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WSOP 2008 Prop Invitationalw

Hey bitches and bitchettes! The WSOP kicked off today and I came to realize that I just don't care. But then I remembered the prop bets from last year and all was well in the world.

I'm throwing out the prop bet again, and I invite all offers (although admittedly, I'm looking for props between $1 and $10 or maybe $20 for the over/under bet). Here are the details:

1. Over/Under amount of players in the Main Event- You send me your over/under number and I'll choose to go over or under.

2. Pick'em Horserace- You choose one or more professional players and I do the same. For each bracelet won by your or my player(s), the other person pays. This will last for the entire WSOP, and could accumulate some nice dough...or none at all. We can even offer a lesser amount for each final table, such as $1 for final tabling, $5 for wins, or even $5/$20.

I am reserving my right to cap the betting and reject any offers, but I'm interested in getting some action on this thing, so hit me up with a comment or email if you are interested. Since the WSOP kicked off today, I want to make it clear that any bets will commence starting MONDAY, JUNE 2, 2008 with Event #3, and must be placed by that time.

Leave your offer in the comments and I will leave a comment stating "confirmed" for each offer I decide to take. Email me at the link/tab at the top or leave your email in the comment and I'll hit you up directly to tell you whether I am accepting your bet.

Good luck to all, unless you bet against me, in which case to hell with you and your luck.

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 2:31 PM, ,

Can Everyone Learn Poker?

I was reading a post at Memphis MOJO's new poker and bridge blog, Just Sayin', and it sparked a thought that has occurred to me more than once. Can poker be learned?

It's a very basic question that probably needs a bit more explanation. In my opinion, there is a certain mindset/personality/level of intelligence that benefits a poker player. I won't be so bold as to say exactly what it is, mostly because it is sorta mercurial. It's that instinctual understanding of the game, or that die-hard aggressive nature tempered by logic thought, or the ability to understand everything happening around you, block out the white noise, and put together what's important. It is all of these things and more. But whatever it is, it leads me to one conclusion, it is Impossible for some people to learn poker. And those people are the life blood of the game.

Have you ever had a friend who just couldn't 'get' the game? I'll offer an example from the Wall Street Game. There is a certain player I will choose to not name who is widely regarded as terrible. People actually cringe when the person is playing because they do not want to deal with the inevitable bad beats that come with a less-than-seasoned donk. This person has played fairly regularly at the WSG since I initially found the game, almost a year ago (time flies, man). And the WSG is all about discussing hands and strategy. So why isn't this player learning?

You may argue that the player is not studying the game, and therefore, play alone will not teach him how to play. I say to you that you are studying too much if you think that studying from books and hand histories is the only way to learn something. Doyle Brunson did not read books or blogs to learn how to play poker. Phil Ivey did not go over his hand histories in Poker Tracker in order to plug his leaks. Those are definitely ways to study the game, but to learn the game, you have to play and learn from experience (I challenge anyone who thinks a player can become excellent without playing a hand). And you can learn from experience without the need of a book or hand histories provided that you have the right mind for the game.

What I am really discussing, at least in the outset, is the idea of players who naturally 'get' the game. Now, these players aren't necessarily winning players either, but they have a potential to be winning players if they can apply what they instinctually know (or instinctually learn, if you prefer). For instance, I present to you Woffles. For all of Woffles entertaining blow-ups, Woffles gets it. A long time ago, Woffles and I were chatting over the girly IM when I mentioned that I thought he had a mind for the game. He can discuss hands and concepts in a way that is not merely culled from books and regurgitated like he is preparing for a pop quiz. He is willing to challenge commonly-thought principles, not in a baseless, blind way, but in a curious, exploratory manner. You may not see it in his rant posts, but speak to Woffles about the game in a reasonable manner and you will see that Woffles 'gets it.'

Even so, there was a time (3 mos ago) when Woffles was probably break-even or even a net loser at poker. It was because he lacked some discipline, something that I also must overcome. It's the lack of discipline that will allow a player to build up a roll over months only to lose it in two tilting nights, something I know Woffles (and I) have done more than once. This discipline element of poker is another story. I am not discussing whether an individual player who 'gets it' is disciplined and can actually apply it. I am merely discussing how certain players can think about the game (usually in the cold, hard light of day) and really understand it on an instinctual level.

It is my opinion (and I invite critique), that there is also a type of player who does not and, more importantly, cannot 'get it'. People's brains work in different ways. Some excel at math, while other excel at writing or art. We are each special little snowflakes, even the drooling meathead who sucks at both. And likewise, some people have the mind for poker. I am sure it involves a slew of mini skill sets, including math skills, empathy and an understanding of human nature, pattern recognition, and memory. While some people may have the perfect skill set for poker, other people simply do not. They can study all that they want, but ultimately, they will hit a glass ceiling of skill. Those are the players who make the game beatable. Those are the problem gamblers. Those are the guys who play a tournament and get pissed that you raised when you wanted the side pot because, "By the river, I woulda hit my straight, man! We coulda busted him!" I'm not here to bust him. I'm here to accumulate chips. Dousche.

One step further, I am sure that there are people who have natural skill sets that benefit online poker play or live play specifically. Multiple big name professional poker players cannot win online. Does that mean that they suck at poker? No. They may just not have the skill sets necessary for online poker, but do have the skill sets necessary for live poker. They may be less patient in front of a computer screen or have more impulsive behavior. They may just rely more on their empathic sense and reads to play great live poker, and that simply does not translate online. Regardless, the point remains: some people 'get' online poker and others just don't, or can't.

I'll leave this open for discussion, since Lord knows I am no expert on the matter. But I would love to hear from certain more successful bloggers or readers. Is there a portion of the population that just naturally 'gets it' and are built for the game? Are there portions of the population that will never get it? And is there a middle ground, a player who does not have the natural skills but can learn/study enough to get to the highest level? I'm not talking about improving. As I said on Memphis MOJO's blog, some players learn how to suck less, rather than how to be good. I am talking about players learning how to become that instinctually talented player.

I leave you with one last idea. I have heard numerous times that most professionals start their careers with a string of improbable good luck, that lulls them into thinking that they can go pro, only to then learn what a tough road it is. I always thought of that early success as luck, but couldn't it also be a little bit of instinct from the new player, the same instinct that allows them to suffer losses after the 'lucky spell' ends and then get right back on the horse and actually prove themselves as a name pro?

I don't have the answer, but I sure like the question.

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 10:00 AM, ,

This Guy Didn't Get It

Not much is going down at the HighOnPoker watchtower. The days pass along as I bust my hump covering last minute depositions and coordinating enough lawsuits to make me officially feel like an air traffic controller. Yesterday had me driving to New Jersey to cover two depositions. I heard about the first one on Tuesday, giving me all of one day to prepare. I heard about the second one about 2 minutes after I entered the deposition. Thank god my strongest skill is my ability to think on my feet.

Meanwhile, life at home is honky dorey. I've sorta escaped from the habit of online poker. I still play, but I haven't felt the same urge lately. It's likely due to the other distractions around me, most notably the Wii. Mario Kart Wii continues to be a blast. It's online component pretty much makes the game. Wifey Kim and I also picked up Wii Fit, which makes for an interesting distraction. If you haven't heard about Wii Fit, its essentially a device that looks like a step-aerobics board. It can tell how you distribute your weight and comes with a disc that has a slew of games and exercises (yoga, strength training, etc.) designed to get America's fat children off of their asses. Apparently, it works on online poker players too. I highly recommend the system for anyone looking to change things up a bit. I doubt that it will have the health benefits most people hope for, since, like gym memberships, it's one thing to buy it and its a whole other thing to actually use it consistently. But I digress.

Online poker seems to remain about break-even. I have a few fun hands to discuss in my blogging queue, but before I get to that, I thought I'd go over some comments made during the most recent Skillz Game. I played fairly well in the Skillz Game until I flamed out late on some plays that I don't recall particularly even though I can still taste the self-flagulation that came after my likely bad plays. I love me a blow up! But that all said, let's enjoy some chit-chat.

I was getting shortstacked when I made an awfukkit play that I rarely make. I am all for the hammer, but I am usually adamantly against pushing all-in with the hammer, mostly because in the past, I consistently was called in such situations and consequentally busted out. So, while I advocate for the hammer, I always add one caveat, no all-in bluffs.

Well, usually no all-in bluffs. I pushed all-in with my 2,000 or so chips with blinds at or over 100/200. Sadly, I don't have the details. I do remember that I was in EP/MP, so the play was totally unwarranted. Even so, I got called by roo21t (blogger?) in the BB, who showed KQh. Clearly, roo2it was playing loose as well, since I really can't see that call justified unless he was a monster stack. But really, roo2it's call was correct in the end and I don't begrudge him it. After all, our motto at HoP is Control Your Own Play, Because You Cannot Control Others'. Naturally, once the cards flip, I hit the Enter key and my pre-typed "hammer!" pops up. The flop came down with a 2 and no Q or K came, granting me the pot. Immediately, I see an opportunity for humor and this exchange occurs:

HighOnPoker: CHOO CHOO!
roo21t: what a joke

Ah ha! So we have a bitter player. Let's have some fun:

HighOnPoker: Whoop %%# Express just pulled into the station
roo21t: nice hand moron
HighOnPoker: thanks donkey
HighOnPoker: why don't you hop on the train
HighOnPoker: next stop, busto out junction
HighOnPoker: booya!

So I querry you, was I wrong to be 'smack talking'? My answer is a hearty No, but that's because I am naturally biased to handsome bald men. First, the CHOO CHOO is so obviously a goof, any maroon who gets upset by it is really just looking for an excuse. Then, once roo calls the hand a joke, I decide to, well, joke. Poker is a game, donkeys. Learn how to play or learn how to have fun. Either way, simple "suckouts" like 27 v. KQ shouldn't cause you to lose sleep.

