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Hit n' Runs

Work has been pretty stressful lately. I've got a lot lined up for today, all of which needs to be finished by the late afternoon, but I'm confident I will ultimately get it done. Regardless, I am now a week in to this recent hyper-stressful work run and my evenings have suffered as a result. When I leave work, I want nothing more than to just shut down my mind, act like a zombie for a couple of hours, only to ressurect myself the next day to do it all over again.

With that in mind, I left the office yesterday after changing into some comfortable clothes and headed to the Nice Look poker room, where I was to meet Dave Ruff and his friend Bridge. When I got to the hood, I decided to grab some food, and gave the local burger joint, Brgr, a try.

Brgr sorely disappointed, and in my estimation, is likely the reason I ended up leaving the poker room when I did. The burger, ordered medium rare, came out rare. I like myself a little blood, though, so I didn't complain. Nor did I complain about the fact that the burger looked like a sloppy mess. The chocolate shake was also disappointing. Rather than having a chocolate taste, it tasted too heavily of chocolate syrup. Now, to the non-chocolate-shake connoisseurs, it might not seem like a difference at all. However, chocolate syrup (as opposed to chocolate ice cream) generally has a sharper, almost berry-like taste in large quantities. In this case, that's all I tasted.

Overall, it was just poor execution, but I had poker on my mind, so I wolfed down the burger and drank down the shake and headed to the game. When I arrived, I was seated at a 1/2 table by the front of the room. I looked around for Ruff and Bridge and found them at a 1/2 table in the back of the place. One seat was open at their table, so I grabbed it.

Before I sat down though, I had to get my chips. While I was doing that, I noticed the tournament schedule. LJ left me a comment earlier this week about the $500 tournament on Wednesdays. I'm not sure if she was kidding, misinformed or made a typo, but in actuality, there was a $50+10 freezeout tournament scheduled for yesterday at 7:30pm. That's right in my wheelhouse, so when I sat down, I jokingly said to the table, "I've got to win $60 in thirty minutes." By then, it was 7pm, so I was actually being semi-serious. If I could win $60 in that time, I could freeroll the tournament, and Jordan likes his freerolls, even if he has to earn it.

I was in the 10 seat, and Bridge and Ruff were in the 5s and 6s, respectively. It was easy to chat with them, but we kept it light, preferring to focus on the action and (in my estimation, at least) attempting not to look like we knew each other too well. Once again, its not about collussion. I won't collude. But it IS about avoiding the appearance of collussion. In law, the Rules of Professional Conduct prohibit conduct that creates the appearance of dishonesty or the appearance of a conflict of interest. The rule is designed to hold lawyers to a level where accusations cannot even be made (whether or not people follow it is another story). But generally, that's how I live my life. I don't just want to be on the straight and narrow. I also want to make sure that there is no reason to think otherwise.

The table was, well, boring. The 1s was an old crumudgeon who seemed to be a rock. The 2s was a guy I later learned was a professor at a local college. He looked bookish, in his mid- to late- 40s, and also gave off an air of tightness.

Next to him was a Jean-Robert Bellande wannabe. He was probably the only interesting player at the table, but it was clear that his confidence heavily outweighed his skill. At this limp-folding table, I was baffled by his preflop raise to $20 in EP/MP. For all his efforts, I think he won $5 in blinds and a limp. No matter what 2 cards he had, it was a stupid play. If he had AA, he wanted action. If he had a vulnerable pair, he didn't want to limit his action to dominating hands (the only people who would call $20 would have him beat). If he had crap cards, a $20 raise in that position to steal the blinds is just moronic. But as I said, he was the only interesting player at the table, and that was why.

Next to him was a portly Indian kid in a bright pink polo shirt. Now, I'll wear the occassional pink shirt to work, but these hyper-pink polos are just ghey. He was a very weak player, to boot. That would put us at the 5s, Bridge, and 6s, Ruff. I know they can both play, so they were my only real concerns, after I got used to 7s, 8s, and 9s.

