trouble getting 2 full tables on a Saturday. What a tool.

My table seemed nice enough. To my immediate right was a white haired, balding guy with glasses, who was very friendly. To his left sat...Moose. The rest of the table were young-looking kids, for the most part. I liked my table. Early on, it became clear that a few of the kids were going to play weak tight, since presumably they were either newbie fish or really cared about the $75 entry fee. Moose was his usual loose self, limping in a lot. He won the first hand with JT when a scruffy kid (definitely scruffier than the rest, and not coincidentally, he played a 'scruffier' game) slowplayed his flopped two pair allowing Moose to river him. I played a hand against the old guy on my left, and when I bet the river, he minimum raised me. I don't remember my hand, but I believe it was an overpair to the highly coordinated board. He showed down a complete bluff, and I was surprised to take it down. Ironically, he told me a hand or two later that he misread his cards. He thought he made the straight, and I believe him. He was the type of player who sincerely apologized after he won your chips. And he won a lot, too. He played the min-raise trick against me again later when I was stone-cold bluffing. He showed my pocket 10s for a flopped set, so I was glad to fold to his river bet. I don't recall other major hands, but I fluctuated because of my loose style. Eventually, the old guy busted Moose, and Moose stormed off. I didn't expect that from such a seasoned player.

When our table was split up, I was moved to the same table as the old guy. I had a little but more than our starting stack of 5k. There was also a good player who reminded me of Van Alstyn (am I spelling that right?). He was brought to my last table and when our table was split, he, oldie and I ended up in the same place. I don't remember this table too much, aside from a dorky looking guy in a NJ Devil's jersey. A cute girl on my left, who was apparently friends with Van Alstyn (they were chatting), mentioned that he was raising a lot. "Has he showed down any hands yet?" "No." "Well he will be soon." I waited to get into a confrontation with him, but it did not happen. Soon, our table was breaking and I was moved to my third table. One seat to my left was a friendly Maryland guy. We chatted for a bit about the game in general before I started asking him about players. I find that if you can find a friendly neighbor at a new table, you can get all sorts of useful information. The guy to his left was part of a biker "gang." It was his first time playing Hold'em (he had some other poker experience), but he had a huge stack. Apparently, he was a calling station who kept on hitting.

I waited for a chance to play Chuck the Biker, but when I did, he bet out on the flop. For a calling station, that's a scary thing. I folded. I played fairly well, as the blinds escalated. I had gotten up to over 15k from the last table (although I don't remember particular hands). I noticed everyone tightening as we got down to 2-tables so I began to loosen up. The entire game I was changing gears, and it was really working to my advantage. I raised in the CO from 1000 to 3500, hoping to get the BB only to call. He was short with 3200 at most, and I had Q3o. I was willing to get it all in on a coin toss, and even better, he was folding with a tiny M, so I could possibly pick up the blinds and antes. To my surprise, the SB pushed and the BB folded, so I made the call for 1500 more. He had 77 and I lost a pot. I tightened up, trying to find a time to double up. I finally made my move with AQ and found myself up against TT from NJ Devils and 66 from the weak player who was the BB in that last hand. The flop had an Ace and I was ecstatic. The turn was a 6, and the small stack hit his set. The river was a blank. "If one of them was going to beat me, I'm glad it was him." He took his pittance and I had a few chips more than before the hand. I continued to tighten up near the bubble, mostly because of stack size. When the final table bubble burst, we were moved.

As the players picked their new seats, Van Alstyn asked if everyone would chip in $10 for 10th place. Only 9 spots paid. I looked at the board and saw that 9th place made $109, for a $34 profit. -$10 and you are at $24 profit. At the time, I had 30k or so in chips, but there were players with less than 10k. I saw the possibility of placing 9th, and rejected the deal. A few of the players were shocked, and when the tournament director asked about the deal, Van Alstyn pointed to me and said, "He already said no." I stuck by my guns, but joked, "We can discuss it later when I'm shortstacked." At least they laughed.

Surprisingly, the old man with the big stack from my first table had busted already, as did Chuck the Biker (he was moved from our table, protesting the entire time). However, NJ Devil was still in, as was Van Alstyn and a shaved-headed kid who buddied up with me from the last table. He was a friendly guy and seemed to have fun yucking it up. I especially liked how he told me he was just trying to make the money. I exploited that whenever I could. There was also a middle aged guy who was friendly, as well as a guy who looked like a heavy metal band frontman.

Within 5 hands, I was dealt AA. MegaDeath pushed all-in from early position (I should note he was wearing a Full Tilt shirt). I pushed all-in after him, as one of the big stacks. Everyone got out of the way and we flipped the cards up. He had 55. The flop had a 5 and he doubled through me. I didn't let it bother me.