Ah hell, let's bust out those two hands as well.

I have two interesting hands from a $10+1 KO SNG at FT worth discussing. In the first hand, I was sitting at 2798 chips, down from the starting stack of 3000. Blinds were up to 60/120. I believe it was a turbo SNG.

I was dealt JJ in the Hijack (two seats to the right of the button). A player in mid-position, LooseLips with 2620, raised to 240, a min-raise, and I decided to raise to 720. I considered just calling, but I wanted to narrow the field, lest I just call, get two calls from the SB and BB and face a bunch of possible overcards. It worked, and LooseLips and I saw a flop of A75, with two clubs. He checked and I checked as well. I didn't love the Ace, and I wanted to see how LL would act after I checked. I could've bet, but I wanted more information. His check could mean he had the Ace and was setting up a check-raise, or that he had nothing. I was also mildly concerned of the check-raise bluff. In other words, if I bet and get raised, I'll have no choice but to fold. Even if I'm called, I'm concerned and have to lock down my hand, since a loose player might have called with AT preflop and on the flop. I'm better off waiting to see what happens on the turn.

The turn was an offsuit 9 and LL checked. At this point, I really had no idea where I was, but I was getting the impression that I was ahead. I still opted for a check because only a superior hand would call me there (see, A8, QQ, etc.) and a check-raise was not out of the question. If I were ahead, I would simply hope for no Q or K, in which case, I'd likely remain ahead on the river.

The river was an offsuit 8, creating a 4-card straight if LL had a 6. He instantly pushed all-in for 1900. I insta-called. He showed KTh and I took down the pot.

This is one of those instances where I acted before I even knew why I was acting. We find ourselves once again back to the concepts in the book Blink. Essentially, everything he did appeared like a river bluff and I knew this on an instinctual level. He must assume that I do not have an Ace based on the action, so he tried to push me off of the pot. The all-in overbet was another sign that he was bullshitting. It is true that some people overbet for value on the river, but in this case, the "story" showed either a player with no cards or a player with a monster who checked out of position twice to set up a check-raise or induce a bet/bluff from a weaker hand. If we follow the story of a player with no cards, the push makes sense; it's a last ditch attempt at a pot that appears abandoned. If we follow the story of a player trying to squeeze out some value from a monster hand, then his push makes no sense. A small value bet would fit with that story and probably force me out of the pot if it's a large enough "small" bet. Since the pot was about 1500 and we both were down to stacks of approximately 2000, a 900 bet would probably scare me off. Even if I call there, he still saves the 1000 he threw away from pushing. Bet sizing is key.

I had worked my way up to a 8758 stack by the 150/300, 25 antes level, when I was dealt Q6o in the Hijack. I had tightened up my play considerably, literally only playing top 10 or 15 hands while I folded away the rest. We were 7 handed and I'm on the button when it folds to me. The SB only has 350 or so left, so I want to get heads-up with him, since the pot would be ~925 if we got heads-up and I would only be exposed for 350 more than if I were to fold. The SB, Bull, called and the BB, Med, surprisingly called as well. He had over 12,000 and was the table chip leader. after three folds, I decided to take a stab at a pot. After all, the last two or three hands were all won preflop, so I felt like it was a good time to steal since the table was in fold-mode. I raise to 900,

The flop was a useless J74 with two diamonds. Med checks and I bet out 1,200. This is the most interesting aspect of the hand to me. Many players check here thinking that, with no cards, they cannot win the main pot against the shorty. I'm sure you've seen this before and if you are an accomplished player this is almost a laughable statement, since its so intuitive, but for anyone else, let me lay it flat for you: It is not your job to bust players. It is only your job to collect chips.

Since Med called me preflop, the side pot was 1,100. The main pot was comparable in size. If I knew I couldn't win the main pot, I had to play for that sizeable main pot. Sure, I may push Med off of a hand that would bust Bull, but ultimately I don't care about whether Bull busts. I care about getting some of those chips into my stack.

Bull showed K5h, and by the river, won the pot with his King-high. However, by bluffing off Med, I was able to take 1,100 out of the hand after investing 900. It ain't a big profit, but it's better than leaving that 1,100 out there for Med to take.

That's all the fun I have for you today. If you are like me, you are itching for the Lost finale tonight.

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 11:23 AM, ,

Golden Chip Awards

Obviously, we here at High on Poker care little about public accolades. In fact, we didn't even show up for our Humanitarian Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2007 Source Awards show, mostly because we were simultaneously booked for the All American Oyster Shucking Showdown at the Tillamook County Fair. (Go Nestucca High School Bobcats!)

And naturally, we here at High on Poker (we being me and my intern Mohan, who has been ghost writing this blog since Sanji quit in March 2006; thanks Mohan!) don't trust most "online" contests, since they are likely little more than an attempt to drum up the contest-holder's own traffic by giving out some silly award.

But sometimes, something magical happens and we at H.o.P. (yeah, you know me!) takes a chance, a chance to make a difference, a chance for change, a chance...for a meaningless award.

That time is now.

So, if you are interested, check out the Golden Chip Awards and vote for yours truly under Best Private Poker Blog. There are a couple of other well known bloggerati in there too, so even if you hate us here at H.o.P., you can give the love to one of the other amazing Private Poker Blogs, as I guess we are now called.

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 7:50 AM, , Guest Post: Poker Tournament Table Selection

The following is a guest post from the fine folks at

In multi-table online poker tournaments, you do not have the option to choose your seat. You must sit at your assigned table and seat. However, there is a tournament format in which table selection does come into play.

Table Selection in Tournaments: Sit and Gos

When it comes to poker online, a single-table sit and go is the one tournament situation in which you can, to some extent, choose your table. Since there is only one table in this type of tournament, it is really a matter of choosing which sit and go you want to play.

Sit and Go Table Selection Criteria

Although you cannot observe the play of your table before joining a sit and go, be aware that many players play more than one sit and go, one after the other. Watch a few before jumping in, or at least part of a few. You may learn something about players who will be ready to join you in a sit and go once they are eliminated from their current game.

Implementing Sit and Go Table Selection

Your best bet for Internet sit and go table selection is to make notes on everyone you can. Every time you play a sit and go, make notes. When you are watching a sit and go, make notes.

Since a great many players play the same sit and go stakes on the same site day after day, you should eventually be able to read the tendencies of several players. When you find a table with more than one player whose tendencies fit in with your style, you know which table to choose.

posted by Jordan @ 1:49 PM, ,

Uneven Heads

A little less than a week ago, Loretta8 hosted the first in a weekly series of Heads-Up Tournaments. If you want more details, I suggest you check out Loretta's blog.

As a Heads-Up aficionado, I've played in a slew of heads-up tournaments. I was playing poker at the Wall Street Game last night when I got into a brief discussion with Alceste about the new blogger HU tournament's format. He had a complaint that I have heard more than once since the event.

In any HU tournament, the ideal scenario is to have a clean bracket. 4 players, 8 players, 16 players, 32 players and so forth. When you have more or less than those ideal numbers, there is a natural problem. Either players will be given a "bye" and will be considered to have automatically "won" their first tournament, allowing them to advance to the next round whereas others have to actually play the first round; or, some players have to play for the empty bracket spots. Its really just two ways to look at the same situation. If there are 17 players, player #16 and #17 may have to play against each other to determine who gets the last spot in the 16-person bracket. Conversely, if there are 15 players, player #15 may get a bye to round 2. While players #1-14 play each other, player #15 gets to automatically move on to the 8-person second round.

The first question that needs to be asked is whether these HU blogger tournaments should be capped at a pre-determined "ideal" number, likely 32. In my opinion, the answer is a resounding, No. The more players, the large the prize pool. Plus, this is largely an inclusive game, instead of an exclusive one.

The main argument for capping the game at an ideal field number is that everyone is perfectly even in the battle they must face to make it to the final table. But if we accept the fact that this is a series and the byes are determined at random, the minor "bad luck" of not getting a bye should be counteracted by the fact that you won't get that "bad luck" week in and week out.

Let's assume, then, that we won't cap the amount of players. Is there any way to even the playing field?

The answer is Yes, but apparently a lot of people don't like it. The tournament, at least in its initial incarnation, had an interesting format. If you received a "bye" in the first round, which happened to a majority of the players, you started the next round with 1500. If you did not get a bye and had to beat someone to advance, you took 3000 to the next round (your initial 1500 + the 1500 you took off of your opponent. As a result, some people faced a deficit in their first round. The "bye" players started their first match with 1500 against some players without first round byes, who started the match with 3000.

The travesty! If you were one of those "bye" players, you may've immediately felt the outrage of starting a tournament significantly outchipped. And I shall say to you, Quit your bitching! If you didn't get your bye in the first round, there was a 50% chance that you would've busted (all things being equal). Why shouldn't the non-bye people receive some benefit to offset the negatives of having to play an additional round.

It sucks to be outchipped. So what?! Any decent player should be able to confidently overcome a 2:1 chip deficit. It might not feel "fair" but what about the other schmo. Consider this. In a field of 35, 6 players will not get a bye and have to play an extra round to get down to the round of 32. After that, they will have to play another 5 matches to win, for a total of 6 wins. The bye players only have to win 5 matches. That might not seem like a big deal, but even the best players will have difficulty putting together 6 consecutive wins in a row, HU.

And here's another aspect. If you overcome your double-stacked opponent, you will take those chips with you to the next round. By the late rounds, everything will most likely even up and the chip differences will be less dramatic, but the point is, there is actually a benefit even to the bye players who end up outchipped against an opponent right at the starting gate. If they succeed in vanquishing their foe, they go into the next round with the juiced stack.

