Think of it as a no-limit hold `em tourney with incredibly high stakes. As in any tournament, there's a few players who get knocked out before the seat gets warm, like they almost entered just for the excitement of going all-in. And then there's the real players...More in this Poker Blog! -->
Al Sharpton and Dennis Kucinich are the railbirds. Nobody even remembers if they were in the tournament, but they're hovering over the table, commenting on the play of every hand, offering table decisions before the floor manager gets there, throwing in their calculations when a deal is discussed. Some of the players will shoot them dirty looks and maybe even complain to the house, but these guys ain't going anywhere. Why should they? This is the most fun they've had in years.
Howard Dean is the super-aggressive player who throws the entire table into a state of panic...up until the point when he's actually forced to turn over a hand. For the first few rounds he's raising pre-flop on about two-thirds of the hands, backing off when somebody comes back at him, but in using those stolen blinds and small pots to build quite an early lead and table image.
And then, in round two or three, somebody calls one of those big raises and calls him down to the river, where he finally, sheepishly turns over a hand, taking down a huge pot with...84 offsuit?! Okay, he flopped two pair, but looks shoot around the table...he's been raising with that?!?! Well, that'll be the end of that, right? Nope: still raises every hand except he's now getting two or three calls every time. The stack dwindles quickly right up until the point where he tries to get cute against a small blind holding pocket Queens. Goodbye.
Wesley Clark. Supposedly made the final table at some WSOP event one year and rumor has it he took a pretty big title at Tunica or the Taj or somewhere. Walks into the cardroom like he owns the place, standard-issue nylon/embroidered casino jacket, hat, and bottled water. A blank, hard stare that could melt steel. Knocked out early when he calls a huge bet on the AK7 flop with pocket Jacks.
John Edwards is the player that you barely even notice for most of the tournament. Folded around to him on the button, maybe try a steal? Nah, pitch the cards in. A small raise to him in the big blind, maybe defend? Nah, pitch the cards in. He'll pick up hands here and there, of course, and while others start to drop he's still in there. He's below par, but in there longer than most.
Of course, there does come a point when the blinds start getting really high and they start coming around every other hand or so. And there's the small problem that he's outchipped behind the leader about 4-1 at this point. He'll have to go in with some marginal hand and hope to get lucky, but people do get lucky once in a while, and if not, that second-place money is still pretty good.
And John Kerry? He was supposed to be among the contenders but just couldn't buy a hand early, and when he did find something he managed to misplay it beyond comprehension. Slowplay a monster flop and let somebody else turn a gutshot? Rebuy. Overplay a middle pocket pair? Rebuy. Triple rebuy. Double add-on. In so deep that if he cashes he still might lose money.
And then, he doubles through. Two hands later he doubles through again, picks up some blinds, then wins another monster pot. The rebuy period ends, players start dropping like flies, and you can barely see him behind all the stacks. Another player asks if he'd be willing to make a deal or reserve a save, and he just starts laughing.<-- Hide More
I may wear sunglasses this time. I never have before. It's not in my nature. I prefer a baseball cap, pulled down low over my eyes, and perhaps a fake moustache when I'm feeling saucy.
See, dear reader, this will not be just any other poker game. This will not be a game where friends laugh it up when they win and suck it up when they lose.
In this particular poker tournament, when one player busts out, he'll be busting out for good. Or, at least, for a good long while.More in this Poker Blog! -->
You know the man behind the pocket cowboys. He's the man who brings you Up For Poker. He's the man that picked a fantastic career move over an occasional poker game with friends.
CJ is moving to--of all places--Lousiana. If it weren't for the poker rooms within driving distance, the unending supply of gumbo, an ability to honestly celebrate Mardi Gras, and the sweet southern accent of the prettiest ladies in the parrish, I'd think he was crazy. That and the fact that he's moving to one of the top positions in his profession.
So, how do you say goodbye to a guy who doesn't frequent strip clubs, doesn't attack the tequila bottle like he'll never see another, and doesn't have time to go to Vegas?
You organize a poker tournament. That's what you do, muchacho.
So, tomorrow night, we're buying in at 8pm in celebration of a man we call CJ.
