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Keep My Hands Where You Can See 'Em

I had a break-even night of poker last night. I took third in the Hoy for $50+, but failed to cash in a satellite and a Token SNG. While I advocate satellites and token tournaments, I have to admit that the major shortcoming is the fact that it makes little sense to build a stack up early. Consequently, when the suckout, cooler, or just plain blow-up hand occurs, it usually is a death nell.

The Hoy was a great time, though. I really prefer the lesser crowds we've seen post-BBT3, mostly because it harkens back to the days when a couple of douschebag bloggers would meet up to play an SNG or 4. The smaller crowds make it less of an Event and more of a Get Together. It's also nice to start a tournament at 10pm and not play until 2:30am.

Hoy got some flack not too long ago about switching his tournament to 6-max because it suits his play. Well, I won't comment on that because I think both sides said what they needed to say, but I will mention that now that Hoy is switching back to full tables, I might have to start my own 6-max tournament. I have no shame, after all, and am more than willing to design a tournament merely to benefit myself. Of course, due to the proliferation of poker blogger tournaments, the weekly calender is filled up, so I've come up with an eight day to fit in my tourney. I call it Smonday. Once I can speak to the proper calendar authorities about adding Smonday, I'll post all the relevant info here.

While my results were break-even last night, I played like a champ in the early-goings of the Hoy. I saved a couple of hand histories because, frankly, I think some people at the table either thought I was being a donktastic tool and/or I really kicked ass in these hands and I'm proud of it.

We were in the first level, 15/30, playing 6-handed with double stacks (3000) when this first hand came up. I hadn't done much yet and still had 2,925 when I was dealt KTs in the BB. It folded to NumbBono (with 3290), who raised to 3x the BB, 90. HughDuffy (with 3280) called in the SB and I decided to call as well.

Let's discuss the call, first. KTs is not a premium hand and I was out of position. If anyone would recommend a fold here, I wouldn't argue. However, with deep stacks and low blinds, I felt comfortable with the call.

The flop was Kc8x7c, giving me top pair with a mediocre kicker and creating a potential club flush draw. Top pair is a tricky hand here. I fear a better King more than anything else, as NumbBono coule be raising with AK or KQ. Likewise, Hugh could be calling with KQ or KJ. Those hands might only be a small portion of their ranges (which, incidentally, also include the soul crushing 88 and 77, and for Hugh, potentially 78), but it was still a possibility.

Once again, it goes back to the old decision tree. I could bet out, but if I face a raise from Numb or a check-raise from Hugh, I'm cooked and lose 180 or more immediately (the size of my probable bet here). If I get called, I could be falling into the trap of a better hand (AA, KK, KQ, 88, 77, 87). I will also get called by flush draws, so I rather see what the turn will bring before I act. I checked. NumbBono checked too. We saw the next card.

The turn was a 8c, filling the flush draw and pairing the 8. Hugh bet out 210, which was less than the 270 pot. His bet set off red flags. It felt like a steal play, in my estimation. If I were in Hugh's spot, I would've bet pot there as well, since Numb and I seemed to have given up on the hand. Still, there was a chance that he had the flush, or perhaps the 8, or perhaps a flush draw which still could come, so I only called. Once again, it was cost analysis. I knew that I had enough chips to weather this storm.

In hindsight, I have to admit that I am not 100% convinced that my call was "right" here, but I have to remind myself that in the heat of battle, there are often subconscious things we pick up on that do not translate well later when I am pouring over a hand history. Suffice it to say that at the time, I was a lot more confident with my play than I now feel as I type this out...and that my confidence in my call at the time says more about the play than this Smonday morning quarterbacking.

Back to the hand. NumbBono calls as well, and we see a river, 3d. It's a complete and utter blank. This is where it gets interesting. The pot is 840. Hugh checks. That's right. He checks. My guess is that he had an Ace of Clubs and missed. I do not take it as a check-raise play because so far, NumbBono and I have demonstrated our utter refusal to bet. I take the opportunity now. I assumed that NumbBono has a pocket pair under KK, such as TT or 99. That would explain the preflop raise and the slowdown. I wanted to make some money on this pot, so I decided on a suspicious value bet, 450. It is slightly more than half the pot and looks justifiable to call, since I have a loose reputation and the smaller bet could be a sign of weakness, like a last-ditch steal attempt. NumbBono calls and Hugh folds. At showdown, Numb shows K6h. I was off with my read, but not too far off. My kicker plays and I take down the pot.

This next hand is a real doozy. The blinds are at 20/40 and I have 4415, chip leader for the table by over 1k. I am dealt 88 on the button. NumbBono limps UTG and World Reknown Author Julius Goat (~2600) raises to 160 from MP. It folds to me ont eh button and I just call. Goat's range is too wide right now and I want to see the flop action before I determine whether my 88 is good or not. It folds to NumbBono who calls.

We see a flop of T95, with two diamonds. It is not an ideal flop due to the two overcards, but it is not horrible. It's a lot more likely that someone is playing an Ace, King, Queen, or even Jack, than a Ten or Nine, so I hope that my pair is still good. It checks around to me, which indicates that I am probably ahead. Once again, I fear the flush draw, who will most assuredly call me. Frankly, a good player will even call without the flush draw and then, while out of position, bet the turn if the flush card hits.

The turn is a 9, which is great. If someone else has a 9, they are likely to bet here. Since both players check, I feel confident and bet 360 into the 540 pot. The bet is designed to look weak in order to bring in a weak hand that might fold to a pot-sized bet or, ironically, a smaller bet that might appear to be a value bet.

The river was an offsuit 5 and Goat bets out 1000 rather quickly. Once again, the red flags start flying. This time, it is Goat's decision that the 5 was all that he was waiting for. The 5! He was either representing 55 or perhaps 67s based on the previous action, but both of those hands made no sense.

Remember what I said earlier about the pitfalls of satellites. Since you cannot build up your stack using my choice style of play in satellites, the suckouts/coolers/bad situations that inevitably occur are usually enough to wipe out your stack. Since I had a nice lead on my competition, I didn't have that pressure in this hand. 1000 was a pretty penny, but I could more than afford it.

That wasn't the only consideration to this hand. I already mentioned the speed to Goat's bet and the fact that it didn't make sense in the context of the hand. If he had a strong hand the whole way, he would've bet or at the very least checked the river to set up a check-raise. I know Goat to be a smart player, so that worked against him. I opted for the call. Raising made no sense. If I were ahead, he'd fold and he'd only call if he could beat me. Sure enough, he showed Ks Jh. A busted inside straight draw. My 88 was good.

In our final hand, it was just me and Hoy in a battle to the death. Or, more accurately, it was a battle of the egos.

Hoy had been particularly aggressive against me the entire tournament. I was somewhat annoyed by it, but it was nothing new. Hoy is an aggressive player and against a known LAG like me, he is even more aggressive. Fortunately, I was able to do a little jujitsu and use his momentum to my benefit.

Hoy still had 1180 with blind of 40/80 when this hand occured. I was in the SB with 3325 after losing a big hand to NumbBono. Hoy was in the BB. We were four-handed. It folded to me and I called the 80 BB. I didn't feel the need to raise because I was out of position with a marginal hand and I had no idea what Hoy had. I also know Hoy's play well enough to say that he would be more than willing to exploit a small-ish raise with an all-in, and frankly, I didn't want to get all-in preflop in that sorta situation.

Ironically, as soon as I call, Hoy pushes all-in on my 80 blind. That's a lot different than pushing all-in over a 3x raise (240). Frankly, it appeared to me like Hoy was trying to take advantage of the situation. I looked weak as a loose player who suddenly is just limping after losing a large pot to NumbBono. Hoy's range was super wide to me, although it obviously included problem hands like AA, AK, KK, QQ, and AQ. Notably, though, those were the only hands I had to fear, since I could afford a cointoss against a lesser pair. Also notable is the fact that there was no way Hoy pushes all-in against one player with those big hands. He is much more likely to min bet or even bet 3x the BB to get some money with his premium hand heads-up.

So, I call. The result: Hoy shows 34o and I bust him after the board is dealt.

That's all I saved from the game. From there, I continued playing aggressively until we got to the final table, where I tightened up. On the bubble, I became more active as a means of chipping away at the eventual bubble-boy. I was the shortstack going into it three-handed, and wasn't able to get any traction, eventually busting in 3rd.

Tonight, I'm meeting Skidoo over at my favorite Mexican restaurant, Baby Bo's. Other than that, there'll probably be a little bit of online poker.

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 10:20 PM, ,

HORSE Coverage Surprising and Not Surprising

I figured it was worth mentioning that the Yahoo front page currently (2:44 pm, EST) lists Man beats out 148 players, wins $2M at World Series of Poker as one of their 6 or so front page stories.

I clicked through and sure enough, the article discusses Scotty Nguyen's impressive win in the $50K HORSE event at the WSOP. The article is especially noteworthy and surprising because it is a cover-page story about a non-holdem, non-Main Event game with a top prize that is a mere fraction of recent Main Event prizes. I could understand mainstream media picking up the story of the ME winner or even a really high payout winner, which could be considered particularly newsworthy because of the sheer numbers involved. However, for the mainstream news to pick up and place on its front page a story about a smaller field, non-NLHE event with a payout that is rather typical (or at least not atypical nowadays), is just...well, weird and refreshing.

This may be a good sign for poker's acceptance into main stream culture (beyond advertising) and it is probably a great sign that a non-hold'em event is getting a little bit of love. Hopefully, casual observers will be interested enough to find out why a guy won $2 million for playing HORSE.

Not too surprising is the fact that the article incorrectly lists Hellmuth as the person with the most WSOP bracelets, numbering 12. In reality, he has only won 11. [Ed. note: Ironically, while I called out the article for incorrect information, I also initially incorrectly noted that Brunson and Chan were tied with 11 bracelets as well. Thanks to Peaker, my error has been corrected. And lest one think that I am a hypocrit, (a) I am not an official media outlet, (b) my intern is on vacation, visiting his family during the
Ganga Dussehra festival, and (c) I am a hypocrit).