We continued to play and I knocked out 10th place (although I don't remember what I had). 9th place was the sole female at the table. She had barely any chips on her. I was getting shortstacked from the obscene blinds, and began to push with position. 8th place busted somewhere in there. I finally had a decent hand and pushed from MP with AJs. I looked to be in good shape until the action got to the skinheaded kid. He started counting his chips in front of hihs cards. I watched it, expecting that he was calling, but then I saw him starting to pull the chips back, as though he were still deciding. The dealer looked over and said it was a call. On showdown, he flipped 9To. I showed my AJs, and we saw a 9 on the flop....and again on the river. He had me outchipped and I was tossed from the tournament in 7th place. He came over to shake his hand and I said, "No way. Fuck you, calling with 9To!" I was joking, and cracked a smile after I saw the look of shock on his face. "Hey man, it wasn't my fault, the dealer made me call." I turned to the dealer, "Then fuck you too!" I shook his hand and we laughed it off.

I went to cash out, and Devils was right behind me, out in 6th. I won $99 profit for my trouble. As I went to cash out, I joked how it was not high enough of a place for me. "At least you made the money. The person in 10th place didn't get anything. They didn't even make a deal, and that's just common courtesy." What a fucking moron. I wanted to say, "Look at the payouts you daft fool, but I just took my money and walked.

After 3 hours and 41 minutes, I busted out in 7th place out of 58 players. I won $99 profit for my trouble. At the final table, I had AA v. 55 and lost to a suckout. I had AJs, and lost on a technicality. But I moneyed, and I didn't get all-in once until we were at the final two tables. I played an alternatively aggressive and patient game and had control of my emotions the entire time. I made friends at the table, which to me is key to success. It helped me get reads at new tables, and, I think, probably earned me some respect in certain situations.

As I went to see Marc, he was still slugging it away at the same 1/2 NL table. He congratulated me on my finish. It was about 6pm, and I felt satiated. "I can play some more, but if you want to go, I'm ready." He felt the same way, but wanted to play for another 1/2 hour. I found the Pai Gow tables and sat with $400. When Marc got me nearly an hour later, I was down $105. So be it.

I won $265 on the trip, and $370 if you don't count table games (Pai Gow). Coming up soon, I'll be playing the WSOP Circuit event at Harrahs on Saturday, December 9th for $300+40. The blind levels are 45 minutes long, more than twice the Hilton tournament's levels. I feel confident in my live game moreso than online. I was able to turn a profit in the cash game and the tournament. I love this fucking game.

If I need to work on anything, it's tells. According to Marc, I have two in particular. I lean back at times in the middle of a hand, and I'll scan the table with my eyes. The eyes thing is easily fixable with my sunglasses (I usually start without them). The lean back thing may be more tricky. I don't even know what they tell, and neither does Marc, so part of me thinks I should just not worry about them. In my head, they probably mean the same thing: I'm playing a hand and I'm trying to figure out the optimal play. That, in and of itself, means nothing. But for a good player, maybe they can pin it down more concretely. In the end, I'm less worried about leaning back and more worried about making sure that when I do lean back, it means nothing. In other words, if Player A always touches his nose when he bluffs, you know what that tell means. If Player B touches his nose and also talks and moves around and scratches his head all seemingly at random, touching his nose is not really an issue. I want to be Player B. I am not made to be a robot at the table.

Thanks for reading. Now, until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 1:40 PM, ,

Out of the Blue (AC Trip Report Pt. 1)

So much to say. Plan A was to rent a car, head into Connecticut and play some poker at Foxwoods with Woffle. When that didn't look likely, I got a timely text from bro-in-law Marc. "Are you throwing a game this weekend?" I wasn't, but I had an idea. "Wanna go to AC?"

God bless the Internet. I mean, really. In five minutes you can compare about a half dozen ways to get to AC. In the end, we went with the ole rental. We found a good price and set a mental plan. We'd head out 8:30 get to AC at 10:30, play till our eyes bleed, and leave whenever we felt like it.

And it started well, too. Well, actually, that's not quite true. Marc had picked up the car and came to get me in downtown NYC. When I called him to find out where he was, this is what I heard. "Some guy hit my car!" What the fuck. That cannot be good luck. No way. When I got to him, the car was merely scraped. Still, with a rental, we had no idea what to expect. I got into the car and announced, "You know car accidents are good luck." "Really?" he asked, seeing a glimmer of hope for our less than exemplary start. "Nope. I just made it up. But let's assume that its true."

The drive to AC was not particularly eventful. We didn't stop once, even though I had yet to eat for the day. One thing about poker, when I'm playing or going to play, I don't seem to need food or sleep. I can say with upmost confidence that this is the only activity where this occurs. I like eating, and while I hate sleeping, I do acknowledge it as a necessity. But not the case with poker. So we were on our way, with little in my stomach and little sleep to boot.

On the way, I called the Showboat to figure out when their tournaments would start. There was a $50+10 at 2pm, but Marc and I felt like shopping around. The next call was to the Hilton, a casino hotel at the North-most part of the boardwalk (or is it South-most? Directions have no meaning in AC). I had seen the poker room before and even spoken with their staff when I was researching the plausibility of setting up a new AC-centric website. It seemed like a nice room, separated enough from the main casino floor but close enough that you didn't need a shirpa and GPS to locate it. The room has probably over 25 tables, but when we walked in at 11:30, there were about 3 going. At the time, we had just heard the announcement (made throughout the entire casino...nice move, Hilton), that a new 1/2 table was openning. We had missed it, but Marc and I mulled about, trying to see if there was interest for another table. Two other players were interested, a young, clean looking asian, and a shlubby looking ex-frat guy. Two geriatric gentlemen were also milling about, but when they heard we were playing 1/2 NL instead of 2/4 Limit (also known as the third ring of hell) they got grumpy and opted to wait.