Three Up For Poker contributors will be there. And I just may have to wear shades.
The next time I may be able to redeem my pride, I may be doing it in Lousiana. And trust me, friends, redeeming yourself in Lousiana is a tough thing to do, what with all those parrish pretties and poker rooms around.<-- Hide More
If the Grublog Poker Classic were a Greek tragedy, I'd have been killed off stage in the first act. The weapon, naturally, would have been the hammer.
In the ranking of starting poker hand strength, there is much disagreement. But what everyone agrees up on is that AA is the strongest starting hand, and 72o is the weakest starting hand.
Anyone wanna guess what I had? Anyone wanna guess what jeremy over at love and casino war had?
Despite my preflop raise, he still called. When the flop came, I wasn't scared. Sure it had a 7 and a 2, but why would that worry me? One all-in bet later, and I was out in 27th place (out of 32). Ouch.
One last word of warning, watch out for the HAMMER!!!!!
Okay, I'll say it. If you are a poker blogger, and you're not signed up for the Grublog Poker Classic, you're a loser.
That's right. You must be afraid of my awesome poker skill. You must think you'll be the fish while I'm sharking my way to the crown.
You'd be a fool to think that. Sure, there might be a few ringers in this tourney (I'm certainly not one of them), but this is a can't miss event!!! We're just two days away from this historic event!!! Sign up now!!!
In my head (a wild and untamed wasteland of fantasy and conspiracy), I see it going down a little like this:
I've just limped in with JT unsuited in the small blind. I'm eying the Rotel cheese dip on the counter. The guy sitting across from me is trying to figure out if he just did a shot of tequila or absinthe. The dealer, a cocky fresh-faced guy with no more chips, has just flopped AKQ rainbow.
Something in my nether regions twinges. I suspect my eyes might dart like they did when the pretty girl in English class adjusted her skirt and showed more than she planned. I plan to finger my chips and slowplay my way to Mr. Absinthe's stack.
It's just about that time that the door to my house explodes into three pieces.More in this Poker Blog! -->
Welcome, if you will, the Sabbath Police.
Obviously, I wasn't watching the clock. Saturday turned to Sunday and I just became a common criminal in the state of South Carolina.
Of course, under South Carolina law, it appears it wouldn't matter if I were playing poker or Chutes and Ladders. Playing games on the Sabbath is illegal.
"Whoever shall...permit any game or games to be played in his house on the Sabbath day, on conviction thereof before any court having jurisdiction, shall be fined in the sum of fifty dollars, to be sued for on behalf of, and to be recovered for the use of, the State."
While I've never heard of anyone getting arrested for playing games on Sunday, it is apparently against the law.
Inspired by Jeremy over at Love and Casino War, I ventured out in search of South Carolina's gambling laws. And, folks, is it a wild ride.
* Despite the fact that the state recently began running it own lottery, lotteries are illegal. Not only that, but if you get busted for running a lottery and pay your $1000 fine, $333.33 of it goes to the narc who turned you in. That's justice, South Carolina style.
* Buying a lottery ticket bestows upon the purchaser the title of, get this, Adventurer. He is "adventuring in lottery." Now, don't get me wrong. I'll buy a Powerball ticket if the purse is high enough, but it's never felt much like an adventure. It's a bigger adventure trying to avoid eye contact with the porno shelves to the right of the counter (you ever wonder where somebody came up with the name SWANK for a porn mag?)
* While the South Carolina law says a lot about what you can play, what you can't play, and where you can't play it, it doesn't say much about betting. I'm no attorney, but following the bouncing ball across the law, I see it as reading as such: "If any person shall play at any tavern, inn, store for the retailing of spirituous liquors or in any house used as a place of gaming, barn, kitchen, stable or other outhouse, street, highway, open wood, race field or open place at any game with cards or dice...except the games of billiards, bowls, backgammon, chess, draughts, or whist when there is no betting on any such game of billiards, bowls, backgammon, chess, draughts, or whist or shall bet on the sides or hands of such as do game, upon being convicted thereof, before any magistrate, shall be imprisoned for a period of not over thirty days or fined not over one hundred dollars."
