It was a $30+$10 tourney at the Coushatta with a $30 rebuy and a $30 add on. Basically, it was a $100+$10 tourney because you only got T1000 for your entry fee, but the rebuy and add on were each T2000. The tourney started at noon and I hit the road at about 10am so I'd be there about a half hour early. It was a limit tourney, but I want some more B&M tourney experience so I was willing to give it a shot.
When I got there, I was shocked to learn the tourney was full and there was an alternate list 14 people long. I wasn't playing in this tournament and it's the best thing that could have happened to me. I got my name on the 3/6/12 and the NL lists which were both at least 15 deep. I figured I'd get to play eventually.More in this Poker Blog! -->
To kill time, I made my way to the craps table. I know, I know... bad idea. I decided to play rather conservatively and so I just played wrong and took modest odds. Thankfully, the shooters were generally cold and my strategy paid off. When they finally called my name, I was up $50. No complaints here.
When I made it back to the poker room, I was pleased to learn they were opening a new NLHE table. The buy in was $100 min/$200 max. No one at the talbe would start with more than me. Players at the main NLHE table had stacks and stacks of red in front of them. That wouldn't be a problem where I was sitting.
The tables held 9 seats each and I settled into seat 7. I had my pad and pen ready to take notes for the tourney, but instead, I'd just document my NL play. I had a bad NL experience at the Aladdin in January and I was hoping to redeem myself. Or this would be another short poker trip.
Looking back, I wrote down 30 significant hands in the 10 hours I played. I don't think I'll write about them all now, but here are just some of the hands that helped me walk out of The Coushatta way, way up.
Losing With the Nuts
It's the first significant hand I play. I'm dealt KQo and I limp in for a family pot. Blinds are just $1/$3. The flop comes J-T-9 rainbow. Well, hard to get a better flop than that. An elderly black gentleman named Arthur, with the most charming disposition, goes all-in in front of me for $65. I call, figuring it will be just he and I, but it's called twice behind me.
The turn is a 5 of spades, the second spade on the board. It's bet 25 in front of me, and I raise to 125. Another short stack calls me for his last 38 and the original bettor folds. The hands are flipped, and I'm up against J8o and T9. Before I can even calculate their outs, the dealer flips a T. Arthur just caught a 4 outer to take down a $290 pot. Thankfully, with the side pot, I won about $10. I thought maybe this would be a sign of bad things to come.
Last Hand Before Dinner
A couple of hands (AJo and ATo) helped push me up about $100. That's when I'm dealt A6o on the button. There are a bunch of limpers so I call as well. The flop is A-T-2, rainbow. It's checked to me and I bet 30, getting two callers. The turn pairs the deuce, the second club. I bet another 50 and get one caller. He's wearing an Air Jordan hat and looks like MJ might look if he had let himself go a bit.
The river is the third club and Jordan bets all in for his final 25. Dammit. He stuck around for runner-runner clubs? I have to call and he shows Q8. Q8?? How did he call the bet on the flop? Oh well. It's dinner break time and I'm up $22.
Limping Is the Rule
I'd say it's not your typical NL table because limping is running rampant. I'm dealt JTo and I limp with the entire table. The flop is K-J-T, two diamonds. It's bet 10 and called three times. I raise another 50 and get one caller.
The turn is another diamond. Ugh. It's checked and I bet another 50 and get called again. Ugh. The river is a 9 putting four to the straight on the board. Ugh. He checks and so do I.
"Do you have the queen?" I ask. He just shakes his head and I take down the pot with two pair. Over the next half hour or so, I win another three hands with no showdowns (AJs, pocket 10's and 97s) and now I'm up to $376.
Doug Brien Is My Kicker
In case you don't know, Doug Brien missed two field goals in the final two minutes of a playoff game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. He's the only kicker in NFL history to pull off that dubious feat. So when my hand catches a big pair, but my kicker is a little weak, I call it the Doug Brien.
In the course of just a few hands, I watched my KT go down to KQ, my AQo lose to AKs, and another KT lose to KJ. Poorly played on all streets every time. I'm back down to $237.
The Open Road and Poker Tables
Late in the afternoon, Ed sat down to my left. Ed is living a life I slightly envy. He's a trucker who spends his free time hitting casino poker rooms across the country as he goes from job to job. He had just finished playing in Oklahoma before hitting Louisiana. He seemed like a really nice guy, but I got the sense he also enjoyed exaggerating a bit, but who doesn't, right?
The first hand we get invovled in, I'm dealt AJs and I raise to 10 and get three callers. The flop is J-9-6, two hearts. I bet 30 and Ed calls me. The turn is a third heart and I'm a little worried. I bet 25 to see where he is and I get called again. The river pairs the 6, but it's not another heart. I reach for chips and Ed mucks, claiming QT and a straight draw. I'm up to $296.
Just a few hands later, my A5 of spades catch a flush on the turn and I'm up to $340.
Am I Really That Stupid?
For some reason, I played Q4s and the flop comes Q-3-5. I lead out and get called by a newcomer to the table. I certainly don't have a read on him. All I know is that he looks a lot like Billy Dee Williams. The turn is a deuce and I bet out again and get called. The river is a blank and Billy Dee bets out strong in front of me.
Okay, what hands can I put him on that I actually win? The answer: A stone cold bluff. If he's got a Q, I'm either outkicked or he's got two pair. There are only two kickers worse than my 4... and the three and the two are both on the board. Of course, I don't think this through before I call. I guess I thought he was just trying to push me off the pot, maybe he missed a draw or something.
He flips 64 for the nut straight. He didn't miss his draw. I'm back down to $203. I'm sooooo stupid.
I've been playing for at least 6 hours by now when I finally see Cowboys. I'd seen the Hiltons once today, but had to fold to an Ace on the flop and 3 bettors. Other than that, my premium hands were few and far between.
I raise to 10 from the small blind and Ed the truck driver, in the BB, raises to 43. I call. The flop is J-x-x. I check hoping he's going to bet, but he checks too. The turn is a blank. I put him all in for 84 and he calls, flipping AQo. The river is another J and I win the pot. Curious call by him.
Next hand my suited Jack Hammer on the button wins a modest pot and suddenly I'm up to $430.
And the Rush Begins
Pocket J's in the BB. It's raised to 15 in front of me, I re-raise to 45 and get two callers. The flop is K-x-x. I bet 50 and they all fold. $510.
Pocket J's again. I raise to 15 and get two callers. The flop is A-J-x. I love it and check, but so do they. Dammit. The turn is a blank. I throw a little 15 out there and they fold. Dammit.
Pocket 8's. Four are in with my $15 bet. Flop is 9-7-7. I bet 50, get called. Turn is a blank. I bet 50 and he folds.
I limp with A6 of hearts. The flop is 7-6-2 of hearts. I bet 15 and get two callers. The turn is an Ace. I check, it's bet 60 by Billy Dee and I raise to 200. He folds. $610.
Playing It Blind
I call 7 limpers from the SB without looking. The flop is 5-x-x, all spades. Seat 9 bets 50 forcing me to look at my hand. I look down at the K of spades and a 5. For some reason, I decide to call even though I know he has the spades. I have outs, I guess. The turn is the A of spades. I couldn't have asked for a better caard.
I bet 100 and he thinks for awhile before calling. The turn pairs the board and I get scared. I don't know why. I'm sure he would have called another bet and he didn't have the boat. We both check and he flips 23 of spades for the loser. How does he call 100 knowing that any spade I hold beats him? No complaints here.
Beating Billy Dee Again
Ever since my stupid Q4 vs. 64, I've wanted to get my money back from Billy Dee. I get AQo and Billy Dee raises to 15 in front of me. I re-raise to 40 and he calls.
The flop is Q-J-2. I bet 50 and get called. The turn is a deuce. I bet 50 again and he calls again. The river is another Q. I push all-in and he angrily folds mumbling about the damn river. I think I should have checked, or bet less, and I'm sure I couldn't have gotten more out of him. I'm up to $715.
So That's What $1000 in Chips Looks Like!
It's Paris and Nicky, for the second time today. I hate these women, they've cost me a lot of money.
I raise to 15 and get 4 callers. The flop is K-8-2. I hate the Hilton Sisters.
It's bet 25 in front of me and there's a caller before I have to make a decision. I throw 25 more out.
The turn is a Q!!!! I love Paris! I love Nicky! The Hilton Sisters are my favorites!
It's bet 20 and called. I raise to 60 and a new players to my left pushes all in. I have to call and he flips over a set of 2's. I'm at $1000!!!!!