It's all perspective, but there are a dozen different ways to demonstrate that in the end, the guy with the bye and the guy without the bye will face equal struggles to first place. For instance, one way to look at it is that the guy without the bye has to win 3000 chips to advance to the round of 16 (1500 from one competitor to make it to the round of 32, and 1500 from their next competitor to make it to the round of 16). The player with the bye also has to win 3000 to get to the round of 16 (3000 all from the non-bye player in the round of 32). And so on.

In the end, it becomes an issue of what you are trying to test. If you are trying to test how players do against each other when starting from a purely even starting point EVERY ROUND, then you are not necessarily interested in equality anyway. The players who get byes get a MAJOR advantage. A better test would be to simply play single table HU SNGs. If you are trying to test who can go the furthest in a HU tournament, with all of the participants starting on equal footing, then the format of the original blogger HU event is the way to go.

Agree? Disagree? Hey, those are just my two cents.

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 3:32 PM, ,

Dumbing Down

I had the pleasure of exploring a new live poker option in my neighborhood yesterday. Sometime early last week, I got an email from Roose about a game played in the backroom of a local bar. He got the invite from one of his wife's co-workers and passed it along to me.

I'm always glad to try out a new venue. You never know when the environment will suit you, and it takes little to convince me to play. That said, there is also a certain amount of risk to any new game. Will the game start on time? Is the game going to be tough to beat? Are the rules the same as what you are used to? These are the questions that must be answered; unfortunately, they can rarely be answered before you arrive.

I stopped off at my apartment before heading over the the bar to meet Roose. I met him in the back room, where three dingy plastic folding tables were set up and sparsely populated with all sorts of misfits and their starting stack of chips. One of the three tables stood starkly empty. Two other tables (five total) were pushed together to form a rough square. Players sat around the circle participating in what could only be a closed cash game. Judging from their stacks, the action must've been ferocious, as were the stakes. Judging by their appearance, more likely than not the group came from one of the nearby Wall Street financial companies. I could smell the douschebaggery from across the room.

I saw Roose and grabbed a seat by him. He showed me where I had to pay and I walked over and paid my $30 buy-in. The email said that it was a $30 but didn't make reference to the amount that was buy-in vs. fee. In fact, the email should've tipped me off a lot about this game.

First and foremost, the email lacked any real details. Shit, it didn't even specifically state that it was a tournament, instead just mentioning a $30 buy-in and $25 rebuys. No mention was made of the format of the tournament, but I found out that night that it was 20 minute blinds, 500 chip starting stacks, and 5/10 starting blinds. While I didn't need this info to decide whether I wanted to play, the lack of information was a definite red flag. This was clearly not a professionally run game.

The other aspect of the email that intrigued me was the late fee. If you showed up after 6:30, there was an extra $5 surcharge.

On its face, its a nice idea. It allows players to buy in late without holding up the game. The reality was that I literally ran from my apartment to the game, hoping to arrive on time. I succeeded...but not everyone else did. We'll get to that in a minute.

After sitting with Roose, we made small talk to the other guys sitting down. As I waited for the game to start, I began asking questions of my table mates. We were a ragtag bunch, 5 in total. The other occupied tournament table had every seat full and a guy was sitting in the middle seat shuffling two decks of cards. I asked the guy sitting to my right, "Do we self deal here?" The answer: "Yes."

WHAT? I'm paying a fee to self deal!? Mutha fucka!

Okay, so let's accept the fact that we were self-dealing. In reality, my neighbor to the right, we'll just call him Righty, planned on dealing for the entire game anyway. I didn't argue. He called over for a deck of cards and began shuffling. We waited around anxious to play poker. In the meanwhile, I ordered a half-and-half and a burger from the waitress (for those who don't know, a half-and-half is half Guinness, half Harp, similar to a black and tan, which is half Guinness, half Bass or a similar beer). The waitress service, particularly the hot little blondie, was one of the few positives of the game.

I wondered aloud about why we were waiting and then overheard the answer. The tournament "directors" were waiting for two people. WHAT?! I RAN HERE TO AVOID A LATE FEE AND WE ARE STILL WAITING FOR LATE PLAYERS! WTF! Just let them buy in late. Lord knows we had enough people to start.

While waiting, I began to look at the other tables: one packed, one empty. I asked Righty, who had played there before, "Is this the seating arrangements? We just sit wherever?" He asked the "floor." The answer was yes, you choose your seat. WHAT THE WTF! I MEAN REALLY!? IS IT SO HARD TO SET UP RANDOM SEATING!

Then I did the math. "Wait, they are not going to even out the tables?" Righty asked and the response was odd. There were two tournament "directors." One of them responded, "Don't worry. [Other "TD"] and me will take the empty table and when X, Y, and Z arrive, they'll sit with us." As far as the "TD" was concerned, that was a serviceable answer. Thankfully, Righty wasn't retarded and pointed out the unevenness. That's how we got Leftie added to the table, appropriately sitting on my left between Roose and I.

After the Johnny Come Latelies arrived, the tournament started. The play at our table was embarassing. People stayed in the hand with any pair. This, naturally, meant that I should play tight. Yeah, but that's not the title of the post. The title is Dumbing Down, because that is exactly what Roose and I did. We dumbed down our own games.

Case in point, I got stacked when I played 89o in the BB. Roose was in EP and came in for a limp. The flop was 667. I bet out and Roose raised. I called, joking that he couldn't have a 6. The turn was a Ten, giving me the straight. I played smart, checking to Roose, who bet out. I pushed all-in over the top with my turned straight. He called and showed K6o. He played K6o from EP, mostly because it was a good hand compared to the Any Two our opponents were playing. I opined, "You need a King, 7 or Ten for a full house." Righty, dealing, added, "Or a 6." He then dealt a 6 for rivered Quads.

"REBUY!" I yelled and then looked over to the "TDs." One of them hesitantly got up. Whatever!

I got to the front and tried to pay the $25. "Do you have change for $100?" I assumed they must. Just count the amount of players. "No. You don't have change?" FUCKING A! WHAT CARD ROOM AVOIDS BUYING BACK $100 BILLS?! IT MAKES NO SENSE! I asked the patrons and one guy had change. He gave me five $20s and I handed two to the TD. "I don't have $15. I owe ya." I thought for a moment and then said internally, "Fuck it. I'll get it later." Ten minutes later, I paid for another beer and got change from the waitress. You best believe I immediatley got my $15 back.

Back at the tournament, Roose busted on some crappy hand. He decided not to rebuy since the game was ridiculous. After he left, a petite Hispanic girl took his seat. I lost my buy-in to her several minutes later.

I decided to tighten up since it was clear I would get paid off. Unfortunately, the blinds were up to 30/60 and we were 6-handed, so my 500 stack quickly faded to 320. It was with this in mind that I decided to take a shot. Everyone limped into a hand, which meant they all had...well, two cards. Any two, really.

When it got to me, I had Q6o. There was 180 in the pot, so I pushed all-in. I counted out 320 and then pretended like I didn't realize how much I was raising. I didn't want my all-in push for 260 on top to be too obvious of a steal. It didn't make a difference. The Hispanic chick took 2 minutes before calling in a resigned way. Everyone else folded. She showed JJ. What a fucking retard!?

I said, "This game is stupid! I'm going home!" For the first time, I really meant it.

Sometimes, the wrong environment can elicit weaker play. Roose and I dumbed down our play to match the monkeys around us. It was obviously a losing strategy.

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 4:51 PM, ,

Kaleidoscope Vomit

I am going to take a moment to discuss something a little off topic.

It was about 3 in the morning and I was wondering, admittedly drunk, through the Showboat casino when I became transfixed on the carpet.

Casino carpet is an interesting thing. It's appearance closely resembles kaleidescope vomit. The colors alone are dizzying, and the patterns don't help either.

Allow these pictoral examples of the carpet at the Showboat:

I got lost staring at the carpet for a while. What can I say, nothing goes better with excessive alcohol consumption that swirly colors. But I also had enough of my bearings to contemplate the meaning of the carpets.

I have come up with three prevailing theories:

1. Stains- A randomly colored, dark carpet will not show the urine/blood/hopes and dreams that will eventually spill onto the casino floor. A light tope won't work, but kaleidescope vomit creates a natural spill camoflauge. This, to me, is the frontrunner in my theories.

2. Loose chips- Rumor has it, casinos make lots of money with a machine not traditionally on the casino floor: the vacuum. The rumor goes that every night/morning during clean-up the vacuums pick up all sorts of chips that have fallen on the casino floor. The kaleidescope vomit with its reds ($5 chips) and greens ($25 chips) would serve as a perfect way to fool patrons into losing their dropped chips. Really, though, aren't there enough desperate people to comb the floor for loose chips? That, and the fact that the casino doesn't need vacuum tricks to win money, are the leading reasons why I doubt this theory.

3. Hypnosis- or at least some sort of psychological reason. I don't have this one fully fleshed out, but it was posed by Roose when I asked him about the carpet design. We all know of the casino "tricks," whether they are real or not, like banning clocks and pumping oxygen into the room. Of course, I have no basis for this theory, so it's all just theoretical at this point.

Of course, this is really just the extended meanderings of a drunken mind, because in the end, who cares what color the carpet is...but if there are any insiders out there with answers...your secret is safe here.

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 9:30 AM, ,

Drunken Wrapup (AC Trip Report Pt 5)

I finished my shower and met up with Roose, Randy and Robbie Hole. Petey Pablo had already returned to his wife and family at the Tropicana. We contemplated what to do, but I had one thing first and foremost in my mind: food.

I have already lamented the food selection at the Showboat, so I won't rehash it again. I chose, instead, to walk the Boardwalk. My goal was to walk to the mall opposite Caesar's casino; while I was there, I figured that I could pick up a new (clean) hoodie and a belt for my cargo pants. I suppose I was just riding high on the win, since I'm not usually one to shop.