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 2:43 PM, ,

Summer of Jordan

It's the Summer of Jordan, as long-laid plans finally pay off, and everything if falling in my direction. This weekend saw me exploiting my T$ and binging on poker.

I wish I could remember it all, but a mind-numbing weekend is nothing new for yours truly. If you've been following along of late, you'll surely remember my love affair with the satellites running nightly on FT. I played a handful of satellites, won seats into a variety of events and unregistered each time. I don't think there is an easier win than a carefully chosen satellite event. On one hand, you have players who consider it almost a freeroll and play accordingly, donking off chips and busting out in no time. On the other hand, all you have to do is raise pot each time you have a good hand, bet pot if your hand hits, and otherwise keep out of the way. It is the epitome of ABC poker, but it is also profitable as hell. After all, for some of these events, you only need to be in the top 1/3 to cash. Sometimes it's even better!

The only problem is that I was left with copious amounts of T$, "money" that could only be used on tournament unless I wanted to convert them from FT for a 5% commission. Well, Jordan don't pay no commission, so instead, I looked into higher buy-in SNGs to keep me busy.

Truth be told, kind friends, if I were a better man, I wouldn't have been playing any poker this weekend. Wifey Kim was on lockdown after having her hair Japanese straightened, a process that requires that she keep her hair bone-dry for 48 hours minimum. Since it was a muggy and rainy weekend, that meant that we were huddled indoors together. After a while on Saturday, though, the cabin fever set in, and I went about burying it with my other neurosis, obsessive gambling.

Lest one of my family members are reading this or I have a few new readers, let me remind everyone that my version of obsessive gambling is more about quantity and not stakes. My addictive nature is nicely balanced by my anal retentiveness, so even when I am playing too much, I am never paying too much.

I looked into some tournaments first, but not surprisingly, the fields were fairly large on the weekends and I did not want to be tied to the computer for too long. I played some cash for a while, using my accumulated real dollars, focusing on some random games, including LO8, one of my favorite online cash games. I was up about $50 at a 2/4 table when I decided to peruse the HU games available. I went to the $30 level, intent on not blowing too large of a chunk of my T$ on one game, but still aiming a tad higher than my usual $20 HU SNG maximum.

I followed my usual plan when choosing a table. Simply look for the ones with players already seated. I cannot stand to wait, like a bear-trap ready to go off, for my competitor to join me at a table. I find the anticipation to be intolerable and if I am forced to wait for a significant period of time, it will affect my play. To avoid this altogether, I just choose an HU SNG ready to go. And sure enogh, there it was, a single $30 HU SNG just waiting for me...and it was LO8.

I'll save you the boring details except to say that I trounced the competition, netting $60, which to me felt like all profit, since I entered the tournament with T$. On a role, I looked for another game and saw a PLO8 ready to go. Slightly different game, but same result. I whooped some serious ash and took another $60.

Being on a roll left me wanting more, but this time I switched it up, finding a HU NLHE game ready to start. In the first hand, I was dealt AKc and faced a 3x raise to 90 from my opponent. I thought about my options before pushing all in. The way I saw it, he could be raising with any two cards, which is not uncommon for these games. The all-in push was my effort to look weak. It also was intended to make me appear like a straight-up gambler, as though I merely wanted to double my $30 or walk in one hand. I guess it worked because my opponent called with QTo, missed the board and I took another $60.

After that, I figured I was clearly a NLHE pro, so I started my fourth $30 HU SNG, another NLHE game. I won that one too, barely breaking a sweat.

Those four HU matches were the centerpiece of my poker weekend, accented both before and after by various cash games, including a four-table session of full ring NLHE. I had found from Fuel via Lucko a website called Table Ratings that, through the miracles of science and math, rates tables at various online poker sites based on the quality of player. Using the site, I found the weakest NLHE tables and tried my damnedest to get in on the action. Overall, I lost a few pesos, approximately $20-25, mostly because I refused to leave one table where a particular player was getting under my skin with consistent re-raises which, incidentally, were not bullshit as I had hoped repeatedly. However, it was nice to try some NLHE cash online again, and I plan on returning to Table Ratings in the future.

Just in case it needs to be said, that was NOT a paid review. It IS, however, a sincere recommendation from your humble yet awesome blogger.

Compared to Saturday, Sunday night poker was just craptastic. I won a couple of tokens but failed in my attempt to turn a $26 token into a $75. I also lost the Sunday HU game which only involved me and pureprophet. I had actually totally forgotten about the game until about 9:04, at which point, prophet had blinded me down to about 1150. I fought back, getting near-even, but eventually lost, ending my 2-person blogger tournament winning streak. I was so dejected, I withdrew from the Razz blogger tournament scheduled for 45 minutes later (notably, I was the only person signed up at the time, so technically, I didn't miss much). I also bubbled from a $26 90-person KO SNG, after knocking out only two players ($8). I felt I was playing well, but it all fell apart late. That same theme carried through to the PokerSluts LO8 event, where I was 1st in chips from the jump until right before the final table, where I crumbled, busting out in 9th. I was super aggressive the entire time, whooping some arse, but when you play like that, you will eventually get called down a lot more, and in a game like LO8, the suckouts can happen rather often.

Still, it was a fine weekend of poker, accentuated by my win in my prop bet against Joe (Unimpressed). Joe and I each chose three players apiece in a $20 last longer prop bet for the $50K HORSE Event at the WSOP. The result saw two of our picks making the final table, Joe's Barry Greenstein and my Erick Lindgren. The eventual winner was Scotty Nguyen, but in third place was Erick Lindgren, earning me a cool $20. Ka ching!

Another fine occurence this weekend. I'm booked, beeches. Vegas, December 12-14. Be there, of be somewhere else!

As for my series-wide WSOP Prop Bets, here is an update:

- Most Cash Won (Fuel's Sorel Mizzi, Phil Hellmuth and Jonathan Little vs. my Allen Cunningham, Phil Ivey and Johnny Chan)

Ivey's cash in the $50K HORSE increases my lead, but Hellmuth also made a small cash. It's currently $579,767 to Fuel's $117,597.

Phil Hellmuth, $100,292, 8th, Event #28, $5k PLO Rebuy, and
$2,895, 33rd, Event #47, $1.5 Stud8.

Sorel Mizzi, $8,103, 68th, Event #5, the $1000 rebuy, and
$6,307, 29th, Event #24, $2.5k PLHE/PLO

Phil Ivey, $37,130 9th, Event #14, the $10k Stud World Championship, and
$7,998, 23rd, Event #22, $4k HORSE, and
$159,840, 12th, Event #35, $50k HORSE

Allen Cunningham, $6,247, 22nd, Event #10, $2,500 OE, and
$76,205, 4th, Event #24, $2.5k PLHE/PLO, and
$18,401, 13th, Event #33, $5k Stud Hi/Lo World Championship

Johnny Chan, $27,072, 13th, Event #8, the $10k Mixed Game Championship, and
$246,874, 4th, Event #28, $5k PLO Rebuy

Ingoal- Most Cash Won (Ingoal's Daniel Negreanu and Jesus Ferguson vs. my Bill Chen and TJ Cloutier)

Ingoal continues to shame me with Negreanu's cash in the $50k HORSE event and another cash from Jesus. Ingoal leads with $795484 to my pathetic $20,868. Fucking Cloutier!

Daniel Negreanu, $16,496, 22nd, Event #5, $1000 rebuy, and
$33,417, 11th, Event #14, the $10k Stud World Championship) and
$204,874, 1st, Event #20, $2k LHE, and
$123,437, 7th, Event #28, $5k PLO Rebuy, and
$142,080, 13th, Event #35, $50k HORSE

Jesus Ferguson, $14,438, 51st, Event #25, the $10k HU Championship, and
$69,433, 10th, Event #28, the $5k PLO Rebuy and
$202,406, 2nd, Event #33, the $5k Stud Hi/Lo World Championship, and
$3,341, 50th, Event #43, $1.5k PLO8.

Bill Chen, $15,594, 19th, Event #31, $3k NLHE Shorthanded
$5,274, 24th, Event #40, $2.5 2-7 Triple Draw.

UWannaBet- Most FinalTable/Bracelets (UWanna's Michael Binger, Brandon Cantu and Erik Seidel vs. my Cunningham, Johnny Chan and Joe Hachem)

UWanna leads with four final tables to my two, for $6.

Michael Binger, Event #5, $1000 rebuy
Brandon Cantu's, 9th, Event #10, OE
Erik Seidel, Event # I don't remember, NLWhoGivesACrap
Erik Seidel, Event #43, $1.5k PLO8
Cunningham, 4th, Event #24, $2.5k PLHE/PLO
Chan, 4th, Event #28, $5k PLO Rebuy

posted by Jordan @ 9:58 AM, ,

Food For Thought: Why You Don't Really Want Legalized Online Poker

Am I the only one who thinks that legalization and taxation of online poker will ruin the game?

Let me put it this way. Did you win money last year? Did you declare the winnings? Exactly. If online poker was legalized and consequently taxed, the government would likely have access to the win/loss statements for American citizens. Next time you (or more accurately, Lucko), win an online tournament for $10,000, Uncle Sam will gladly take a percentage out of your profit. More likely than not, the taxes will be withheld by the sites, since any regulations will probably be stringently in favor of the government, under the guise that online poker could lead to money laundering or hiding of assets. The result is lower actual realized prize pools and less money in the poker community.

So, yeah, I would prefer online poker to be 'legal' on paper, but the reality would most definitely suck.

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 4:02 PM, ,

Hamily Business

Let's get to it, big boppers. Last night, I didn't play a lick of poker. I had to go to Pennsylvania for a deposition where I utterly choked and then had a 2 hour car drive home to wallow in it. By the time I was home, I was in full fledge depressed hermit mode, but my Floridian cousins were in town and were in my brother's apartment, a mere three floors below mine. Thank god, too. I had no real reason to be so bummed about my poor performance. I am my own worst critic and the net effect was tiny. It's not as though it would seriously affect the case, my job, or any money going into my pocket, so a distraction of drinks, dinner, and more drinks was just what I needed to fend off the funk.