It Should Have Been Time To Leave
I wish I had gotten up then. An $800 profit (plus another $50 at the craps table) and it's my most successful session ever. It's almost midnight so I should really be getting home.
But you don't leave in the middle of a rush, right?
I'm dealt A9o and it's raised to 15 in front of me. I call and the flop is A-K-Q rainbow. It's bet 15 and I raise to 50 to see where I am. He calls. The turn is a blank. He checks and I bet 50 again. He calls. That's when I think I might be ahead in the hand. Maybe he's KJ or something like that.
The river is another K. Ouch. I guess if he's holding AJ or AT, my medium kicker won't matter. He bets out 100. I have to stop and think. Does he have an A? I'd hate to fold knowing I could have split. But maybe I should remember my first instinct. He checked the turn and bet the river. It has to be a K, right? I fold and he flips KQ. I was behind the whole way.
I'm down to $750 at this point and figure it's time to go. The rush is obviously over. I thank the table and make my way to the cage. I'm walking out of the casino with a $600 profit. That's hard to beat.
I think I'll be back for that NL game very, very soon.<-- Hide More
Okay, so maybe the guy who finished 7th in last year's main event at the World Series of Poker didn't exactly need a traffic bump from this little 'ol web site, but they earned it. There's still some great stuff over at Ship It Poker.
But now it's about time for a change. And this time, I've got a blogger with current credentials. As far as I can tell, he's the only blogger in Card Player Magazines top 40 poker player of the year standings.
It's Chris from over at Twenty-One Outs Twice. He's currently 37th ahead of such notables as Freddy Deeb, Max Pescatori and Scott Fischman. Not bad, huh? You'll have to head over to his blog to find out how he got there. It's just another edition of "The Nuts!"
(And in case you're wondering, to get 21 outs twice, just have an open-ended straight flush draw with two overcards. Pretty simple, huh?)
If you have not yet heard about the next live WPBT event in Vegas, scroll down to the next post before reading this.
The coming days would find me converting dollars to euros in my head, trying to figure out whether I was spending $75 or $150 to enter the single table tournaments. The coming days would find me face to face with some of Europe's top pros in a game of Hi-Lo 7-stud, cringing when a player named Badgirl called my hand on fifth street and jumped up and down in her seat when I tabled my hand. "See! See? I told you he had the queens." The coming days would find me taking third and second in the one table tournaments, silently hating myself for entering games where only first place paid. The coming days would find me hopped up on $30 beers and $20 club sandwiches and tracking a tournament from 245 players down to one.
But on the first night, I found myself at a two-table tournament...naked.More in this Poker Blog! -->
In fact, I was wearing clothes; a blue button-up shirt, black pants that hugged the crotch in a very European way, a black sport coat hung over the back of my chair. But clothes make little difference to nudity at the table. Even sunglasses wouldn't have covered my most private of parts.
To be sure, the stakes werenâ€™t worth talking about. It was a tournament made up of journalists, marketing executives, and celebrity European players. It was a two-table No-Limit Holdâ€™em freeroll. The winner would get $500, second place $300, third place $200. I was immediately a little sad with my table selection. While I knew a couple people, a majority of the players on Table 2 didnâ€™t know much about the game. Whatâ€™s more, two of my favorite European players, John Gale and Isabelle Mercier (sheâ€™s actually Canadian, but who is counting) were sitting at Table 1. I had a strong feeling that I was going to face a major suck-out early-on from one of the inexperienced players and go back to working on the blog.
We started with 1000 in chips. I played tight for several orbits, posting my blinds and folding to raises. On level three, with the blinds at 50/100, I found AK suited in late position and raised the bet to 300. The blinds, two inexperienced players both called the bet, putting 900 in the pot. The flop came out A7x with two diamonds (not my suit). Both blinds checked to me and I pushed in the rest of my stack (a little more than 600). I already knew what was going to happen. It was either going to be somebody who made two pair or somebody would suck out the flush. Sure enough, both players called my bet. I flipped up my top pair-top kicker and waited for the carnage to begin. The small blind turned over Q7 with no diamonds for second pair. The big blind turned up A4 with no diamonds. I didnâ€™t smile like I wanted to. Instead I waited for the suck-out that never came and ended up raking my triple-up pot.
When the blinds got back around to me, I got moved to balance the tables. I feigned disappointment, saying â€œBut, Iâ€™ve already established my table image here.â€ Truly, though, I was overjoyed. While Gale had busted out early-on, I was getting moved to the seat immediately to Mercierâ€™s right. Again, I feigned disappointment. â€œAll I need,â€ I said, sitting down. â€œYou on my left.â€ She smiled a familiar half-smile she puts on at the table. Itâ€™s a smile that gives nothing away, but expresses just enough friendliness to scare you.
If thereâ€™s one unexpected benefit Iâ€™ve received from my new job, itâ€™s the hours I get to spend watching World Class Players at the tables. Iâ€™ve learned more about the game in the past eight weeks that I did in the entire year previous. And if watching the players play has helped me, I donâ€™t think I have to tell you what actually playing with them has done.
Within about 15 minutes, weâ€™d wound our way down to ten players and we consolidated to one table. We re-drew for seats. I drew the three seat, again, immediately to Mercierâ€™s right.
With a slightly below-average chip-stack, I knew I was going to have to start making some moves soon. When a tight-passive player came in for a call in EP, I figured her for some paint, but not a big pair. When it folded around to me on the button, I found a pair of deuces and raised for about half my stack, forcing out the blinds and getting me heads up. The lady called for the rest of her stack (I had her pretty well covered) and turned up A7o. I was a slight favorite, but she flopped her ace. Right read, wrong result.
That left me in an ugly chip position. With seven players left, I was down to just a few hundred in chips and I made a decision I rarely make. With a raise and three calls ahead of me, I pushed all in from the small blind with 67s.
The thought process, likely flawed, went like this: A raise and three calls ahead of me? Likely a bunch of big cards. I had to figure my six and seven were live cards. There was enough in the pot that if I did take it down, I would have enough chips to play the game until the end. So, I pushed.
Mercier said, "Good luck" and the flop came out seven-high. There was a side pot going, so I didn't know if I was winning, but I loved the flop. By fifth street, there was another seven on the board. My trips ended up besting AQ and a pair of tens.
So, I survived on my suck-out
I don't write all of this because it was a particularly interesting game. By all accounts, it was pretty silly. I write all of this as a prologue to what happened when we were down to five players.
It was folded around to me on the button where I found KTo. Mercier sat in the small blind and had been playing rather aggressively. I knew that if I folded or limped, she would move all in. The big blind was an inexperienced player who had survived this far, but had a much smaller chip stack. She'd tightened up a bit and I figured I could steal both blinds if I moved all in.
I paused, steeling my face for any obvious tells.
I moved my hands toward my chips.
And for as long as it takes to move one's eyes in a direction and back--maybe a quarter of a second--I took a glance at the big blind's stack.
Less than a second later, as I placed both hands behind my chips, I heard in my ear...
"Tsk, tsk, tsk."
What in the Canadian hell was that?
I peeked to my left and Mercier was almost imperceptibly shaking her head.
Tsk, tsk, tsk? What does that mean? It's so proper, and yet...so incredibly scary. It's like something a Hollywood hero says in jest just before he kills the bad guy.
And then I started laughing.
From across the table, my boss asked what was wrong.
"Um.." I said, still unable to control my laughter, "Isabelle scared me."
And with that, I folded my hand.
True to form, Mercier immediately pushed all-in and stole the big blind.
For half a second, I went from amused to embarassed. All it took was that one little glance at the big blind's chips. All these years of playing poker and I had just been read like a book. I'd broadcasted my naked tell about two feet to my left...so loud that Mercier felt bad for me.
And how did I know she felt bad for me? Well, for one, she warned me with her "tsk, tsk, tsk" advance warning system.
Well, second, as the dealer was pushing the pot, Mercier flashed her cards at me...
If I hadn't already been one of Mercier's biggest fans, I became one at that very moment.
I ended up bubbling in the tournament. The blinds went up pretty quickly and I ended up pushing in with a naked ace...against my boss' pair of aces. Later he would suck out on both Mercier and a photographer at the table to win the whole thing. He donated his winnings to a later tournament prize pool.
A final thought: One thing that impressed me about almost everyone with whom I played this past week: No matter the stakes, little or big, the pros played to win. That is, with the exception of helping out a lowly player like me from time to time, they played their cards like they would if they were playing in a high-stakes game. That really impressed me. It's not like the jokers online or in your homegame who feel like since they are only playing for 20 bucks, they might as well push in with J3o every time.
