That's when I thought security would arrive. She was on her knees, pretending to lick William Peterson's butt. If she left any DNA behind, I would imagine the star of CSI would track her down later. Instead, he walked away without noticing. And Erica just turned to us and smiled.
As much as I would like to start in the middle, I can't (or maybe I just did). You're just going to have to wait. Pretend your playing poker in a casino and have to patiently fold 50 hands before you're dealt rockets.
It started early in the morning. About 8am, Lefty and I got up, intent on finding a chair at the Mandalay Bay to enjoy the two championship games. I put on my midnight green McNabb jersey and my brother put on his black TO jersey. We were ready for some football.More in this Poker Blog! -->
I had already decided I wouldn't bet on the Eagles. I didn't want to jinx them and I'm extremely superstitious. I decided if I would bet on anyone, it would be the Pats. They were on a roll. But my brother was betting on Pittsburgh, I'd be rooting for Pittsburgh, and I frankly don't like the Pats.
I spent the entire walk to the Mandalay Bay convicing myself to bet on Pittsburgh. They were at home, had beaten New England once already, were 6 point dogs, and were 16-1 for crying out loud!!! So I had myself convinced, and threw $40 down the drain.
We hit the sports book at about 9:30am, two and a half hours before kickoff, and there wasn't an open table to be found. We made our bets (and got our drink tickets!) and sat down to consider our options. That's when we noticed one of the tables had opened and we quickly moved in hoping they were gone for good. They were.
It was a table with five chairs and we settled in, deciding we'd tell everyone we had friends coming. We didn't want to be distracted by any non-Eagles fans.
To pass the time, we bet the races. We used the very scientific method of picking favorite names and numbers and actually hit a few exactas. Then we moved on to the very unscientific method of analyzing past races and track trends, etc... and lost all our money back. At least we finished even.
It's about a half hour to kick off when my brother leans over and says, "That's Frank Nicotero." I wouldn't have been able to remember Frank's full name, but he did look a lot like the host of that wacky TV game show, "Street Smarts."
Frank was there with his brother Greg and a couple of friends, Mesner and Derek (if Frank or his crew ever read this, please let me know if I messed up any names). They were decked out in their Steelers gear and searching for a place to sit. Finally, Frank stopped at our table to see if they could join us. My brother was more than pleased to invite them to sit. And I didn't mind either once they assured us they were also rooting for the Eagles.
I'm gonna stop right here and tell you just how cool of a guy Frank is. Sure, he's no super-celebrity, but he's well enough known to be noticed, especially in Vegas where "Street Smarts" is widely syndicated. He and his friends were very cool and could have fit in with just about any crowd I've ever hung with.
The Eagles game was rather uneventful. Except for the fact my team had FINALLY made it to the Super Bowl!!!!!!! I couldn't have been more excited, and I'm not sure I've ever been so excited about a sporting event. But that's all I'll say about that game for now.
And that's when the craziness started...
Late in the fourth quarter, Frank, Mesner and Derek went to check into their hotel. Greg stayed with us, vowing to protect the chairs unless some attractive women showed. It didn't take long...
Monica came over and asked if she and her friend could have our empty chairs. We quickly said yes. They were long-legged, Rotherliesberger jersey-clad vixens. Monica's friend introduced herself as Big D. Apparently her name was Denise, and Monica later told us her real nickname is Sissy. Sounds like a witness protection kind of thing, and that wouldn't have surprised me.
By this time, the alcohol had been flowing. The nameless server girls from our last trip to the sports book were there again and didn't seem to care how many tickets we had. Until the shift change. That's when the new girl seemed to bristle at the idea we didn't really have enough tickets. I thought it would be a problem before she returned with plenty of drinks and enough tickets to cover us for the next 12 hours. What a girl...
Monica and Sissy seemed to have plenty of energy and I worried things might get out of hand. That's when Erica showed up, and things did get out of hand.
Erica was 5 feet of dynamite. What she lacked in long legs, she more than made up for in a brilliant smile and a body that knocked you over. She was also wearing her Rothliesberger jersey and was intent on cheering as loudly as possible for the Steelers.
The "Let's go, Steelers!" chants started long before kick-off and they came from our table. It didn't take long for the spirits of the most Steelers fans to damper, as the Pats jumped out to a 10-0 lead, and 24-3 lead by halftime, but Erica and her girls, and Frank and his crew were buoyed by plenty of alcohol.
Early in the day we noticed William Peterson, star of TV's #1 show CSI, was there with a few other people from the show. They had better seats than us, but I suspect we were having a much better time. At one point, William stepped up to the bar to get a drink where an apparent CSI fan engaged him in a conversation. That's when Erica made her move.
She slowly stepped up behind William and began pretending as though she was smacking his ass. She danced to a song, apparently in her head, using William as her drum. We were 10-feet away and couldn't believe what we were seeing. William may play a detective on TV, but he's clueless in real life.
That's when Erica decided she wasn't finished. She got down on her knees, in the middle of the sportsbook and acted as though she was licking Williams' butt. We erupted in laughter, but that still didn't get his attention. Instead, he just walked away and Erica came back over the to the table with a smile as wide as the Patriots lead.
I think it was about that time that the third round of shots arrived (it was Jager for the guys and tequilla for the ladies) and about that time Erica decided she knew how to change the Steelers luck.
(Those with modest sensibilities should stop reading now.)
"When the Steelers score a touchdown, I'm going to lick Monica and Sissy's 'cooters,'" Erica announced.
We sat, stunned.
I'm not sure we had collectively been that silent since about 10 that morning.
"Well, over the jeans, of course. Maybe more if they win!"
Apparently she felt that addendum would make it seem like a much more reasonable declaration to make in the middle a casino.
At 11:05 of the 3rd quarter, Jerome Bettis finally crossed the goal line, and I think it was me who said, "Promises are promises..."
I won't go into detail what happened next, but imagine in your minds Erica fulfilling that promise.
And that's about when security arrived. I didn't realize that was necessarily something that got you kicked out of the casino. I'd imagine the 24 cameras I could see from my seat were all trained on my table. As Erica was carded, she had some rather choice words for the security guy. Words that would have gotten you or I thrown to the curb. Instead, cute, little Erica got to stay. That was okay with me.
I think that's when the insanity peaked anyway. The alcohol was starting to get to people, expecially the ladies who were having trouble putting complete sentences together. Sissy was worried she had made a $200 with the Pats fans at the table in front of us. Monica was fading fast. And Erica... well, to be honest, she was still being Erica.
Despite some late charges, Pittsburgh never really got back into the game. I felt sorry for Frank and his crew, who really wanted to see the Steelers in the Super Bowl and who had a lot more money on this game than we did.
When the game finally ended, we said our good byes, and on the walk back to the casino my brother and I discussed whether or not we had really experienced what we thought we had experienced. It was one of those surreal experiences you'll never have again.
I doubt the words I've written can truly capture the sheer lunacy of that day, but I tried. I also have a feeling the tales of poker and gambling I have left will pale in comparison.<-- Hide More
As many of you know, I was back in the fine city of Las Vegas for 5 days over the past weekend. There was some early thought that this might be a bachelor party, but it really turned into a chance for my brother and I to hang out for the last time before he gets married. That's a gamble of a whole other kind...
But I digress.
I arrived in Vegas Saturday evening with designs on finding a poker room as soon as possible. Except for one problem. My brother was still snowbound in Chicago. So instead of heading straight to the tables, I checked into my room at the Boardwalk to wait for him. I assumed it wouldn't be long.More in this Poker Blog! -->
I was wrong. It was actually a couple of hours. At least I could console myself with the fact that I was going to be there for 5 days and losing a few hours wouldn't matter that much. Had the Boardwalk had a poker room, I would have been there, but I wasn't interested in passing the time at the blackjack table, and I didn't want to be in another casino when my brother finally arrived.
About 9pm that night, Lefty finally arrived. This was his weekend, so I wanted to make sure he had a good time. Soon I learned just how -EV he really was.
We headed downstairs to the modest floor of the Boardwalk Casino to find a $5 blackjack table. There were a few single deck tables, but they were paying blackjack at 6-to-5 and that takes away a great deal of your edge. Instead we found a table with a 6 deck shoe and proceeded to get killed.
I suggested we move to something else and my brother suggested his other favorite game: roulette. Great, why don't we just play keno?
We learned how to play roulette from our dad. He would cover and surround 17. That meant 9 numbers paid, 13-21. If a corner number hit, it paid for the bet. If a side number hit you made 27 bucks and if a 17 hit, it was a cool $135 profit.