Simply put, pool, bowling, backgammon, chess, and draughts (?) are legal to play in public, as long as you don't bet. Everything else is out. Especially if you're playing in an outhouse.
Later the law says that anything wagered on such games is forfeited to the state. Frankly, I'd be more upset if my game of Outhouse Candyland got busted. It's not everyday you get to play that game.
Frankly, while I knew I lived in a backward state, the laws of which border on antiquated at every turn, I didn't suspect to face laws regarding outhouses and playing games on Sunday.
So, a notice to my local law enforcement friends: A week from Saturday, I'll be hosting a Hold'em tourney at my house. I suspect many people will not only adventure in lottery on the way to my home, but I suspect them to play cards late into the night, and into Sunday morning. Please feel free to stop by and review South Carolina law with us sometime after midnight.
Oh, but if you use the outhouse, please make sure you close the door when you're finished. Those are the Homeowners' Assocation rules.<-- Hide More
As some of you know, I currently live in Knoxville, TN. There's not a poker room or casino within 1,754,352 miles. Or something like that, I haven't measured.
In less than a month, I'll be saying goodbye to Rocky Top and hello to Cajun Country.More in this Poker Blog! -->
I've gotten a new job in Lafayette, LA. If you care, check out my other blog and you can find more details there.
More importantly, I'm going to be closer to casinos and poker rooms. In fact, I'll be just 2 hours from New Orleans and 2 1/2 hours from Austin (I've heard there's a few poker players there).
Otis has already begun investigating for me and discovered there are poker rooms in Kinder, LA (67 miles) and Marksville, LA (70-something miles).
The good news is that I'm going to be making a little more money. The bad news is that with more gambling nearby, I'll likely be losing a little more money, too. Sure gives me an incentive to become a better player!<-- Hide More
I hate going to bed after a bad beat. But that's exactly what I'm about to do.More in this Poker Blog! -->
I'm in late position with A-10s. I raise to $1, but the small blind re-raises to $3.50. I call.
The flop comes 8-9-J rainbow. I've now got an open-ended straight draw with a back door flush draw and an overcard. Playable. He bets $3.
At this point, the pot is about $12. I'd be putting in another $3. I think pot odds probably said fold, but I'm not good enough at those numbers. I call.
The turn is the Q. Bingo! He bets the pot, I think it was about $15. I raise him all-in (I had about $57 going into the hand). He calls.
I wasn't worried at this point. There's no way he was holding K-10, based on his previous bets. If he flopped the straight, at worst I'm splitting. If he flopped a set, he's got very few outs (I'd be about a 70% favorite). If it's an overpair, I'm in even better shape. Hell, if it's American Airlines, he's drawing dead!
It wasn't rockets, it was cowboys.
The handy-dandy Hand Analyzer puts me at a 94% favorite. He's got just three outs, that would be the three 10's not in my hand.
We all know what happened next. Without playing that hand, I finish the night up about $75. If I win that hand, I finish up about $125. Instead, it's just $25 for my three and a half hours of play.
I think I'll be able to sleep easier tonight thanks to this blog. It's been cathartic.<-- Hide More
It's official. This blog now has its first ad. I've resisted until now, but Empire Poker was pretty persistent, and, really, what do I have to lose?
As you've read on this blog and on others, Empire Poker is offering some pretty good deals right now. You might as well get in on the action if you haven't already. If you use the link to your left, you'll get a 20% bonus on your first deposit up to $100 (if you deposit $500).
I'll admit, Empire isn't my first choice for playing. I primarily play Ultimate Bet, but they haven't asked to advertise, and Empire actually features many more fish. I know Iggy swears by the fish on Party/Empire (they use the same tables for everything but tournaments).
I don't plan on making this pitch again. It's a one time deal. If you aren't playing Empire now, but plan to... might as well use the link here and get the bonus. If you don't want to play Empire, I won't waste this blog space trying to convince you!
On a slightly related note, I may have a way for all of us poker bloggers to make a little money on the side from advertisers. If you're interested, drop me an e-mail.
We all know that thanks to The Travel Channel, ESPN, Fox Sports Net, and the legend of Chris Moneymaker... online poker is bigger than it's ever been.