What was so scary about 7s, 8s, and 9s? Well, frankly, they were young Asian guys. I don't mean to be "racist", but when it comes to poker, you need to be able to generalize in order to figure out some basic reads to start off a game. You should then always refine that read as the game progresses. So, for instance, if I see an old man wearing an old work shirt, I can assume he is a pensioner and will likely be playing tight. If I see a young kid with sunglasses and an iPod, I can assume he's there to play lots of hands. Neither guess may be accurate, but they are still a good starting point based on my experience. So, going back to the three Asian youths, I assumed, from my experience, that they would be calculating and likely aggressive. After a while, though, I realized that they were patient as opposed to aggressive (although still very calculating). Fortunately, I had position on them also, and they were folding a lot, so when I got into a hand, they were usually out already.

So, after folding a couple of hands, I was dealt QQ in the BB. There were 4 or so limpers and the SB completed. I opted to raise $15 on top, to appear like I was stealing the pot and also to narrow my competition down to one player. The second goal worked, and it was me and one other guy seeing the Jack-high flop. I decided to bet $30 to keep the appearance that I was just trying to take down the pot with big bets (compared to the action I saw at the table, because frankly, $30 into a roughly $40 pot is not big), but my opponent folded. The dealer joked about how I was on my way to the $60, and just then, a floor person came around selling the seating cards necessary to get into the tournament. I manned up and paid the $60, although part of me felt like sticking around at this weak table. Ultimately, I decided that the table was TOO weak, and getting action was going to be too difficult, so the tournament would be a nice fun interlude. Even better, some of the weaker players (pink-shirted Asian, the professor) bought $60 seating cards immediately before me, so I knew that the weakest of the players would be in the tournament (and, therefore, leaving this table). Ruff and Bridge decided to stick around in the cash game, likely because of their nicely growing stacks.

Still, it wasn't 7:30 yet, so I stayed put, trying to win my $60. The table was unbearably tight, so I opted to straddle to $5 when I was UTG. The old crumudgeon in the 1s called and one of the blinds called. I opted to raise $20 on top ($25 total), when I looked down at A6o. It wasn't a great hand, but if you aren't going to try to make a move when you are straddling, then straddling is just a way to throw away money. Let's put it this way: Would you blind raise out of position to start a hand, with everyone knowing that you are blind raising? My answer is No, because there is no benefit. You are throwing the money into the pot without any info, and your opponent gets a lot of info, since he knows you likely have nothing, based on pure odds. However, I WOULD make the same deal if I got to act last. THAT is the benefit of a straddle, and all too often, I see people forget that, once they look down at their two marginal cards. I don't mean to say you ALWAYS raise in this spot, because sometimes, the preflop action will indicate that no one is going to fold, and your hand is really bad. But in this case, the two limpers might fold to $20, and even if they didn't, I had a surprisingly good hand for a random hand.

To my surprise, only the crumudgeon called. The flop was 652, so I flopped TPTK. I decided to bet out $40, which was just an aweful play. He pushed all-in for $93 more and I folded. He could've been bullshitting me, if he thought I was raising with air because of the "BS" preflop raise from the straddle, essentially a continuation bluff, but I tried to read him and he just looked disinterested. His disinterest told me that he was relaxed and happy with his hand, and I couldn't get the thought of 77 or 88 out of my head. It certainly matched his play. Folding can be a small mistake, but calling can be a huge one, so I opted to fold, and found myself down slightly over $100.

At this point, the table knew I was the loose aggressive guy at the table. I was mildly annoyed at losing, but I didn't let it bother me, since I knew that I could win it all back on one hand.

My cards were crap, so I folded away for a while. The tourney was coming near, but I was okay with leaving the cash game down. In fact, I joked to Ruff, "Forget about freerolling the tournament. I'm going to have to win the tournament to break even from this game."