Next stop....Vienna Austria for the European-WSOP and some rambling with BadBlood.<-- Hide More
Here's the good news: Poker blogger extraordinaire wil wheaton was on the World Poker Tour Hollywood Home Game last night and got to sit beside the stunning Evelyn Ng who acted as table boss.
Here's the bad news: wil didn't see many good cards and one hand really ended his night. It was clear to me he was one of the better, if not the best, players at the table, but he wasn't blessed with the kind of luck other players fell into.
For those who missed it, here's a breakdown of wil's play with a little analysis from me.More in this Poker Blog! -->
The hands are numbered in the order wil played them, but these obviously are not the only hands played by all players at the table.
wil is dealt pocket 7's. He makes a minimum raise. It's good he didn't limp, but I might have encouraged a bigger raise in a shorthanded game, especially with blinds so low compared to stack size. As other poker bloggers say, min raises make baby Jesus cry.
Levar Burton (of Roots and Star Trek TNG fame) calls out of the big blind with overcards. The flop pairs Levar's 8, putting him ahead of wil. I think there was a small bet and call there. The turn brings an Ace. Levar checks and wil shows perfect poker instincts by throwing 50K into the pot. It was a great play on the scare card, and Levar lays down his hand. Well done!
wil calls a small raise out of the BB with K4o. It's a marginal call and when the flop completely misses him, wil folds out.
wil limps with K8o, his loosest call so far. When Levar raises with pocket 7's, wil rightly throws his hand away.
Amazingly, Levar flops quad 7's and slow plays them perfectly until some guy from Nip/Tuck catches the "nut" flush. Levar pushes and the other guy uses his red card to ask Daniel Negreanu and Paul Darden for advice. They both say push and Levar takes down a huge pot.
wil gets Big Slick and rightly raises. Levar is the only caller with pocket 3's. The flop comes A-Q-8. will bets out for 50K and Levar remarkably calls. The turn is a 9 and wil bets out for 50K again. This time, Levar threatens to put wil all in and says something about wil losing and getting knocked out. wil responds by saying, "And if I win, I'll double through you." Must have been enough, because Levar folded and wil took down the pot.
wil is 2nd in chips at this point, up about 60K from his initial 250K. This is the hand that did him in.
wil is dealt KJo and he raises from 16K to 35K. You may remember that KJo is one of the danger hands I wrote about a while back. Some actress named Andrea Parker calls with AJo. wil doesn't know it, but he's way behind.
The flop comes A-6-8. Andrea bets out and wil thinks for a moment before calling. Perhaps he didn't believe she had an Ace. Since we don't get to see every hand, we don't know what kind of a read wil had on Andrea. The turn brings a 2. Andrea bets another 25K and, sadly, wil calls again. If he was waiting for a winning card on the turn, now was the tim to lay down the cards.
The river brings a J, a clear danger card for wil. If he put Andrea on 2nd pair or bottom pair, or even a pocket pair, he might actually think he's ahead now. Obviously, he's waaaaay behind Andrea's two pair. In fact, wil was drawing dead after the turn. Andrea bets out 50K. wil asks her if she has the Ace, but she just smiles. He calls the 50K and she flips the winning the hand. wil mucks.
wil may have been better served by raising after the flop. That might have given him an indication of the strength of Andrea's hand. Cold calling is dangerous because you get no information out of your opponent.
A common mistake all players made in this game, in my opinion, is not betting the appropriate amount. Too often, the bets were very small relative to the size of the pot. It's easy online to make an appropriate sized bet because you know how large the pot is and how large every one's stack is, but in a live game, you have to work harder to keep track of that info.
Suddenly, wil is in 4th place out of the 5 remaining players with just 169K. It's the very next hand and wil gets 10-2 of clubs. It's raised in front of him and wil says he'd really, really like to play those cards, but rightly decides to fold. Had he called, he'd been facing a raise behind him and a re-raise behind that. Then he would have caught a flush draw on the flop, but never another club. Folding was the right call.
wil calls with K8 of spades on the button. Another marginal call, but the pot was unraised and since all 4 players remaining called, it was an okay play. Unfortunately, the flop of 10-9-3, two clubs, doesn't hit wil at all and after Levar bets out, wil has to fold.
We're down to just 3 players, but wil has just 125K and blinds are at 20/40K. At this point, wil will have to pick a hand and push with it. He's dealt K2 of diamonds on the button, but he just calls instead of pushing. When Mekhi Phifer raises wil all-in with AQ of clubs, wil calls. I guess Mekhi would have called wil's push anyway, so the difference between calling and pushing didn't matter.
The flop is 8-6-3 with two clubs. It's yet another flop that missed wil completely. When the 9 of clubs falls on the turn, wil is out in 3rd place.
In the post interview, wil said he might have made the wrong play at the wrong time, but in three-handed play, K2 of diamonds on the short stack might be the best he was going to get. The next hand, he would have been the BB of 40K, a third of his stack. And then he'd have been the SB of 20K, a quarter of his remaining stack. He had to pick a hand and move with it. He was just unlucky to run into a hand that had him killed.
wil's instincts were good on almost every hand he played, except that KJo. I'd like to hear what kind of read he had on Andrea. It's one of those unlucky circumstances where you run into a hand that has you dominated.
wil didn't have much luck with the cards at all. In fact, of all the hands we saw him play, the flop hit him just once. Had wil had the luck of Mekhi, maybe things would have turned out differently!
Oh, and in case you're wondering, we never saw wil dealt the HAMMER, so he wasn't able to drop it. That would have been fun! Maybe next time...<-- Hide More
I was going to write up some stuff from Deauville today, but not right now..
It's like holding the nut flush when the board pairs on the river. Sometimes when you think you have the nuts, the cards slap you across the face.
The change in "The Nuts" here at Up For Poker is not nearly as dramatic. Now that Otis' adventures in France are over, I had to drop the European Poker Tour blog in favor of something new.
That something new is three friends blogging about poker and strategy. Sound familiar? Think of it as Up For Poker but at much, much higher levels. Where G-Rob and I grind at the $2/$4 tables, the boys over at Ship It Poker are beating the $25/$50 NL tables.
It starts with WSOP final table participant Matt Dean. But it also includes Gamecock Lloyd McGuire. Maybe he can take a roadtrip up I-26 to Greenville for a little homegame action with the boys in G-Vegas. And rounding out the trio is U of I No Limit specialist Taylor Caby.
You won't find a lot of home game write-ups over at Ship It Poker, but you'll find some great strategy advice. These guys obviously know what they're doing!
Maybe we should set up a little single table action... Up For Poker vs. Ship It Poker. What do you think?
It is, perhaps, an unfortunate name for a city.
But the Cajun people of Louisiana took care of any problems by using the more impressive French version.
Last night, a coworker asked me if I wanted to play a little poker with some of his friends in Baton Rouge.
My answer? Oui, oui!More in this Poker Blog! -->
When we arrived at the home game (about an hour drive from Lafayette), we found six players set up in an outdoor carport around a little six-person fold up poker table. They had just finished a quick SNG.
It was chilly. The temperature was down in the 50's. Unfortunately, living in the south for the last 5 or so years has thinned my blood enough to make temperatures in the 50's feel chilly.
The 8 players all bought in for $20. We started with T500 in chips with blinds starting at 5/10 and going up every 15 minutes. Second place would get his money back and first place would get the rest (minus $10 for food).
The other players were immediately impressed by my Check N' Raise card protector. If that's what it took to impress them, I wondered how they would react when I check-raised them on the turn.
I didn't play many hands to start. I really want to get a feel for the players at the table. In general, they weren't very good. There was at least one player I was worried about, but beyond that, I figured I could outplay the table, if I got at least a few cards.
The first hand I played was KJs UTG. I simply called the T10 blind. Four of us saw the flop that came K-x-x. I led out with just T25. Jay, the player to my left, quickly called and the other players folded.
Jay was a loud player. He was listing to an IPod and continually announced what the next song was, often "singing" along to some parts. He made lots of loud declarations that were mostly meaningless, but he seemed to enjoy them nonetheless.
The turn paired the board and put two diamonds on the table. I led out again with T40. Jay asked me what my kicker was. I didn't respond immediately and then finally told him I was on a diamond draw, that he should call me. He did.
The turn was a blank. I led out for T50 and Jay flipped up his K. Apparently this was a common strategy for him. A completely illegal strategy, but this home game had pretty loose rules. His goal when he does this is to get a reaction out of his heads up opponent. He hasn't announced his intent to call or fold, he just wants me to know he had a K.
Like I didn't already know that...
He said, "You've got me outkicked... you've got King-Jack."