We were off to the races, but there was only one problem...we were 4-handed. In truth, I love such situations. Four to six players is optimal for me, since it allows me to play more hands and concentrate on reading less opponents. We stalled to see if we could get a few more players, but eventually kicked it off super short handed. In the first hand, I bet preflop to $6 and took down the blinds. In the second, I limped UTG, as did the frat guy button, and the young Asian completed. Marc raised it to $7, and since it was only another $5, we all called.

I had 93d, which is far from a great hand. But what it lacked in quality, it made up for in the sheer fact that we were 4-handed. The flop was T92, with one diamond. It checked to me and I fired off $16. Fold, fold, and then it got to Marc. He called, and I was surprised. I never expect or want for my buddies to soft play me at a table, but I also won't be starting something unless I'm ready to finish it, so his call got me processing just what was happening. I placed him on a decent preflop hand, but that board could not have done much for him, unless he had AT. That said, I also doubted that Marc would slowplay or check-raise, since we were so shorthanded, the game had just started, and frankly, Marc doesn't slowplay much.

The turn was a blank diamond, giving me the flush draw, along with my middle pair. Marc bet out $32. What's a man to do? If I call, I can still hit my flush and beat him if he was ahead. So, I called.

The river was another blank. Marc checked to me, and I checked as well. I showed down my 9, and he showed his AQd. Thank god we didn't hit our flushes.

From there, I was just on fire. Part of it was sheer will. Part of it was the comfortable cushion of being ahead. A thin, worn-out looking player came to our table after bitching and moaning about how someone had busted him at the other table. He looked cagey and desperate. In a few hands, he busted his first shortstack buy-in when he hit top pair with his T9s. Sadly, when he push-re-raised the young Asian, the Asian had KK, and the thin guy was broke. He got up and walked away as I lamented the fact that I wasn't able to win any chips off of him. In the interim, other players joined the table. Fortunately, skinny Tilterson came back with a sad solitary $100 bill. He sat down, looking as cagey as ever.

In a few hands, I had T8d, and decided to play it for a limp. It was a limping table, which is my favorite condition. It allows me to play a slew of cards with high potential to tilt or bust others when they hit. I can also fold said cards easily and cheaply when I miss. Some guy who was super proud of his folds (he kept bragging he folded KK when the Ace hit, or two pair, because I was so aggressive...which makes him either a liar, or a chump), was in the hand as well, along with Tilterson.

The flop came down 67T rainbow, so I had top pair with an inside straight draw. I bet out $10 and Foldy called. Tilterson grabbed his silly looking miniscule stack and fired $30 into the pot. Fired is the right word, cause he damn near shot the chips out of his hand. The aggressive move immediately set off the tell-o-meter. He was tilting and actually pushed in the same manner in the hand against the young Asian. Even though I was mildly concerned he had me outkicked, I decided to call. I knew if I hit my 9, I'd be in great shape to bust the rest of his stack (another $50 or so, I believe). Otherwise, I may still be ahead. To my surprise, Foldy called as well.

The turn was a 9, and suddenly, I was golden with my straight. I checked, knowing full well that Tilty would do the betting for me. Foldy checked as well. Tilty took his shot and bet out $30 again. As soon as he did it, I announced, "I raise", throwing $60 into the pot. Foldy hemmed and hawed and folded, while Tilty said, "Ah damn, he did it to me again! SONUVABITCH!" He then called, like the dumb fuck he was. The river was dealt and I flipped my cards. He mucked and started to rant. As he walked away, he stopped across the table from me and said in the most sarcastic way possible, "Nice hand, buddy!" I smiled, "Thanks." What else could I say. I had his money. Oh, and Foldy, he claimed he had T9. "Nice fold," I told him. It wasn't the first time I encouraged his masterful folding. What a tool.

Once Tilty left, I had a flashback. Not too long ago, I was in AC with the usual crew, and sat at a table where a wirey, tilting guy got into a physical fight with a big fat guy with a bong for a card cap. That wirey guy was none other than Tilty. Oh lordy, I'm starting to recognize people.

The table had filled up, and I made some bucks playing ATo against a tight Gcoxian player on my right. He had the accent and everything. The hand prior, I pretty much had him read as a high pocket pair, but by showdown, someone had sucked out on him. When he called my preflop raise out of position (he was on my immediate right) when I had ATo, I was slightly worried. The flop had an Ace on it, which was enough for me. He checked and I bet out $25 or so. When he reraised me for the rest of his stack, $23, I thought I was in trouble for sure. But the pot was big enough to call, and he showed down QJ for an inside straight draw. I guess he was tilting from the prior hand.