When my brother and I played together we applied to the same strategy to 5 and 11 (our birthday is November 5th, get it?). Apparently our birthday isn't very lucky because it didn't take long for our money to disappear.
That's when my brother decided we needed to find the "Wheel of Fortune" slot machine. It's one of my mother's favorite games, and Lefty seems to love it as well. We pumped in some money into the quarter slot machine and started playing. I think we got the magic spin maybe once or twice, and we didn't exactly hit the jackpot. Before long, our money was gone.
I think Lefty was a little worried at this point. He had a wedding to pay for and in just a few hours on his first of five days in Vegas he had already dropped a chunk of change. I took solace in the fact that if I got to a poker table eventually, I'd be able to win back what I had lost.
We decided to go looking for a $5 Pai Gow table at that point. The last time my brother and I were together in Vegas, we spent countless hours playing Pai Gow at the Barbary Coast. Maybe our endless hours at that table convinced Vegas to eliminate all $5 Pai Gow tables, because we couldn't find one.
Instead we headed back to the Boardwalk for Lefty to grab some food. That's when he spotted the penny slots and figured that would be an easy place to waste some time without losing too much money. And it worked. We got a bit of enjoyment out of it without losing nearly as much as we lost elsewhere... but we still lost.
That's when we decided perhaps it was time to hit the sack. We wanted to get to the Mandalay Bay as early as possible Sunday morning to stake out a seat for the NFC and AFC Championship games. And it's a good thing we got that good night's sleep because Sunday would be the craziest day I've ever spent in Vegas.
And I'm not exaggerating. If you think the WPBT sports book experience was wild... multiply that by a million and you approach what I experienced. But that story... you'll have to wait for.<-- Hide More
I'm tired and cranky and I blame Ultimate Bet. I'm a regular in the scheduled tournaments there and they're usually good money, but last night they really pissed me off.
In what was probably a mistake on their part, they set up an incredible bargain.
At 8:00 they had 2 tournaments set to go at once. Both of them $30+3. One was an $8K guaranteed the other $2.5K. Because one of them had the much larger payout it was attracting all the buyers and the smaller one was PURE GOLD!
By 7:45 the 2.5K had only 22 players, remember it's only a 33 dollar buyin, so it was almost a sure bet for a big cash. I was seated and ready to go. That's a really late start for me so I would only be willing to play a smaller event on a Wednesday night, and this WAS PERFECT. I kept a running tally of the entrants with BOY GENIUS on the Yahoo! IM.
Then, at 7:55 something happened. My table CLOSED!, and I was dumped into the bigger game, along with 400 other players.
Now, granted, I understand why UB would want to do that. Neither guaranteed tourney would generate a pool big enough to afford the guaranteed payout. The smaller one was a terrible deal for them. BUT THERE WAS NEVER AN ANNOUNCED MINIMUM for the game. Thus, this was an UNFAIR bait and switch.
I sent an e-mail to that effect to UB. They never responded. So I cashed out.
They can blow me! I'm back on party.
By the way, AL and IGGY are right...THE BAD BEAT JACKPOT tables at Party Poker are FREE MONEY! I played the 2/4 game almost literally all day yesterday and cashed out UP 100BB. Not bad.
I suppose many of these jackpot chasin' fish aren't used to limit games and are captivated by the relatively low amount of risk invoved in chasing after the flop...another 4 bucks..what the hell!
As a rule, any good hand will be called through the river with at least 2 players holding any combination of overcards...and you can guarantee any player there with A-x is in for at least the flop. You have my word folks...there is not easier money ANYWHERE!
So...UB can go to hell.
G-Rob OUT!<-- Hide More
Thanks for all the well-wishing comments and e-mails regarding the previous post. I can't tell you how much all of your support means to me.
By way of explanation...More in this Poker Blog! -->
Check out this site.
It'll give you some idea how I'll spending the next couple of months.
More later. I have some packing to do.<-- Hide More
It's a second in time. Maybe a millionth of a second more. It's so negligible, it's the kind of time-frame in which only a scientist would find any real interest. It's like that final moment when you realize you could die. Speaking on a much less mortal scale, of course.
This is a long story, friends. If you don't have the time to read it, I understand. If you do, fill up a pint of Guinness and sit back, because we're about to go on a little walk together.
And I hesitate to mention where we're going to end up.More in this Poker Blog! -->
11.5 grams...the weight of a chip between life and death
That split second is a moment you've all likely experienced. For those readers who may have come here from my other blog, let me assure you, it's a brief state of suspended panic that you'll never really understand unless you've felt it--a numb sense of panicked resignation that you've just risked everything for a shot at great reward.
It doesn't happen to me much anymore. When it does, I'm almost grateful. We adults who don't work in the arena of law enforcement or extreme sports don't get to involuntarily feel our heart beat very often.
It happened the other day. I was dealt aces in the big blind in a game of $200 max. At first I was disheartened when everyone folded around to the small blind. The little blind raised into me and I re-raised. He cold called. The flop came down 9Qx. He bet into me and I raised the pot. He called. I ruled out the possiblity he had QQ in the hole, figuring he would've raised me all-in at that point. Maybe 99, I considered, but I didn't really believe that either. I put the guy on AQ and settled in for the turn. It was another rag. He checked to me and I went bone-headed and checked. I told myself I was setting him up for the river, but deep down I knew I was afraid he'd made a set and was milking me. Looking back, I realize I made a severely amateur move (or lack of move) there. I'd been suffering some serious beats and was playing scared. Nonetheless the river came as another rag and my opponent pushed the rest of his chips in the middle. I sat and thought. I think it was about $135 more to call. It should've been an easy call since I thought I had ruled out a set, but I wasn't trusting my read anymore. Playing scared is no way to play cards. Still, I called and literally turned my head away not wanting to see his cards.
There was the moment. The heart beats hard three times. If a body had time to sweat, beads of it would've popped out on the forehead. Instead, it's just three quick, hard heartbeats. And then you find out whether you live or die.
When I turned back, the pot was moving my way. I looked at my opponent's cards. He held JTo, had been on an open-ended straight draw (which I foolishly gave him a chance to make), and pushed all-in on a stone bluff at the river.
Against good sense and good theory, Otis wins.
My heart took one more hard beat and settled back in for a life more ordinary.
Catching the wave without a surfboard
Of course, many of you know my life has been anything but ordinary for the past five weeks. During a trip to Vegas for the WPBT Holiday Classic, I was able to work out a deal with PokerStars.com to blog the Caribbean Adventure in the Bahamas. After a debaucherous weekend with a posse of misfits and degenerate gamblers in Sin City, I came home and packed for the islands.
To be honest, while I have a respectable background in both poker and blogging, I wasn't really sure what I was getting myself into. I hadn't been hired to write a trip report. I'd been hired to keep tens of thousands of people constantly updated on a major poker event.
While I knew that on the surface, as I touched down on Nassau and made my way through customs, I felt like a tourist. Not just an island tourist, but a tourist in the world of big poker. I'd flown in with a couple of dealers and taxied over the bridge to an opulent resort where Michael Jordan, Charles Barkley, and Damon Wayans would soon be shooting craps and signing autographs. It was a place where armed guard stood sentry in front of the the little hotel shops to guard the hundred-thousand-dollar diamond bracelets inside. It was a place where multi-million dollar yachts pulled up to the docks to have some good Jewish food at the dockside deli.
Understand, if you don't already, that I'm sort of a smalltown kid. I grew up in a medium-sized city in Missouri, but went to school in a town with a population of less than two thousand. There were twenty times as many churches as traffic signals. There were two cops. The greatest competition took place on the football field or during after-school brawls at Snider's Bridge.
I eased away from the small town life eventually and found myself experimenting in travel. I saw Hawaii, Aruba, Vegas, LA, and various towns in Texas and New Mexico. I spent time in Chicago, New York, and assorted other cities across America. I traveled Europe for a little bit and returned home to jobs in the Midwest, Deep South, and Southeast.
That's a bit of a long way of saying, when I arrived at the Atlantis resort, I was both in and out of my element. I knew how to travel. I knew how to write. I knew how to write about poker.
But, I was forced to admit to even myself, this was a whole new world.
Adaptation, by Otis
I'm an adapter by nature.
I can talk to girls in cowboy bars. I can ease onto blankets with zoney-eyed head-bobbers at Dead shows. I can walk into a CEO's office in a suit and pretend like I belong there. It's the only way to survive, I figure.
And, so, I adapted. For seven days, I wasn't just playing the role of a professional blogger. I was a professional blogger. It seemed a strange concept to a lot of people. I couldn't count the number of people who came up to me and asked, "Is this your job? Is this how you make your living?"