"Maybe," I said, "But look at that board... if my kicker is less than a ten, we'll split the pot. You might as well call."
He did. I flipped KJ. He flipped K2. He seemed proud about the fact he read my hand. I thanked him for calling me anyway.
I took a few pots down here and there on either good hands or appropriately timed steals. I always had enough chips that the blinds didn't bother me. In fact, the blinds moved up at a slow enough rate that I actually didn't mind the structure (5/10 to 10/20 to 15/30 to 20/40, etc.).
The next important hand I played would be deadly.
I'm dealt AQo in early position with 5 players remaining. The player to my right, the one I was worried about, had a huge chip lead. I raise to 3xBB. A player with a stack slightly shorter than mine pushes all in. The chip leader thought for a moment before folding. I decided to call.
He flips pocket T's. I'm a little worried because I think the chip leader might have folded one of my outs. I put him on Ace-rag. So in my mind, I have about 7 outs. The hand analyzer tells me my opponent has a 57% chance of winning the hand.
Then comes about the worst flop imaginable. T-2-3. The other guy flopped a set. I've now got just a 3% chance of winning this hand, and the only chance is runner-runner to a straight.
"Just give me the 4-5," I said.
The turn is a K. Not real close to the 4 or the 5, but suddenly I have outs. I've suddenly got a 9% chance of winning the hand!
"Give me a Jack!" I yell.
And that's exactly what the dealer did. Runner-runner straight to knock out trip T's. I almost felt terrible... except for the fact that I won the hand. I was amazed at how well the other guy took it. I'm not sure I would have taken it so calmly.
Eventually we got down to the 3 players. I was 2nd in chip position behind the Kevin, who had played well early to build a huge stack, but had been bleeding chips ever since. Sitting in 3rd was Ryan, who played extremely tight early on and nearly got blinded out before making a nice comeback.
The play was rather tentative, but before long, Kevin was the short stack and Ryan and I were about even. I'm really not sure how Kevin blew his big lead, but it happened.
It was cold, and things were dragging. I was getting to the point where I thought I'd just push to see what happened. I'm involved in a hand with Ryan where I've got an open-ended straight draw with just the river to come. He pushes all in with bottom pair and I call. I don't catch, but I've still got him out-stacked.
A few hands later, I push with Q7s and Ryan calls me with AQo. I wouldn't normally push with Q7s, but, like I said, things were dragging. I got no help and I was down to just about T500, well behind Ryan and Kevin.
I started pushing with just about anything but getting no callers. With blinds at 75/150, I was building back up to a respectable stack. I'm shocked I was still alive.
Eventually, I had Kevin outstacked when we both saw a flop of 9-5-5, two diamonds. I was holding Q3 of diamonds. He checked, and I checked behind him. The turn was the 7 of diamonds. He checked and I bet T100. He raised to T300. I knew right there he was slow playing trip 5's.
I pushed all in and he called saying, "You have the diamonds?" I nodded and flipped my flush. He flipped 5-2. He had a few outs for the boat, but a 4 on the river sent him packing.
Ryan and I battled for awhile heads up. I was up early, but eventually he took a lead. Then came the pivotal hand. We were roughly even (he had me by about T200) when I'm dealt AJo. I min-raise hoping to get re-raised so I could push. He just called.
The flop is J-x-x. I check and he immediately pushes all-in. I call and flip the one hand he didn't want to see. Ryan was holdling KJ. He was in serious trouble. The K never came and it was all over but the crying. Next hand he was forced all in with 8-5 and my J-T won unimproved.
It was a handy $110 profit. Cold poker at the Red Stick works for me. I believe that it's the kind of game that I could win 7 out of 10 times, and they apparently play every week. Can't wait for next Thursday!!<-- Hide More
We've long asked who would be the first poker blogger to make the final table of a big event. Friday, fellow blogger Mike "Lucky Blind" Lacey, has a damned good shot. He finished Day 2 of the French Open in third chip position and has ben playing very well. Plus, he's one helluva nice guy.
Be sure to check out his progress Friday on the The Nuts link on the left.
Fresh off my double triumph last night, I decided to go after a couple cheap SNG's over at PokerStars again tonight. The results weren't as good...More in this Poker Blog! -->
Yeah... I only won one. I finished in a lowly 2nd in the other. This time it was $11 turned into $36. I'm not sure where I went wrong!!!
Actually, I was a little fortunate to win the first one. I'm heads up and I raise 3xBB with AQo. My opponent goes all-in and I call. He shows AJo. I'm a huge favorite... until he outflops me. And I don't mean he caught a Jack. The flop came K-Q-T. He flopped the nut straight. At this point I'm praying for a Jack so we can split, but it's another T on the turn. Now I'm down to one card... and, amazingly, I get runner-runner T's to win the pot with a full boat. I suppose it was justice since I was way ahead at the start.
In the one I lost, my opponent was dealt Rockets twice in 7 heads-up hands. On the final hand, I flopped a flush draw and he flopped a set of Aces. He caught his boat on the river, I never caught my flush. He had a 2-to-1 chip advantage and I probably didn't need to make the move at that point, but I thought I'd take my chances. Being patient heads up works a lot better for me.
So what I've determined at this point is that I have a relatively good chance of beating the fish who play $5 SNG's at PokerStars. Can I get some backers?<-- Hide More
Actually, I got to France on a plane that could've crashed on landing, then went into an airport where people were blowing up suspicious packages. Nonetheless, I wouldn't have made it France without the winner of this competition.
Back in a few days with one hell of a story about making it to the final four of a tournament (given...a small tournament) with Mean Gene's favorite European player in the four seat.
Oh, yeah, I was in the three seat.
And if you have any interest in keeping up with the French Open, be sure to check it out at the EPT blog.
First... read my diatribe in the post below... then click "There's More" on this post.More in this Poker Blog! -->
So I went home and fired up Poker Stars for a couple of $5 SNG's. And wouldn't you know it... I played smart, disciplined poker and won them both. I turned $11 into $45. I'm not a millionaire yet, but give me time. If you notice, the two tourneys started at the exact same time and ended within two minutes of each other. Maybe I'm not a complete loser after all.<-- Hide More
"Hello, my name is CJ... and I'm a losing poker player."
I'd like to begin the Losing Poker Player's Anonymous. I just got doing reading the latest over at F Train which included this:
And so now the bankroll on Party is basically exhausted. I have $11. I'm about to take that last $11 and put it into a SNG, and then it will finally be done. I'll have gone bankrupt on Party Poker, a day that I never thought would come.
Then I got the latest Yahoo group message from Felicia which included this:
Even the rock is sometimes the sucker. I have been the sucker lately... One of my biggest advantages in poker has now turned
into a nightmare. I think I need a break. I'll see you all soon.
That all brings us to me. I loaded $500 in Party Poker to get the maximum $150 bonus. That's $650 to use against all those fish I hear so much about.More in this Poker Blog! -->
I feel like I've been one of those fish. My bankroll eventually dwindled below the $100 level and I've cashed it out. I'm not winning at poker right now. I'm not beating the ring games, I'm not beating the tournaments and I'm not beating the SNG's. And I'm allowing my frustration to affect my play.
After I busted out of the tournament at the casino over the weekend, I sat down at a $3-$6-$12 game. It took me very little time at all to turn $100 into $170. I told myself that by the time I left, I'd have paid for my tournament entry fee.
Then it started happening. My cards weren't hitting. I was making bad decisions. I was suffering some vicious defeats. Most of all, I wasn't playing well, and I think I tilted. Hell, I know I tilted. I got up and blew $100 at the craps table.
I specifically remember one hand I'm dealt pocket 10's. The flop comes Q-Q-10. I'm betting the hell out of this thing and getting callers. The turn is a 3. And I'm betting the hell out of this thing and getting callers. And the river? Another 3. I just about fell out of my chair. It's suddenly bet into me and I'm forced to call and see the guy flip a Q.
I know, I know, it's the kind of bad beat we've all gone through. Why should I allow it to affect me? I don't know. But it did.
I've given up on Party, Empire, Ultimate Bet, Pacific, Planet, and just about every other site out there. I have $45 left in my PokerStars account from the day I loaded some money for the WPBT event. I plan on just playing SNG's for now. I like their format and I don't feel confident enough to play anything else.
This week, I'll be playing in a home game format with some guys in Baton Rouge. And Satuday, I might drive down to Baton Rouge for a big multi with a small buy-in. But I have no poker plans beyond that.
I'm not sure what the issue is. I'm not sure what I'm doing wrong and I can't get over that same hump that Felicia is talking about. I'm sure the hump I've hit is one she got over years ago. She's in a spot well advanced of mine, but it's a hump nonetheless.