In another hand, I limped with J4 and hit JJ on the flop. I held K2d once in the BB and flopped KK2. I checked the flop, as did the smart SB player and a fat guy who saw himself as a hotshot pro. On the turn, the SB bet $5, and I called. Fatty did too. On the river, SB checked, so I bet $15. Surprisingly, both players called. I showed my hand and fatty said, "I knew you had it." I replied, "If you knew I had it, you should probably fold." To his credit he did say that $15 was the absolute most he'd call and told me it was a good bet. Hey, I'll take compliments wherever I can get them.

As I sat, I felt my pocket vibrate. The call was coming from the phone of Dawn from I Had Outs, but when I picked up, it was actually Karol who spoke. "We are going to the Trop." I informed them of my whereabouts, and knew they'd likely come by. I do believe that it is one of Karol's favorite poker spots, and I was quickly learning why. They stopped by a little while later and we briefly said hello. But we were all there for poker, so they went to their table and I went back to business.

By about 1:15, I could tell that my stomach was digesting itself. I decided that, poker or not, it would be best to grab a bite. My decision was aided by the upcoming 2pm tournament, a $60+15 buy-in. Plus, the table had gotten colder, and I could use a break between cash and tournament play.

I hit the cage and cashed bought in to the tournament with $75 worth of chips. I then cashed out the rest, a full $196 profit, not including the $75 I spent on the tournament. I hit the boardwalk, leaving Marc behind to play more cash games, and found a random place for a burger. It was a beautiful day out, so I sat back and enjoyed the activity around me. AC seems to be revitalizing itself. It used to be casinos and crackhouses, with little in between, but things have gotten much more Vegas-y since the Borgata opened a few years back. More recently, an outdoor outlet mall/area/thingee has openned up, with a slew of stores and restaurants. It's a refreshing thing to see. The Sands is also closing, to be replaced with a new casino. Times change. I'm just glad to see that in AC, they are changing for the better.

When I returned to the poker room, the tournament was still getting organized. I took my seat, and waited.

That's enough for now. When we return, we'll discuss the tourney recap and the rest of our time in AC.

Until then, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 1:59 AM, ,


Because I've felt ill all morning about this most recent blogger controversy, I've decided to add a new post to make me feel a little better. Enjoy.

Please don't stay mad at me.

posted by Jordan @ 12:29 PM, ,

Creativity Gone Awry

Every DADI, GCox, Trip and I strive to bring you something extra. In the past, it was bounties, followed by team bounties, revenge bounties, free prizes offered by sponsors, and even a seat to a WSOP event. This time, however, there wasn't much to offer. Dbrider offered some stuff to give away, but sponsorship just wasn't interesting anymore. We looked for something else, and came up with some simple bounties for Trip and I, but there wasn't anything new.

Yesterday, when G, Trip and I were sending emails back and forth in preparation for DADI X, someone came up with a fun idea: we would swap accounts and play under each others names. The goal was to have fun, and it was fun. I was given the role of Gary, and if you know Gary and my style, it's like day and night. Gary is uber-tight, whereas I play a more aggressive game. So, the play was to goof around about being uber-tight, make references to Keystone Light, and sound like a backwoods hillbilly. I even inserted smiley faces and winking faces to players here and there, something G would never do, so that he would look like a pansy 12 yr old girl. We joked about how I'd get much more respect under Gary's cloak, but, being me, we didn't necessarily expect anything to come of it. On paper, the plan was to play as each other, make fun of ourselves in the process, and come out the other end with a joke. Nothing more. In truth, I didn't even expect to cash.

But I did. 1st place, in fact. And once that happened, when the adrenaline wore off and I sat in my living room ecstatic over winning DADI X, reality set in. Someone would be insulted. They'd question the honesty of the move and possibly the intent. They'd think that I got an unfair advantage playing as Gary, and they'd think the win was not legitimate.

Well, I'm sorry that anyone would be insulted, and I'm sorry if I was able to use Gary's image to my advantage.

I came by my win honestly, though. I played one of my best games ever, and anyone watching would attest to that. I played tighter than usual, I kept my eye on the table, and I made masterful reads. Most importantly, I switched gears, channeling my inner Gary at times, before unleashing a series of Jordan-like hands. When the table stopped respecting me, even calling me out as playing very loose for Gary, I joked around and even threw in some smiley faces and winky faces, something Gary would never do.

But behind it all, my game was invigorated. It was fun playing under someone else's name. We already agreed that the winner would keep his winnings, transferred to the account they used to their actual account. The money was nice in the tournament, and there was more reason to chat it up, since I was playing a character. After G and Trip busted, they railbirded, which also kept me focused on the table.

The bottom line is, I made some ballsy plays, based on my opponents' actions. No poker tracker to distract me, just me, the table, and my opponents. One hand particularly really solidified it all.

We are at 120/240 blinds, with 25 antes, and I'm playing as GCox. I'm sitting on 15,685, chipleader for our four-person table. With me on my left in order are Duggle, Smokkee, and Lucko, none of which have over 8k. Lucko is in the SB, and I'm in the BB with Q9s. Preflop, it folds to Lucko, and he raises to 720. He had done this so consistently (about 2-4 times per orbit) that I had little to no fear of his play. I decided to flat call and see what developed.