Ironically, it is at these times that I feel the greatest urge to play poker. It may be a need to escape, or even worse, a Freudian means to punish myself by losing money. The irony is that, as we all know, when one is emotionally distraught, it is often the worst time to play.

I had hoped to go to AC for a day trip this weekend. Wifey Kim is undergoing Japanese hair straightening as we speak, a process that will save her an hour every morning blowdrying her hair. After the process, though, she cannot wash or get her hair wet for 48 hours, so we play to hole up in the apartment like it's a snow day. I'll be playing the role of emissary to the outside world. Hopefully, if the weather is somewhat decent, we'll see Matty Ebs performance at Comix Comedy Club in NYC (Saturday, 6pm start time), but that will be a game-day and hair-day decision.

I was going to escape to AC while wifey Kim was stuck at home, but I chose to stay home. Turns out that wifey Kim > poker. No real surprise to me. Another non-surprise: I'll probably be playing online poker all day Saturday anyway.

Tonight, I'll be at the Shea Stadium half of the Subway Series double header. I got a call a few days ago from an old college buddy about another buddy's impending nuptuals. They had extra tickets for the game, which should be followed by some bachelor party mayhem, so at least I got that going for me.

Since nothing is going on in my little poker world, let's turn to the WSOP and my WSOP Prop Bets. Rather than give a full view of my usual props, I'll just make note that Erik Seidel made another final table, so I'm down $6 to UWannaBet. Otherwise, it's mostly quiet as the big names finish up the $50K HORSE event. On that note, my horse race against Joe (Unimpressed) is going well. We picked three players each in a last longer bet in the $50K HORSE event (Joe's Phil Ivey, Barry Greenstein and David Benyamine vs. my Patrik Antonius, Erick Lindgren and Andy Bloch). I made my picks based on people running hot who have strong skills in multiple games and don't tend to choke. Looks like both of our picks were fairly on the money. With only 67 players left out of the original 148, Barry Greenstein is in the lead for our picks, sitting in 2nd place, followed by Lindgren and Bloch in or near the top 10. Ivey is also still in the event, in the middle of the pack. Overall, we both have one man out, but my two guys are both in decent chip position, even though Joe has the current lead.

I think it's also time to name a winner for the Nickname for a Nickname Contest. I asked for alternative nicknames based on the nickname Pauly Ham Hands. The winner of $11 to be transfered via FT or Stars is...RAISING CAYNE! There are a couple of great ones, and I may just use them all, but Cayne wins the huge prize (and the copious tax forms) for his clever inclusion of Pauly's first name and the pork product that Pauly's hands most resemble: P'All-In-The-Hamily. Just seeing it makes me smile. Other fine entries include Mary's wonderful-but-slightly-too-insider Pauly Honeybaked Hellmuth (his last name isn't Hellmuth, but it starts with an H and for effect, I just added Hellmuth's last name), Bub's Pauly Pork Pockets (who doesn't love a good alliteration), and gunslinger's Fantastic Hams, which I assume is a takeoff of "fantastic gams" an old school way of complimenting a chick's legs. There is just something funny about moving Pauly's Ham nickname from his hands to his legs.

Cayne, drop me a comment or email (you can click the Email tab at the top of the site) and I'll send you your $11 right away. Thanks to everyone else who played along.

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 10:42 AM, ,

Satellite of Love, Pt. 2

Good morning, America! Another fine day in Satellitesville, population me. When I get into a particular format of game, I can sometimes binge, for lack of a better word. Satellites are my new addiction, and I successfully won two last night, not to mention my third, Third, THIRD BLOGGER TOURNAMENT WIN in a week. You hear that sizzle? That's me. On fire. Ouch.

And for the record, my blogger tournament win last night had double the amount of players I beat in my first two tournament wins, combined. That's right. I beat 4, count'em, 4 competitors.* In fact, it's only a matter of time before that has-been Lucko starts emailing me all, "Why are you winning every tournament? That used to be my thing." Whatever, Lucko. There's a new Champeen in town, and his name is Poker Champ! I mean, Jordan.

Besides that amazing win, I took down two satellites for a decent T$ score. The first was a $26 buy-in satellite to some $100+9 event. Hell, I don't even know which event, although in hindsight, I think it was a $100 Rebuy...which is a whole other issue. If you can't afford to play in a REBUY tournament, you definitely shouldn't satellite. It's like winning a tournament just to have the right to play another tournament with a shortstack against regular stacks. Just 'tarded. Not that there is anything wrong with that.

After that, I signed up for two simultaneous satellites into the 50/50 for $15 each, cashing in one. In the other, I took a string of bad beats that sucked pretty bad; admittedly, though, I've been running good, so I just considered it a bit of luck-correction.

Oh, and for the record, I bought into the satellites with T$, so it's all freerolls to me. I look forward to jumping into some higher SNGs coming up, most likely of the 45 player variety. Single table versions kinda bore me and I'm out of practice.

With all this T$ saved up, I'm tempted to withdraw a little from online, but I really want to rebuild the online roll, so that will have to wait. Plus, my live roll is doing fine after some recent , modest WSG wins.

My WSOP Props are going just fine too. I'll table the tourney-wide ones today in favor of praising my excellent picks against Joe, aka Unimpressed. We both picked teams for the $50K HORSE Event, which started yesterday and lost less than 10 of the ~150 players in one day of action. My picks are doing well, with Patrik Antonius as the chipleader in our prop bet, followed by my second pick, Erick Lindgren. (Actually, I just saw an update that showed Lindgren taking the lead). My third pick, Andy Bloch, is somewhere in the middle of the pack.

Joe's picks, meanwhile, aren't doing too shabby. Barry Greenstein is in 3rd for our prop, not too far behind Lindgren, with Benyamine close behind. Ivey is also in the middle of the pack.

I'm crossing my fingers because anything can happen.

That's it for today, as I am heading to Allentown, Pennsylvania at 5pm for a deposition for work. Yippee! Anyone in the Allentown area?

Until next time, make mine poker!

*Four including me.

posted by Jordan @ 9:44 AM, ,

Deja Choo

Whose got such absurd pokery skillz that he wins three blogger tournaments in less than a week?

I kick so much ass in Razz , they're going to have to start calling it Jazz!


Another fine blogger tournament win, brought to you by HighOnPoker!

posted by Jordan @ 10:37 PM, ,

Satellite of Love

The world of poker tournament satellites always left me a tad confused. Part of me felt that if you could not afford the buy-in, you shouldn't satellite into the event, since you had to win a tournament just to play in another tournament...and winning two tournaments is much harder than winning just one in the first place. That, and the fact that if you had to satellite in, you were, by definition, playing above your roll. On the other hand, if you are not good enough to win a single-table satellite, or even a super satellite, then you probably are playing above your skill level in the higher buy-in tournament.

It's really the chicken or the egg question, which I eventually chose to ignore altogether by avoiding satellites generally.

The one consistent exception to that general rule were the token tournaments, which I somehow justified with the fact that I could use them for a variety of games.

And then yesterday happened. I got home from work at my usual hour, but found myself alone, since wifey Kim was off with a friend on her never-ending quest for yet another dress for this summer's anti-semetic wedding. So, I did what any other self-respecting degenerate would do, fired up every poker client on my laptop and checked out the various tournaments running.

One of my favorite tournaments is the $15 buy-in Token Frenzy, paying out $75 tokens. The joy of the game is its simplicity, thanks to its flat (and wide) payout. It starts nightly at 9:45pm EST, but I was hoping that a similar $6 buy-in Token Frenzy for $26 tokens ran earlier in the night.

Instead, I stumbled upon a satellite to the nightly 50/50, a $50+5 buy-in tournament with a $50,000 guaranteed prize pool. Full Tilt recently instituted T$. Basically, if you win a satellite into an event, you can unregister and get the buy-in back at T$ that can be used in any denomination to but into any other tournament or SNG. Since I like SNGs and tournaments, I decided that the 50/50 Satellite was really the same as any other token satellite. I could use the spoils of war anywhere, so I signed up and paid my $10 or so buy-in.

As I perused the other tournaments, I noticed two other 50/50 satellites running about 20 minutes later. The buy in for both was around $15, so the payouts would be even flatter and more numerous, allowing my fold-to-the-money strategy to thrive.

And with that, I three-tabled 50/50 satellites, winning two with ease and busting out when I got a bit overzealous with pocket Tens and then pocket Jacks, letting my big stack crumble, right before my eyes. As Meatloaf says, "Go ahead, Cornelius, you can cry." Although in hindsight, perhaps his quote, "Two out of three ain't bad" is a bit more appropriate.

After those games, I shut down the poker for a bit and watched Rescue Me's last season on DVD. It's fucking amazing, although one new cast member cannot act his way out of a paper bag. This actor, who I will name shortly, stands out like a sore thumb amidst his acting contemporary. I hate to say it too, since I am a fan of his work on his usual show, but everything beyond that show is pure crap. The answer, my friends, is Artie Lang. Dude cannot deliver a line with any credibility. I fear he was hired for stunt casting, but what can you do.

A little while later, after wifey Kim was asleep, I returned to my laptop for a quick $30 SNG, higher than my usual $20 buy-in since it was paid for by the satellite money. I lost, but it felt nice to change up the routine for a bit.

So, my new take on satellites: They still suck. I don't like the idea of winning a tournament merely for the right to play another tournament. If I win, I want cash. But the next best thing to cash is $T, since I can use it instead of cash during my poker play. And for that, a big thumbs up goes out to Full Tilt. I expect to play more sats in the future.