The rest of the crew had eaten during my tournament run, so I told them of my plan. Someone asked if I was going alone and I explained, "Yeah, unless someone wants to come, but I don't want anyone to feel obligated." I returned to the bathroom where I washed my hands. I overheard Roose saying, "He needs some alone time."

Roose had a point. I tend to withdraw at times from certain social situations. I find a freedom in being alone. I don't have to adjust to anyone else's pace; I don't have to compromise. I can lose myself in my head and in my surroundings. Roose was dead on. Inside, I felt like I needed to get away for a bit, if only to reflect on the weekend thus far and to have ultimate freedom as I wandered the same Boardwalk I walked countless times before as a child.

On my way to the Boardwalk exit, I stopped by the poker room. To earn a comp at the Showboat poker room, you have to give the floor your player's card at the begining of your session and then "check out" at the end. I had forgot to check out since I started playing at the cash game table at about 1pm. I walked to the floor's desk at an odd angle to appear as though I was coming from inside the room. The guy took my card and swiped me out. I got credit for over 7 hours of play, even though tournament play doesn't count and the last hour, I was upstairs showering.

Even though it was 8pm or later, there was still trace amounts of light outside. The breeze was light and the temperature was moderate.

I walked the Boardwalk for a while, checking out the many crappy food options. About 10 to 15 minutes into my walk, I realized how far Caesars was. I decided to shorten my trip and stopped at Godfathers, a local pizza place. I grabbed a chicken parm sandwich and took my time eating and people watching. Satiated, I returned to the hotel, where Roose, Robbie and Randy were all playing a version of rummy in the hotel room.

We hung out for a while trying to figure out what to do. "Let's play drunken limit." Roose was correct once again: some drunken 2/4 Limit poker was definitely in order.

The four of us made our way to the poker room, where we put ourselves on the 8-deep 2/4 limit list. While the other guys sat at a nearby bar and drank, I felt the itch to play and got seated immediately at a 3/6 limit game. I was there for 15 minutes, losing $18 or so, before I heard the floor announce a new table...and all of our crew were on it.

I got to the new table first out of our crew. Two middle-aged business men were waiting patiently in the 5s and 6s. I took the 8s, so I could see the whole table. Roose took the 10s and Randy took the 9s. Robbie sat on the other side of the dealer in the 1s.

Once we got started, the fun really began. The waitresses were fairly consistent, and we all kept ordering drinks constantly. Once the prop betting began, things got really fun.

I started a All Red/All Black Flop bet with Roose to start off. The bet goes like this. He chose all black, I got all red. If the flop is all black, I give him a dollar. If the turn is also black, I give him $2. If the river is also black, he gets $5. The same is true for me and my red cards. Once Robbie Hole heard, he wanted in on it too, so I double booked. Later in the game, Randy wanted in, so I triple booked.

The problem was, the gaming commission doesn't approve of prop bets, so we had to pass our chips discretely. Because it was a fun-time game, Roose and I worked out a signal, an extremely loud Ka-Kaw! crow noise that I would make whenever we shifted our payouts back and forth. Naturally, we waited for the dealer's head to turn, but the Ka Kaw! made it obvious in an absurd way.

Since Robbie was so far away, I just had him tip the dealer with whatever I won from him. Again, I'm basically throwing money away, but it was in the interest of having fun.

A blonde chick sat down next to me after a while. She looked confused by our antics until she started asking questions about the prop bets. She had never seen such a thing before, but once it was explained (by one of the dealers, no less), she wanted she double booked All Red with Roose. By then, the whole table was whooping it up, due in large part to our shenanigans.

Pokerwise, I basically played ABC poker, raising with top 10 hands and folding the rest. I still kept losing due to repeat suckouts, but each time I laughed and made some tongue-in-cheek sore loser comment that let everyone know that it really didn't bother me one bit. I also made a couple of great laydowns, folding a flopped set of Queens with my QQ when the river put out an inside four-card straight (the bettor got a caller and showed the straight) and laying down a flopped set of Tens with my TT when the river completed a flush draw (which was also shown, proving that I made the right play).

The props continued and built upon themselves. Roose and I booked a Rank bet. I chose Jack and he chose Ten. Basically, you get a dollar if your card comes out on the flop. If it is the middle card on the flop, you get $2. You have to call it out though before the hand is over or else you don't get paid. Randy and I booked the same prop bet as well, with him taking Ten. When a flop came down TTx, I asked Randy when it got so dark. We stared out the window for a minute before I saw the hand end. I then pointed out the hand to Randy. BURN!

Other prop bets came and went. Most notably, we bet on how long it would take the waitress to return with my drink. I took the over, so that I felt like a winner no matter what. I lost the bet, but at least my drink arrived quickly.

We played for hours, finally walking away when fatigue set in. On the way to the room, we picked up random snacks.

Upstairs, I reclaimed my bed. Roose moved to the other bed. Robbie took the cot. Randy took the floor. As Roose opened his bag of sunflower seeds, a small explosion occurred. Sunflower seeds covered his bed. I saw opportunity.

"Rob, I'll give you $10 to eat all those seeds off of the bed without your hands."

$10. A small figure, but I knew he didn't need $400 to do it. He probably would've done it for free.

We videotaped the event, thanks to Roose's cell phone. Unfortunately, the fucknut neglected to mention that he couldn't email video, so we are working on that problem.

After the "show." we discussed plans for the next day and agreed upon the noon tournament at Bally's. I was a bit concerned since it could take over 5 hours to complete, but I had to go with the flow.

The next morning, we woke up around 10:30am and got our shit together. We got to the cars, with Roose and I heading to his car with the Holes went to Rob's car. Once out of the parking lot, we got a call from Randy. Rob's car wouldn't start.

We re-entered the lot, paying another $5 to get past the crack security. Rob's battery was fine, but some water leakage must've affected something more serious. He called AAA while we waited.

It was clear that the tourney was out, so we fell back on Plan B, White House Subs. The White House Sub Shop is a local favorite that I found via Jamie from Wall Street Poker. Roose, Randy and I headed there to grab "brunch". I went with the cheesesteak, which was good, although it needed salt. Randy got a random chicken cacciatore sub and a chicken cheesesteak sub. Roose got a 12" Italian hero, as is his tradition. We got the half-size for Rob.

Getting back to Rob's car, we decided to try something different. After chowing down, we pushed the car out of the parking spot and started it rolling. Sure enough, when Rob popped the clutch, the car started up. The water damage must've affected his starter. Whatever the case, we were free from that dilemna.

There isn't much more to say. I drove home with Roose. It was an easy enough drive, and I was happy to get home. I had an amazing trip, not only because of the tourney win, but because of the comraderie. I've made the trip to AC solo, and it pales in comparison to going with my group of degenerates. I'm already thinking of a Foxwoods trip for June.

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 1:58 PM, ,

2 Bubbles & 2 Wins (AC Trip Report Pt 4)

After Mr. Devious, the self-nicknamed, MethodMan-looking, loudmouthed player, left the 1/2 NL game, I racked up and decided to play the 2pm $100 Showboat freezeout tournament. Playing with MethodMan was like waiting for a bus to come only to realize that, eventually, you waited so long that the bus service had stopped running. I saw in MethodMan a vast opportunity for profit, but I never got my chance. At least he finished up in time for the tournament.

I paid at the casino cashier's cage and made my way back to the poker room. On my way, I saw a random familiar face. Alceste was there in the flesh. Where Alceste and poker combine, it doesn't take long to find other familiar faces. Specifically, Dawn and KJ were also in tow and I said brief hellos before heading to table 8, seat 2.

My table turned out to be pretty interesting. In the 1s, on my immediate right, was Robbie Hole. On my immediate left, in the 3s, was a guy who looked familiar. He was black, broad and bald. About 20 minutes into the tournament, I finally placed him. He was the guy that Petey, Roose and I were chatting with the night before outside of the Hilton, Mr. Outside. We immediately re-hit it off and were chatting the entire game.

The rest of the table was an assortment of players, with the most interesting one in the 10s, a Lebanese woman who I dubbed the Widowmaker after a while. She seemed to play with reckless abandon, establishing herself early as a calling station. Later, though, she made plays that a lesser player would bust on, so while my initial opinion of her play was low, I had to adjust my analysis as the game went on.

My first big hand was against none other than Robbie Hole himself. I helf J8o in the BB and three or four limpers entered the pot before Robbie called in the SB. I checked.

The flop was JJ4 and I checked again, setting up the check-raise. It checked around. The turn was a heart, completing a heart flush draw, and Robbie bet out. I considered my options and chose to call. I wanted overcallers, but I also was wary of someone slowplaying a superior Jack or a flush. When there were no other callers, I was a lot less nervous. I knew Robbie's tendencies to overplay hands. The river was another 4 and Robbie bet to me. I re-raised back and he called, tabling a 4, for 4s full of Jacks. I showed my Jack-8 and took down the hand.

I was playing tight, folding comfortably, when I felt the need to steal some blinds. I did so with K8 in LP, getting one caller and then continuation betting the K-high flop to take it down. And, yes, that may not be the traditional "continuation bet" since I actually hit top pair, but I was betting no matter what. I wanted to use my image as a knowledgeable, tight player.

I folded some more until we reached the 200/400 level. On the button, I decided to steal again, this time with KxTd. I raised to 12000 and the BB, a huge stack, decided to call.