I'm a rock. I'm a rock that doesn't know how to effectively change gears and I think it's hurting me. I'm going to take a break from intense poker and see if I can just start enjoying time at the tables again. After that... who knows.
"Hi, my name is CJ... and I'm a losing poker player."<-- Hide More
Please note the propstion here. This is not "Poker AS Life" or "Poker IS Life", I think that topic's been beat to death. Instead let's consider just some of the ways in which our poker prowess, or in some cases lack thereof, can influence our everyday lives. For the positive this time.
Prime example : Last Friday.More in this Poker Blog! -->
Friday was Otis' last day at work. He and I have been co-workers for the past 5 years or so. In fact, when I came to Workstation Alpha, it was Otis who gave the grand tour. We wheeled around the small town that was the focus of his bureau job inside a black Honda with a green Hawaiian lei on the mirror. For some reason he still remembers what we had for lunch that day, I think it was instant Otis love.
To be fair, that love quickly faded when the powers-that-be decided not to give me Otis' old job, but a better one at a much higher salary. This was a sore point for Mr. Dart for a very long time.
But I digress. Friday was my good friend Otis' last day at work and we had be plans to celebrate.
As "Luck" would have it something else happened that same day. I've been the lead "employee" on a major developing "story" for better that 4 years now and Friday, at 5:15 PM that "story" broke big. (I'm getting worse and worse at disguising the secret identity, c'est la vie)
Management was on tilt. I could tell that on the phone. While I took the older daughter to her gymnastics lesson I had a half-dozen frantic messages on the cell and home phones. But what to do? I had longstanding drunk on deck with Otis. Nobody kills this town like we do and we'd built up an aura around THIS night. I wanted that...not a long not of, ahem, "story".
POKER TO THE RESCUE
First, I counted the outs. I had several.
I could "Forget" to call back.
I could go on in to work and likely stay there for a very long time.
I could call back and plead my case. They know I'm tight with Otis.
I could call back and offer to give as much help as possibly...by phone...but not go in to help.
I count 3 outs with the ultimate loss being the trip in for work.
Still that gives me 1 beat in 4 calls so the odds are nice.
Then, lets look at the hand.
I had a read on the pesky producer who kept calling. She was bluffing at needing me there but something told me she didn't have the management mandate. This was a tough play. If management told her to call me in and I refused, I'm in a world of crap. She was certainly representing the backing but something about her delivery said "bluff".
Her tell, she bet too big into the flop. No way she had the nuts. Her second message on the cell phone said she, "assumed I knew I needed to come in to work". She wanted to say she had management support early without saying so explicitly. "She's on a draw," I thought.
So, I knew I had the goods.
I called and went with the "help on the phone" option. At that point I had the nuts and figured I could bet just enough to win the pot. (The night out with Otis without trouble at work). If I ignore the call altogether I chase her out of a pot I could win clean. If I come in to work, I'm folding the best hand when I know I'm good. If I call to plead my case wihtout offering to help, I'm showing weakness that she's sure to raise.
Last thing I remember was slow dancing with another very pretty producer a few minutes before last call. BadBlood then drove me to a "local establishment of ill repute" but THAT'S when I folded. I still have my poorly disguised day job to protect.
Poker is a life skill people...it's never just a game.<-- Hide More
It's the nature of tournament poker. You can play perfect poker for hours, but find yourself in trouble because of a single decision. Perhaps you've lost your concentration because you're tired. Perhaps you misread your opponent. Perhaps you set your opponent up for a certain play but when the time came, your timing was off.
There's a lot of reasons why it happens, but to win a tournament you either have to avoid this big mistake or hope you're left with enough chips to come back.
My mistake was costly.More in this Poker Blog! -->
There were 64 people entered in the tournament at the Coushatta Casino. The casino has a gorgeous poker room with 17 tables. My biggest complaint is that smoking is allowed. I can't stand cigarette smoke. Thankfully, smoking was not allowed on the tournament side of the poker room.
We were seated 9 to a table and I got seat 6 on table 12. My tablemates were rather non-descript. They all seemed like grizzled men in thier 40's or 50's except for one 30-something guy who seemed like he hadn't escaped his fraternity days. I was the youngest player at the table.
We all started with T7000 and blinds opened at 25/50. They would go up every 20 minutes with our first break after level 4.
Things started off well enough. I think it was about hand 4 when I looked down at American Airlines. I did my standard 3xBB raise and got three callers. It was a rainbow flop of A-K-4. I was first to act and I checked. I wonder if I could have gotten a little more out of everyone if I had put in a small bet. I was hoping someone else acted, but everyone checked.
The turn was a 7. The pot was T675 and I figured I'd throw out a bet to see if anyone was going to play with me. I tossed in T200 and got just one caller, the overaged frat guy who seemed to play every hand. The river was another 4 meaning the only hand that beat me was pocket 4's. I threw out T500 and after a little deliberation, frat guy folded.
I slid my cards to the dealer and the guy in seat 4 said, "What did you have?" I smiled and told him I had two cards. No one pressed the issue.
I actually found myself catching a lot of premium hands in the first couple levels. One time I got Big Slick and had a couple of callers. The flop was rags. I put a good sized bet into the pot and got two callers. At that point I decided perhaps I should slow down. The turn didn't help me and I checked. So did the other two. Maybe a big bet there wins the pot, but this was a table of calling stations. The river ended up filling another guy's nut flush.
I won a few more pots with the Hiltons and pocket Jacks. I only limped once with A6s, but saw the wrong color on the flop. Once I almost limped out of the small blind only to miss out on flopping two pair. Another time, I folded A5o, again missing out on two pair.
By the time we got to the break, I was sitting at T11400. There were 44 players left with the average stack at about T10200. I had played a handful of hands and won every hand I showed down. I only got into two pots that I ended up folding (that Big Slick and my A6 limp). I thought I was playing pretty well, but, frankly, with my premium hands I felt as though I should have had more chips.
After the break, the cards were cold. I couldn't find a hand to play. I kept reminding myself that I had to avoid marginal hands. I wasn't about to get involved in pots when I was holding a loser. I was still around the average stack and did not need to panic.
When we finished the 300/600 level we raced off our T100 chips. I was sitting at T12500. I had barely moved since the break. Suddenly blinds were up to 500/1000. I was praying I saw a hand soon. I was getting bored and tired. I had to fight those feelings or I was going to make a bad play.
Pocket 9's in the small blind helped me pick up a little pot. I was up to T15500.
That's when it happened.
I still feel like an idiot looking back at my play.
The dealer begins throwing out the cards and the second one he tosses me flips over, showing the 8 of spades. I quickly glance at my first card to see if I would have wanted that 8, but I see a 5 of clubs, so I wasn't disappointed. When the second card comes, I find the 5 of diamonds.
For some stupid reason, the superstitious part of my brain (that's about 75%) began to think that the exposed card was providence. I was supposed to get pocket 5's. Presto would be a magic hand!
I'm in early position and I raise to T3000. Everyone folds to the big blind who calls the extra T2000.
The flop comes K-4-2, two diamonds. Just one over card, not the worst flop I could see. My opponent checks. He's a younger player who moved to our table a few levels earlier. He generally played as though he was confused by the cards in front of him. I saw him chase a few pots only to fold on the river. In my mind, I could outplay this guy no matter what he was holding.
After the check, I threw T5000 into the T6500 pot. My opponent pauses before taking another look at this cards. After another moment of deliberation, he called. I immediately put him on the flush draw. I figured him for A-x of diamonds. The K of diamonds was on the board so I didn't put him on K's.
The turn was a 6. It was another overcard, but not one that necessarily scared me. My opponent checks again and it's decision time. If he's on the flush draw, like I believe he is, I don't want him to see another card. There's T16500 in the pot. My opponent has just T6000 left. If we're both pot committed, I have to push and just hope he doesn't have the K.
I push T7500 into the pot, and as soon as he calls, I figure I'm beat.
I show my 5's and say I guess I need a 5 on the river. He flips over K6 for two pair. There was no 5 on the river and I was down to just T1500.
Looking back, I suppose it makes sense. I'm not sure I make the first call preflop if I'm him, but that's his choice. He told me after the hand that he almost didn't call after the flop because he was worried he was outkicked. When he caught his two pair on the turn, he was no longer worried. Had he missed on the turn, he likely wouldn't have called. Does that mean I should have pushed all-in after the flop? Or perhaps I should have just checked the flop and if he bet, folded my small pair.
The bottom line is that I misread my opponent and it cost me.