A quick reminder about my Pauly Ham Hands nickname for the nickname contest, which is explained in the last post. The winner gets $11; one entry per person. All you have to do is provide a nickname that is a derivative of Pauly's Ham Hands moniker. Leave your entry in the comments....especially you, Mary. You emailed yours, but I need it up here for it to be considered an "entry" and if I post it and you win, that may seem like shenanigans, which is like bennigans but without the overseasoned fries.

Oh, and while I am too busy to recap my WSOP Prop Bets right now, I will mention a new one that is in the making. If all goes according to plan, Joe (Unimpressed), suggested a $20 three-horse last longer bet for the $50k HORSE event, taking place today at the WSOP. We are still ironing out the details, but so far, I have picked Antonius, Bloch, and Lindgren. He has chosen Ivey and Greenstein, with one pick to go. Wish me luck.

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 11:16 AM, ,

Name That Ham

I returned to the Wall Street Game last night, burnt out from a long day of work. The guest list was rather short, topping out at, I believe, 7 players when I entered about 30 minutes late. The game for the evening, .25/.50 PLO8, was likely the reason for the lack of players. Frankly, it seemed ideal to me. Less players allow looser action. PLO8 allows looser action. Deceptively low blinds make looser action. And I like looser action.

I entered to great fanfare as the only blogger to win two blogger tournaments in a night, my own personal Diggstown Challenge. As two time, two time World Champeen, I was barely concerned with my 'competition' (if you want to call them that), namely, Decent Steven, host Jamie, Ham-Hands Pauly, KJ, Matty Ebs, and Darko. That was actually the order of the line-up, and I sat between Steven, on my left, and Darko, on my right.

Amazingly, there was nary a female in the house, something that has rarely, if ever, happened on one of my trips to the WSG. For whatever reason, the WSG has always had an unlikely and uncommon number of broads, so the lack of chicks meant two things: (1) the inappropriate comments were not followed by apologies [or a shake of the inappropriate maracas], and (2) I was the prettiest one at the table.

The game started out frustrating enough. I couldn't hit a flop if my life depended on it, but life didn't depend on it, even if my wallet did. The result was a quick $20 drop out of my $60 stack, so I reloaded another $20 (in for $80 total) with the expectation that I could double up, given the family pots and loose action.

I'll admit that I was definitely taken off of my game by the absurd amount of whiffs that came on the flop. In fact, it led to my first bust out. I was dealt AAXX, single suited. I don't remember the other two cards too well, but I think one was a 5 and the other was a royal card. Whatever the case, I raised pot preflop from the BB and got something like 5 callers at the 7-person table.

The flop came down 227, and when it checked to me, I bet out the pot, which, thanks to the callers, was a decent amount. As soon as I did it, I realized that (a) I put in most of my chips so I had to call a raise no matter what, and (b) I was a complete and utter donkey. Clearly, with all of the preflop callers, someone was probably playing A2XX and hit top set, top kicker, likely with a low draw. So, there was no doubt that I would get a call or be raised, unless, of course, no one had a duece and I was 'representing' A2. Here's a quick strategy tip: don't come up with your strategy after you act.

Like the dipshit I was, I took my beating when Darko, now with a massive stack from earlier stellar play mixed with some luckboxery, called and showed 22XX, for quads. REBUY!

I bought in for another $60, cursing myself and trying to determine whether I would be best off leaving. I didn't want to give back the $150 profit from last week, but I also couldn't bring myself to leave after spending a little over an hour at the game (after showing up late, no less).

I put my ass back in my seat and decided to continue doing what I was doing, except for the whole pushing all-in with crap on a board that will guaranty that I be called.

A quick interlude about Darko. For whatever its worth, Darko is one helluva player. I would consider him one of the best, if not the best, players I regularly play with. The key to his success is his interplay with other players. I don't know if he plays online (definitely not for significant sums), because I am not so sure if his talents would translate there. All I know is that he can talk an Eskimo with white gloves into buying a melting ketchup icicle. He'll get you to pay him off when he wants the action and conversely force you off a pot when he has nothing. And he'll show you his crap cards every time, not because he wants to prove that he outplayed you, but because it will help him outplay you again later. While it can be a bit aggravating, it is also a thing of beauty. Early in the night he must've shown bluffs 5 or 6 times. Each time, he acted with precision and purpose during the hand.

I write this here because I want to show a bit of respect and compliment Darko; Lord knows my ego is too big to say this to him in person.

A little while later, I had my first good fortune of the night. I held 6624 (I think, but definitely 66), when a flop came down 269 or something similar. I think there was a flush draw out, too. I think I checked and Pauly Ham Hands decided to bet out. Ebs was also in the hand and called. I called as well. The turn was a blank, I think. All I know is that I bet out pot immediately. I know a low did not hit, and I guess I sorta woke up from my lax play on the flop. Pauly called, Ebs raised pot, and I re-raised all-in. Pauly called, as did Ebs. I assumed I was in desperate shape, but after the river, my set held up against my opponents' likely bajillion outs, tripling me up and all but erasing my earlier losses.

I tried to limp in to pots cheap or simply fold. It was clear that people were playing looser than usual, and I wanted to exploit that since I knew I could get paid off on my big hands. Unfortunately, big hands were few and far between, even though I won a couple of medium-sized pots with, in one instance, a Darko-life bluff with air, and in another instance, a turned wheel that scared off my opponents after builing a decent pot on the flop.

I was getting antsy and began pacing around the room. The dealing was horribly slow. It was clear that Ebs, who was in the box (i.e., acting as dealer) was not into his job, and the result was a very slow game, what with all of the dealing, pot-chopping, and math involved in PLO8. I have to say that I finally understood why PLO8 is not as popular in casinos (aside from the obvious). The game is terribly slow if you are not online.

I finally got fed up (mostly because I was card dead and wanted to see more hands) and asked Ebs if he wanted to switch seats. He jumped at the opportunity, obviously happy to be free of dealing duties. We swapped seats and I probably dealt with twice the speed as before. Make no mistake, I am not knocking Ebs, who clearly didn't want to be designated dealer in the first place and was sharing the duties with others at the table. Rather, I was just fucking manic about playing, and dealing would keep me busy and engaged in the game.

Time for another tangent. A long while ago, when I was dealing at the WSG, I accidentally directed action past Pauly before he had a chance to act. This happened probably 3 or more times before I came up with an excuse for my lapses in judgment. "It's not my fault your ham hands cover your entire cards." Sure enough, Pauly was covering his cards with his hands, but it isn't as though Pauly's hands are particularly large. It was just my usual sarcastic self. Well, Pauly Ham Hands (or Ham Hands Pauly) has stuck, and we've now entered the realm of nickname nicknames. Favorites from last night include, Hammy, Hamuel, Hammy Davis Junior, Hamuel Adams and Hamuel L. Jackson. I wanted to work in Ham & Cheese, but there was no angle that made sense. And for the fuck of it, let's have a random contest. Give me a random nickname that is a derivative of Pauly Ham Hands. The best one gets $11 to play some cheapo tournament on FT or Stars (your choice). 1 entry per person, 5 total entries (i.e., 5 submissions) in order for the contest to take place. I'll give you until Thursday morning.

In the dealer's box, I was able to see more hands...and fold more hands. I tightened up considerably, mostly because I was calm once again and realized that success would come with big hands, and not just by playing any two cards. (BTW, if you are an any-two-cards player, try Omaha.... the whole four card thing is a mind trip). In one interesting hand, I held A993, with the A and 9 of Spades, and saw a board of 25XX, with two spades and two hearts. Pauly, I think, got all-in against me and Ebs, who was also all-in. The river was a low card, completing my nut low. However, Ebs held A344, with the Ace and Four of Hearts. In other words, when we got our money all-in on the turn, we both had a draw to the nut low and a draw to the nut flush...although obviously different nut flushes. If a 4, 9, or any Spade or Heart came out on the river, Pauly was toast. As it were, he won half the pot and Ebs and I quartered the low. LEMON!

I announced at 10:45 that I would be leaving at 11:15 (and admitted in the same breathe that this really meant 11:30), so I waited out the clock as I counted my chips. I was above my $140 of buy-ins and looking at a decent profit. And then the big hand happened. I literally announced that it was my last orbit just a few hands prior when I was dealt 6442, single suited, a hand awefully close to my earlier 66XX hand. I saw a flop with a bunch of other people: 964, with two hearts. It wasn't a bad flop. I had bottom set, and a low flush draw (I had 4h and 2h, the board had 9h and 6h), but since there was a low draw out there, I was concerned that at the best, I would chop and at the worst, a flush or straight would be me by the river. As a result, I reluctantly called a bet from Pauly. Ebs called as well. The turn was an offsuit 7, which ruined my hand even more. It was an ugly straight card and it could complete a bunch of low draws. As I remember it, Pauly had bet $5 on the flop and $10 on the turn. I called his turn bet before Ebs raised $35 on top. Pauly called and I nonchalantly threw in my $25. In reality, I was dying inside, scared that I was going to give away all of my profits and stack in the last orbit. Still, I liked my odds. Even if someone hit the low already, with three players in the pot, I would get equity from any action, as long as either (a) no one had a straight and no one was drawing to a better heart flush, or (b) no one had the straight and the flush did not come, or (c) the flush came and I was the only one with it, or (d) the board paired and I hit my full house. The actual result was (d), when the river came out a beautiful 7h. It gave me a full house, but also completed a flush.

I was first to act and decided that there was no reason to bullshit. I bet out $55. Ebs seemed really distraught until he finally folded. Pauly was taking his sweet time, like a slow roasted ham, perhaps, so I began talking it up. He finally called, and when I showed my full house, he mucked. He later stated that he had the nut flush, which was the only reason why he called. Miraculously, he didn't have a low. Ebs, however, had folded 38XX, for a weak but winning low hand.

I cashed out up over $150, walking on air. It was after 11:30 by this time, but it didn't bother me one bit.

I feel like I'm on a rush, so I look forward to playing more in the future. I don't have anything on the horizon, but I'm sure that will change. I intended to take a day trip to AC on Saturday, but that's going to have to be rescheduled. Oh well.

A couple of quick odds and ends to tie up.