Each time, I made sure to calm their fears that they were living in a work-a-day existence and I was making a living by scrawling out tournament reports in rapid-fire fashion.
"No, this is just for fun," I said. "I'm a TV reporter by trade."
They always seemed happier after that.
Because I had assumed the role of professional blogger, my mind started working in the same way. Hundreds of e-mails started hitting my inbox. I religously checked the site's stats. I reported back to my superiors on successes and failures. And I worked. A lot. Only one day out of the week saw less than 12 hours of work. One day saw eighteen hours.
After the first couple of days, it started to feel very natural. It felt real. When I sidled up next to the world class players and sweated them for a few hands, I didn't feel like I shouldn't be there.
That's always sort of been a problem of mine. Despite the fact that I adapt well to my surroundings, I often feel like an outsider looking in. That's a big reason why I find myself so happy when I'm accepted by a group of people like my buddies in college, my buddies in GreenVegas, or, more recently, the WPBT. A sense of community is a wonderful thing to have.
The folks from Stars and the players began to embrace me and how I worked. I started getting requests from players and employees to see their picture or story in the blog. It felt very, very real and very, very good.
But I won't lie. As much as I was working, the week away got a little lonely. While I loved the people working around me, I missed my family much more than I expected. I love being on the road, but...well, anyone with a wife and kid knows how that sentence ends.
The arrival of some core members of the WPBT made for a good diversion, though. And I relaxed some more. There would be good stories to tell and re-tell from this trip.
And then I happened back into the poker room and watched Evelyn Ng's AKs get crushed by pocket sixes on a runner-runner flush. And then I watched a guy hit a miracle gut-shot straight. And then I got involved in a discussion in which everyone decided that "implied bluffing odds" should be a chapter in a new Sklansky book.
Yes, there are poker stories and life stories to tell and I enjoy telling them.
For the first time in my life (and I write this with no small amount of honesty and fear of reprisal), I admitted to myself that I'm meant to do one thing with my life.
I'm supposed to be a writer.
That admission, made to myself in the middle of a giant ballroom and hundreds of poker faces, amounted to one thing. With no one else watching, no railbirds hooting from a few feet away, I shoved my chips in the middle of the table and dared Life to call me.
My heart beat three hard times.
When I started writing on this blog 18 months ago, it was a nice diversion from real life. As the days went by, I found myself writing here more and more. In fact, for the past six to eight months, I've been writing here more than on the blog that has been a chronicle of my life since August of 2001 when a good friend suggested I start keeping a blog. I still owe her for that one.
For the purposes of this post, I'm going to ask you to do something a little out of the ordinary. Because the remainder of this post is more about real life than poker life, I'd ask that you read the end of it...over at Rapid Eye Reality.
If you choose not to click over, I'll be back here shortly.<-- Hide More
Now if that don't make you read, son, you ain't never gonna get yer readin' done 'tall.
Either that or you've got taste. I hope you don't. We could never be friends.
I get up for work at 3 AM. I'm at the cube by 4. Last night, I entered a 5 + .50 tournament on UB at 7:00. I'm stupid. I'm used to it.More in this Poker Blog! -->
These games have always been good to me in the past. The night before I entered another tourney on UB with 2300 players and made it to the "money".
In that case, it was a freeroll, the money was in "bonus dollars", and my big win was 50.
0.50 BONUS cents.
I'll have to work it off. God help me.
So, anyhoo, it was one of these massive 5+.50 (my freeroll picked up the juice) that payed my way to the blogger meet in Vegas, and last night was another good rush.
618 people total and, as always, the rule in these things is ultra-tight and steal ALL the blinds. I raised every pot from the SB. I don't mean that to say MOST, but ALL. Until I got to the final table, I never let a blind slip by. Its amazing how often people will fold to a minumum raise from the SB. Then, in a ramarkable bit of awareness from the fish, if I was first to lead out with ANY bet UTG after the flop, its a guaranteed nuts-or-fold situation. Great stuff.
I made the obligatory, "please watch me" to Otis at 11:30. Then busted out in 3rd place. Payout was a relatively nice $382.50. Not bad for a fiver.
I'd recap the actual hands. But who gives a rip? I finished 3rd.
That actually makes up my LIVE tourney losses from the night before.
Otis, Bad Blood and I found a nice game at $75+5. I think there were 19 players at 3 tables. The blind structure wasn't bad at all, but with 3 tables Otis and I found ourselves at a 6 person table without the cards to compete. I was the second player out after my opponent caught a boat on the river and checked it to me. I made a buy effort, he called, I ate some very tasty chicken wings until the cash game started.
C'est la vie!
By the way, Otis is a great man. Send him a nice note. He's having one helluva year!<-- Hide More
When we last left Otis in Las Vegas, he had just left The Sherwood Forest and retired to bed, leaving behind several days of primal insanity that is only fit for youthful people and those of stronger constitution. The weekend was about to catch up with him...
I had this friend in college who invariably was the last person to leave a party. No matter the hour, no matter the size of the event, he was always the last one to say goodnight.
While some folks might see this as a sign of fortitude, I always thought it was a little sad, for no other reason than the last person to leave a party is the one who has already watched all his friends leave before him.
As I woke up Monday morning in Vegas, with thoughts of suicidal jumpers and unsellable prostitutes still swimming through my head, I had the sinking feelinig I was on a sinking ship. Something in my hull had cracked and I needed the harbor master.More in this Poker Blog! -->
There's only so much one mind and body can take. I'd been running for days on a steady diet of two-dollar tacos, grapefruit juice, caffeine, and alcohol. I was, in a word, spent.
Across the way, in a sea of funk and booze-sweat, G-Rob stirred and I saw he, too, was in a way that could only be descibed as bad. We pondered our options while investigating the hotel room windows for the possibilities of opening the glass and jumping.
Instead, we ordered in breakfast, charging it to the room and saying something about the healing properties of pig and eggs. Later, scattered among the used dishes and the ashes of our cremated lifeblood, we solmenly agreed that while we were too old to live like this for this long, we were going to make it through the final day and night.
I riffled through my shaving kit for the bottle of pills I'd brought along. I shook out a handful of OTC snake-oil hoppers and downed them with the tap water. I only had two goals for the day: Make it over to the Bellagio and play in the Excalibur's Monday Night Football promotion.
In the mirror I saw that my eyes had started to sink into my skull I looked gaunt and like I'd been awake for four days. And my stomach felt like I'd been ingesting food through a tube.
I was in a bad way.
Still, I met my brother and the Missouri boys downstairs. Dr. Jeff suggested a winter walk along the Vegas strip would do me some good.
As we left the hotel, a woman pushing a stroller got the device stuck at the end of a motorized walkway. We stood and watched as a the walkway continued to move, spilling rider after rider onto the woman and her kid.
This city was killing everyone.
Cold sweat and the Bellagio
The Strip was quiet. The cowboys had gone home and it was getting close enough to Christmas that even the most cold-hearted of America's degenerates had started thinking less about the Pig in a Poke slots and more about holiday ham. I downed 32oz of water as I walked, sensing that I would need much more if my body's cells were to attain anything close to hydration.
I've always thought the Bellgio is very easy to find and very difficult to get into. The entryways take a while to achieve.
Once inside, though, I felt like I might be okay again. I could hear the chips and cards again. My brother and I walked through the tournament area where I saw Marcel Luske and Humberto Brenes vying for a seat in the next day's WPT event.
Inside the poker room, Gus Hansen and Joe Awada were holding court at different tables in the high-stakes area. It was just 1:30pm on Monday and the room looked like a Friday night. The room was packed and the waitlist was long.
I felt them coming up under the collar of my shirt first, then breaking out in the middle of my back: the little beads of detoxifying sweat that indicate to me it's time to be somewhere--anywhere--else.
"I gotta be somewhere else," I said, Dr. Jeff has known me long enough to know that this wasn't a request. I could see, he was done with the room as well. With the Missouri boys back in tow, we headed back for home base, where Monday Night Football was scheduled to begin in a few hours.
Vegas, the city of giving
I went back to my room and sat on the edge of the bed. Dr. Jeff gave me a couple of medical terms to explain what was happening to my body. At one point, I thought he said I was suffering from a nemesis.
Indeed, I was.
He left me to wallow for another hour, calling me on my cell around 4pm to say I better get my ass down to the poker room. It was filling up. We'd planned to sit together during the MNF promotion. Earlier in the day, we'd picked each team's score for each quarter, standing to win anywhere between nothing and several hundred dollars.