I was just one hand from the T1000 big blind when I got dealt K4. I thought it was as good a hand as any so I threw my chips in. The table chip leader raised to T3000 so it was just him and I. I thanked him for isolating me figuring I'd at least have outs. Then he flipped pocket rockets. Good night, everyone! I was out in 30th.
I still wonder why I played those pocket 5's the way I did. I guess my explanation sounds logical, but there's just something wrong about it. If a small pair doesn't hit a set on the flop, it's no good, right? I'll just chalk it up to a lesson learned. I had a big enough stack at that point that I didn't need to outplay anyone. I just needed to let the cards do the work. I'll remember that for next time.<-- Hide More
The largest buy-in I've ever paid for a live casino poker tournament is just $65. In fact, the buy-in for that tourney was just $35, but there was a $30 rebuy which I was forced to take advantage of.
In general, I haven't felt comfortable enough with the tournament structures to put down a more significant amount of money. Often times, the starting stack is too small or the blinds start too high. My style of play does not lend itself to the shoot-out style tournament.
Saturday, I plan on playing in a $200+20 tournament at the Coushatta Casino in Kinder, LA.More in this Poker Blog! -->
Here's how it will work:
This is just the kind of tournament I think I can take advantage of. My style tends to be tight/aggressive. I generally limit my starting hands and then press the pot when I hit a hand. In a shoot-out, I often don't have the time to wait for good hands and that's when I start giving chips away. With time on my side, I think my patient play will give me an advantage.
I'll have a tourney recap Saturday night or Sunday. Wish me luck!<-- Hide More
In my line of work there is a very steep learning curve. Its true in any business, of course, but in my case the newbies get their on-the-job training in front of a six figure rail. They learn fast or get acquianted with MONSTER.COM.
In many ways, the old pro will always have the edge. The old sea captain knows every roll of the waves and is unshaken by the gale. A verteran doctor is less shaken by a dangrous turn. My more grizzled collegues have a million secret souces to tap when a big story breaks.
But what about poker? When does a fish cut bait?More in this Poker Blog! -->
There are, of course, a thousand players who have always been winners. They invested a single bill on PARTY POKER and, from that first day, never looked back. I call this group "The liars". At least, I'm not a liar.
More honest players DID lose money. Some bought in a dozen or more times only to watch the bankroll rise briefly and fall back to nothing. I've done that too. Like most of these players my skills have developed and the rolls slowly grew less dramatic as if the storm had passed and the only the ripples remain.
But I wonder, now that I THINK I'm a winning player. Was it worth the investment? And for other players is the 10th buy-in too much? How about the 15th? Or the 25th? At what point must a poker player admit the game is fun, even addictive, but for them a very bad idea?
Keep in mind we're SUPPOSED to pay for training. I payed thousands for college and slaved away at a few micro-limit jobs before I finally hit a good career pot. I think poker works the same. Some of us are buying and education while we whittle through the required text. We're fixated on those winning players and determined to find success.
I'M NOT A PROFESSIONAL POKER PLAYER
You'll find, and this is especially true among bloggers, a real hesitance to admit this learning curve. We are putting our best face to the world and we often crave respect. In poker we keep score by the money we win and to lose money is to be a losing player. To be a losing blogger seems very close to being a loser at life. Nobody likes a loser.
But, still, even if we're honest, I think there's a time to quit. At least a time to quit playing for money. Just like my day job, some people need a new hobby. They just won't make it. Yes, poker is a skill. Yes, we can learn to imporve. But no amount of training or study or practice will make an average player...great.
I'm not planning to quit. I think I've payed for my education and I never planned to be great. I just like having fun and scratching out a few more wins. But what about the pools of fish? Will they ever learn? And what about the bloggers..I know you haven't ALWAYS been good...why did you stick with it?<-- Hide More
As the Life d'Otis is a bit in the weeds, I thought I'd point you to some things you should read today...More in this Poker Blog! -->
Wil Wheaton, a man to whom I owe a great deal, is finally getting something he's deserved for a while. Read the whole post. It's worth it.
Pauly is outing himself and some of his new publishing accomplishments. No doubt, it's another great beginning for him.
The Geek is on a rush. I hope it continues for him.
Please go over and read Iggy's latest post. It's a good reminder that bad beat rivers don't really mean that much in the grand scope.
And if you happen by a magazine stand and can find the Feb. issue of Casino Player magazine, I have a small column in there about poker in the islands. It's not online (yet?), but if it pops up there, I'll link to it here.<-- Hide More
They are hands that break up the monotony of fold, fold, fold, fold and fold. You're four-tabling online and just waiting for a hand to flash before your eyes or you're at a B&M and just waiting for that first playable hand.
That's when you see it. The danger hand. The hand you shouldn't be playing, but the hand you can't help but play. All it does is cost you money, but you keep telling yourself, "It's the best hand I've seen in hours."More in this Poker Blog! -->
So you call. You can't justify a raise with Ace-rag in early position, so you limp. Then a player in late position raises to 3xBB. Now you're in the pot and can't help but call. The flop comes A-x-x and it's your turn to act. What you already know, but can't bear to tell yourself is that you're already beaten. The guy that raised is holding a real premium hand and you're dominated. Unless that magic 7 comes, you're dead. And even if it does, you still might be beat. You're throwing money away and can't help it.
Well, first of all, the odds of seeing an Ace on that flop are about 22%. And the chances of an overcard falling when you're holding QJ is about 4 in 10. So there's a pretty good chance you'll see a scare card off the top.
But let's say you catch top pair. You're in pretty good shape, right? Top pair, good kicker. That's a betting hand. Of course, it might also be second best. Now you're gonna have to bet for information, and you may not like the information you get.
Remember, the odds of flopping a set are about 11%. In a full 10-person game, you'll need to consider what kind of odds you're getting when playing this hand. In a short-handed game, these kinds of hands become much more valuable.Let's take the 9's, for example. There's only a 20% chance you'll see only undercards on your flop. That means you'll like the flop about a third of the time. Once that flop comes, you'll have to be careful how you play your medium pair. Don't fall in love with the hand!
Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to tell you to stop playing your Aces or you KQ's or you pocket 10's. I'm just trying to tell you to make sure these danger hands don't cost you more money than they should. Too often we see a marginally good hand and we just can't get away from it. We think it's got to be a winner despite information to the contrary.
Continue to play these hands, but play them from positions of strength and fold them when you've gotten enough information to know you're beaten.<-- Hide More
In the old days, before children and the workaday world, Superbowl Sunday rarely had a chance to be boring. If there wasn't a keg iced down on the back porch or in the garage, there were several cases of beer in a cooler next to a table of food fit for a king's feast.
These days, though, when one has to keep an eye on the drooling kid, avoid stepping on the pre-schoolers who zip around the room like spilled mercury, and do one's best not to go into work hopelessly hungover, a Superbowl has a damned good chance of being boring. Especially if the Pats look bored and the Eagles look...well, how the Eagles looked (sorry, CJ).
Of, course, there's only one thing that can keep two UFP junkies from falling asleep in their man-chairs.
Prop bets.More in this Poker Blog! -->
The whole Otis clan took leave of Mt. Otis Sunday afternoon and headed over to Casa de G-Rob. As we discussed the Poker Superstars Invitational that had just aired on NBC and Gus Hansen's infuriating style of play, G-Rob and I settled in to sip beers and hope for an interesting game.
"You know," I said, feeling out the situation, "we should've come here with a stack of singles and just bet on what the next play was going to be."
I could see the spark in G-Rob's eye. All it took was the suggestion. Within a few seconds, he'd run to a drawer and pulled out a notepad and pen.
"Next play a pass or run?" he said.
"Absolutely a run," I answered.
Thank you, Andy. There's my run.
We started out with manageable stakes. A quarter a bet. And we started out with your usual bets. Will the next pass be to the right, the left, or over the middle? Over/under on the number of yards of the next runback. Which team will kick the next field goal (incidentally, I made this bet for a dollar in the first quarter and picked the Eagles; the bet lasted until the fourth quarter when the Pats finally kicked a field goal...bastards).
By and by, Uncle Ted and Marc came in to watch with us while the wives and kids cooed about wife and kid things. It was sometime around the second quarter when the bets started degenerating in football significance and increasing monetarily.
Before we knew it we were betting on the following things:
* Which head coach will be the next sideline close-up?
* Will the next bump shot coming back from break be a cheerleader or an ugly view of Jacksonville?
* Will the next commercial be for a consumable or a car?
* Will the next commercial have a celebrity in it?