The flop was QJX, with the Q and J of diamonds. My opponent checked and I decided to continuation bet my open-ended straight draw. I bet out 2400 and he called quickly. The turn was an offsuit 8 and I considered my options after it checked to me. I could check behind, which would give up control of the hand and require me to hit the river to have any chance of success, or I could fire a second bullet. I went with the second bullet, betting 4500. My opponent called, this time with slightly more hesitation. At this point, I only had about 6k left in my stack and I knew I would have to hit my hand to win this pot. Fortunately for me, I did, rivering an offsuit Ace for the nuts, a Broadway straight. My opponent checked and I insta-pushed in an attempt to appear that I was trying a last-ditch effort to push him off of his hand. He thought for a long while and I saw him lift his cards as he was prepared to fold. That's when I started talking. "Is there anything I can do to help your decision?" I like starting out this way. It gets them to tell me what they want to hear. He looked at me quizzically and I stated, "Your Jack is no good, man. It's no good." He looked back at his cards and thought some more. He finally spoker, "You obviously don't want me to call." I replied with one of my favorite lines, "In that case, your decision is easy. You should call, right?" He thought some more. "I hit that river. I had a flush draw, but I hit that river." I shut up. I wanted to look like I just got caught wiht my hand in the cookie jar. "I call." I tabled my straight just as he showed his AdKd. The table was impressed based on their reaction. I think they enjoyed watching me talk the big stack into paying me off. In this way, I accumulated 35k from my original 10k starting stack.

Meanwhile, the Widowmaker was earning her name, busting people as if it were her job. She was clearly a calling station, at least early on in the proceedings, but it was working to her advantage. I do not recall particular hands other than her call from a short (but not tiny) stack's all-in with A2c. What I clearly do remember, though, was that it was annoying Mr. Outside as well as some of my other neighbors.

As usual, I saw the conflict and set forth determining how I could use it to my advantage. I agreed with the complainers at my side of the table to build comraderie. I also hoped to build up their general resentment against the Widowmaker. It would make tilt come faster for them and keep me off of the radar.

After a while, though, I changed tactics. It was clear, by that point, that the Widowmaker would pay me off if I hit a big hand, so I hinted quietly to my compatriots that we should cut down on the table chat. "I don't want us shaming her into playing better. Right now she is in that sweet spot of, 'Fuck those guys. I'll do what I want.' I don't want her moving on to, 'Fuck those guys. I'll tighten up, play better and show them.'" It's a fine line.

Sadly, my requests fell on deaf ears and my compatriots, Mr. Outside particularly, kept berating the Widowmakers' play. By then, Robbie Hole was gone from the tourney. To combat the bitterness sent her way, I occassionally called out "nice hand" to the Widowmaker. I wanted her to feel comfortable and continue playing A2c to a push. She didn't seem to react to my comments, but I couldn't tell as the dealer sat between us, obscuring my view.

Amazingly, a hand occurred that got me to re-evaluate the Widowmaker. Widowmaker raised preflop and was re-raised by a guy to the left of Mr. Outside who we'll call Mr. Leftie. Mr. Leftie was an unassuming Caucasian guy who had amassed a stack about equivalent to the Widowmakers' table chip leader stack. I don't recall how he amassed chips, but I knew it wasn't from me. I was still playing tight with selective aggression.

After Mr. Leftie's preflop re-raise, the Widowmaker called. Before the flop could be dealt, Mr. Leftie announced, "All in, blind." The flop came down Jack-high. The Widowmaker took a lot of tme, so long that Mr. Outside called the clock. The floor came over and gave the Widowmaker 60 seconds. At the end, she folded QQ face-up. Mr. Leftie showed KK and was then immediately informed that he was to move to a new table. When he left, Mr. Outside and I discussed the hand at length. He felt that Mr. Leftie misplayed the hand. Any blind push in that spot has to be KK or AA, so he was not going to get a call. I argued that he misplayed it because he was only going to get called by superior hands and most inferior hands fold there. However, I tempered that opinoin with the fact that until that point, we all thought that the Widowmaker would call with any crap pair, making the play slightly better, even though I still didn't like it. Whatever the case, the lesson to be learned was that the Widowmaker had some discipline, and I had to reconsider her past plays in light of what I had just seen. (For what its worth, ultimately we agreed that the hand was misplayed because Widowmaker's loose image meant she may've called preflop with any Ace and if that Ace hits, Leftie is busted. He would have been better off waiting for the flop and then acting accordingly. At the very least, he could've squeezed more chips out of the Widowmaker).

Quick sidenote: While playing the tournament, Mr. Outside was greeted by two of his friends he had bumped into at the room. Mr. O was apparently a regular. He proclaimed several times, usually to the Widowmaker when they were sharing words, that he was a professional. "I make my living doing this!" His two friends were riding the rail, literally just outside the poker room, when the KK v. QQ decision was placed on the Widowmaker. From the sidelines, they called out "Call! Call!" I turned to them and called over. "Hey!" Once they turned, I gave them the thumb across the throat signal for Cut It Out! They looked at me annoyed, shocked that I would tell them to shut up. "Don't mess up this guy's hand." They looked incredulous and started talking...until the tournament director, who was placing a new player at our table, turned to them and confirmed what I said. "Off of the rail guys. Keep moving."

After the dingleberry railbirds were gone, I turned to Mr. O and lightly apologized. "I don't mean to be a dick to your friends, but I didn't want that to happen during one of my hands when they induced action that I don't want." He agreed generally. Besides, I have a feeling their "friendship" was the type you can only make through comraderie at low-limit professional poker; its a friendship of convenience, and not one that would withstand the tests of time or fortune.

By now, I was openly stating that I was avoiding hands with the Widowmaker and we joked back and forth. Players busted and new ones took their place.

I had a little part in that too. I had continued playing tight, with selective aggression. I hadn't shown down any hands since the KT that turned into Broadway, when this hand happened. UTG+1, a timid player with a shortstack limped. UTG+2 pushed all-in with his slightly larger shortstack. It folded to me and I looked down at 99. I called as did UTG+1, putting himself all-in. I assumed that I was in trouble, given that I called a raiser and then got an EP caller with a shortstack, but I was okay with it since I had both players well covered. As it turned out, UTG+1 had AJ and UTG+2 had AQ. Neither hit the board and I took them both out, pushing me to over 50k in chips. I was still second or maybe third in chips at the table (Widowmaker was still first), but I was building a comfortable stack. I was also having fun with the table and we were all getting along and joking about the game. I had worked my stack up to over 70k with aggressive play and no showdowns. It helped that I had room to breathe whereas everyone else was beginning to feel the pinch.

Finally down to two tables, I was moved from my original seat. My new table was a pleasure to behold. The 1s was Petey Pablo, sitting on a comfortable 50k or so stack. Dawn was in the 3s, nursing a shortstack. I was in the 4s or 5s. Roose was across the table at the 8s. The Widowmaker joined us as well in the 10s. Half the table were friends!

And then came the Aces. I hadn't seen Aces all weekend, and after being moved to the UTG position, I was dealt them immediately. I raised the blinds to 10,000. I think they were at 1500/3000 at the time or even 1000/2000. I was new to the table, so I wanted to use my initial appearance. I was sporting my Superman shirt, camo cargo pants, sunglasses and cap. I hammed it up, announcing my bet as though it were a lot of money. Ten Thousand Dollars! UTG+1 folded and UTG+2 paused. I decided to ham it up some more, hoping to induce action so I could re-raise. I steepled my fingers as though I were some evil mastermind seeking a ransom in exchange for shutting down my weather machine. Ten Thousand Dollars, Bwah hwah hwah hwah hwah! "All-in." I heard it and immediately started Hollywooding, in case anyone else wanted to jump into the fray. I had probably 80 or 90k. My opponent held a solid 45k at least. When it folded to me, I called quickly and confidently and tabled my AA. He showed JJ and my hand held up. I was up to over 130k, and it great shape.

From there, I played tight poker, watching the field slowly dwindle. Dawn busted and was replaced by KJ. He busted too before Roose busted on the bubble. I thought to myself that Roose bubbled this tournament and I effectively bubbled yesterday's Hilton tournament. If the pattern remained true, I should take first, just like Roose won yesterday. I thought it was an amusing thought, and I was in striking distance, but I didn't want to get my hopes up.

The final table was interesting. I was reunited with Mr. Outside, in the 2s nursing a smaller stack. The guy to my left was a friendly early-20s guy from Long Island who had ironically made buddies with Robbie Hole during a smoke break. We made friends quickly at the table. To his left was the Widowmaker, some other dude and then Petey Pablo. Other than that, the table was an assortment of white males of varying ages. All were friendly as we started the final table.

Just before the final table, I had called over Robbie and Randy Hole from the rail. They knew about Roose's tourney win the night before, but we didn't really mention the whole negotiation tactic we utilized. "I need you to start running numbers for me. What would be an even chop when we get down to 6 players." I asked for a laundry list of chop possibilities so I could be prepared for different contingencies.

As the final table started up, it was clear that there was little play left in the game. Preflop bets generally took down pots, and a lot of players were nearing push/fold mode. Meanwhile, Randy and Rob were reporting different scenarios to me.

Someone at the table, it may've been Mr. O or the L.I. Kid, suggested a chop. It was clear, with 10 people, that this would not be an easy thing. That's a lot of people to agree and with varying chip stack sizes, an even split would be silly. I suggested that we split based on chip count, but no one really commented on the idea. The L.I. Kid suggested a tiered format. I told him I was ok with it if I could have numbers for the tiers. Just then, the tournament director told us we couldn't discuss deals at the table. We would have to wait for the break, which was happening in 2 minutes. One thing we did accomplish: we agreed to each give $10 out of pocket so that the bubble 10th place got his money back. I wanted to protest, but I already planned on working out a deal and I didn't want to set a bad precedent.

During the break, Randy and Rob continued to crunch numbers to aid me in my quest to make a deal. I honestly did not feel confident that I could make a big win (first place was $3000, second was around $1700, followed by a significant dropoff to under $1,000. Shortly after action resumed (and blinds went up), Petey Pablo misplayed a hand where he flat called a preflop raise with 99. He had to fold on the flop. He should've pushed, something he realized after the fact. Sadly, a hand or two later and he was busted in 10th. I was just glad that he got his money back.