We're talking $16 billion last year alone. That's a lot of money, and when Americans are spending a lot of money on something, and the government isn't getting a cut, that usually means Big Brother will try to get his cut, or stop you from playing. And since he's not likely to get a cut... will the men in blue be knocking on your ISP?More in this Poker Blog! -->
According to a great article in the Houston Chronicle, it's not likely.
I. Nelson Rose, a gaming-law expert and professor at Whittier Law School in California, says the Department of Justice contends that the 1960s Wire Act, which prohibits using a wire-connection facility to place a bet across state lines, covers all betting. But a recent court decision says the law applies only to sports betting and races, such as dog racing.
Rose maintains a website called Gambling and the Law. He says in the article, "The short answer is that there is no federal law that would apply to a mere bettor."
Does that mean there will never be a law? Not necessarily, but with the world-wide nature of the World Wide Web, we all know it's virtually impossible to go after the web sites themselves since they're based off shore. And what is the benefit of going after the individual when it's a victim-less crime?
If you want to know where you may cross the line, it's the home games. And for most of us, that's never an issue. But if you start taking a rake of the pot, or start charging some kind of hosting fee, someone might stop by to ask you a few questions.<-- Hide More
Sunday, February 22, 2004 at 9pm eastern time.
It's the online poker event of the century.
It's the Grublog Poker Classic.
The Poker Grub has set up the first sanctioned poker blogger tourney in online poker history. Only poker bloggers are allowed, and since there are so many of you out there, it's time to get on board!More in this Poker Blog! -->
If you're interested, just click on the link above. We've already got at least 10 distinguished players registered including:
grubby (our host) from Poker Grub
Iggy from Guinness and Poker
FeliciaLee from the Felicia Lee Yahoo Journal
loveandcasinowar from love and casino war
anisotropy from Ansiotropy
HDouble from The Cards Speak
Mean Gene from Mean Gene's PokerBlog
Royal from Royal Poker
thefatguy from The Fat Guy
UpForPoker (that's me!)
With a lineup like that, it's sure to be a clash of the titans. Hopefully I'll be able to hold my own, but I do have my doubts. I better hit the tables as much as possible next week to get myself ready! Now it's your turn. Get on board!!<-- Hide More
There were gummy bears, Jolly Ranchers, jelly beans and plenty of other sweets to satisfy all players. But it wasn't the candy everyone wanted, it was the chips.
Four men and four women sat down for an evening of No Limit Texas Hold 'Em. All players knew the game of poker, but this classic variety was relatively new to about half the table.
I spent about 20 minutes before the party running down some basics with Memphis. I figured maybe we could finish first and second. By the end of the night, there was a first place finish, but it's not quite what I expected.More in this Poker Blog! -->
First out was Wilted Lily's husband. He played rather aggresively, and lost some big pots early. He made an ill-fated all-in stone cold bluff when two aces hit the flop. Memphis called and showed A-Q. One down.
Next to go was Chaz. Like Wilted Lily's husband, I know he had higher hopes than an early bust out. I frankly don't remember how, but I think it was Memphis again. She was on a roll.
I had played very few hands at this point. I caught pocket jacks once, but the flop was A-9-2 of diamonds. There were two big bettors in front of me and I folded. Turned out it was the right call. One guy had Q-J of diamonds and the other had A-2.
I made my first all-in move with K-J of diamonds. I didn't want anyone to call and no one did. That got me back to about 650 of the 750 I started with. One hand later, I got A-Q off and thought I'd go all-in again. Figured a few more blinds would help.
This time I got called. It was Chaz's wife. She was a good player from what I could tell, so I was a bit worried. Until she flipped 8-9 of spades. I was about a 58% favorite. The flop came A-8-3, no spades. Suddenly I'm an 82% favorite and feeling pretty good. The turn was a 6 (89% favorite). And the river... well, the river hurt. It was a 9, and I was down to just a few chips.
A few hands later I got K-6 suited and I moved in. Wilted Lily called me with A-x. The flop brought me two of the three spades I needed, but the third one never came, and I was done.
The first three out were all men, and all men who I'm sure figured they'd do better than 8th, 7th and 6th!