* Over/under on number of real-time minutes it takes to finish the first half from the point of the two minute warning (I crushed this one with my over bet on the line set by both Uncle Ted and G-Rob)
*Over/under on the duration of the halftime break (I set the line on the this one at 45 minutes and everybody took the over...silly boys).
We would also combine them. For instance.
*For Otis to win the next commercial must be for a non-food and contain a celeb.
I started going downhill when I suggested we pick in advance the college football conference of the next player to be featured in a full-screen graphic. I went with my old conference, the Big 12, thinking the number of schools alone upped my chances. Uncle Ted took the Big Ten, G-Rob the SEC. The first player up was from the Pac-10. Nobody won, so we all stuck firm to our choices. The next player up was from LSU.
Tenatively, I suggested, "Um...that's not in the SEC."
The room, including the women, shot me down with looks of disdain and G-Rob took home another dollar.
So, I gave up the Big 12 and went to the PAC-10. G-Rob took over the Big 12 and sure enough, the next player came from Colorado.
Bah. I suck at this game.
Just before the halftime break, G-Rob proposed we all pick the song that Paul McCartney would use to open his show. I took the obvious, "Come Together." In this day and age, I thought "Come Together" was a lock and rockin' enough to open a show. G-Rob and Uncle Ted went all mushy, picking "Hey Jude" and "Let it Be" respectively.
Paul decided to surprise everybody by starting with "Drive My Car" leading someone to ask if a car company was sponsoring the halftime show. G-Rob suggested we keep the bet running and let our original picks run throughout the show. I still thought "Come Together" was a lock, but I was a bit worried about "Hey Jude."
Of course, Paul went on to put on one of the best halftime shows in recent memory (and if you disagree, I'm ready to fight on this one). And, of course, that's when my luck turned even worse and Paul closed with "Hey Jude" and put another buck in G-Rob's pocket.
Alright, I thought, back to my bread and butter.
"Alright, beer or no beer in the next commercial," I proposed.
"Beer." G-Rob said.
As we hit the next break, we saw one of the best commercials of the Superbowl (admittedly, they all sorta sucked): An international airport terminal where the crowd started to clap for a line of disembarking members of the military. G-Rob scratched a dollar for me on the notepad and we all sat back and marvelled at the effectiveness of the ad.
I stood to go get a beer to celebrate my win and stole a glance at the end of the commercial. As it ended, a full-screen slate popped up with two simple words...
I literally collapsed on the floor as the room exploded in cheers for G-Rob. I pounded my hands on the carpet, screaming, "No! No! No!" paying no attention to the fact that the kids had all gone to sleep.
When I looked up, G-Rob was in full Phil Laak dance celebration.
And then he said it.
"I rivered you."
That, friends, is how you make Superbowl XXXIX interesting.<-- Hide More
This blog doesn't tend to be full of tales of bad beats. And that's a good thing. We all go through them. It's a part of the game. You have to get lucky a full times yourself because you know at some point, someone will likely catch you.
How you respond to those bad beats, however, is what separates good players from average players. I'm not sure which class I fall in, but perhaps you can tell me as I spin yarns of bad beats...More in this Poker Blog! -->
We'll start with the WPBT from earlier this month. I think I actually played pretty well in this tourney. I had made the right calls at the right time and built up a nice sized stack.
To my left was the unpredictable Doctor, Otis' brother. I hadn't had good success against the Doctor. In a few garage poker experiences, I gave quite a few bucks away. And during this tournament, I really felt as though the Doctor was bullying me.
I had raised on the button a few times with pretty good, but not great hands. They weren't pure blind steals, but close. And a number of those times, the Doctor came over the top of me and I had to lay my hands down. I vowed to catch him at some point.
That point was when I was dealt A3s. The flop came 10-high with two spades. That's when the Doctor pushed all in. I started going through the possibilities in my mind. I didn't put him on a big pair because the pre-flop action just wasn't there. I suppose it could have been a set, but if his hand was that good, wouldn't he have bet enough to induce a call? I suppose he could have been trying to push me off a draw, but I really liked my outs.
I called and the Doctor flipped pocket 9's. Now I realized why he made the move. He figured I didn't have the T, but didn't want me to see anymore cards. I had a good number of outs. In fact, the hand analyzer just put the Doctor at a 55% favorite. It was almost a coin flip. I didn't catch my spade, but the A on the river sealed the deal.
So I got a little lucky. Was it a bad beat for the Doctor? I suppose so, but not the kind that gets burned in your mind. That happened to me a little later.
I've got a pretty good sized stack when a slightly smaller stack makes what I considered to be an unusual play. I had called the BB with A5s and after a few other limpers, this player pushed all-in. It screamed of a steal. There was some good money on the table from all the limpers and I thought there was a chance I had him beat. I called. He flipped A2o.
The hand analyzer says I'm only supposed to lose that hand 20% of the time. The 2 on the flop, however, did me in. I was crushed, and I don't think I reacted well.
It's not like I was crippled at that point. But I still responded with a reckless all-in call. I was holding just AJo. The other stack was slightly shorter, but not by much. He flipped AQs. I was dominated. The J on the turn gave me some hope, but my luck wouldn't hold up and the Q on the river crippled me.
A few hands later, I pushed with AJo again and got called by someone holding, you guessed it, AQ. That knocked me out. I was sorely disappointed.
Fast forward to yesterday. I'm playing in a Party Poker $5 tournament with 2000 players. I'm playing really well, finding myself in a very strong chip position throughout the entire tournament. The top 220 pay and the critical hand comes when we're down to just about that number.
I'm dealt AKo UTG. I raise my standard 3xBB. It's folded to a guy in late position who raises from my T900 to T4000. I've got about T32000 at this point and the other guy just bet about a fourth of his stack.
I don't think he's got a better hand than me. I suppose he might have a big pair, but the play just didn't seem like a big pair. I pushed all-in and decided to put him to the test. Was he willing to commit his remaining T14000? When he didn't immediately call, I liked my position.
The clock started counting down and it went all the way to zero. I though that was it, but it reset to 60 seconds and started counting down again. It got all the way to 1 before he called me and flipped up AQ. I was a huge 71% favorite. My read was dead on.
The flop came 3, 8, T. No problem. The turn is a 9, and suddenly, he has 7 outs. Any J gives him a straight. And it's a J that falls on the river. I was devestated. The guy proceeds to apologize for taking so long he says, "Because if I lose, I go out 221." I was furious.
I was down to about T14000 now and just around average stack. This was no time to panic. If I just played my game, I could get back into it. A few hands later, I get pocket 9's. I raise to 3xBB again, and a guy with about T5000 pushes all-in. I call, figuring I'm likely ahead.
I am. He flips KJs, and it's time for a race. The flop and turn do no damage, but K on the river puts me in big trouble. Another tough one to take. If I win that hand, I'm back up to about T19000 and in okay shape. Instead, I'm forced to push with a marginal hand a short time later and I'm out in about 210th place. My $5 investment got me just $9. It could have been much better.<-- Hide More
...that I would choose to play on Empire when I haven't played there in months? What are the chances I'd decide to play in the 10K guarantee? What are the chances another blogger would decide to play in the same tournament? What are the chances we'd both end up in the money and at the final table? And what are the chances we'd be among the final three battling it out for the remaining $5000+ in prize money.
I think it's a lot like catching a one-outer on the river.
Still, it happened. I'm too busy today to write it up properly, but DoubleAs took some time to post his version.
I remember the night my future wife finally came around to my way of thinking. After nine months of aborted courtship, fantastically stupid college promiscuity, and an unfortunate period of facial hair growth, I'd given up on the concept that she may someday be my bride. I'd given up to the point that I'd started drinking Jagermeister from the bottom of the bottle and hanging out at The Blue Note more than my apartment.
Then, one night, we found each other at The Note and inexplicably she kissed me.
Through a fog of surprise, waning Jagermeister intoxication, and painful dance music, I remember thinking, "Now all you have to do is not screw this up."
Last night as the WPBT tourney worked its way down to 50 players, I remember thinking much the same thing.More in this Poker Blog! -->
Like I always do, I'd started playing before the tournament. Just to refamiliarize myself with the interface, I played a $20 SNG. After suffering a rather ugly beat on the second hand of the tournment, I never again rose above my starting stack of chips. What makes it all the more odd is that by some masseuse's stroke of fate, I found myself heads-up with about 500 chips to my opponent's 12K+. The circumstances of my unexplained rise to the money notwithstanding, the deficit I had to make up seemed overhwelming. So, imagine my surprise when I started playing some amazing heads-up play (by my standards) and found myself with a 3-1 chip lead.
That would be a pretty amazing story, I think, if I hadn't fucked it up and ended up losing the heads up match (I think it went on for half an hour).