I freshened up and headed down, finding a seat at Dr. Jeff's table where G-Rob was heavily involved in a low-stakes game with an angry Israeli woman. Not one to disturb the peace process, I sat back, ate a suspect burger from the buffet, and watched as G-Rob (who had been drinking since breakfast) went into a slow bad beat burn.
At one point I found pocket eights in early position and raised it up. The increasingly angry Israeli woman to G-Rob's right called, and G-Rob re-raised. I cold-called, as did Mrs. Angry. The flop came down little, but gave me a set of eights. I bet out, got a call from Mrs. Angry, and a raise from G-Rob. I don't remember if it was here or on the turn when I made my boat that G-Rob and I went to war, capping the pot to the increasing chagrin of the lady, who eventually mucked what G-Rob said was AK.
When we reached the river, I turned over my full house and G-Rob's face sank even lower than it had been when I came in. He flipped up pocket kings. I breathed a sigh of relief, but not because I won (I knew I had him beat on the flop). I was relieved he showed his hand to show he was, in fact, strong.
The last thing I needed was the Israeli woman thinking we were colluding to steal her last hundred bucks.
Though I had picked the Chiefs to lose in the MNF promotion, I decided to go to the sports book and lay some money on them jsut so I could root for the home team. I put down a bet for Dr. Jeff, too.
The next few hours are a blur of winning. My body rebounded for the final time. I hit the first quarter score of the game and split the money with a few other people who had picked Titans: 7, Chiefs: 0. During a walkaround break, I went all Grubby and plopped $20 in a Monopoly slot machine and won a hundred bucks. And while G-Rob missed winning $800 on the second quarter score after a fluke last second play, the Chiefs won and we all won our bets.
Feeling more and more ill-equipped but determined to fight on for the final few hours, I dragged Marty and G-Rob through the pit and enegaged in a little single-deck blackjack. Just when the table was getting hot and our drinks had arrived, Dr. Jeff called me on my cell phone.
"You better get back to the poker room. There was just a big fight in here and I think it has something to do with Pauly."
I colored up in seconds, grabbed my drink, and made tracks back to the poker room in time to watch the flor crew pick up the final chips from the floor. I scooted over to Pauly's table where he told me the story.
I sat back and thought, "That should just about do it. This trip has now seen everything."
And so, once more, I drank to excess and played cards until the early morning hours. After a thin attempt at fun at the Pai Gow tables, I returned to the poker room with Marty.
Earlier in the day I had accused him of being "The One Binge Boy" because in recent years, he's been good for one solid night of silliness and then he's cooked for the rest of the weekend. I think I hurt his feelings and pride, because for this final night in Vegas, he turned it up and was hanging with me drink for drink.
Around 2am, Marty got involved ini a hand with the table maniac, a guy who had been seeing questionable hands down to the river quite a bit. Though the exact sequence of events eludes me, the story looked a little something like this:
Yeah, you read it right. Marty check-raised the guy three consecutive times. Marty flipped over AJ. He'd made hs pair on the flop, two-pair on the turn, and a boat on the river.
Now, I thought, I've seen everything.
That was until a few minutes later when water started pouring froom the ceiling, drenching a table with massive runoff from a kitchen above the poker room.
It's been a month since I got home from the trip and I've just now recovered. Much has been written abut the trip and almost everybody agrees the WPBT convention will never have the same energy as the first time. But almost everybody agrees, it has to happen again.
As we headed to the airport Tuesday morning, we all agreed that we didn't want to see Vegas again for a while.
Just yesterday, Marty e-mailed me and asked if I was going to the WSOP.
There was only one response:
To all the members of the WPBT who made it, thank you for giving me a fantastic collection of memories. Now, somebody needs to start planning for Part 2.<-- Hide More
Here I go again... my brother and I are gonna raise hell in Sin City for the next 5 days. To prepare, I finished 40th in the $10,000 guarantee on Empire tonight for a nice little profit. I'll have plenty of reports when I get back!
Otis insists I have to type more....
Introduce the folks to the Pumpkin Theory as applied to women and poker.
Then give folks a feel for what the Whiskey Bar is like.
Tell us about the limo.
Tell us about Copper.
Introduce yourself damn it.
Posted by Otis at January 20, 2005 09:28 AM
True, if your ever in Denver you should stop by the Whiskey Bar, I own it with some buddies.
I have to go there now, but I will write more including the Pumpkin Theory very soon.
Thanks to everyone for the warm welcome!
I went out number 5 tonight, I was about to be blinded out in early position with 22, passed it up and a 2 came, drats, then I passed up Q3 and I would have had Q3 full house, drats, blind came and I had Q10s, Q on flop and then A on turn killed me. Out. Next week!
*to cap everything off Mizzou lost and it was the only thing I needed to hit my parlay*
Well, I'm Joey 2hands and part of Otis's Mizzou Crew. First I would like to thank CJ and the SC-Boys and their kindness throughout the years. I play poker here in Denver every Wednesday night with friends here in a nice NL tourney. I also dabble with some online poker.
This MLK weekend we went to Copper Mountian for skiing and played a six person game for shots of Sauza tequila.More in this Poker Blog! -->
First two out did 2 shots, next three did one shot, and the winner did none. I learned a valuable lesson Sunday night. Four of us were regular players plus two girls who rarely play. I had a decent stack with 200/400 blinds, dealer position with JJ.
Everyone was in for 400, so I raised 20,000 to steal the antes. I was called by Jenny who rarely plays. The flop was rainbow with no cards higher than a 10, so I pushed all in and was called by Jenny. She called with K3 and caught the K on the river. I was out in 4th place.
A few more fortunate hands and Jenny took the whole game. Lesson learned, can't beat someone who always calls and gets cards. So, how do I get these cards?
Last night was tourney time, an update will come on how I did.<-- Hide More
I like to say I have an "addictive personality". That explains a lot, or at least, it serves as an explaination for a lot of behaviors, but I'm not sure how effective that acknowledgement is. It may be normal human behavior to gravitate to those things we enjoy, and without the presence of a chemical component, an addiction to something like...oh...poker!...seems a misuse of language. People DO become addicte to gambling, but this is different somehow.
Already I have the following "problems":
An addiction to junk food.
An addiction to booze.
An addiction to cigarettes.
An addiction to gossipy chit-chat.
An addiction to poker.
I'm really a pretty sorry individual.
Of course, two years ago I was addicted to "frolf". So were CJ and OTIS by the way. Every day, around 4, our group of aging dopes would slink away to toss a collection of specialized and over-priced frisbees into an 18 hole "course" of baskets at the local park. THIS IS NOT A GAME!
We had the "driver", a heavier and flatter disk for those long tricky throws, the mid-range disk for those second and third "approach shots", and a softer wider "putter", because God forbid, you wouldn't be caught dead rattling the basket chains with some hammer-handed driver.
By the time we'd played a year CJ had set up a "frolf blog". It wasn't public really, but was just for the frolf LEAGUE we set up. That way we could track our average scores and handicaps. We had regular tournaments and discussions of frolf technique and theory. And, again, all of us had plenty of gear.
Mine is a green shoulder bag designed just for frolf. Its crammed full of multiple disks for every possible shot. The special "fly die" driver with its swirl of colors, the multiple mid-rangers for use on various uphill..downhill...obstructed-by-a-tree shots. It was pretty damn important to me and it still is. I put a special nail in my garage wall just to support that bag and it still hangs there. I haven't played frolf in at least a year.
NO, REALLY, THIS IS A POKER POST:
The other night I was playing at CNR in my home office. (Let me just say the "office" is a room above the garage with a ping pong table and a 27 inch TV...my wife and kids call it the "boy room" but I think "office" sound more productive) Next to me, on my old chair, sit the new set of WORLD POKER TOUR chips that my mother-in-law gave me for Christmas. I haven't used them yet. Granted, I still use poker chips but most good home games and tourneys come equipped with chips of their own. Most times, I just shuffle a handful of chips while I play online.
To date, I have poker bonue whore accounts active at CNR, Party, PokerNow, Empire, and UB. I have money in every account. For the past 6 months or so, I've overcome variance enought to post a profit at each of those sites. That's good considering I was well down when I first started serious play. But does th winning mean this is any less of a so-called addiction? I doubt it. I was awful good at frolf.
I'm also fairly certain I'm not the only person battling this problem. Just look on this site. Here's a comment from BadBlood this week :
"I've been banned from poker today :) Family time will make my standings at CNR go way down. I'll have to make up for it Wed. and Thurs."