First, it looks like I may get some funds on Bodog soon, which is sweet, since I really enjoyed the recent blogger tournament series there. It's absolutely ridiculous how much free money they are throwing at bloggers. So, thank you to Bodog. You can see more about the past tournament series at Yeah for Bodog! Yeah for poker!

Second, let's see how I am doing with my WSOP Prop Bets:

- Most Cash Won (Fuel's Sorel Mizzi, Phil Hellmuth and Jonathan Little vs. my Allen Cunningham, Phil Ivey and Johnny Chan)

Cunningham added to his cashes by narrowly missing the final table in Event #33, out in 13th place. I lead $419,927 to Fuel's $114,702.

Phil Hellmuth, $100,292, 8th, Event #28, $5k PLO Rebuy

Sorel Mizzi, $8,103, 68th, Event #5, the $1000 rebuy, and
$6,307, 29th, Event #24, $2.5k PLHE/PLO

Phil Ivey, $37,130 9th, Event #14, the $10k Stud World Championship, and
$7,998, 23rd, Event #22, $4k HORSE

Allen Cunningham, $6,247, 22nd, Event #10, $2,500 OE, good and
$76,205, 4th, Event #24, $2.5k PLHE/PLO
$18,401, 13th, Event #33, $5k Stud Hi/Lo World Championship.

Johnny Chan, $27,072, 13th, Event #8, the $10k Mixed Game Championship, and
$246,874, 4th, Event #28, $5k PLO Rebuy

Ingoal- Most Cash Won (Ingoal's Daniel Negreanu and Jesus Ferguson vs. my Bill Chen and TJ Cloutier)

Ingoal has continued his beatdown, thanks to Ferguson's impressive 2nd place in Event #33. Compare that with Chen's recent weak cash in Event #40. Ugly! Ingoal leads with $664,501 to my pathetic $20,868. Is Cloutier even playing this year? For his sake, I hope not.

Daniel Negreanu, $16,496, 22nd, Event #5, $1000 rebuy, and
$33,417, 11th, Event #14, the $10k Stud World Championship) and
$204,874, 1st, Event #20, $2k LHE, and
$123,437, 7th, Event #28, $5k PLO Rebuy

Jesus Ferguson, $14,438, 51st, Event #25, the $10k HU Championship, and
$69,433, 10th, Event #28, the $5k PLO Rebuy and
$202,406, 2nd, Event #33, the $5k Stud Hi/Lo World Championship.

Bill Chen, $15,594, 19th, Event #31, $3k NLHE Shorthanded
$5,274, 24th, Event #40, $2.5 2-7 Triple Draw.

UWannaBet- Most FinalTable/Bracelets (UWanna's Michael Binger, Brandon Cantu and Erik Seidel vs. my Cunningham, Johnny Chan and Joe Hachem)

Michael Binger, Event #5, $1000 rebuy
Brandon Cantu's, 9th, Event #10, OE
Erik Seidel, Event # I don't remember, NLWhoGivesACrap
Cunningham, 4th, Event #24, $2.5k PLHE/PLO
Chan, 4th, Event #28, $5k PLO Rebuy

That's everything, up to Event #42. Looks like I'm almost running even overall, down just a few bucks.

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 5:01 PM, ,

Wall Street Profits

Good afternoon, everyone! This post was started last week and just finished today, so excuse the disjointed narrative. Lately, writing about my live poker experiences has been more and more difficult. I haven't been keeping notes on particular hands, which makes these recaps always more difficult. Either I do well and just get into the flow or I do poorly and don't want to relive the loss. Either way, here we go with a quick recap of last week's Wall Street Game's .50/1 NLHE game.

For the second time last week, I returned to the WSG, hoping to undo the $30 loss from Monday's tournament and add a few more dinars for the old poker bankroll. Success was the name of the day, winning more than a buy-in with relative ease. If nothing else, it felt good to be playing live poker and slinging snarky comments again with a great cast of characters.

When I strolled into the WSG a little after 7, cards were already in the air. I scoped the table looking for a place to squeeze in my chair and eventually decided on the 9s, between Bacini Mary and Cheryl. Someone joked that I just wanted to sit between the two ladies, but my seat was actually well calculated. Cheryl, on my right, is maddeningly loose. In fact, my first hand of the night illustrates this point perfectly.

As soon as I sat down, I was dealt TT. Cheryl limped into the pot, so I raised from the $1 to $3. I got two callers, including Cheryl, out of position.

The flop was 457, a fine board for my overpair. It checked to me and I bet out $10, slightly more than pot. It folded to Cheryl who called nonchalantly. The turn was an 8 of Spades, creating a straight for anyone with a 6 and a spade flush draw. Cheryl checked again. I didn't like the draws and bet out $25. She called, reluctantly. The river was a 6, completing the board's straight, and when it checked to me, I checked as well after reasoning that (a) she wasn't folding to a bluffed better straight and (b) if she had the better straight, I could be screwing myself. She didn't have it and we chopped the pot. What did she have? A2o. She thought she had A2s, but nope, A2o. I still don't know why she called on the flop though (or preflop for that matter).

I took that mental note and filed it away. Cheryl confirmed her crazy action later in the night, too, when on several occasions she showed down A4o or some similar Ace-crap card. On at least one occasion, she cracked someone else's KK with felt like more than once though.

In stark contrast to Cheryl's looseness is Mary's tightness, which borders on virginal and makes her an ideal candidate for player best to have on your left. Meanwhile, Mary ain't no fool and saw my request, "Who wants me on their left?!" as the real deal it was, immediately motioning me over. I don't blame her either. We get along well and we both acknowledge each others' particular style of game and act accordingly. A loose aggressive player like me is perfect for the role of Guy On Your Right.

After that first hand, I was only a touch annoyed. I recovered though when I practically doubled up with aggressive betting in a hand against Ben, a player I had only met once or twice before. I held QJ and for some reason unbeknown to me, decided to limp in EP. Actually, I knew the reason. I was hoping to see a cheap flop, but that idea was thwarted when someone raised to $3 preflop. I just checked after flopping top pair on a Q9x board, since I was out of position and feared a KQ or some other dominating hand. Ben bet, though, and Cheryl (I think) called, so I called as well.

The turn was a Ten, creating an OESD for me. I checked again, allowing Ben to bet. Cheryl folded and I raised from his $15 bet to $55. I was trying to win the pot right then and there. Ben, however, called, and we saw the river, a King, giving me my straight. Ben only had about $40 left so I pushed all in and he folded. At first I assumed I sucked out, but the general play lat night suggests that I may've been ahead the whole time.

It was a very aggressive game, with bets of over $20 common in later streets, which is a touch off for a $.50/1, $125-max buy-in NLHE game. The action only loosened up once we all saw what some people (cough Cheryl cough) were playing.

I don't recall many other hands, except for a major one late in the game. I held TT again and raised preflop to $10 from the BB or something similar. Most players had already limped preflop, so I wanted to push most but not all of the players out of the pot. I got two callers, Ben and Marco, who was on the losing end of a bad streak of suckouts.

The flop was fantastic, KTx. I bet out $25, a reasonable bet for the pot. Ben called, but Marco stalled, confused by the aggressive bet and the unlikely call. He eventually folded.

The turn was a Queen, so I pushed, since Ben was once again down to his last $40 or so. He called. The river was dealt, King, giving me a full house. We showed our cards, TT v. AJ. That sonuvabitch turned an inside straight draw. Darko, watching this, announced, Oh, SUCKOUT! I corrected him, "Actually, its a suck, re-suck." I still have no idea why he called $25 with an inside straight draw. Ironically, after the hand, Marco admitted what he folded...AJ as well. At least he was smart enough to fold.

Prop bets got started after a while. We did the usual Rank prop bet. I chose Jack, Jamie chose 4, Cheryl had 8 and Tom took 7. In literally three back-to-back hands, I won $24 in prop bets alone. The first flop was JJX, netting me $3 per player ($1 for the Jack on the side, and $2 for the middle Jack), the second flop was JJX again, and the third flop was a simple XJX ($2 each for the middle Jack). CHOO CHOO! Meanwhile, Jamie's 4s were apparently on break, appearing a couple of times early and maybe once over the last two hours.

Dawn (who gave me a quote of the day on her blog from one of my choice lines at the game) joined the poker game a little after me and took the seat on my immediate right, between me and Cheryl. We mostly kept out of each others' way. I introduced her to the Natalie Portman rap from SNL two years ago, easily one of the funniest things I've ever seen. Something about watching the waif Jewess Natalie Portman singing:

Guys: What you want Natalie
Portman: to drink and fight
Guys: what you need Natalie
Portman: to f*** all night
Is it wrong that I find that incredibly hot? And lemme tell you, as much as my waif Jewess wifey Kim is the shiznittle, I don't think she's ever said anything remotely as bad ass. We need to work on that. Another choice line:
When I was in Harvard
I smoked weed every day
I cheated every test
and snorted all the yay
I gotta a def posse
and you gotta buncha dudes
I sit down on your face and take a s**t
I swear, if this came out a year earlier, it would've been wifey Kim and my wedding song instead of 'Put It in Your Mouth.'

And for those uninitiated, check out, and search for Natalie Portman and you'll see some comedic genius.

Between the prop bets and the Hulu, I have to admit I became distracted by the game, but that was overall a good thing. Hours earlier, at about 8:40pm, I felt a bit of poker fatigue. I remember marathon sessions from days gone by, but lately, I begin fading after a few hours. When my cell phone's clock read 8:40, I was shocked. It felt like 10 or later, easily. I must admit that the proximity to home is also something pulling me from the game. Knowing that wifey Kim is home and just a 5 minute walk away is a temptation in and of itself.

Whatever the case, I decided to stick it out until 9:30pm, at which point, I was really bored with the poker. I was also sitting on a nice stack when I came to the realization that I should not feel obliged to remain at the game, considering that it was a cash game. I made the announcement that I would be leaving at 10:30pm, and at 10:30pm, made the announcement that I would leave at 10:45. It was about 11pm when I exited the apartment, up $150.