At this point, the blinds were ridiculous and I felt very uncomfortable with where we were going. I had about 120k, good for somewhere in the top 3 stacks and there were a few shorties, but they were doubling up and the middle stacks were dangerous to my position. Even though I had 120k+, the blinds were up to 3000/6000 or higher, leaving little room to play for anyone.

Randy handed me a sheet of paper with a tiered system for settling. I tweaked some numbers to give more to the first three places and came up with this arrangement: 9th-7th, $400; 6th-4th, $800; 3rd-1st, $1377. I knew I was in the top tier.

I suggested the structure to the table and started securing Yesses. The structure was actually fantastic. 9th place actually paid $150 or so, and 7th paid $300 or so, so the bottom three players should've jumped at the deal. Middle places paid up to maybe somewhere in the $600s or $700s, so that was a good deal for them too. The real money was taken from the top spots, but admittedly those were also going to be the biggest crap shoots by the time players busted and the blinds escalated.

It took some convincing, but once I explained that, I got all the Yesses I needed. Mr. O and L.I. Kid definitely helped in that regards. The last holdout was the chipleader, but since I was close to his stack and the blinds were so high, he eventually saw the benefit of the deal. I made this perfectly clear though: "I don't want anyone agreeing because they feel pressured. It's your money. I don't want anyone leaving here thinking they made a bad deal." I meant it too. I wanted the chop. I honestly felt ill from not eating and from the adrenaline I had been riding on for 6 hours. But I sincerely believe that people can do whatever they want when it comes to chops, and I didn't want to force anyone.

When we all agreed, all players pushed all-in and mucked to allow the chip leader to "win." Of course, first we checked on the tax policies of the casino. They do not fill out forms for wins under $5,000. We also first checked chip stacks to determine who would be in what tier. Ironically, 6th and 7th were tied, the Widowmaker and L.I. Kid. I suggested that they chop the two tiers for $600 each, and they both agreed.

We all hung out waiting for the T.D. to work out the payment sheets. I chatted lightly with Widowmaker, telling her that I was sorry for the behavior at the first table. She said I was a very nice person and a good player. I also commended her on keeping her cool when people were telling her what to do. "I like it. I don't want everyone to play the same way I do and it's better than a quiet game with no one talking." Nice! I couldn't agree more.

We all got our slips and went to the cage, meeting back at the final table. Since I brokered the deal, everyone looked to me to handle the payouts. I took the cash and handed each person their money from 9th to 4th. Then I paused an looked at the leftover bills. I dealt them out in even piles, resulting in $1377 for me and the two other chip leaders. Naturally, I left my tip and then headed out to the casino. My next stop was to the room. I felt physically wrecked from the game and needed some time to clean myself up.

Roose asked me for his $100 buy-in back and I denied him.

"You won a tournament yesteday and didn't give me my buy-in back."
"You won your buy-in in cash!"
"Yeah, and you might win yours in cash tonight. Besides you won your buy-in back yesterday with the tourney win."

Roose is a ball buster, but this was a real stalemate. On one hand, we had, in the past, reimbursed buy-ins when one of us had won. On the other hand, that's not what happened the other day and the arbitrariness of my cash win didn't sit well with me.

In the end, we agreed to swap 10% action on all future tournaments that we enter. The lesson learned is to always make your deals clear ahead of time.

Back at the room, I took a long shower. Winning the tournament had elated me, but I felt exhausted. Still, it was my last night in AC and I had no time for sleep. There was more poker to be played, but I wanted it to be all fun. After all, I had enough for one day's work.

Coming up, the most fun playing poker ever, with Crazy Prop Bets, Fun Time Dealers, and Random Chicks Joining in on the Action!

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 9:42 AM, ,

Poker with the Stars (AC Trip Report Pt 3)

When I play poker, particularly at casinos, time has no meaning. In fact, several times during our recent AC jaunt, I made prop bets with my cohorts as to the time. There was always someone who was well over 2 hours off.

After Roose's win at the Hilton tourney, we said goodbye to Pete who rejoined his family at the Tropicana. It was already well past 3am, so everyone else was probably asleep. Even so, it made little sense for Petey to join us all the way to the other side of AC's Boardwalk to hang out at the Showboat.

We took a cab to the Showboat for around $12, including tip. I was starving after eating around 10 hours ago at some random rest stop on the way to AC. During the drive to AC, I told Roose that I wanted to avoid our usual ritual of late night room service calls, but since I was hungry and we were waiting up for Robbie and Randy Hole, we opted to order some nachos and a burger.

The food arrived and the Holes arrived shortly after. Randy was dead tired after spending countless hours studying for law school finals. Robbie was raring to go, and it was decided that Roose, Rob and I would head to the casino floor. Both gentlemen wanted to play cash games, but I had resolved to avoid the temptation. Even so, the Showboat has a new poker room, so I wanted to check it out.

The first stop was the poker room, now located near the Boardwalk entrance across from the House of Blues restaurant and behind a bar. The room is more spacious than the old room which was on the 2nd floor, hidden away from the casino action. The open walls meant that you could hear the dings and bells of the slots, but they were far enough away and blocked by the raised-platform bar area to be negligible. The new rooms looks like it has a lot more tables than the old one, but rumor had it that there were only 3 more tables. That meant that the tables were more spread out, which is a pleasure to anyone who has ever sat at a poker table right behind a 400 lb. guy at the opposite table. It's amazing how many 400 lb. guys play poker.

The room wasn't too full, but I didn't feel like playing anyway. After scoping out the scene, I walked with Roose and Hole until we were lured to a Wheel of Fortune bank of slots. I considered doing a prop to see who would get to Spin the Wheel first, but didn't say anything. I then got to spin the wheel for some moderate payout. By the time I was done, I was back to even. Hole lost his $20. I think Roose lost a few bucks.

We were walking in the general direction back to the room when I stopped to cash in my $20 ticket from the WoF machine. I looked back and my buddies were gone. I tried feebley to find them, but the wave of exhaustion washed over me and I made my way, instead, back to the room. They'd know where to find me.

When I returned to the room, Randy was lying on Rooses bed. I should probably back up to Roose and my drive to AC.

As I mentioned earlier, I thought the trip was just Dave Roose and I. When I found out we'd have company, I made one thing clear. "I want my own bed. I have no problem with them crashing with us, but if it is at all possible, I want my own bed." I'm not homophobic and I don't ostensibly have a problem sharing a bed, but I have gotten to the point where I can afford to have my own bed. I would rather pay for two rooms and have my own bed than squeeze into one room and have to share.

Roose agreed. "Me too, man. Rob will take the cot and Randy will take the floor. He likes sleeping on the floor."

I thought to myself that there was no way this was going to be easy, but when I re-entered the hotel room, well past 4am, I didn't care any longer...because Randy was comfortable in bed...Roose's bed. I hopped into mine and we watched TV for a bit until Roose and Rob returned from a less-than-successful craps run.

We discussed our plans for the next day as I poured over some casino tournament schedule printouts. I wanted to play at the Borgata, having received a surprising and cryptic message from the Rooster that he was actually there Friday night, but the other guys also wanted to play a tournament. We considered a Bally's tournament at noon, but then realized that no one wanted to wake up early enough to make it. Instead, we decided to play the 2pm Showboat $100 buy-in tournament.

The next morning, I relented and agreed to eat breakfast at the Showboat. The Showboat's biggest problem is their crap food. The diner-like Mansion Cafe has decent food but always leaves me feeling greasy and bloated. The downstairs deli-like Chelsea Market has crap food and the worst service ever. I mean EVER. We walked by there on the last day and saw a 20-person line and one visible employee who was leaning on a soda machine and chatting with someone off of the line, as though she didn't have a care in the world.

Even so, we headed to the Mansion Cafe where I had scrambled eggs and bacon. The bacon was deep fried, which makes it extra crispy. I like crispy bacon, but not this crap, which was brittle to touch and taste.

After breakfast, we headed to the poker room. It was still before 1pm, so I decided to sit for some 1/2 NLHE.

The game I sat down to looked like a wet dream. Four of the players at the table were gangsta-type black guys. If you've ever seen BET's Black Poker Stars, you probably know that I was not concerned about my opponents.

And yes, Dawn, I suppose that is a touch racist, but I build my reads from appearance at first, including clothing, nationality, sex, etc., and then refine it as I go.

In the end, there was only one player who mattered at the table, an extremely loud and pathetic guy sitting two seats to my left. He was constantly talking, acting like a black Jamie Gold, except for his MethodMan appearance. He had on a tracksuit with some stupid squiggly design. He talked a big game but was terrible. It didn't hurt, though, that he had tilted the entire table and had a huge stack. I got to witness some terrible play from him, but he was also smart enough to get paid off, like when he pushed on a turn that gave him a set and got insta-called by TPTK. He also busted Robbie Hole when Hole re-re-raise pushed preflop with KK. MethodMan had 33 and flopped a 3. Lemon!

Sadly, I never got into a pot with MethodMan. I tried to, but I just didn't get any decent cards and the few speculative hands I played went to shit, so I didn't play post-flop. The guy two seats to my right, though, who looked an awful lot like Lil John (OKAY!) and I tussled on a hand where I raised preflop to $12 with KQ and saw a Q55 flop, with two hearts. He checked and I bet $30. A preflop caller folded. Lil John made a min check-raise and I called, curious to see how the turn would play out. The turn was not a flush card. He checked and I checked as well. The river was an Ace of hearts. He thought for a moment before betting out $65. I though for a moment and watched him. Something didn't feel right. I looked him over. He had visibly tightened up, as though he were on tell lockdown. That's a classic tell. If you are worried about giving off tells, its because you are weak and fear a call.