And here's part of an Otis post..also from this week :
"I disappointed my wife, I think, by being on the poker machine when she got home from work Friday night."
I think every married man, or woman, among us has been there too.
So what is it about poker that makes us neglect our families? I don't doubt for a moment that BadBlood and Otis would agree with me that our families are FAR more important that our hobby. But each night as I log on for another few, or few too many, hours of digital shuffle, I wonder why I'm not playing with the kids or chatting up the wife. I just f'n LOVE poker and I ALWAYS want to play.
Sometimes I log on the minute I get home from work. I'll play for hours. Then, I'll log off to pick up the kids from school and go to the gym, then, before bed, I'm back online. Rack 'em up before hitting the rack.
Now, this isn't to say I'm NOT a serious player and just some sloppy addictied dope. I do take the game seriously. I'm VERY serious about money. But I wonder if what I'm doing is really a lifelong passion or just a hobby. Just an addiction. I wonder if my poker chips will be gathering dust beneath that nail in the garage.
Your thoughts?<-- Hide More
With the addition of a member of Otis' Mizzou Crew to the Up For Poker contributor list (I figure he'll write something eventually), I would be remiss if I didn't mention the addition of two other members of the crew to the blogroll.
Some of you met Marty while we were in Vegas. In fact, he made the final table in the WPBT Las Vegas Holiday Classic. You can follow his thoughts over at JMC Automatic.
Brian didn't fare as well and, in fact, he went out on the exact same hand I went out on (FYI: I got sucked out on, Brian just got beat! ;-). You can find more from Brian over at This Perfect World.
More additions to come, thanks to the response to my post on "The Nuts." And if you haven't noticed, "The Nuts" now features Poker Chip Tricks (courtesy of MtDewVirus over at 2 Hole Cards). The chip trick site has some remarkable tutorials with some great video!
CCR is better but they never gave me any money.
Check out BadBloods post about last night. He finished second in a rapid-blind $20+2 with about 24 players for a very nice little pot.
As for me...great night on the CNR cash games highlighted at the .25/.50 NL tables...
Here's my favorite :More in this Poker Blog! -->
Hand History for
Check n Raise Poker Game #703897: Hold 'em No Limit
Mon Jan 17 23:30:32 EST 2005
Table 'Dvorak' Seat #5 is the button
Seat 1: corpfan1 ($5.85)
Seat 3: H82luz ($25)
Seat 4: tom333 ($42.20)
Seat 5: GRob ($84.20)
Seat 7: Gman72 ($53)
Seat 8: vadka ($13.25)
Gman72: posts small blind $0.25
vadka: posts big blind $0.50
*** HOLE-CARDS ***
Dealt to GRob [KS AS]
tom333: raises $1 to $1
GRob: raises $3.50 to $3.50
Gman72: calls $3.25
tom333: calls $2.50
*** FLOP *** [6H TS JS]
Gman72: bets $1
tom333: calls $1
GRob: raises $3 to $3
Gman72: calls $2
tom333: calls $2
*** TURN *** [6H TS JS] [QS]
*** RIVER *** [6H TS JS QS] [8C]
GRob: bets $5.50
tom333: calls $5.50
*** SHOW DOWN ***
GRob: shows [KS AS ] (a royal flush)
tom333: mucks [JH JD ] (three of a kind, jacks)
GRob wins ($29.45) with a royal flush
I realize I didn't get maximum value for this hand. But I was certain I wouldn't get any callers. Plus, I figured showing down a monster like this would allow me to buy any pot I wanted for the rest of the night.
I was right. Stayed up till midnight and got up for work at 3AM. It ain't easy being an addict.
Speaking of which, I MAY be a poker addict. I mean this in a serious HOLY CRAP sorta way, and not a joking "ha ha I play a lot of poker" kinda way. Still working on how to handle the obsession. Post to that effect is forthcoming.<-- Hide More
I think I have some good poker blog content coming. In the meantime, though, I'm spending a little time at my neglected home-blog which today, incidentally, has a little bit of poker content. A little bit.
I disappointed my wife, I think, by being on the poker machine when she got home from work Friday night. I hadn't intended to be, although my reasoning was a bit shortsighted. I'd entered a fairly large buy-in tournament at ten o'clock. As I've told other players: don't enter a tournament of such a size unless you intend to finish it five hours later. If you don't have that intention, you've set yourself up for failure. Either you bust out early, meaning you finish by the time you need to be finished. Or, you're still playing when you didn't want to be and you're ill-equipped to be playing because you wish you hadn't started in the first place.
First off...a quick note about the new games. BadBlood and I have been playing at Check and Raise. We spent about 6 quality hours there last night, and I'll agree with Maudie. The interface isn't bad and the rooms are very soft. The problem is there are hardly any games to find. The site is new and its hard to find much action.
It did give us this 6-handed nugget though :
SB posts .25
G-Rob posts .50
BadBlood raises to $2.00
5s folds, 6s folds, SB folds
FLOP: 3, 5,7 rainbow
G-Rob bets $3.00
G-rob bets $4.00
G-Rob bets $8.00
G-Rob shows 4, 6 off
Badblood calls G-Rob a damned fish!
Hilarity ensues.More in this Poker Blog! -->
Let me just take this appropriate opportunity to say the BadBlood badly deserved that. He killed me earlier because he's a serious bastard. Nice guy...but a damn bastard.
A few hands (few Hours? who's counting) earlier I read his large pre-flop bet as an obvious hammer. I called with A-8 and got crushed by his premium hand. (I believe he used the same hammer decoy maneuver to crush Dr. Pauly at a blogger table once). The hammer is, indeed, a pox on the poker world.
We must've dropped it on the poor unsuspecting fish a dozen times last night and even that barley loosened the table. Still, its NOT supposed to work against me! His Hammer bluff is now carefully confused with his premium hands which, for those of you who dislike the hammer, IS EXACTLY WHY WE PLAY IT! It works. And BadBlood..is still a bastard.
Anyhoo...G-Rob (and the bastard himself) will be at CNR for the next few afternoons....
We'll see you there.
It was just back on January 8th where I read a post by BadBlood about his home game. He bemoaned the fact that he completely disregarded an obvious read.
Iâ€™ve spoken with DoubleR several times about playing pocket Aâ€™s in early position. Limp, re-raise. Itâ€™s fairly well documented in Brunsonâ€™s Super System and is a common play. I looked over across the table and KNEW DoubleR was holding them. With 100% certainty. So what did I do? I pushed.
Fast forward to yesterday... I'm playing in an Empire tourney with the top 7 entrants getting a spot in Sunday night's $50,000 guarantee. With about 40 players left, I'm the big stack in the tourney, relatively pleased with my play. That's about when Bad Blood stopped by to sweat me.More in this Poker Blog! -->
I tried a few plays that cost me some chips. One time, with pocket 7's, I called a good sized bet on a flop with two overcards. I thought he might be bluffing, hoping I'd fold. I planned on making a play on the turn. The turn was another overcard, and the guy led out even bigger. I folded. It cost me a chunk of my stack.
By the time we got down to about 20, I was sitting with the average stack, about 6000T. I wasn't nowhere close to panic mode and figured I'd wait for some good hands to make my moves.
I get dealth AQo on the button. Hardly a premium hand (as T.J. would tell you), but a strong hand with 7 at the table. There are two limpers in front of me so I raise my standard 3xBB (blinds were 150/300).
That's when the UTG who limped from early position decides to re-raise me another 1500 to 2400T. The first thing that flashes through my mind is Cowboys. It's a classic move. Limp from early position and make a big re-raise if it's raised behind you so you can isolate an opponent but still build a pot.
That left me three choices. Fold wasn't an option, right? I had position on the guy, I had 900T in a pot that was now 4150T. I would be calling another 1500T leaving me with about 3600T. Since my mind said Cowboys, calling to see if I caught an ace on the flop might have been the best choice.
Naturally, I clicked all-in.
I still don't know why I did it. Perhaps, in my mind, I was forcing him to make a decision and hoping he didn't have a hand. At worse, he was holding big slick and I was dominated. What hands would he possibly have? If it's rockets, cowboys, Hiltons or slick, I'm way behind. If it's J's or T's, it's a coin flip.
I had a healthy stack and decided to risk my tournament with AQo. Of course, he flipped K's and I never found help, going out in 21st.
Beware the early limp followed by the re-raise. It's a common move that normally represents strength. Take some time to think about how often your opponent has made that play before. If he always raises with premium hands but decided to limp this time, chance are, you're facing a monster.<-- Hide More
My bags still aren't unpacked because L'il Otis grabbed my nose when I walked in the door and hasn't let go. I could likely disengage his grasp, but I've found that when he grabs ma nez, he grabs on to my heartstings as well.