The flop was 4s Th 7s, which gave me the flush draw. Lucko bet out 960, a fraction of the over 1500 pot, and this wasn't out of the ordinary either. Continuation bets were standard, so I made the call.

The turn is a Kd, and its no help to me. There is no doubt that Lucko was going to be here, but when he bet 1440 into the 2500+ pot, it was an odd play. I considered re-raising him, but felt that I'd be better off seeing a river. If I hit, I'd raise then. If not, I'd decide what to do after he acted. This hand was all about position, so I collected my info along the way. By flat calling, I also hoped to gain his fear.

The river is a 7c. I missed my flush and the board paired 7s. Lucko bets 1200, which was actually lower than his turn bet. He only had under 4k behind at this point, and it took me a while to decide what to do. I could fold or push. If I push, he may feel compelled to call because he had around 1/2 of his starting stack in the pot (if not more). But on the other hand, I knew that Lucko was a loose player (he could have anything), a smart player (he is willing to fold), and had enough chips to fold and still play. I was representing 7s, and felt confident that if he had a Ten (like I presumed), he'd fold. I pushed, and he typed: "miss your flush or hit the seven?"

At that point, I literally said aloud, "I'm screwed." I watched as I mentally discounted my chips. And then he folded.

Did Gary's image help me here? I don't think Lucko plays against him enough to know, but if it did, so be it. Every day we go to B&M cardrooms and see that hip hop kid who is really a shark, or the weak ass player who dresses in gear like he is a pro. Deception is part of the game, and in online poker, the anonymity of the Internet just adds to it. You are a guy but choose a female name because it will gain respect for your bluffs or make players bluff at you. You are a white, but you choose a black man avatar. You aren't black, and you aren't a chick, but you are playing poker.

So, I do sincerely apologize if I ruffled some feathers. The blogosphere can be pretty harsh on someone who they think is a liar, cheater or scoundrel. If you read here often enough, you'll know I'm none of those things. If you still think I am, well, I'll tell you what. Send me your FT screenname, and I'll refund you $8.70. I'd give you the whole $24, but I'd end up in the hole, and I don't think that Gary's screenname is accountable for 100% of my winnings. And besides, I had to earn your $24, so if you want your token back, you'll have to work for it a bit as well.

A quick last thought on the topic. Perhaps the biggest problem was that it was a DADI tournament. If I did this at another blogger tournament it might seem like more of a wacky thing to do. Since I am one of the DADI hosts, it might seem extra devious. No deviousness intended. This, I swear. It was all in fun, even if it didn't end that way for everyone.

Honestly, the real story behind this game is the machine that is Lucko. He's ran through these blogger tournaments like small pox through a reservation. He took 2nd here, won a Big Game (I think) and took down another tournament somewhere. Where the hell did this guy come from?

In fact, I can contribute my win largely because of Lucko. He was taking the blinds so much (and mine particularly since he had position), I finally got fed up. I began re-raising him with a variety of hands, just to get him to slow down. This helped me chip up, largely off of Lucko. He'd steal, steal, steal, I'd wake up with a semi-decent hand and re-raise his preflop raise, and get a chunk of his chips.

But here is the thing. slb popped into the room to sling some hate Lucko's way, calling him, well, lucky. And that is the genius of Lucko's name. When I first saw him play a blogger tourney, I though, what a lucky bastard. He's probably some donkey who is getting great cards. But he's anything but. The name Lucko21 is freakin' genius. First, nothing is more scary than a lucky player. Second, when he plays expertly, he still gets no credit (amongst bloggers, initially [See Iakaris' post a while back, which was amicably resolved], and I'm sure against random players). Sheet, even the 21 suggests that he is nothing but a gambling fool. And the avatar, a clown, just finishes the ensemble.

So, I salute you, Lucko21, for your ingenuity at the table, for your ruthless aggression, and for your clever use of your screenname and avatar.

posted by Jordan @ 9:15 AM, ,


My play last night can be summed up in one word: embarrassing. I started off alright, winning a token with ease. I then decided to try one of the Guaranteed tournaments with a $75 token, since I can't play in this week's Big Game, but played just awefully. I could tell that I was playing sloppily, but still entered two other $26 token races, losing both due to sheer stupidity. I entered a PLO MTT with the $26 token I won, but lost that one too. At the very least, I went far, but in my last hand, the river paired the board, obviously filling my opponent's full house. I had flopped the nuts, a straight, but still, with full knowledge that I was behind, raised all-in on the river. Just shameful. The Mookie wasn't much better, as I got a case of the awfukits, only to double up once or twice and embarass myself further when my horrific play was rewarded. I even went 1-3 against Wonka in the HUC4 Round 1, eliminating myself as well. Yippee!