I called and we tabled our hands. He had Q9. I was really proud of my call, but the results sucked. With the Ace river, we chopped, since the board had paired.

Even so, I was still hoping to get action down the line from MethodMan until I saw him reach for a chip tray. "Are you leaving?" I asked. "Yeah, man. I got something to take care of." I stood up and racked my chips. My cell phone read 1:47pm. I had 13 minutes to sign up for the 2pm tournament. If MethodMan had stayed put, I would have skipped the tourney, but as it were, MethodMan and/or fate conspired to have me play that $100 2pm tournament. The results, I will have to save for the next post.

On the next AC Trip Report. Jordan bumps into random bloggers, reunites with an old friend, and stops the end of the world!

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 4:15 PM, ,

1 Bubble & 1 Win (AC Trip Report Pt 2)

The Hilton tournament is an interesting thing. Blind levels are short at 20 minutes, but the starting stacks are deep with 15k in chips. The blinds start off low enough, but eventually start to double so that once you reach some of the higher blinds, the blinds go into a frenetic pace, which ironically tends to slow the action except for big hand v. big hand confrontations. This is the perfect example of a tournament slowing itself down by trying to speed itself up.

Of course, when the tournament started, I knew none of this aside from the short blind levels. Whatever the case, I figured it would be a fast structure, and I advised Petey Pablo, and to a lesser extent the already knowledgeable Roose, that tight play may be an optimal strategy, since the weak field will likely pay off when big hands did come.

With that said, I immediately ditched that gameplan about 2 minutes into the tournament. As I looked around my table, I noticed an obvious trend. The players sucked. The biggest tip off was after I looked at my first hand. It was a crap hand, but before I folded, I turned to look at my opponents on my left. The next 6 players were already holding their cards in position to fold. It was as if they were each ready to throw a frisbee but were waiting for the catcher to finish his "go long" run and turn around. I folded, seeing that the 7th player looked ready to bet and knowing that my basic read was not enough to go on this early in the game. I needed to confirm it, and confirm it I did, as the first 6 players folded in rapid succession and the seventh player raised.

I was seated in the 2 seat at table 2, with Roose and Petey Pablo at other tables. The tournament had a full 6 tables, and was later announced to have 61 players in total. I chatted with the table, making friends with my neighbor to my left, a Red Shirted feller who was friendly, if not a little miffed at a Hispanic table captain in the 9 seat. Red Shirt, a guy in his early 20s, bet out preflop and got two callers, the Hispanic Table Captain and his elderly neighbor and seeming co-conspirator in the 10s. The flop was 66T and all players checked. The turn was a 7 and Red Shirt bet out. Everyone else folded and Red Shirt tabled 66 for quads. "What you raise for?", El Capitan asked. He was skinny, in his late 50s with a trace mustache. He reminded me of Snoopy's cousin, a likeness I tend to see a lot at poker games.

The two gentlemen had a long, obnoxious conversation, during which I assured my neighbor that he did nothing wrong. We all joked about how the other guy was "so right" about the raise, and Red Shirt thanked him for the lesson.

An orbit or so later, I was in the BB with 89o. It folded around to Eavesdropper, who was in the 6s or 7s. He raised from the 50 blind to 150. There was one other caller in LP, I believe El Capitan, as he was in a lot of hands, and I decided to call and defend my blind. I also felt like I had a good read on Eavesdropper thanks to a tell that I actually noticed on another player first.

In the 5s was an overly-gregarious guy in his young 20s. He had tight cropped hair and a very boxy looking face, with glasses. He wouldn't stop talking in a way that demonstrated that he wanted attention. He also was drinking heavily.

After I realized that most of the players did not think twice about tells (remember the frisbee exhibition?) I decided to keep an eye out for tells. In an early hand, the 5s, who had the exact voice of Robert Downey Jr. (I pointed this out later in the game and everyone agreed, after which we all called him Iron Man) raised an oddly high amount from MP. After betting, he went for his drink and took a sip. This, and the look in his eyes, suggested weakness. The drink is a great tell, as long as you are careful when you use it. Like any tell, you first have to verify what it means before over-using it. Everyone folded and he proudly showed 66, explaining that he did not want action. He was patting himself on the back, but he was also giving me the confirmation that when he goes for a drink, it is to sooth his discomfort. Think of someone with stage fright about to make a big presentation. The speaker will likely be nervous and engage in certain actions to sooth themselves, whether it is ringing their hands, pacing or going stone cold quiet. In poker, one of the most common soothing techniques is to take a drink. It gives the player something to do with themselves while they try to look natural.

With this in mind, I decided to defend my BB with 89o against the Eavesdropper who went directly for his drink after betting and the loose El Capitan. The flop came down 778. I checked and El Capitan bet 600. He then went right back to his drink. He looked nervous; it wasn't just the drinking. It was the whole shebang. El Capitan folded and I thought about what to do. Folding would be easy, but I did hit the flop and I had a good feeling that El Capitan was not happy with what he saw. I opted for a check-raise of 1500, an amount that looks like I want a call (only 900 more after a 600 bet) but may also tempt a re-raise from a monster hand. He folded and I took down the pot. Iron Man asked what I had and I explained that I didn't want to show my Quads because I obviously misplayed them.

Funny side story. As Iron Man continued to drink, he got louder and more talkative. When a player joined our table halfway through the tourney, Iron Man mentioned how there were two quads in the first two orbits. He must've been smashed or gullible, because obviously I didn't actually have quads.

I hadn't been getting great cards, but it was clear who at the table could be exploited and I set about laying waste to my foes. With blinds of 100/200 and a 25 ante, it folded to me when I held Q6o in the CO. I glanced to my left and the SB and BB were both preparing their frisbees. I couldn't see Red Shirt, the button, as clearly, but I was playing tight and had the respect of the table, so I bet out 800, expecting an easy pot. To my surprise, Red Shirt called; to no one's surprise, the SB and BB folded.

The flop came down J65 giving me middle pair. As long as he didn't have a Jack (possible) or a high pocket pair (doubtful), I was ahead. I bet out 1600 and he folded. He told me he missed with his AQ and I said I got lucky, "I hit my AJ." Whatever.

The very next hand, I am dealt AQs. In EP, El Capitan raised to 700. He had raised with crap cards before, but since I was in MP and I could see that Red Shirt was looking to play the pot, I just called. Red Shirt called and we saw a QJ7 flop. It checked to me and I bet 2000. Everyone folded.

That last hand might seem like a small thing, but that was a whopping 1950 more chips or so, which was more than 10% of the original starting stack. This was definitely a tournament where picking up uncontested pots would be key to surviving the escalating blinds.

I'm not perfect; far from it actually, and I lost 7k when I should've known better. With AKo, I raised 2k on top of the 300/600 blinds (75 ante). My opponent was new to the table, but was fairly loose and appeared to be a calling station. He called and we saw a Queen-high flop. I made a continuation bet of 4k and he called. The turn was a blank and I checked. He bet out and I folded. Fortunately, I had accumulated enough chips such that even after this loss, I was still sitting on 20,000.

I was moved to a new table where I scrapped to survive. The blinds escalated to 400/800, 100 ante and then 600/1200, 200 ante. The jumps were getting large, but my push/fold strategy was working.

During one of the breaks, I went to the bathroom where I experienced an odd personal dilemna. I was minding my own business at my urinal when I heard Iron Man two urinals over talking with his buddy who was also in the tournament and now at Iron Man's table. The conversation went like this:

Buddy (drunk and very loud): You dude, if we are heads-up in a hand, we should just check it down.
Iron Man (jokingly): Nah, man. If I'm heads-up with you, I'm raising all-in.
Buddy: No, really man. We'll check it down.
Iron Man: Ok.

I left the bathroom and found Roose, replaying for him what had happened. I told him I had three options: (1) tell the TD, (2) tell Iron Man, who was mostly harmless, that he should watch what he says because it could get him tossed from the tournament, or (3) do nothing. I opted for (3)...sorta. First, I went over to my old table and tapped my poker buddy Red Shirt on the shoulder, motioning for him to walk with me from the table. He obliged. I spoke to him in a whisper, "I just heard Iron Man make a deal to soft play with his buddy in the 7s. I'm not going to do anything about it, but I wanted you to know in case you see it happening and want to use it to your advantage or call him out." He thanked me and I went back to my table.

So, my question to all of you is, if you are in that situation in a rinky dink $50 buy-in tournament, what would you do?

I returned to my table and resumed my efforts to scrape to the final table. Petey had already busted after we were down to three tables. Roose was doing exceptionally well, having doubled up with AA v. KK only to bust another player a few hands later with AA again. He was also clearly in charge of his table and playing well.

My stack dwindled to 33k, with blinds soaring to 3000/6000. We were down to 14 players with 9 seats paying. I was the second shortstack in the BB at a table of 6 players. The smallest stack pushed in EP and received a call from the button. At this point, I was so short, I decided to call with my J9o. I was pretty much in a forced call situation, since I had less than 5x the BB if I folded, and the antes were sizeable. I missed all five cards but the button, who checked it down, hit top pair, Kings (with a crappy kicker).

Even shorter, I had no choice but to push in the SB. It didn't hurt that I had 44, probably the best hand I saw in a long while. Even so, when there was a raise from MP, I was priced in enough, with my SB and dwindling stack, to call with any two. To my dismay, the BB then pushed all-in on top and we went heads-up, 44 v. his...JJ. The flop was a Q94 and I was relieved for a moment. The turn was a Ten. The river was an 8. He four-straighted and I was busted in 13th place out of 61, four spots from the bubble.

I said Good Game and walked away, trying to get a handle on the feelings inside of me. I was surely upset but also accepting. Bubbling has become a bitch too common for my tastes lately, but at least it means that I am getting near the money. If a few cards fall my way, I was sure I'd win another tournament soon.