As such, I've fallen a bit behind in both my poker play and writing. I still owe you a couple of final posts from the Vegas trip report as well as a proper write-up on the Bahamas. My fatherly duties are also keeping me from playing in some homegames and underground tourneys with BadBlood this week. That's probably for the best, though, because my online game is full of holes right now (although, oddly, I'm winning) and my online performance often translates itself to my live play.
Beyond that, I'm stuck in the real working world and, frankly, after having tasted a world outside the realm of armed SWAT standoffs and tornadic weather, I'm not so sure I'm suited for this business anymore.
I hope to be back in a couple of days. As for now, my head isn't on straight and that's no way to write or play cards.
I don't know if you noticed, but once I added Otis' Poker Stars blog to the highlighted section known as "The Nuts," his visits went through the roof. On Tuesday alone, he had nearly 35,000 hits. I never realized Up For Poker was so powerful!!!
Now it's your turn to land in "The Nuts." Although I can't promise similar success, I'd like to highlight a different blog there each week. Do you think you've got what it takes? Send me an email at pagemaster -at- upforanything.net and tell me why. Or just leave a comment.
If you're not already on the blogroll, you should definitely drop me a line. And even if you're on the blogroll but don't think you get the recognition you deserve, let me know!
Up for Poker is proud to announce we have a new contributor. Look for an official introduction soon! (That's what we call a tease in the news biz!)
I woke up too early this morning. I figured an international flight, even if it was just across a stretch of blue water, would mean a bunch of early risers and long lines. While the lines did start to form, the Delta agents didn't show up until several hours after I got there.
It mattered not, I was living this surreal sunrise over the Bahamian horizon, where the cabbie listened to rasta music and grooved to his own stoned navigational sense. He turned through a back alley and I figured for a while I'd end up dead for the roll of cash in my backpack.
But the cabbie turned back onto the main drag and the rasta continued.
Looks like I'm going home.More in this Poker Blog! -->
I have more to write about than sense to write it. A man can see and do a lot in a week and I think it takes a week in the real world to truly gauge what was real and what was a figment of a tired, tired mind.
For those just tuning in, I'm returning from a week-long blogging trip in the Bahamas covering the PokerStars.com Caribbean Adventure. I'm pleased to say it went well. Better than expected, to be honest.
No word right now on the next project. My only sure plan is playing in the PPM in March. I'm also hoping to make it out for the Series this summer. However, my plans could change at any time. You never know what may become of old Otis. I've become quite a klutz recently. I may end up falling off a big rock or something.
I've noticed a lot of folks clicking over from the PCA blog. Welcome, people. Just by way of introduction, Up For Poker is made up of three primary contributors: CJ (founder), G-Rob, and me. You can determine who is who by looking at the bottom of each post.
Again, as I sit here in the Bahamas airport on a surprisingly good Wi-Fi connection, I feel a little off in the head. I think it's some weird recipe of fatigue and ambition melted down with sure homesickness. I've been on a lot of road trips in the past few years and have always missed the old lady. Now that there's a L'il Otis in the mix, though, it makes it all the worse. Gotta find a way to make this kind of thing work with that kind of thing.
Or something like that.
So, to all my old friends: I'm on my way home. To anyone new who has come across from PCA, thanks for coming and be sure to check out all the poker blogs on the left.
I'll be back in a bit. I've got a lot about which to write. For now, though, I need to spend a little L'il and Mrs. Otis time.
Flight is about to board.
Otis=Skyward.<-- Hide More
The whole Bahamas thing is fuzzy. I remember slamming Al to the floor at one point, just before I wrestled with his wife at the bar. That was just before I passed out.....in the poker room....on the floor. Which led to 4 hours of near puking on the beach Saturday...which led to Al massaging his netherparts with silverware under the watchful eyes of the casino. Friday night was ugly and Saturday barely better. Let just say this, G-Rob can't hang.
For a recap of our getting shut down by the Bahamian gaming commission see Gambling Blues. BG took notes and remembers much more than I do. So we'll let him re-cap most of the not poker crap. Al took plenty of pictures but hopefully many of those will be censored...I have a secret identity to protect. I only remember the cards and because this is, sort of, a poker blog...we'll just stick with that.More in this Poker Blog! -->
First night it took forever to get a table. The second flight of the big tourney eventually thinned out and the high-roller games were just getting started. This was, as Otis says, the first time they've ever had poker in the Bahamas, so the poker room was actually just a converted ballroom about 12 hours walk from the casino floor. (Unfotunately it was also 1 minute walk from a bar where Al and I drank so much SoCo the bartender had to leave for 20 minutes on Saturday to go searching for another bottle). Because the room was new, the only poker players here were in town for the tournament and I figured they'd be strong. Fortunately, at the low limits, they weren't.
Our table had $100.00 min/max buy in and 1/2 blinds. I chipped up early with a few steals and a couple of stupid overbets on quality hands. Then I became a blogger. I showed down the hammer at least 3 times and knew my steals were gone. G-Rob would always be called now...which turned out to be a very bad thing.
BG already wrote about our first big hand together. He raises the action pre-flop and I call with a suited A-9. The flop comes 4,4,9 and he bets. I push all-in figuring my two pair is golden. To my great disappointment...BG calls. He turns up...get this....KING FOUR (and to his credit crows....they're SOOOTED!) and sure enough the turn brings that king. G-Rob is drawing dead. Again BG has a better write up of this and a better write up of the dope to his right who let me crawl DEEP inside his noodle. See Gambling Blues for that!
Now a few folds later I'm dealt slick of hearts in late position.
Sitting between BG and Al is a cute youngish looking Poker Stars photographer. She bets $8 and then Al pushes all-in. I would have bet the mortgage I had Al beat. So... decide to take Al's money and because the photog is playing very weak I push all-in.
Dammit! She calls.
Al shows A/10
She shows the Hiltons
Flop is brick, Ace, brick. G-Rob ahead!
Turn another Queen. G-Rob behind!
River....aw hell I'm writing about it you know what happened.
G-Rob rebuys....Al leaves for the bar.
Later I caught up with Al, Otis and BG at the bar and Otis asks what happened.
"I doubled up", I say.
"really?" says Otis.
"Would I lie?" Says G-Rob.
Minutes later as we made our way to the casino Otis looks at me with a sly grin ans says "you didn't double up did you?"
Otis knows me far too well.
G-Rob DOWN $200.00
That night I blew another $200.00 on drinks for the gang but at least I had SOMTHING to show for it. Unlike the next day, in the sports book, when a bet on the Chargers and every horserace on every track televised for 5 hours left me batteed and bruised. My luck was ugly that day. Only one thing could save me now!! Back to the poker room!!!
Now this is where addiction kicks in. I get my name on the board for damn near every game they have. $100.00 SNG, 2/4 limit, and that same $100.00 max/min NL table I sat at before. By the time I made it over to the bar for a quick throw-me-down a review of the wallet shows....one crisp $100 bill. That's it! No 1's...no lost change....NOTHING! This was my cab fare to the airport and the parking fee back home. The choice was clear. $100.00 NL!
For some reason, the room was less busy tonight and I was seated quickly in the 4s.
Here's the table :
1s empty chips which look like they've been there far longer than allowed. (later filled by chatty Russin woman)
2s Very large woman from New York
3s Very large friend of New York woman who actually chatted ABOUT HER HAND IN PLAY to the woman in the 2s. Stuff like "With my luck he'll get an ace on the flop...DAMN....I have k,Q should I bet?"
5s Very friendly uber-tight guy from Holland.
6s Girl with great rack (she also had a lot of poker chips)
7s Tall skinny black guy with a Michigan T-shirt who seemed determined to make an obvious pot buy attempt on every hand he played.
8s Nice rack's boyfriend.
9s Some Northern European type sitting behind about $900 in chips. (from what I could tell several hundred of these came from the 2 and 3 seat because they kept prattling about how it was unfair that someone like him should be allowed to play at the 1.2 table...not sure what that means...but I didn't say it)
10s Loosest player ever!!
Just after sitting down it was clear the 2 and 3 seats were ready to recruit me into an entire night of old lady bitching. So I started early.
"Is this always a game of hold-them or can I chose a different game when I get the dealer chip?"
"Honey its always hold-em!"
"Oh! I've never played before I just came here to visit some friends"
"Don't worry, hon, we'll help you out!"
GOLD JERRY! GOLD!