This weekend, I played a slew of online poker Sunday while wifey Kim dress shopped around Manhattan. I won a couple of tokens, used one for a 45-person SNG, placed 2nd for $270, took 2nd in an 8-person HU MTT, and won two blogger tournaments (aided by the fact that there were only two people in both competitions). It felt great to have a successful run, and I feel like my game is primed for success.

Tonight, I'm back at the WSG for .25/.50 PLO8, which should be interesting, to say the least. I am also toying with a day trip to AC this Saturday.

Damnit, I love poker. It's just that simple.

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 4:33 PM, ,

Razz Champeen (aka, Two Blogger Tourneys, One Night)

Who has the mad skillz to win two blogger tournaments in one night?!


This train is out of control!

Another fine blogger tournament win, brought to you by HighOnPoker!

posted by Jordan @ 7:57 AM, ,

Heads Up Champeen

Whose got the mad HU skills?


Another fine blogger tournament victory, brought to you by HighOnPoker.

posted by Jordan @ 9:14 PM, ,

Almost Booked

My oh my. Played in the Skillz Game last night, busting 7th out of 17th. I was in 1st for most of the tourney up until the final table, but when the blinds get high in limit games and the table is playing fast and loose, shit happens. I busted from the $75 Token Frenzy when my A9 fell to A4. Lemon!

I was perusing my email yesterday when I got word from PokerWolf about his pending first trip to Vegas, scheduled for December 12th weekend. It got me thinking about my poker calendar for the year, since part of me really wants to see more of the US's poker offerings.

Whenever I hear of poker trips, I first go check Travelocity and JetBlue for a sampling of what I can expect by way of flights. This is before I even consider whether travel is a real possibility. In fact, it often happens even though I know I cannot make a trip.

Example, Okie Vegas. Last year, I went down to Oklahoma to visit GCox and assorted poker bloggers (you can read about that trip HERE and HERE). Even though I know I cannot go this year (I don't have the time off and I'm going to Colorado for an anti-semetic wedding the very next week), whenever G mentions Okie Vegas 2008, I check flight costs.

I followed my usual routine with Wolf's announcement and found roundtrip flights from JetBlue for approximately $350. I then went to phase 2, checking hypothetical hotels.

When it comes to travel with wifey Kim, I try to stay at decent places, even though wifey Kim is very cool when it comes to accomodations. But solo, I'm looking for two things: price and convenience. It's a delicate balancing act that I perfected in AC with my patent-pending HoP Atlantic City Hotel Locator System (cheapest casino/hotel on the boardwalk). In Vegas, it really boils down to one thing, the Imperial Palace.

The IP was my stomping grounds for the WPBT Winter Gathering 2007 and did the job better than expected. The IP is a shithole hotel, now owned by Harrahs, with rooms that were surprisingly clean and reasonably spacious. I even had a balconey. The poker room is relatively small for Vegas, with barely anything spread about 1/2 NL (2/5 NL did start once) and terrible players. I like terrible players. It also had some sweet jackpot deals, if you are into that sort of thing. During certain hours, you got paid if Aces or Kings were cracked. At other times, you got to spin a prize wheel (cash and prizes) for any full house or better. There is a board with high hand jackpots for quads, straight flushes and royal flushes of various suits, all with their own varying payouts. There may've even been a traditional bad beat jackpot. Whatever the case, that's a lot of extra gamble for a dinky room.

The prices at IP are phenomenal for that weekend. Extending the trip to three nights would cost about $250, which will likely be less as we get closer and I get deals from Harrah's. If I split the room with one person (likely Wolf, my roomie from my first AlCantHang Bash), the cost is just $125. Do the math, people! Vegas on my birthday weekend for less than $500!

Phase 3 of trip planning is probably the most difficult: the conversation. Wifey Kim is nothing if not accomodating and I am nothing if not borne of a guilty conscious, so I asked her with trepidation if it would bother her if I went to Vegas solo for my birthday weekend. And of course, she obliged, only concerned of how I was paying for it (either poker money, or more likely saving up a little on the side).

And so, here we are. Phase 4, booking. I haven't pulled the trigger and I will try to wait, since I have to make sure that it is a truly viable trip. The hardest part is getting time off from work. I get three weeks a year and last year, I went a day over, using one of this year's days. As it stands, I have already taken three days in February, leaving me with eleven days off. I am taking three more days in July for the anti-semetic wedding and another five days in August for wifey Kim and my California adventure. The result is a tiny three days left, with at least one ear marked for the annual Very Jewish Christmas in Atlantic City.

Two days. Hmmm.... Take one for the Bash this year, and I only have one left. But that just might be enough.

Meanwhile, let's see what's doing with my WSOP Prop Bets:

- Most Cash Won (Fuel's Sorel Mizzi, Phil Hellmuth and Jonathan Little vs. my Allen Cunningham, Phil Ivey and Johnny Chan)

My picks are holding up against Fuel, thanks to a deep cash by Chan and consistent efforts by Cunningham and Ivey. I lead $401,526 to Fuel's $114,702.

Phil Hellmuth, $100,292, 8th, Event #28, $5k PLO Rebuy

Sorel Mizzi, $8,103, 68th, Event #5, the $1000 rebuy, and
$6,307, 29th, Event #24, $2.5k PLHE/PLO

Phil Ivey, $37,130 9th, Event #14, the $10k Stud World Championship, and
$7,998, 23rd, Event #22, $4k HORSE

Allen Cunningham, $6,247, 22nd, Event #10, $2,500 OE, good and
$76,205, 4th, Event #24, $2.5k PLHE/PLO

Johnny Chan, $27,072, 13th, Event #8, the $10k Mixed Game Championship, and
$246,874, 4th, Event #28, $5k PLO Rebuy

Ingoal- Most Cash Won (Ingoal's Daniel Negreanu and Jesus Ferguson vs. my Bill Chen and TJ Cloutier)

Ingoal is whooping me good with $462,095 to my pathetic $15,594, thanks to a stellar run by Negreanu and Cloutier's utter failure to cash once. Here are the cashes thus far:

Daniel Negreanu, $16,496, 22nd, Event #5, $1000 rebuy, and
$33,417, 11th, Event #14, the $10k Stud World Championship) and
$204,874, 1st, Event #20, $2k LHE, and
$123,437, 7th, Event #28, $5k PLO Rebuy

Jesus Ferguson, $14,438, 51st, Event #25, the $10k HU Championship, and
$69,433, 10th, Event #28, the $5k PLO Rebuy

Bill Chen, $15,594, 19th, Event #31, $3k NLHE Shorthanded

UWannaBet- Most FinalTable/Bracelets (UWanna's Michael Binger, Brandon Cantu and Erik Seidel vs. my Cunningham, Johnny Chan and Joe Hachem)

Thanks to two recent final tables by Chan and Cunningham, my bet with UWanna is even. Here are the final tables:

Michael Binger, Event #5, $1000 rebuy
Brandon Cantu's, 9th, Event #10, OE.
Cunningham, 4th, Event #24, $2.5k PLHE/PLO
Chan, 4th, Event #28, $5k PLO Rebuy

That's everything up to Event #33, which still has some players in contention. Looks like it was a good idea to diversify, since I'm looking mighty even across the board.

Poker at the Wall Street Game on Thursday.

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 10:00 AM, ,

Ghostly Straight

Late yesterday, I checked my Evites for upcoming poker games. As it stood, I was scheduled to play at the Wall Street Game on Thursday for a cash game. I had been avoiding the tournaments, mostly because the league-like structure provided benefits for players who could make a good number of those events. Plus, the buy-in, $30 for a single table tourney, was low enough compared to the cash games (anywhere from .50/1 to 1/2NL, 2/4L to 3/6L) that it made more sense to use my time playing cash.

Still, when I saw a seat open in the 9pm $30 tournament last night, I was happy to sign up. After all, poker is poker.

I arrived at the Wall Street Game at around 9pm after having dinner with wifey Kim at a nearby abortion of a diner. Matty Ebs was already multitabling Full Tilt after busting first from the tournament with pocket Kings. His luck hadn't turned around as he showed me a table where he got all-in with top and bottom two pair on a Q9J flop, only to get called by A7o (the Tourist), who went runner-runner for the straight. Meanwhile, Jamie, Ham-Hands Pauly (he of many names), Take-Your-Time Scott, and one other player were finishing up the first tournament.

I tried to keep myself busy with the Wii, playing a poor round of bowling with some of the early busters. I think I hate very few things more than I hate waiting for poker. It gets my blood aboil and the anticipation can sometimes cause me to make foolish plays early in a session. With that said, when we stacked chips for the second tournament (an anemic 8 players, down from the usual 11), I mentally told myself to play tight.

The action at the table was really manic. On my immediate left was Cheryl, a mild-mannered woman who plays a deceptively LAGgy game. She entered way too many pots raising (from my vantage point), taking down a slew of pots. Across the table was Any-Two-Will-Do Slavin, calling bets in LP with 29s just for the hell of it. To my immediate right was Matty Ebs, who is well known to be aggro.

Sitting back is a difficult thing and on one or two hands, I opted to call light to see if I could convert some marginal hands into big bucks. Neither attempt was successful, so I reverted back to a nut peddling approach.

I was down from the 2500 starting stack to about 1200 or so when the blinds reached 75/150 and I was dealt red Aces. I min-raised from UTG only to get a call from Slavin and a push from Decent-Player Steve, named such because on one post a long time ago, I referred to him as a decent player which sounds like some sorta backhanded compliment. After pushing, he asked, "Did I just fall into a trap?" "Yes you did," I replied, before realizing that Slavin is loose and may call as well. I tried some reverse psychology, stating aloud so everyone could here, "Don't tell Slavin, though. I want the action." Slavin folded, reminding me of one of my prior lessons: Most players actually tell the truth at the table, so be very careful what you say.