Oh, and if you don't know, DADI X is tonight, so go sign up. DADI is officially going into retirement, since his job has been replaced by the plethora of blogger tournaments. He'd like to wish everyone a happy blogger tourney season, and wishes all of the individual blogger tournaments luck in the future. Instead of gifts, DADI asks that you send donations to HighOnPoker at FullTilt, preferrably during the DADI event tonight. Oh, and since this is the last go-round, I'm throwing in a bounty on myself. Take me out and win a free copy of Smart Money: How the World's Best Sports Bettors Beat the Bookies, by Michael Konik? Never heard of it? Of course not! It's brand-spanking new. I have a copy for myself, too, and once I get to it, I'll post a review.

So, your job is to sign up for DADI. My job is to get my awfukits under control before I embarrass myself again tonight.

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 11:22 AM, ,

It's All Chinese to Me

It's time to throw a bunch of things in the literary blender to see if we can make a post smoothie concoction. Let's start with something that has bothering me for a while, but has absolutely nothing to do with poker.

Am I the only one who noticed that Lost and Heroes are both racist?! Yes, racist! Exhibit A, in the background storylines for Lost, Sun and Yin, the Korean couple, speak in Korean with subtitles on the bottom of the screen. In the background storylines for Mr. Eko, a Nigerian priest, he and all the other Africans speak English! I know! Ridiculous. But it doesn't stop there. Exhibit 2, in Heroes, the Japanese character named Hiro speaks in Japanese with English subtitles. The Indian scientist, though, he speaks English in India to his fellow Indians! What gives?! Does Hollywood thinks we can accept an Asian speaking an Asian dialect but it would blow our minds to hear Nigerian or Indian?! Or does General Tso have nude pictures of some studio heads with sheep? Either way, shame on you sirs!

DADI X is coming up tomorrow and Trip and I are a little concerned with the amount of people who will show up. I swear, these private tourneys can be a pain in the butt sometimes, but I always find myself coming back to make a new one. Well, don't get to complacent, because this may just be DADI X's last tournament before DADI goes into retirement. I'd cite the explosion of blogger tournaments as probably one of the largest reasons for this non-final decision, but I cite it in a positive way. DADI was meant as an opportunity to play more with fellow bloggers and readers, and I can do that just about any night of the week now anyway. DADI's retirement party will be at 3pm in the large conference room. We have cake and soda, but don't tell DADI because it's a surprise party. And if you chip in, we can get DADI a retirement gift. I'm thinking a nice watch!

While on the subject of watches, you might want to watch out for some awesome Heads-Up action! The HUC4 is under way, and while most of the Round 1 matches have not been scheduled yet, we do have our first player to advance. Butch, a non-blogger, took TripJax out in four matches, winning 3 to1. Congratulations to Butch, especially now that I don't have to worry about facing Trip in the Bracket B finals. If all goes well, I'll be playing HUC3 champion WillWonka at 9:30 tonight, right before the Mookie. Stop by and wish me luck, cause I'll probably need it.

Hey, and while on the subject of poker (shut up, I already ran out of all my smooth segues), I had a very interesting night yesterday. While wifey Kim packed for her trip to Miami for a speech conference (read: suntanning with her friends under the guise of work), I was packing away the bonus by playing some 8/16 Razz. While I played, Fluxer, recently back from the blogging dead, IM'ed me. He watched as I attempted to struggle my way back to even. So far, that 8/16 game has been a boon for me. Maybe I have a natural edge in the game because of my pattern recognition and ability to read both players and boards, or maybe I've just been lucky so far. All I know is, I hadn't book a significant losing session yet (and perhaps, none at all). So, I went about my usual course, and suddenly found myself deep in the hole. I mean, deep, like $300+ deep. That sort of swing is a bit new to me, both at Razz and at any online poker, so I gulped hard while figuring out the ramifications. I considered leaving the room, but the losses would be just too great to swallow and a part of me still thought I had an edge.

It was slow going, over the course of probably an hour and a half, but but the time I ended, I was up $13. I also had the pleasure of playing a bit with Hoyazo, my initial inspiration for trying that Razz game. The $13 was enough for me, so I packed it in, using the Razz profits to covere my $11 loss at the WWdn, compliments of Maigrey, who was playing an excellent game. I was doing well myself, but my TT vs her AA sent me packing...even though I thought I was behind to QQ when I called her re-raise all-in. Yeah, not the best play by me, but sometimes it goes that way.

Mind you, I take all the blame (with all respect to Maigrey, who outplayed me), for my loss. Sure TT on a 775 board is okay, but don't go broke on an overpair and all that jazz. The writing was on the wall. On that note, I have to give a big shame on you to the blogosphere. Maybe I'm just getting on my high horse, but I really think we need to curb the idea that if a player goes bust with a good hand like top two pair, there was nothing they could do about it. I'm specifically talking about a post that Iakaris made, when his AK with a board of A29/K lost to 22. Iak bet pre- and post-flop and was cold-called. He bet the turn and was raised. He re-raised all-in and was busted. I don't knock Iakaris' play, but he asked what he did wrong. To many, the answer was, "There was nothing you could do there." WRONG! He could have FOLDED and saved his money, or at least called and saved some of it, if the river was a scare card that created one of the two flush draws. Again, I'm not knocking Iak, whose success is clear to any of his readers. But, in channeling my inner Felicia, I do have to say that you do him no service with such kind and supportive answers. In situations like that, I might go broke too. You saw my analysis of my TT hand. But when I look back and analyze either my or his hand, there were some indications that we were beat, and we chose not to see them or not to follow them.