First hand in the SB I get 7 9 of hearts and 4 limpers. I throw in a buck for the call.
Flop is 5, 3,7 and I bet 10 bucks.
2s actually asks what I have and I say...2 hearts.
Pot buyer calls...racks honey calls...others fold.
Turn brings a 9 on a rainbow board.
I check. Buyer checks. Honey checks.
River is a 2.
I bet 20...pot buyer raises to 60...rack's honey calls. I re-raise all-in...both players call.
Pot buyer shows AQ
Honey shows A 3..Christ this table is soft!
G-Rob is Happy..."beginner's luck"! I tell the ladies.
Before we finish that orbit I catch K/10, hearts again, in middle position. 2s bets out and 3s calls.
"I dunno, should I call?"
"well, we both have good cards," says 2s
"What the hell," I say...before flopping the nut flush.
2s goes deep in the tank and then bets about 15.
3s raises it to 30 while apoligizing to her friend.
I cold call.
On the turn 2s checks and 3s is all in.
River is dead.
3s shows top 2 pair.
G-Rob says, "nice hand" and makes like he's folding but flips up his cards...
"whoops" I say
"Ummmm, you haf won de hand" Says guy from Amsterdam.
"Really?" I say "wow I thought I was beat!" And then I rake the pot.
For the next 90 minutes I didn't play a hand. I would have killed for the Hammer and absolutely wouldhave gone all-in, but the fates were already being to kind. Besides one of these dumb smucks would have called it anyway.
Finally I catch 9,9 on the button after 5 people limp in. I jack it to 8 bucks and all 5 players call. At any other table this might be scary BUT :
Flop is 9 high rainbow. G-Rob is very happy.
We get checks around until 10 seat makes it 20 bucks to play.
I cold call
And so do nice rack and her guy.
The turn is an ace...and I realize I'm gonna get paid. To control my emotions I actually stare at the center of the table and try to imagine just what size the 6s's nipples are. In my mind the were a full inch long.
Sure enough big rack drops another 20 and her boyfriend folds. But 10s is feelin' crazy and raises it to 40. I cold call and so does she.
The river is a brick.
Big rack, now scared by the worst poker player ever just checks her turn and 10s decides to push...I push too..and rack is forced to fold.
10s shows...ace queen. Top pair.
G-Rob shows his set...and now I'm holding about $600.00 in chips.
Later, I lost about 100 of that when 10s caught a set on his pocket jacks...and I decided to call it a night.
Up for poker. That's all I could have asked.
Now for some Excedrin.<-- Hide More
There is no questiong that 2004 was the biggest year in poker history. The winner of the WSOP took home a cool $5 million. There have never been prize pools like this. In fact, I'm not sure there is a competitive endeavour in the world that gave away more money at a single event.
And the year was full of amazing performances by some truly great poker players. "The Kid" Daniel Negreanu won 2004's Pro Player of the Year award from Card Player Magazine. He made 11 final tables and pocketed more than $4 million. Third in the player of the year standings is, perhaps, the poker world's most under appreciated player, John Juanda. He made a whopping 15 final tables.
But neither had the most impressive performance of the year. And both would probably agree that that award should go to Gerry Drehobl.
Who?More in this Poker Blog! -->
That's right, I'm picking Gerry Drehobl (pictured above, courtesy Las Vegas Vegas) as the winner of the 2004 Most Impressive Win award. I'm guessing most of you have no idea who Gerry is. But Daniel Negreanu and John Juanda sure do.
Let me take you back to WSOP $1000 NLHE final table. When it got down to five players, the lineup looked like this: Daniel Negreanu, John Juanda, Paul Phillips, Mike Matusow and Gerry Drehobl. The first four names made 34 final tables last year. Drehobl showed up in Vegas in an RV after playing poker for 6 months. Who do you think won?
After Phillips knocked out "The Mouth," we were down to three players in Card Player's top 25, and a guy who wouldn't have ranked in the top 500 without this win.
First, Drehobl looks at J8o in the BB and calls a modest raise from Negreanu, who's holding pocket 10's. The flop is J-8-2. Both players check, a cagey move from an amateur. The turn is a 3 and Negreanu isn't waiting any longer. He bets out, expecting a fold. Drehobl cold calls and Negreanu can't hide his shock. The river is an Ace, but doesn't fill a possible spade flush.
Negreanu checks wondering where he went wrong in the hand. Drehobl bets just enough into Negreanu's big stack that he's sure to get a call. Negreanu basically announces he knows he's beat, but figures the bet will pay off in the information he gets. After the call, Negreanu realizes he was beat from the flop and probably wonders how he misread Drehobl so poorly.
Soon, Drehobl starts seeing some premium hands as well. He raises with the Hilton Sisters and gets called by Juanda's AJo. Phillips, the short stack, pushes in with Snowmen. Drehobl has to call. Juanda is surprised because he was planning to call, but instead gets out of the way. Paris and Nicky hold up, and Phillps is out.
At this point, you have to figure Drehobl has no chance. He's at the table with the two hottest players in poker. These two pros have slaughtered fish after fish all year long. Drehobl doesn't stand a chance.
After a clash between the two titans, Juanda assumes the chip lead from Negreanu, and Negreanu suddenly becomes the short stack. Juanda is on the button and bets out with A9o. "The Kid" looks down at KQs and moves all-in. Drehobl is probably hoping Juanda's hand holds up. But then he looks down at the Hiltons again, and has to call.
Once again, Juanda gets out of the way, and when the cards are flipped, Negreanu can't believe what he's run into. He quickly calculates his odds and realizes he's way, way behind. The flop only brings one diamond and the turn eliminates any flush possibility. The Player of the Year is about to get knocked out by Dead Money, and when the river brings a 7, another giant falls.
Heads up, it's super-pro John Juanda vs. Gerry Drehobl, the man on a family vacation.
The last hand of the tournament brought the amatuer pocket K's. He bets out strongly and Juanda calls with ATo, another strong heads-up hand.
The flop is 7-Q-7. Both players check. Had Drehobl bet here, I'm not sure Juanda could have called.
The turn is a 6 of clubs, putting three clubs on the table. Drehobl has the K of clubs, but Juanda is on the nut flush draw now. Drehobl checks again, but this time Juanda bets. Drehobl cames back over the top and Juanda either doesn't believe Drehobl, or decides to risk his entire stack on a draw. Juanda re-raises all-in and Drehobl calls.
Juanda is looking at 11 outs. The 8 remaining clubs and the three remaining Aces. The river is a black 4, but it's a spade, not a club, and Drehobl completes one of the biggest upsets in recent poker memory. He slayed dragon after dragon. Had Vegas laid odds when it got down to five, I'd imagine Drehobl would have been about a million to 1.
But that's the beauty of this game we play. It's not like some scratch golfer is going to win the Masters. It's not like some weekend tennis player will win Wimbeldon. It's the only sport in the world where you and I have as much chance as anyone to wear that bracelet.<-- Hide More
I've been having a ball in the Bahamas. I'm working my ass off and dealing with juvenile commenters, but it's a great experience.
Still, I was feeling a little down in the dumps.
Until...More in this Poker Blog! -->
Out of fucking nowhere arrives Al, Eva, BG, and G-Rob.
The stories that could come from this are limitless. Until I have time I'll leave you with two moments of Zen.
That's us and Isabelle Mercier. Sorry, Gene.
And that is the new Mrs. Eva Raymer.
Damn, life can be good sometimes.<-- Hide More
If you're not reading Otis' tales of poker and more from the white beaches and blue waters of the Caribbean, then you're missing out.
Go visit... now! And leave Otis some words of encouragement. What he's doing there can only help all of us bloggers down the road!
The bankroll is fluid and I'm moving it around. Lately I've been googling "Poker signup bonus" to find every free dollar a rake-taking internet whore will offer. Ole G-Rob is feelin' frisky. G-Rob's wife is glad he has another outlet.More in this Poker Blog! -->
Until now I've had the roll locked up on either PARTY or ULTIMATE BET. I always thought the SNG's were easiest at UB and the rings best at Party. But because those reload bonuses only happen so often, and because every high school loser with an allowance and without a girlfriend is suddenly a poker pro, there's no shortage of playable sites.
I tried PACIFIC first. Like anyone else they have a deposit bonus for first time accounts and this onhas a big perk. I bought in and cashed my bonus INSTANTLY which turns out to be a very very good thing. Pacific? That's where it belongs, buried beneath an Ocean of salt that corrodes the memory of the Commodore-64 that spawned it. There cannot possibly be a slower, less user-friendly site anywhere. Pacific Poker sucks, as the valley girls said, TO THE MAX.