Steve showed TT and I doubled up. A little while later, I was dealt black 9s, with a nice-sized stack. I believe I raised it up and Slavin re-raised all-in or pushed. Either way, we got all-in preflop, my 99 vs. his Q9. I was in great shape, calling out "No Queen, No Queen," when the flop hit KTx. I switched my chant to "No Jack, No Queen" when the turn came out, Jack. LEMON! Slavin hit his improbable straight. I changed my chant again, "Queen, Queen" hoping for a chopped pot, but it didn't come.

The board was swept up by the dealer and I turned to Slavin, "What do you have there?" He replied, "You've got me covered." I'll admit, here, that his response annoyed me. After all, I still had to pay him out, covered or not, and I was annoyed enough from losing, even though I wasn't outwardly showing it. I put it to him straight, "I have to pay you out though, don't I? So what do you got?"

This is where things got odd. Everyone at the table was confused and I said, "He had the straight." People looked at me like I was crazy and Slavin and Steve (who was dealing) stated that they didn't think that Slavin made the straight. I began to doubt myself as everyone else agreed. We tried to reimagine the board. Players insisted that there was a 7, 6, Ten and a Jack. At this point, I tried to quiet down. I wasn't 100% sure of the straight, especially when everyone else didn't see it. Jamie, as the floor, tried to work out what to do. Someone suggested we chop the pot. Someone else suggested that I had won. We looked at the cards on top of the deck and saw an Ace of Diamonds, something definitely not on the flop. After another card was one of the flop cards, followed by the Jack of Diamonds, which I was sure came out on the turn. Steve kept peeling off cards and the King of Spades was shown. It was the same card that came out on the flop. I was sure of it. Someone else, Slavin perhaps, recounted that he thought there was a King on the board in hindsight, without seeing the King of Spades. The table was still working out the details when I chimed in. "Look, I'll make the decision. He won the hand. He hit his straight. I'm sure of it now. That King flopped, I asked for no Jack, and the Jack came giving him the straight." I put an end to it, mostly out of my desire to be fair. This was a game amongst friends and I knew that I had lost, confirmed by the King of Spades. It sucked to hand Slavin my stack, but that's the way the game can be.

I busted shortly after and hit the road, returning home before 11pm.

In the end, a poker player really only trades on his reputation. I don't expect to get staked or stake anyone seriously, but I do want people to have confidence that if they are playing with me, they are getting a fair shake. It's something that I think should be paramount in any poker player's personality, even though we all have our slip-ups from time to time. I'd go so far as to say that the difference between a poker player and an angle shooter is the desire to have a fair game. I'd like to consider myself a player.

Poker again at WSG on Thursday. I'll hopefully get a WSOP Update done tomorrow.

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 10:07 AM, ,

HU Swarm and WSOP News

God damn it! I had this nice long post all ready for public consumption and through the miracles of random chance, Blogger ate it all up. After something like that, it is near impossible to recreate such a thing of beauty, so here is the Cliff's Notes version.

That's all you get from me today. Stupid Blogger. I'll probably play the Hoy tonight, if for no other reason than to continue my streak. I cashed two weeks ago and won it last week. Let's hope for a small turnout...

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 8:08 AM, ,

Flame by Name

Look, I'm not saying you should start flame wars, but if you are going to write a post bashing a fellow blogger, at least mention the blogger by name. I'll even give you a pass on a link, but for Christ's sake, give a name. How else am I supposed to protect myself from that evil blogger's doings, or properly shun that blogger for their horrible ways, or check out their blog for their inevitable flame back, if for no other reason than to enjoy the heat of the fire.

And lest you think I am talking about you, I AM, because inherently, if you do think I am talking about you, you must have flamed without identifying your target. However, DO NOT think that I am flaming you. No, sir, because if I actually had a problem with you, I would name you (but probably not link you, because I am bitter like that).

The bottom line is, there is a whole lotta flaming going on, and I don't care to give my opinion as to who is right and who is wrong because it gives me the agita. Suffice it to say that there is a very big reason why HoP is largely an island unto itself. The large unwashed masses are filled with people who would lie, cheat, and rape your grandmother to get ahead in life, all the while proclaiming their virgin innocence. That, and I'm a misanthrope.

Also, when I have let out a flame here, I find myself checking for responses a little too regularly and feeling the heartburn the entire time. What can I say? I'm a tad sensitive for a misanthrope. So I will not opine on things I know little about (thanks to your vague posts), and I will not give half-assed veiled thoughts on the various dramedy that has beset bloggerdom.

But I will request once again that if you choose to flame, flame by name. You do not look like you are taking the high road when you don't name the person. Instead, you just look like a cock tease, and my gossip blue balls are killing me.

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 12:01 PM, ,

Double Bubble

Does it count as a bubble if you are two off of the money? I mean, it's bubbly, right? And I'm not talking about a single table tournament either. I'm talking an 18-spots pay PLO tournament ($26 buy-in) and a 6-spots paying Mookie.

I don't know about you, but its bubble enough for me. I bit too bubbly, in fact.

Yep, last night saw me disappoint myself not once, but twice, after some initial success earning myself a $75 token via FT's nightly 9:45 pm EST $15 Token Frenzy MTT. This has got to be one of the softest MTTs around, and each time I play it, I am always shocked that there aren't more poker bloggers in it with me. The Token Frenzy is like the mongoloid, overgrown big brother to the Token SNG. Just sit and fold for a few hours and collect yourself a $75 token. I wish I could explain more, but there isn't anything more to explain. I can play that tournament with my eyes shut. In fact, I pretty much did last night, since I was busy concentrating on the two debacles.

The first was the $4k Guaranteed Omaha Hi MTT. I was playing gangbusters, choosing my spots extremely carefully. And the best part was, I was making the right reads and the right plays. For instance, on a seemingly innocuous flop of 998, rainbow, I continuation bet my pocket AAxx, only to get an all-in call for less from a shortie and a push from the big stack. The big stack was playing uber loose, but I was faced with a difficult decision. His re-push could have been one of two things. The first is an isolation play. A player with a weak and a huge stack may want to get HU because he has a greater chance or having his mediocre hand beat the desperate shortie. The other possible answer was that he had the 9, which didn't initially make sense, given his position and his call preflop. I hovered over the call button (and yes, Omaha players, AA is not gold, but I didn't have full faith in the big stack's sincerity, and I could lose to the all-in for less and still make a tidy profit if I won against biggie). But I folded, and sure enough, both showed a 9.

That's not anything terribly impressive, but I remember it as an awakening for myself. I was playing smart, patient poker and I had a real chance to go deep.

A little while later, I faced an almost identical situation, except I was HU with the big stack. This time, his overpush on the paired rainbow board felt fishy, so I called with my AAxx and doubled through his JJxx.

Not that it makes a difference. For some reason, down to 20 with 18 paying, sitting in 12-16th place, I made an ill advised play against (now ex-)big stack once again. I had no reason to think that he was calling with anything more than rags. I had AQTx. The flop was 86A and we both checked. I began to think my A was good. The turn was a 2 and I bet out. He raised enough to constitute half of my stack. This time, though, I made the wrong play, pushing all-in, which would essentially put my ex-big stack all-in as well. He called and showed A882. When the river came a Ten, I was excited because my AT outdrew his 22. Then I noticed his stupid 88, good for a flopped set. I basically hung myself on this one.

In the Mook, my ending was less exciting. I was the second short stack coming into the final table and eventually had to push to stay in it. I believe I pushed with KQ, got called by Ax, and busted. Or that was the hand that set up my bust hand. Whatever the case, I'm not too upset with my play there. If anything, my error was not chipping up earlier, but that's better than spewing chips right before the bubble.

After busting from both, I tried to regain my composure. Dealing with losses is the hardest part of this wretched game. It can make even the most confident man doubt himself; it can make even the most ballsy man shrivel. I just sat on the couch, motionless and emotionless, trying to play through my errors in my head. Bubbling is becoming a bad habit, but at least I am getting near the money.

Let me offer a big FUCK YOU YOU FUCKING FUCKS to Spectra Bingo, who doesn't deserve a link. Cocksuckers insist on spamming my god damn blog daily, from some two bit twat named abigail. Fortunately, I get notifications for all comments. Unfortunately, that means that every morning, I have to locate an old post and erase this ho bags comment. I even emailed the site twice to no avail. Fucking fucks. In the few times this has happened in the past with other companies, usually an email will suffice. It's fair to say that the cunts at Spectra are a bunch of fucking douschebag con men, so I highly recommend that you avoid that site at all costs. The fuckers aren't worthy of my taint, let alone my time.

Today's WSOP Prop Bet update. Not much has changed aside from Ingoal's horse, Danny N, making it to the $2k LHE final table. Ug! I'll just copy/paste and put the new stuff in bold.

- I lead the Most Cash Won bet, now that all three of my picks have cashed. Most recently, Phil Ivey took 9th in Event #14, the $10k Stud World Championship for $37,130, Allen Cunningham took 22nd place in Event #10, $2,500 OE, good for $6,247, and Johnny Chan placed 13th in Event #8, the $10k Mixed Game Championship, good for $27,072. ($70449, total) . Fuel is on the board with $8,103 thanks to Sorel Mizzi's 68th place finish in Event 5, the $1000 rebuy. His two other picks, Jonathan Little and the Poker Brat, Phill Hellmuth, have yet to cash since our bet began with Event #3. Ivey is close to the top spot going into Day 2 of Event #22, $3k HORSE, but that means nothing...yet.

Ingoal- Ingoal leads the Most Cash Won bet thanks to Daniel Negreanu ($16,496, 22nd place, Event 5, $1000 rebuy and $33,417 for 11th place in Event #14, the $10k Stud World Championship). Danny also has final tabled Event #20, the $2k Limit Hold'em event. I anxiously await his continued dominance. My two horses, Bill Chen and TJ Cloutier have yet to cash since our bet began with Event #3. His horse for most bracelets won, Greg Raymer, is still holding steady going into day 2 of Event #22, $3k HORSE.