Finally, in EP/MP, I was dealt 44. I opted to call along with the 6 or so players to see the flop, 432. Sweet! I checked and then immediately regretted it. That is, immediately regretted it until the Professor bet out $10. Bridge called and when it got to me, I thought for a minute and raised to $35 total. The Professor called, and I think Bridge folded. I prayed that the Professor didn't have A5. It was definitely a possibility in a limping game like this, since a smart player will adjust by limping with marginal cards with the hope to hit a monster if he thinks he'll get action when he hits. When the turn was a King, I decided to quit fucking around. I bet out $50, and he quickly called. This is when I realized I had him on the hook. In both instances, he called very fast. He was not thinking about his decision, so I needed to keep him on this quick-action stint to control him. The river was a 3, giving me a full house, 4s full of 3s. I pushed all-in quickly and he called. The speed was key. I didn't want him to think of the full house, in case he had his straight. I just wanted him to thiink about the donkey across the table trying to push him off of a hand with ridiculous overbets.

I showed my cards and he mucked. Just then, the announcement was made. Tournament players had to cash out from cash games and take their seats in the tournament. I racked up, cashed out up $83, and then made my way to my table, located in a smoking room I never knew existed.

But before that, I bumped into Wendy and Cheryl, two players I know from the Wall Street Poker game. We chatted for a bit before an old friend from law school, Dan K., came over to also say hello. I hadn't seen him in years, since my home game dried up, so we chatted for a bit before I headed to the cashier to get my moneys.

Once paid, I took my tournament seat (9s), and was pleased to find the professor in the 2s and the pink-polo Indian in the 8s. The tournament starts with 500 chips, 20 minute levels, and 5/10 blinds. The second level is 10/20 blinds, but after that, I have no idea. Why? Because I busted in the second level.

Overall, my play was so/so. I folded for a bit, limped in a couple of hands and then folded, and maybe stole a blind once we got to 10/20. I don't remember the exact hand, but I called a preflop bet in one hand and then had to fold on the flop. Ultimately, I was down to 225, in the BB with Q6o. There were two limpers in MP and pink polo called in the SB. Since I had barely 10x the BB and this was clearly going to be a quick tourney, one way or another, I decided to push. After all, there was no indication that one of the limpers had a monster, and I wanted the 80 chip pot.

My push was called by one player, who had literally just sat down. He was an alternate, since the 7-table tourney sold out, so he still had his full 500. Still, to call an all-in on the first hand must require great cards. Nope. KJh. I had two live ones, but neither hit. I didn't really care, since I was freerolling, and I was happy to play a hand rather than sit around nursing a short stack. I also didn't feel terribly comfortable, and the burger and shake were starting to rebel in my stomach. Admittedly, it was a gamble to push when I did, but I saw the entire tournament as a freeroll gamble, so I'm more or less happy with my play.

When the river was dealt, I stood up and yelled, "YEAH!" This was all part of a joke and the table looked at me when I was continued, "YEAH!!...i've got nothing." They all cracked up and I wished them all good luck. It was one of my favorite exits, lighthearted and fun. My other favorite is the ole, "This game is stupid!"

I went over to Ruff and Bridge, who both sported nicely sized stacks. They appeared to be up several hundred dollars each. I, meanwhile, still had $23 profit. We chatted for a bit about the hand where I straddled, and he agreed that it was a good fold. I still don't like the flop bet though. I'm only getting called by a better hand and I can't call any raises. Bad all around. I considered sitting, but there were no seats open. I joked to Ruff that I may have to leave because I had to drop a duece really bad. I also seriously considered leaving because I felt satiated.

Its weird feeling satiated with poker. Even though I was there for only an hour, I felt like I got some good gamblin' done. I also recognized that I wasn't playing patiently, and I didn't want to hurt my bankroll or pride by playing poorly. If I left immediately, I could lock in my measely $23 profit, but it was better than nothing.

I found Dan. K, at the same table as Wendy in the tournament. We chatted for a bit and he asked about my home game. I told him it was done, but I found some others. I told him I could get him in if he was interested, and he agreed. He then told me to call him about it. At that point, the urge to hit the bathroom was just too strong. My stomach was taking a beating from the undercooked burger, and I knew I had to get out of there quick. I wished him luck and entered the mens room. The stall was in use, so I went to the urinal to distract myself. Nothing came and I headed for the door. The guy drying his hands off gave me a dirty look for not washing up, but I didn't give a shit. Brother needed a REAL bathroom, and I wasn't going to mock wash up for this fucker.

