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Team HoP

Ooowee! Sometimes, poker just overwhelms my senses and I find myself in a sudden poker-induced high. This time, the high was brought on my a series of emails between Matty Ebs and myself.

When Ebs and I got the email from Extra Big Bet Club (EBB), we both noticed the team event. The basic premise has a maximum of ten teams consisting of 3 players each. Each player will play in a 10-person SNG. Obviously, each SNG will contain one member of each team. The teams will be awarded points based on how the teammates place. The teams with the highest points receive dough for 1st, 2nd, and, I think, 3rd overall points. The buy-in is $300+30, or $100+10 for each player.

From this email, Ebs and I shot around the idea of forming a team. We discussed possible thirds, and I immediately thought of Mikey Aps. Mikey Aps was the guy who got me into poker. As kids, I learned poker and all sorts of card games from my two grandmothers. One, who passed away last year, honed my card playing skills with a variety of games, but never fed the gambling aspect. The other, currently residing in (where else) Florida, taught me casino starndards like Blackjack, but also taught me a general love of gambling. This was the grandmother who suggested that the family go to Atlantic City for Thanksgiving (a tradition that lasted many years) because my mother's sisters were engaging in a temporary but reoccuring fued. When I speak to her to this day, she is one of the few people in my family (actually, probably the only one) who will ask me how the poker is going before I bring it up first.

This, of course, is all by way of background.

Now, if my grandmothers taught me the love of cards and gambling, it was my childhood friends who solidified my love. My group of social misfit friends would spend many weekend eveninngs in one of our respective houses playing poker for $.25 a hand, then up to $1 a hand, and by the end of the night, throwing darts for $5 per dart throw. It was a great way to pass time. We could bullshit, have a little excitement, and enjoy each others company. We all loved to gamble on different levels, and Mikey Aps was one of the real gamblers. When the rest of us were just playing every weekend or less, Mikey Aps was in upstate NY at his family's summer home thingee where the kids played cards for much larger sums of money all the time. From Mikey's stories, it seemed that all they did was gamble, and he was keen on being the big winner. If nothing else, Mikey likes to win, be it a poker game, a sports bet, an argument, or a no-holds-barred wrestling match in his living room near the delicate statuettes and knick knacks acquired by his family. Mikey is the type of guy to show relentless aggression, but not thoughtless aggression.

Years later, when I almost forgot about those weekend games, I accidentally caught poker on TV. I thought, Who is watching this crap?, but after watching three hands, I found myself settling in for another hour and then setting my VCR to tape the next hour as I headed out to meet Platinum. A while later, Aps and I met up again from a hiatus that lasted for several months or years after college. He was playing poker, and I decided to join him for a home game. I don't even remember if I won. I think I lost to a suckout to our friend Shawn, who had no idea what he was doing. But over many nights and games, Aps was my gateway into poker and the match that relit that fire inside of me.

When I began throwing home games, Aps was always invited. After a while, though, a couple of people complained and said that they wouldn't play if Aps was there. He was an asshole, always showboating and talking shit. He'd also talk more trash if he lost, but people didn't seem to mind it then, and it became a thing to try to bust Mikey. As much as they were right about Mikey's seemingly rude tilt-inducing table chatter, I sometimes thought that the real problem was that it was working. Mikey may have been one of the louder players at the game (think Hellmuthian), but he was also the biggest winner, regularly taking down the tournaments with seeming ease.

Eventually the home games dried up. In recent months, I've barely seen Mikey. But thanks to the recent housewarming party thrown by our other HS friend, Johnny Ads, Mikey and I got to talking. He was interested in some of the underground clubs, and I would gladly get him in.

When I got the email about the Team Tournament, I immediately thought of Mikey Aps. It helped that he knew Matty Ebs. The two actually were family friends, and while I don't think they see a lot of each other, familiarity with ones teammates is always important. It also helps to have Aps' tilt-inducing antics on my side. Lord knows I wouldn't want him on any other team.

So, now we had a team. All we needed was a team name. I suggested about 6, including NYPD (New York Poker Dep't), the Nutcrackers, and Xtreme Kaos, but in the end, Ebs and I decided on simply High on Poker. It felt a bit odd naming the team "after" this blog, but I consider it more like naming this team the same as the name of the blog. We are each an equal partner, and the HoP name was an easy decision. It is catchy, it speaks a bit about our philosophy, and it was something we could agree on. Still, I'm damn proud. Team HoP.

So, who is Team HoP?

Jordan X- Your loyal author and faithful friend. My strengths are aggression, high-blind tournament poker and reads. My weakness is kryptonite.

Matty Ebs- To me, the most solid and well versed player of the group. Ebs is a former dealer, and he's a thinker. His strengths are likely his in depth knowledge of the game, his experience in a variety of poker environments, and his ability to make smart plays when the time is right. His weakness is the vulnerability of his young boy sidekicks.

Mikey Aps- Gambler extraodinaire, Aps has been playing probably longer than anyone else on the team, but has yet to play in an underground club. His strengths probably lie in his sheer will to win, his tilt-inducing table talk, and his natural instinct for the game. His weakness is his inability to use his powers on anyone wearing yellow (I wonder if that includes skin-tone).

Once we have this illustrious group, the next question is how to play. We are in the process of getting the tournament rules, like chip stacks and blind structure, but we have not received them yet, and may not recevie them before the tournament. The way I see it, though, the points will probably be weighed heavily toward the top, so that no team could win by placing 5th across the board. In fact, with the tough NYC competition, I'm expecting that the winning team will have to win one of the SNGs and place 2nd or 3rd in another. For that reason, I think our best strategy is just to play our own games. We are essentially going to individually try to win each tournament, and its safe to say that the blind levels are going to be comparable to what we are used to (15 minutes minimum, 20 minutes max). So, rather than "play tight to the points" I think we should just bring our individual A-games, and trust each other to know what we are doing.

Oh, and while I hypothetically like the idea of some sort of team uniform or t-shirt, Mikey Aps made a good point last night over the phone. "If we know that one team is ahead, we should probably gun for their other players." True, and that is why we are NOT wearing any sort of team uniform. I don't want people knowing that I'm on their team, in case one of us wins their tournament and makes the other ones targets.

Sounds good? Good.

And while we are at it, I'll be at the IHO tournament tonight. Wish me luck!

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 2:24 PM,


At 7:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good luck in the tournament. It sounds like a fun concept. Also, your NiceLook reports are really good reads. Keep 'em coming.


At 12:37 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

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