UWannaBet - UWanna still leads our Most FT/Bracelets bet thanks to Michael Binger (Final Table, Event 5, $1000 rebuy). He also almost had a second final table with Brandon Cantu's 9th place finish in Event 10, OE. As it now stands, UWanna is still ahead $3. Binger is holding onto by the skin of his teeth in Event #22, $3k HORSE, but needs to final table to win anything for UWanna.

Thanks for reading.

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 9:10 AM, ,

Hand Reading at the Hoy

So, I won the Hoy, even though it only had 15 players. Damn, you point-freaks love your big series like the BBT3. Ironically, I've probably played more post-BBT events than BBT events, but that's probably because I like smaller fields.

My win yesterday was one part great hands at the right time and one part being screwed down. For those not familiar with the vernacular, being screwed down denotes playing ones best. Even though I had suffered a bad beat earlier in the night in a separate event and was generally feeling like the world was against me, by the time I started up the Hoy, I was ready to play smart poker. And I followed through.

The strategy was much the same as my past success. I started fairly tight in the 6-handed event, followed by bursts of activity when I would hit a string of cards (not all premium hands, but I like the streakiness of 6-handed) or when the timing felt ride (i.e., the other players were getting into fold mode). Once I accumulated some chips (I turned a straight against Surflexus' AA), I kept the pressure on, taking breaks here and there when I thought my opponents were adjusting to my overaggression. In fact, let's look at the hand with Surflexus, even though I didn't save the hand history.

Basically, I was in LP or on the button with 3500-4000 in chips when I decided to min raise to 80 (blinds of 20/40) with 67h or similar suited connectors. I believe by then, there were two limpers ahead of me and we may've been 5-handed, so if it wasn't a family pot, it was damn close. Surf, in one of the blinds, raised to 200. He got one caller before me and I called as well, with position and a great drawing hand. The flop was 89X with one heart, giving me an open-ended straight draw and a backdoor flush possibility. Surf led out for 200 into the 600+ pot. The other player may've folded. Whatever the case, I flat called, hoping to see the next cheap card. It was a Ten, completing my straight. I think Surf bet 400 and I chose to min-raise. Memory is a bit fuzzy here. I knew I was ahead and wanted a call, so I think I tried to keep him in the pot with a min-raise. The river paired the board (9?) and he checked. I value bet for a decent amount (1200?) and he called. Damn details. The point is, I saw an opportunity, I took it and it paid off.

I have to admit some "luck" such as flopping top two from the BB with Q9o after calling a preflop raise from, I believe, TwoBlackAces in the SB. It felt like a steal from him and I took my time before calling, reasoning that if I hit my hand, I may beat his lower pair OR his unpaired hand. On the flop, he checked and I bet out. He raised (if memory serves) and I pushed. He was pot committed for the tiny amount more and called....with Q8o. Sometimes, these things just fall into your lap. However, if it weren't for the correct call preflop, I wouldn't have had a chance to bust him postflop.

I busted another player later (perhaps earlier...come to think of it, it was Surflexus) when he pushed over my raise when I had AK. He had KQ. Hand in lap, once again.

As we neared the final table, I tightened up considerably. I had a monster stack compared to most of the players and chose my spots rather than splash around too much. There were a few periods when I'd raise 5 or 6 hands in a row and take down each pot, but I balanced that with lots of folding.

By the final table, I reverted to a strategy I learned from Lucko many moons ago. It was one of Lucko's first (if not first) blogger tourney wins when he taught the blogger community about exploiting the bubble. Lucko was willing to fold to the short stacks to take advantage of the timidity of the middle stacks on the bubble. It was a concept that I, at least, never considered before he did it. In fact, more than a few bloggers questioned collusion, since we were all so used to the idea of the big stack going after the shortstacks to burst the bubble.

With that strategy in mind, I accumulated chips and alternatively folded while down to 6, then 5, then 4 players. Once the bubble burst (in no part due to my own efforts, as I was folding away at that point), I went back to concentrating on the game. Hoy was now in first with me in a close second and Katitude in third. I dispatched her, taking first. I played HU with Hoy for probably 20 mins before I dispatched him too. In the final hand, he re-raised all-in preflop with KTs into my AA. I suppose my relentless raising and my penchant to folding to his rare re-raises set up that hand. With HU poker it is all about feeling the flow of the game. In that situation, it was almost like jujitsu. Rather than attack my enemy, I merely coopted his attack on me.

A couple of points. First, I was actually pretty intimidated going against Hoy HU. It is his tournament after all, and he is an accomplished player. In fact, he is one of the few people I would likely buy a piece off of, and while it sometimes is tough to admit it, he probably is in the HoP Poker Role Models for his shear success. At first, I wanted to just attack him into submission, but I knew Hoy was too good for that strategy, so I switched to my usual Ebb and Flow HU Strategy. To a lesser extent, I also followed my Inverse Theory of Aggression in HU poker. Whatever the case, It's easy with Aces! (c), so I have to give the poker gods their due as well.

I think it is time to bust out the hand that really got me over the hump. First, I will give you the hand without commentary. Then, I will explain my thought process.

I had 9,540, almost twice my nearest competitor. We were six-handed, and I was in the BB with AQo. With blinds of 30/60, Fuel55, the 2nd chipleader with 5520, raised 3x the BB to 180. It folded to me and I raised to 480. He called.

The flop was A54, with two spades including the Ace. I bet out 960 and Fuel called.

The turn was an 8 of spades, completing any flush draws. I waited until the 15 second warning before betting out 2160. Fuel insta-pushed all-in for 4080 total, 1920 more to me. I waited for the 15 seconds and then requested Time, ultimately calling. Fuel showed ATo (no spade) and the rivered 2s was a blank for both of us, securing me the pot.

Fuel started the flames immediately, to which I replied "boo hoo hoo" and "poor Fuel" before remembering to throw in, "CHOO CHOO". Jordan don't suffer no fools and when people want to bitch in the chat box about my play, particularly when it was "correct", get no sympathy from me. I suppose I could show a bit of restraint and ignore their steaming, but I can't help but gode them on, if for no other reason than to underscore in my head just how silly it is to blame the other guy.

Fuel and I have since emailed back and forth about the hand. His argument is that AQ beats nothing in that spot. My argument is that AQ beats AT in that spot, and in fact, did. It wasn't an easy decision to call there, but I had a serious read from the onset of the hand and I didn't want to fold out of fear. I read him as having a weaker Ace and I was correct. But let me offer a different way to look at it.

Right away, with the initial 3x raise by Fuel, I had Ace-little in his range. I don't remember how the table was acting, but I think I was in one of my folding jags. Whatever the case, when the action got around to me, I raised for a very specific reason. If he had AK, he'd probably re-raise. If he had a strong hand in general (JJ-AA, and probably 99 and TT, six-handed) he would've re-raised. When he flat called, it fit my initial thought...a weaker Ace, such as AJ. Fuel seems to think that I should consider his range to be a lot wider, and I agree that it is not only weaker Aces, but at this point in the hand, it still looked like a weaker Ace.

The flop was good and bad. I didn't like the flush draw, but I hit my Ace. I opted to bet out 960, which was my standard just-less-than-pot bet. He flat called, which sorta concerned me. However, if I thought he was holding a weaker Ace, a flat called made sense. The only other possiblity there was a monster or perhaps the flush draw, although I failed to see how he could be on the flush draw. After all, the only flush draw that would make sense is KQs or suited connectors perhaps. Keep in mind, the Ace of spades was on the flop, so AXs was an impossibility. I also did not want to overly fear the flush draw because (a) it was only a draw [hence my bet] and (b) the likelihood of two spades against one opponent seemed slim.

The turn was an 8s, which sucked, since it would fill the flush draw. I took my time with this decision because I didn't know what to do. I still thought my AQ was probably good, but if he had any spade, he had a flush draw to beat my TP2ndK. That's why I waited until the 15 second warning. I was deciding what to do. Ultimately, I knew a check would be handing the pot over so I bet out about half of his stack, which was also significantly less than the ~3k pot. His insta-push sealed the deal for me. It just seemed so premeditated, as though he was trying to exude strength, or conversely, as though he had decided that no matter what, he was pushing there.

Lest anyone (read: Fuel) think I'm just blowing smoke up their asses, I can tell you with all sincerety that the reason why I asked for Time was that I was seriously conflicted. Every fiber of my being said that Fuel was on a weaker Ace, but I was mostly concerned with A8, which was good for a turned two-pair. Plus, even if he had A2, if the 2 was a spade, I'd be vulnerable. I literally asked myself, "What are you going to do? Are you going to follow your read or wait for a better spot?" And in the end, I said, fuck it. I would still have over 3k in chips if I lost the hand and I HAD a read. I couldn't just ignore it.

And that's that. According to Fuel (I hope he doesn't mind me sharing this), "Given the board texture on the turn...[I could estimate his range as] AA, 88, 55, 44, ATs+, AKs, ATo+ at worse to which you are still a 3:2 dog." To which I say, huh? Where did you come up with that? I already explained that I didn't think he had AA or AK due to the preflop action. 88, 55 and 44 were possibilities, but I imagine he would've raised the flop with a flopped set with the flush and straight draws out there. Also, his preflop call would've been odd with 44 and 55, so I didn't consider them real threats. So, what's left? 88, ATs+ and ATo+. Well, I have all of those beat except for 88. AND, frankly, I saw Fuel's range as including weaker Aces like A9. I should add that Fuel admits that I had good pot odds to call, but whatever the case, I still can't agree with his range analysis. In fact, if Fuel did anything wrong in the pot, it was his overaggression on the turn. If he had waited until the river, he may've pushed me off of the four-flush board. If he paused a tad more before his push, it may've been more scary as well.

After that hand, I was so proud of my read and more importantly, my conviction to follow my read, that I felt on top of my game. The rest just fell into place.

I'd love to hear more thoughts on that hand if anyone has an opinion.

All's I gots to say is Ka Ching! And with that...

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 10:36 AM, ,