During another break, Roose, Petey and I headed for the nearest exit for a smoke break. We chatted with a bald black guy who had been playing in the tournament. He was lamenting his losses. He'll be popping up again later in another segment of this running trip report, and since I never got his name, we'll just call him Mr. Outside. He was friendly enough when we met him, but clearly perturbed by his opponent's less than stellar play that resulted in his suckout bust.

I cheered on Roose for a bit, before feeling the nag of poker again. I found my way to a 1/2 NL cash game already in progress. The table was shorthanded at 7 players, which I had hoped to use to my advantage.

Naturally, I was still a little on tilt, which is another reminder of why I need a longer refractory period before I can switch to cash after a tournament bust. I lost a good $35 from a combination of fatigue, tilt, and chasing my losses.

I finally decided to move my seat from the 4s to the 8s when I realized that the two most aggressive players were in the 5s and 6s. In my new seat, I was immediately dealt AQs.

A loose fat early-20-year-old wannabe hotshot raised to $11 from EP, and rather than raise, I chose to merely call. I was feeling skittish about my earlier losses at the table and I wanted to get more information, namely a flop and the preflop raiser's post-flop action before I made any moves. An obese woman on my immediate left called.

We saw a flop of QJX, rainbow. The preflop raiser checked and I bet out $15, hoping to keep someone in the pot with me. To my surprise, the obese woman raised to $30. It folded to me and I considered a re-raise, but recognized that this was not the smartest move. I may've had a loser's image (making a reraise with crap more likely) and the sloppy obese woman likely played sloppy poker, but I was trying to be conservative. I didn't think a fold was I called.

The turn was an Ace, giving me top two pair. I checked, as did my obese opponent. The river was a blank and I bet $50 as though I were trying to buy the pot. I did my best to look nervous. She called and tabled KK. She slowplayed her hand to oblivion. She should've raised preflop. It would have gotten me into the hand and then she could've extrapolated more money on the flop. I may have called anyway and sucked out, but it still would have been the "proper" play in her spot. As it were, from that hand alone, I went from a deficit to $106 profit.

And then fate stepped in. The floor person walked over and told us that he had to split the table since the other tables weren't full either. I was the only objector, and after everyone was given their new table assignments, I told the floor to save mine. I'd be taking this as my cue to stop playing.

I cashed out, now up $56 ($106 in cash, -$50 in tournaments). Meanwhile, Roose was still holding court, with most of the chips out of the 7 or so remaining players.

I walked over to the payout sheet and began running the math for even 6-, 5-, and 4-person chops. I wanted the numbers handy to help Dave cut a deal if/when the time came.

Down to 4 people, I saw my chance. Roose had the most chips, but if he doubled up a single foe, he'd have an average stack and the doubler would be the chip leader by a decent stretch. The blinds were super high and no one had much play left. It was really a crapshoot. I leaned over to Roose, "You know a four-way chop is $450." Roose announced that fact to the table, and then added, "...but you know, I've got a lot more chips than you all." I chimed in, "How about $600 for the chipleader and $400 for everyone else. He has way more chips, and it's only $50 difference to the other players." Everyone agreed happily and the deal was struck. Roose was the Winner of the tournament with $600 in profit. If it weren't for our fast negotiation skills, he would've been playing a crapshoot. As it were, he had a nice tidy profit.

After the tournament, Roose told me that he would've given me my buy-in back if it weren't for the fact that I had already won it back. In the past, Roose and I sometimes gave back the buy-in to the loser if the other person had a serious cash, but since we didn't agree at the beginning of the tournament, and since I was actually up anyway and not expecting anything, I took it at face value.

Roose won the tournament and I pretty much bubbled. For those out there guessing that Petey was the winner, sadly that was not the case. For those thinking that it was me, well, no dice there either. But for those who thought it was Jarvis, the scheming butler, you were half right...because Jarvis was actually Roose in disguise! And he would've gotten away with it too, if it weren't for you pesky kids!

Stay tuned, though, folks, because there is plenty of poker to be played, including the arrival of Robbie and Randy Hole, a visit to the new Showboat poker room, and another tournament. Did one of the boys win that tournament? Only time will tell.

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 12:22 PM, ,

One Little, Two Little, Five Little Poker Players (AC Trip Report Pt 1)

Writing a blog for three years, there can be times when the spark of inspiration dwindles down to little more than a cinder. And then you pour 3 gallons of gasoline on the little flame and suddenly you are engulfed in an inspirational wildfire.

Atlantic City was my 3 gallons gasoline.

In the last three years, I have chronicled over 10 trips to Atlantic City, most of which with my perrenial poker wingman Dave Roose. So it should come as no surprise that this one started out much the same as the others.

The plan was for Roose to meet me at my office at 4pm. By 1pm, the text messages back and forth reminding each other of the upcoming trip were coming fast and furious. By 4pm, I was out the door, searching for Roose amongst the sea of cars.

Logic dictated that we leave early to avoid the rush hour traffic. Logic sucks, because apparently everyone else had the same idea. It took us 1 hr. and 30 mins. just to get into NJ. For reference, that's maybe a 20 minute drive. From there, we fought traffic and anticipation, making it to AC, usually a 2.5 hour trip, in a whopping 5 hours.

Along the way, Roose hooked up his iPod and we listened to some recent PokerRoad broadcasts. I used to listen to the PR broadcasts regularly, but other distractions have taken its place. Still, listening to the crew discuss poker actually set me in the right mindframe. By the time we were pulling into AC, I was raring to go.

We made a quick pitstop at the Showboat where Roose and I debated whether to seek a room upgrade. Last year, I had my first successful under-the-table-tip room upgrade during X-mas season, but I knew that the weekend before Memorial Day weekend would be too packed in AC to get anything going. Even so, we chatted up the counter clerk and felt our way around the topic. Sadly, she confirmed our belief and we headed over to our room to drop off our stuff and literally head out the door in under 5 minutes.

The plan was to head to the Hilton for their 10pm $40+10 NLHE tournament. I hadn't played this specific tournament before, but I vaguely remembered from a past Hliton tourney that the structure would be fast and the play atrocious (You can read about the other tournament, in which I made it to the final table only to lose with AA v. 55 all-in preflop and a guy who accidentally called with T9 against my AJ HERE). The lower buy-in also assured me that this would be a donkfest.

During our drive down to AC, Roose let me in on some of the details to which I was not privvy. As far as I knew, Roose and I were going to be heading out to AC solo. But while driving, we got a call from Petey, one of the players at the Roose Home Game. "Hey guys. Are you in yet?" I made small talk about traffic with Pete on the speaker phone. "Well, what are you arriving?" It dawned on me from the conversation that Pete wasn't back in Queens. He was in AC with his wife, children and sister-in-law. The timing was pure coincidence, but since Pete was new-ish to poker (he's been playing for years now, but never in a casino) and since we were in AC, it was the perfect opportunity to introduce Pete to casino poker.

Pete, by the way, is in his 40's, and is a former electrician. He's the salt of the earth, a good guy all around. He also was atrocious at poker when he first started to play. Since then, I have seen his play develop over the Roose Home Game. It helps that its a congenial atmosphere and we often discuss hands right after they are done. Now, Pete has moments of great play mixed in with some less-than-stellar play. But that is the nature of the beast and I can wholeheartedly say the same is true for me. Consistency is definitely the hardest part of poker, once you get down the basics.

A little while before that, though, we received a call from Robbie Hole. "When are you going to be there?", he asked. We told him about our late arrival. "Well, we aren't leaving here until late." Wha?, I thought. Apparently, Roose had invited Robbie Hole and Randy Hole as well. Our little trip had turned into a traveling party and I couldn't be happier. The crew would all be in AC. What could possibly go wrong?

After dropping off our stuff at the Showboat, we arrived at the Hilton poker room where I signed up for the tournament while Roose went to get a players' card. We met up with Pete and he signed up too.

The Hilton poker room had changed since I was last there. It is located two escalators up from the main floor opposite the Asian Game pit. In fact, the Asian Game pit used to be where the poker room now is, and the poker room used to be where the Asian Game pit now is. Looking back, I can kinda figure out the reason for the change. The Hilton, located at the end of the strip of casino/hotels on AC's Boardwalk, always seemed to have trouble bringing in the poker players. The hotel's outdated cheesy gold and glass decorations and trim (think early 90s chic) doesn't make it an attractive place, and its location is far from the huge poker rooms (Borgata and Taj) and too close to the Trop's great room. By swapping the Asian Games (always a moneymaker) and the Poker Room, the Asian Games had more room to breath and the desolate poker room looked a tad more full in its moderately smaller location.

After signing up, I grabbed a random poker magazine and a seat at a random table. I killed time until my guys were signed up. Then we sat around and discussed the game and strategy. All the while, a gentleman across the table was reading another magazine. I was conscious of the fact that he could hear us talk shop, and I hoped that we would not be at the same table, because he knew from our conversation that we were serious players.

When it was time to take out seats, I finally looked at the table/seat numbers. By sheer coincidence, I was sitting in the exact seat I was assigned to. The eavesdropper was also sitting in his correct seat, which indicated to me that he had played this tournament before. Whatever the case, I now knew that with this particular individual, my idiot's image would not work. Fortunately, I was going to rely on a different image anyway.

The tournament kicked off with some of the worst play I have ever seen. But that will have to wait for later, as it is now time for an intermission. When we return, one of these five people win the Hilton Tournament: Will it be Jordan, your humble narrator in desperate need of a bankroll boost? David Roose, driver extraordinare and poker wingman to the stars? Petey Pablo, first time casino tournament player? Eavesdropper Guy, and his crazy strong eavesdropping skills? Jarvis Pennyworth, the butler nursing his jealousy over Jordan's chiseled pecs and many lovers?

Find out next time on....Poker Tournament Survivor!

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 9:25 AM, ,