At this point, I was rooting for Memphis. She had a pretty good stack, but was probably in 3rd or 4th out of the five left.
Next to go was our host, the Mizzou Grad. I'm not sure she got many cards all night. Like me, she was rarely in a pot, and when she finally made a move, she was knocked out. I think it may have been her husband that did it.
We're down to four and the top 3 pay. The alcohol had been flowing at this point, and I got the feeling tha Mizzou Grad was trying to get everyone but her husband really drunk. He was quickly building a stack and becoming a bully.
Next out was Wilted Lily. She made a risky all-in with marginal cards and Mizzou Grad's husband added her chips to his already imposing stack.
We were down to three. Memphis and Chaz's wife were in the pot when the flop came K-10-5 rainbow. Chaz's wife moved all-in in front of Memphis.
I may have folded in that spot, but Memphis called and flipped Q-J for an open ended straight draw. I figured Chaz's wife for a K, but she flipped a pair of 4's. To my surprise, Memphis was actually a 54% favorite at this point. And when the 9 came on the turn, it was all over for Chaz's wife.
Suddenly, we're heads up. It's Memphis vs. Mizzou Grad's husband. Memphis was behind, but it wasn't an overwhelming margin to make up. In fact, it really only took a couple of big hands, both were bouts of bad luck for Mizzou Grad's husband.
First, we found two K's on the flop. You'd figure any K at this point would be the winner. Memphis kept checking and Mizzou Grad's husband kept pushing the pot. He never moved all-in, but I think he was trying to pull as much out of Memphis as he could. When the showdown came, Mizzou Grad's husband smoothly flipped his K... ready to take his pot. Memphis flipped her K-Q and her full boat brought her a monster pot.
Next, the flop came Q-5-3. This time, Memphis started the betting, and Mizzou Grad's husband called. The turn was a blank, and Memphis checked. Mizzou Grad's husband started pressing again, and did the same after the river brought another blank. This time, Mizzou Grad's husband had K-Q. His kicker certainly dominated Memphis' kicker, but her kicker paired, and Q-3 was the two pair needed to take another huge pot.
A few hands later, Mizzou Grad's husband was forced to make an all-in bet with 3-5 suited and he got no help at all. It was over.
Memphis had the cards and played them strong all night long. Congratulations!! Her take was $70. Mizzou Grad's husband walked away with $35 and Chaz's wife won $15. For me, it was a few gummi bears and a great night of poker.<-- Hide More
Tomorrow evening, I'll be
teaching poker to playing poker with some No Limit Texas Hold 'Em novices. They've gotten the bug thanks to Celebrity Poker and the like.
It's mostly co-workers (Wilted Lily, Memphis, and others), so I think I should take it easy on them.
In fact, I think playing with as many unknown quantities as I'm likely to face will actually make things more difficult. They won't be playing by the book, in fact, they don't even know what the book says.
I suppose that means I should play the premium hands even harder and figure out who I can buy out of a pot pretty early on.
It will be 8-people at $15 a piece with the top 3 places paying. I'm sure it will be a lot of fun, and I'm guessing most of them will be hooked after one night at the table. Look for an update some time this weekend... unless it's too embarrassing!
Jack Binion's 2004 World Poker Open recently wrapped up in Tunica, MS. The tournament attracted more media coverage than in the past thanks to the explosion of televised and online poker.
The Memphis Commercial Appeal has a nice write-up.
(Warning, possible WPT spoiler to come.)More in this Poker Blog! -->
Reese goes "all in" on his king and five, which wasn't a strong hand. Still, he had to do something, and he made a bold move. Bad timing.
Tippin has a pair of queens in his pocket, and he's feeling confident. He also goes all in.
But so does Greenstein, who's sitting on an ace and king.
The flop is dealt: another ace, king and six. The cards are a godsend to Greenstein. Reese is done, but if a queen pops up in the last two cards, Tippin remains alive. The turn: an eight. The river: an ace, making Greenstein's hand even better.
For the first time in memory, two of the final four players go down on the same hand.
For those of you with the Travel Channel, the final table will be broadcast on April 21. (Hat tip to Mike over at Half-Bakered... give him a visit!)<-- Hide More