I said a quick goodbye to Bridge and Ruff and then left. I turned the corner and found a nearby Starbucks, usually the best choice for a quick bathroom break in the city. About 50% of them are filthy, but the other 50 are clean, and no one gives you shit for, well, taking a shit without paying for a drink. I made straight for the bathroom, which was clean enough. Prior to entering hte place, I considered grabbing a cab and waiting for home, but I knew it was desperate times. Once done, I washed up and headed to the counter for an iced tea. Even though I could've freerolled the bathroom, I thought of this as Starbuck's toke for having such plentiful bathrooms scattered throughout the city. I grabbed the subway home and waited for my wifey.

Excuse the duece talk, but when I was on my way home, I was trying to figure out how to explain my sudden departure. I thought it false to just say I had enough poker. I did have enough, but I also had other things distracting me, namely my bowels. But hey, if you can't be honest on your blog, where can you be?

Until next time, make mine Charmin!

posted by Jordan @ 9:01 AM,


At 11:00 AM, Blogger Schaubs said...

Good stuff. I'd likely bet out my TP there too, but I am a cash donk. Nice fold.

I think I would have fake washed my hands though... the guy might be at your table next time LOL

good stuff, nice poop.

At 11:13 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That might have been a bad fold on the flop (with A6 TPTK on the flop - the hand you straddled in the cash game) IMO unless you think the guy was smart. From what I can tell, he had no reason to give you credit for anything, and if he did have a big hand then why wouldn't he string you along. It seems like he was exuding strength which often means the opposite. He might have had an overpair (definitely not a set) but I think your fold was conservative.

At 11:21 AM, Blogger Jordan said...

I think he had a modest overpair, like 77 or 88. He was a patient player, so with 77 or 88 he would call UTG and then call a raise from the straddler. On the flop, he had an overpair, so his raise all-in was probably to protect his hand and get value if I was willing to donk off more dough. While his bet was big (showing strength), his demeanor was not. He had a quiet confidence about him, which he hid behind a fascade of not caring. I'm pretty sure it was the right fold.

At 11:29 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think I was at this same tourney. Is "Nice Look" your nickname for this club? I don't want to give away too much info... does the actual name of this club rhyme with Pear Poo? Just curious...

At 11:32 AM, Blogger Jordan said...

HAHAHA! Pear Poo it is!

At 1:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Haha.. Nice Look. Where did that come from?

I did ok. If I can remember correctly, the rounds went 5/10, 10/20, 15/30, 25/50, 50/100, 100/200, 200/400 (no antes yet), then i busted. At 25/50 i had about 1800 in chips and thought I was doing well. I had to have more than the average stack b/c I was chip leader at my table. But then at 50/100, my number of BB is cut in half and I have to deal with someone moving in almost every hand. It could be me, but I felt that jump in blinds was a bit much. I am used to playing on Full Tilt though. Overall it was fun, and i would play again, but i need to make sure i have about 2500 at 50/100.

At 4:29 PM, Blogger Jordan said...

Hey Anonymous, leave a "name" of some sort so I know its you in the future. As for the tourney structure, its designed so that it is a big gamble. That's part of why I was willing to push all-in with Q6o. Sooner or later, you're going to get in there on a coin toss, and I was willing to start the coin tossing early.

At 4:52 PM, Blogger CarmenSinCity said...

"Brother needed a REAL bathroom, and I wasn't going to mock wash up for this fucker." This was the funniest line in the whole damn post. I'm cracking up.

Okay - very ODD that we are blogging about the same things each day.

On Monday, I blogged about Superbad and the movie 23 and another girl came to my site and told me that she blogged about the SAME two movies on Monday. That was so odd too - especially since 23 sucked ass and it's not even new anymore.

Okay, so next season, I'll let you know which day I'll be writing about dancing with the stars so we can coordinate.

At 4:59 PM, Blogger Jordan said...

Honestly, Carmen, I probably will be watching Dancing w/ the Stars with wifey Kim, so maybe we can do a two-blog he said/she said.

At 11:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, you're probably right.


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