Hey, while I'm on a poker thought rant, let me answer a question from TwoDiamondPhillips. He asked about when you are really pot committed in a hand. Get comfortable. Here we go. In some situations, you know you are beat. In those situations, you may still be pot committed where the bet is less than 10% of the flop. Why 10%? Because even the tightest player will bluff sometimes, and 1:9 odds are pretty damn good. But on a less specific level, you have to analyze your opponents' likely range, your outs, and the pot odds you are getting including implied odds. That's a lot of calculations on the fly, so it really boils down to an overall feeling. And it really has to do with individual hands. I tried to come up with some examples, but none are coming to me. Shoot me an example, though, and I'll gladly explain. Sorry if that was less than helpful.

I do believe that is all for today. Sign up for DADI X, and I may just put up a bounty on myself.

Until then, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 8:44 AM, ,

Where Do Dwarf Blogs Go When They Die?

"Where do Dwarf Blogs go when they die?"

"What do you mean, honey?", I asked Dominick, the little orphan that Big Brother Little Brother set me up with. We were on our usual jaunt to the local malt shoppe, so I was surprised by the unusually serious question.

I stopped in my tracks, and crouched down to look lil' Dommie in the eyes. "Buck up, champ! What did you hear?"

"Tommy at the orphanage (that's where lil Dommie lives) said that Iggy was packing up Guinness and Poker." For any of you who are not here because of the incestuous readership base of poker blogs, Iggy, a dwarf with a rascally sense of humor and a penchant for frothy dark Irish beers (and probably frothy dark Irish women) has gone by the title Blogfather. His posts, of the uber (i.e., extremely long) variety, would waste countless hours across the nation as his readers poured through his various links, quotes, and newbie blogger pimpage.

"Dommie, everyone knows that Tommy is a shit-eating dildo of a liar. You know that, don't you?" Dommie nodded as he sniffed his nose. "Remember when Tommy told you that online poker was illegal and we'd all lose our money? See, he lied there right." Dommie nodded again and seemed to perk up. "How about the time when he told you that there was no god? I proved to you without a doubt that god existed, didn't I?" (That story, in which I actually proved the very existence of our Lord, the Creator, will have to wait for another time). Dommie's frown slowly lost shape. A smile formed on his little bastard-orphaned lips.

"There you go, Dommie! That's the right attitude!" "But Jason?", Dommie asked (he didn't know my real name, cause I don't trust ugly bastard orphans), "what happens to blogs when they die?"

I chuckled a bit, mostly because I was thinking of a joke in my head. I straightened up, ruffled Dommie's trailer-park trash hair, and said, "Silly goose! Blogs don't die, they multiply! Besides, you little 'tard, once a blogger always a blogger. Even if that impish freak of a blogger did decide to shut down his blog, he'd live on in mind and spirit."

"Gee, Jason, that makes sense. I guess Tommy is a goofy douschebag liar."

"Now, Dommie, that's no way to talk." Hahahahaha! After our long chat, I desperately needed a smoke. "Sorry kid, but we are going to have to cut this short for today. Let's get you back to the orphanage and into your cage."

On the ride back, as Dommie ran next to my car (I wouldn't let him in, as I suspected he had fleas), he asked, "But Jason, what happens when Iggy's blog does end?" "Don't worry about that kid. It won't be erased. It'll just be moved to a poker blogging farm upstate where it will have plenty of room to run free and play with other poker blogs." "Really, Jason!? Is it true?!" "No you goofy bastard, now try to keep up, I wanna catch the early showing of Borat."

posted by Jordan @ 5:50 PM, ,

DADI X, This Thursday

T-minus 60 hours until DADI X starts. That means your time to win your $24+2 token is limited, so hop to and sign up early.

It's been silly-busy here lately, especially with DADI X coming up and the Heads Up Challenge 4 kicking off. My first match is against HUC3 reigning champion Will Wonka, and it will likely take place at 8:30pm before DADI. It's a best of 5 series so feel free to look me up on the yahoo IM (highonpokr, with no E) or find me at FT (HighOnPoker) and share in my utter humiliation as I strive to not get knocked out with three losses in a row!

Until then, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 8:34 AM, ,

You Got My Hammer in Your Blogger Game!

....You Got Your Blogger Game in My Hammer!

I played in CC's private tournament last night, along with the Riverchasers tournament and the WWdn Not. At one point, and more accurately, for quite some time, I was the chipleader in both CC's and the WWdn Not, but eventually lost CC's in 6th place after a series of 3 and 2 outters (at least three in a row when my opponents were all-in). I didn't get upset though. Thems the breaks, and so I focused my attention on the WWdn Not, seeing as I was a prohibitive chip leader there. I was also glad to earn some points toward CC's leader board, since the top three get a cash prize by the time the series is done.