The second site, you'll love this one, was Absolute poker. If ever two things were a perfect match (though I'll quickly buy-in to SoCo poker even withour a bonus) this was it. The bonus is fairly large, 35%, and fairly easy to work off. Its released in $10 increments as you play your raked hands. I've earned about half of mine in about a day and a half. The drawback here is the number of players. Its a pretty small site with only a few thousand players at a time and almost all of the are VERY low limit players. C'est la vie!
More than anything, I found action playing a .25 cent NL game. Listen to this setup. Buy-in are capped at $50.00 but there no minimum. That means most of the players will only buy about $10.00 in chips. Already they're at a major disadvantage. Plus with blinds at a paltry .10 and .25 a tight player can rock-it for hours with almost no financial consequence. Here are two back-to-back hands from last night :
G-Rob is UTG with THE HAMMER.
G-Rob raises to $3.00
Flop is A, 10, 6 rainbow.
G-Rob bets $6.00
G-Rob SHOWS THE HAMMER and great cursing ensues. Several players procede to tell G-Rob he is stupid and will soon lose all his money. All of which is very likely true but not in this case.
THE VERY NEXT HAND!
G-Rob is dealt KK in EP
G-Rob bets $1.50 (remember the blind is .25!!!)
Next player calls
Folds around to BB... (the man who assured me I was about to go broke)..he bets $4.00
At this point I'm very concerned about rockets...but...
G-Rob re-re-raises to $8.00.
other guy folds
BB calls and I'm already preparing to fold. (remember the blinds are at .25)
The flop is :
9, 3, K rainbow.
BB bets $20.00 and then types and I quote "Lets see your hammer now *****!"
I push all-in and the genius calls.
G-Rob shows 3 Kings.
Idiot caller shows....are you ready for this.... K J off.
And here in a room where the blinds are .25!!!!! G-Rob takes a $115.00 pot.
I love this site. It may be some time before you folks see me back at party, blogger tables aside of course. The HAMMER...is still the king. And this set-up with low blinds and relatively large buy-in, is probably the best I've found.
Talk about frisky....G-Rob is (SAY IT REGIS!) OUTTA CONTROL!<-- Hide More
Thanks to the rising celebrity of everyone's favorite poker blogger, our own Otis, this humble little poker blog is about to move up limits.
When this blog launched in September 2003, it was just a way to get the poker content off my regular blog so I would stop annoying my readers. That's why the address for Up for Poker is the hard-to-remember www.upforanything.net/poker. That's a mouthful.
Late last week, I finally secured the domain names upforpoker.com and upforpoker.net. Now, all I have to do is figure out how to move this blog to the new domain and then redirect all traffic from this site to that site. If any of you can provide any guidance, I'd appreciate it.
A side effect of the increasing popularity Otis is bringing to Up For Poker is a bandwith my original hosting plan couldn't handle. With that in mind, you might have noticed a little something over to the side called "The Rake." If you like what you read and wouldn't mind helping out a little with the cost of maintaining this site, I'd appreciate it.
However, don't worry about us. This blog isn't going anywhere. It's something that's become such a part of Otis and I that we couldn't imagine not having it. It really has a lot to do with the amazing poker blogger community we've become a part of.
And don't forget... Otis is in the Bahamas now! Stop on over and say hi!
When we last left off in Vegas, I had just taken some huge pots off of Black Bart and some other unlucky card players at the $2-$6 spread table at the Excalibur. Unfortunately, it was bed time, so card playing would have to wait. I needed some sleep.
I know that sounds weird in Vegas. Sleep isn't necessarily a priority when there's gambling to be done. But I had a mission. And the future of the World Poker Bloggers Tour rested in my hands!! Okay... it wasn't so dramatic, but the morning of day 3 in Vegas could mean big things for the poker blogging community.More in this Poker Blog! -->
It started with contact I made with a PR person, Lindsay, who wanted my station in Louisiana to cover the arrival of a new riverboat casino in Lake Charles. It was a good story and we gave them some publicity.
After a few conversations, Lindsay became intrigued by this whole poker blogging thing and thought maybe the Aladdin might be interested in what we're doing. She set up a breakfast with the head of the Aladdin's public relations, Amy, and the poker room manager, Edna.
Sunday morning, I rounded up Bad Blood and G-Rob, we placed a few football bets and headed over to the Aladdin for breakfast. The PokerProf and his father met us there. I think it was extremely productive. Lindsay, Amy and Edna were all extremely pleasant. They seem very interested in helping us with a future event so stay tuned!!!! I'll have more on that at a later date!
Sports Betting is Evil
After breakfast, we headed down to the Mandalay Bay to join Pauly and Derek. When we arrived, we found almost the entire poker blogger group set up near the bar. Imagine, a group led by AlCan'tHang set up by the bar.
I settled in to see how my parlays would go and realized rather quickly that as much as I like sports, I have no idea how to bet it. My parlay including the "under" for the Giants/Ravens game was out the window early on (the Ravens alone scored 38). My other parlay also collapsed.
That's when I threw more money down the drain. One parlay ticket included a few over/unders. When the Chargers/Bucs started their fourth quarter shoot-out, my first parlay died. However, the Chargers did just enough to keep my second parlay alive.
I'd recount the whole Chargers' fight song merriment, but if you've been following any of these blogs, you've already read about it a million times. It was a blast.
Now, all that had to happen for me to win $110 was for my Eagles to beat the 10 point spread against the Redskins on Sunday Night Football. If they won by 10 points, I'd still win $60. I was feeling pretty confident. That's when I decided it was time for more poker, and I was itching to try the Aladdin's new poker room.
Worst. Poker. Players. Ever.
One of the beautiful things about the Aladdin poker room is that the low limits there appeal to beginner players. I sat down at a $2/$4 Hold 'Em game and settled in to watch my Eagles. When I got to the casino, I hit the sports book first and laid an extra couple of bets on the Eagles to win and the Eagles to cover the first half 7 point spread.
The football game was ugly. It was clear early on that the Eagles were planning to do enough to win, but not necessarily to cover. I lost my first half bet and at half time, laid another bet on my Eagles to cover a 6.5 point spread. That didn't happen either and my 4 separate bets on Philly (1st half, 2nd half, game and parlay) all went down the drain. I shouldn't bet on sports.
The good news is that the Aladdin has to feature some of the softest games in Vegas. Time after time, I had chaser after chaser on my premium hands. It did not take long for me to build up a stack. As the bad players passed money back and forth on bad play after bad play, I sat back and waited for the right hands.
It was like Party Poker in real life. You pick the cards and these people will play them. Granted, the pots won't get as big as they do at the Bellagio's $4/$8 game or even the Excalibur's $2-$6 spread game, but the players are so much worse they'll pay you off on your good hands every time.
And if you're looking for bigger pots, just sit down at the Aladdin's No Limit game. It features a unique $40 Min/$100 Max buy-in structure. That means at least some players will sit down at the table with an immediate disadvantage. It's something good players will take advantage of quickly.
Of course, with more bad players, you'll likely see some more bad beats, just like you do online. But the number of times those players won't hit will more than make up for the ones that do. There's a reason they're called fish. They live on the river. If you're a shark, you'll swallow up everything they bring to the table.
As much as I would have liked to have stayed, I had a red eye flight to catch and I had to get back to the Excalibur to check out. On the walk back, I ran into G-Rob and some of Otis' Missouri crew. They were in search of lower limits, and worse players. I told them the Aladdin was the place to go.
So my time in Vegas was drawing to a close. I found as many bloggers in the Excalibur poker room as I could to say goodbye. I felt like it all went by way too fast. I checked out, found a taxi, and it was so long Vegas.
It was one of the best weekends of my life, one I will never forget. And I can't wait for the next one! How's the weekend of Friday June 3-Sunday June 5 sound? It's just a thought... but I'm working on it...<-- Hide More
I walked into work this morning and my boss gave me an odd look.
"You're here," he said.
I looked at the assignment board for the day and noticed that I was on the Away List. Somebody had screwed up and this time it wasn't me. The bosses thought I'd already be in the islands.
I'm not, but I will be in less than 24 hours.
So, if you'd like to keep up with the tournament or whatever else I can dredge up while I'm there, you'll find me at Pokerstars Caribbean Adventure.
Hopefully, I'll have time for a little Up For Poker blogging while I'm there, as well.
In the meantime, I'm trying to generate as much traffic for the Bahamas blog as possible, so any temporary link other bloggers can provide would be appreciated
I'll be back with the rest of my Vegas trip reports in about eight to ten days.