Quickly, the Riverchasers tournament must have been set up wrong by Full Tilt. Rather than the usual tournament, instead it was a heads-up game. Amongst the large amount of players (over 50, I believe), I was sat down across from AlCantHang himself. He lamented about FT messing up and how he was unprepared (and too drunk) for a HU match, before he took my stack in probably under 20 hands (and maybe under 10). My bad, as I donked it up with TP shitty kicker as though I owned the world. My dominance in both the CC and the WWdn Not at the time may have distracted me a bit, admittedly.

I made a couple of great plays last night, including one in which I called down Fuel 55's odd bets with ATo, no pair. He had A6o or something similar and at showdown, was shocked that I called him down. Apparently, he was getting no action on his high pocket pairs, and was annoyed and/or shocked that suddenly he gets action now that he was bluffing. However, in that hand, there were a bunch of limpers, and his raise to 10x the BB seemed a little fishy to me preflop, almost as though he wants to punish the limpers and steal those lucrative blinds.

The flop was uneventful. It may have paired, but it was all low cards. He checked the flop, and I checked as well. The turn was another blank, and he bet a small amount. I had a feeling of Ace low. His preflop bet looked like BS, the check on the flop meant that he was probably weak, the bet at the turn was small and appeared to be opportunistic poaching. So, I called. I figured I was good if an Ace or Ten fell (they were both overs to the board), but I also kinda felt an Ace low from Fuel.

On the river a King fell, and for a moment, I was fearful. But I ultimately called Fuel's bet, since I had a read and was willing to stick to it. When he showed his A6, he was pissed. "Couldn't I have had AK? AQ? AJ?" listing the hands he may have had that had me beat. "You could have. That was in your range. But it read like Ace low." I then went about explaining how is betting was suspicious, all in the PokerStars chat window.

I have immeasureable respect for Fuel, so catching him in that situation was both something I was proud of, and also something that I felt semi- bad about. As he ranted about hating these games, I reassured him that he could win both the CC and WWdn buy-ins back with one hand at his usual stakes. Not 5 minutes later I received an email from Fuel. It was a hand history in which he won back both buy-ins and thensome.

So, let's look at a fun hand from the tournaments. I ultimately won the WWdN Not, which goes on my trophy wall next to my Riverchasers win and Hoy win. I have yet to take down the Mookie or WWdn, but all in due time.

I love the hammer because it gets me to bluff almost at random. I made a very ballsy play in this particular hand. Its not a You Decide post, because frankly, I don't expect many (if any) of you would agree with my play here. But I use the hammer as a bluff randomizer, and that randomizer can cause me to make plays that I (or any other player) would not normally make, often to my benefit.

We were in Level V of the WWdn Not, with 75/150 blinds. We only had 5 to our table, as we were down to 10 or 11 in the tournament. I held 7720 chips, and was a strong chip leader. I was in the SB with 2c7d. Darval, host of the WWdn Not, had just sucked out in his last hand to

From the CO (remember we are 5-handed), he bet from 300 to 450. When it folded to me, I decided to take his 450 by raising with the hammer to 1050, a 600 raise. He called, leaving him with about 1500 behind.

The flop was As 6c 9c. Now, this is a terrible flop for me. I hit nothing. But if I check, I definitely lose the hand. If I bet and he does not have the Ace, then he will probably fold (barring some other big hand, like a set). My preflop bet basically announced I had a playable hand, so the bet here would look like an AK or something similar.

All that said, if I put him all-in for his last 1500, he might get a case of the awfukits and call. Worse, he might have the Ace and call, and I'd be terribly dominated. The key was to bet at an amount that would essentially force him to push, but would allow me to fold to his push. Basically, I was testing to see if he would go all-in, while giving myself a discount.

I bet 900 into the over 2k pot. To most of you, you are cringing. However, I was willing to let him push the rest in, at which point I would fold, even with those pot odds. Frankly, with 27o, the pot odds were not good enough to call 600 into what would be a 4,500 pot. Best case scenario, he pushed with A3 (assuming he'll only push with a pair of Aces or better). In that case, I'm only 8-9% to win.

I actually used this exact move over at CC's game. In a very similar situation, I was in one of the blinds with the hammer. A player raised to 3x the BB in MP/LP and I raised to 1k, a large jump preflop. Post flop, I was still the big chipleader with over 6k, to my opponent's 2k. I bet out a grand, and he folded. If he would've reraise pushed, I would've folded. Essentially, in both cases, I'm betting an amount that is enough to force them to fold or push, but is not too much that I end up paying him/her off completely if they actually have a hand.

I hope this is making some sense. Overall, last night my game was tight. I finished another night in the black, probably nearing my old streak of something like 9 or 11 winning days in a row. I'm hoping that this trend continues as my interest in the game and my skillz are more invigorated than they've been in a long time.

After I played the blogger tournaments, I called it a night. I was glad to take my win for the day and spend some time unwinding. This weekend, I have a birthday party on Saturday night and a wedding for one of my best buds on Sunday. I expect little poker, but lots of booze.

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 11:26 PM, ,