Nonetheless, I left the little SNG thinking, "I'm playing well."
I rarely will admit that to myself, even if it's true. But, frankly, I was playing a good game last night.
Ever since my second WPBT win, I've not gone into a sanctioned event with my A-game. The online tournies have fallen at times when I was rather distracted and the live Holiday Classic...well, you already know that story.
But last night, I felt my game. Anyone who plays poker just knows it. The have their game on.
I looked around to see that my brother, Dr. Jeff, had bought in, as had a non-blogging buddy who said while he was not a blogger, he was more than a reader.
"I'm a commenter," he typed in chat.
It was like a Mt. Otis garage game with more than 150 people.
As the tournament started, I started feeling a deep sense for when my hands were good and when they weren't. I know that's how I should feel all the time. But, frankly, I haven't been feeling my game recently. Last night, I was.
On one particular hand, I raised either 2x or 3x the BB UTG with AK. I got a caller and when the flop came down KJ8, I bet out about the size of the pot. My opponent raised all in.
I called for time and thought. He might've called my raise with KJ, but I made him for a better player than that. He was in middle position and I don't know many decent players who would call an UTG raise in middle position with KJ. I thought for a moment he might have jacks, but I figured he would've re-raised pre-flop if he did. That left me with the only possible hand he could hold that would beat me: pocket eights.
As the seconds ticked away on my time clock, I checked my chips and discovered if I lost the hand, I'd be left with only 900 chips. I don't like playing from behind if I don't have to. I could lay down the TPTK and still have a decent playable stack. At the same time, I wasn't playing to sneak into the money. I wanted to win.
Pocket eights...did he have it? If he had pocket eights and put me on an king, I thought, he just would've cold-called my bet, let me bet into him on the turn, then pushed all in. Maybe not. Maybe if he had the eights he put me on exactly on AK and wanted all my chips right there.
After working through the scenarios in my head, I realized I just couldn't lay the hand down. If he had the eights, he had the eights. I called, he showed AJ for second pair, and never improved.
From the rail, he asked, "What took you so long?"
The answer: See above.
And so I felt good. The players were falling off like drunk birds on a wire and I honestly thought I had a shot.
So, imagine my surprise when I tripped and fell into a big pile of stupid.
Two hands, two mistakes
We inched nearer and nearer the money and I'd been getting cold-decked. The greatest danger in getting cold-decked is that when a marginal hand appears, it looks like the nuts.
KT is not the nuts. It's the balls. And they are old man balls.
I justified it my head as a blind steal.
Yeah, from middle position.
I don't even want to think about this hand, but in the interest of full disclosure, I raised 3x the BB from MP with KT. Middle position? I'm a loser.
Sure enough, I got a caller in the cutoff. The flop missed me, but I bet out anyway and he called. After that, I had to give up. I still thought I had a shot a the final table if I got away from the hand right there. I checked-folded to a bet on the turn and called that my one mistake for the tournament.
Although I haven't seen the inside of a strip club in ages, I'll admit right now in front of everybody, I've spent my share of time in the dens of -EV. And, frankly, one of my favorite things to do is just listen to a non-dancing stripper talk and tell her story, no matter how made-up and depressing.
So, yeah, I listen to strippers.
When the recent flame-war began over Stripper By Night's assertion that The Hammer was for losers, I did my best to stay out of it. Sounded to me like the Stripper was either trying to pick a fight or stating the blatantly obvious to her own peril. No need to get in the middle of that.
That's because we all know The Hammer, while powerful, is certainly the worst starting hand in hold'em and shouldn't be used indiscriminately. And by indiscriminately, I mean, in the waning moments of a a tournament where one is playing well.
Now, to be fair, I played The Hammer three times in last night's WPBT. The first two times, I won with it (although forgot to show it the second time).
The third time was a few hands after I played KT in middle position.
Why, oh why, did I have to find The Hammer under the gun? Why, oh why, did I feel obligated to play it?
Under The Hammer rules, I couldn't limp in with it, so I raised it up and, after the KT debacle I shouldn't be surprised that I got re-raised. The raise was pretty small but good sense (yeah, right) kicked in and I folded.
Maybe I should've listened to the stripper.
There. I said it. Flame away. I deserve it.
I got moved fairly quickly after that and with T2500 in chips, found KQ in spades on my big blind. The button made what appeared to be a blind steal. The SB called all-in and with barely enough chips to last two more rounds, I decided my odds were good enough to make the call.
The button turned up 44 and the SB turned up KJ. I felt good about my hand, but ended up in third place when the SB made a straight on the turn (the same card that gave me a pair of queens) and the button made a set on the river.
And that was it. I busted out in 34th place and almost 12 hours later, I still hate myself.
My commenting buddy ended up making the final table and finishing sixth place (nice job, Ted). I sweated him and the rest of the table until the final dramatic finish.
Mrs. Otis walked in just as the final hand played out, so I shut down the poker machine shortly after that and headed toward bed, wondering why I cared so much.
It wasn't the time investment. It certainly wasn't the cheap buy-in. And really, it wasn't the pride lost in not finishing better in the WPBT.
It was that I made mistakes. It would've been easier if I had lost set over set like BadBlood did. It would've been easier if, like Iggy, my opponent had sucked out a set with AT to beat an over pair. It would've been easier if, like Dr. Jeff, I'd made the right move at a pot and gotten beat on the river. It would've been easier if, like CJ, I'd played a vulnerable hand but put the exact right read on my opponent and lost anyway, A5 vs. A2.
Nope. I didn't get unlucky. I didn't get sucked out on.
Simply, I played a good game for two hours then threw it all away in two stupid, stupid hands.
Poker is a a lot like that needy girl you dated in college. You can do everything perfectly for months and months, but the girl and the cards have no memory. The girl asks, "What have you done for me lately?" And so do the cards.
Me? I wined and dined the cards, then in a vulnerable moment, went out and slept with their sister.
It's worse than a four-hour erection.
I'm going to seek medical help immediately.<-- Hide More
Okay, it's simple. Knock out my twin brother and I and you'll get $22. It's a twin thing. Bust Lefty and Up4Poker and we'll pay your entry fee. Of course, since my brother and I will be finishing 1st and 2nd, it's gonna be tough for any of you to knock us out.
I'm playing for real this time. There's no fooling around! I made it easy on you all in the past, but I'm ready for action. I've improved my style and I've become more aggressive than G-Rob. Just wait and see!!!
Oh, and I almost forgot. Winner gets their blog featured in the coveted "The Nuts" here at Up For Poker. It will be a blogger who wins, right?
A few things leading up to tonight's WPBT tournament on PokerStars...More in this Poker Blog! -->
Knock my happy ass out of this tournament and you get a brand-spankin' new PokerStars windbreaker (size large, I think).
I'll be playing with a teething kid on my lap tonight, so I should be easy to bust.
Brian, who some of you met in Vegas, is doing a little more than blogging these days. He, like me, is an aspiring freelance writer. Be sure to check out his blog and his recent essay about being a new player coming into the game.
I've been chatting with a blog reader for a few weeks now. He's not a blogger (yet?), but seems to have a keen interest in the game and blogging. He asked if he could offer a guest post here and I thought it might be a good chance for him to get some feedback on whether he should start a blog of his own. His name is Rich. He's a poker player and jam band musician form the West coast. Give him a read and let him know what you think in the comments section.
***Unedited from Rich's e-mail***
It may have happened to you back in kindergarten. Away for the first time in your life from the support network of family & friends, you find yourself wandering around the play yard, cafeteria, or some such other locale of your pre-educational youth. There is an unfamiliar and somewhat unpleasant feeling that's not quite fear but certainly isn't the warm & fuzzy that's ruled your realm up till now; call it "trepidation" (ok, its TREPIDATION - thank you :>) - whatever it is, its not good - "me no likey" - you want to go home, now - enough already, and yet...
You see others of your ilk there, doing things, together, that look like FUN
F is for friends who do stuff together
U is for you and me
N is for anywhere and anytime at all...
OK, stop - enough SpongeBob - where were we? Oh yeah - other kids who look & sound much like yourself, are thoroughly enjoying each other's company - playing on the swings/seesaw/slide, playing Johnny-on-the-pony (or buck-buck, or whatever other name that insane, vertebrae cracking game happened to go by in your neck of the woods), or just doing some general, amorphous roughhousing - and they're doing it without you. But it sure looks like fun, and you wish you were doing it too â€“ with them.
And then it happens - a glance, met & acknowledged, a shared smile â€“ a slight nod of the head, that says "hey - you wanna play?" So you respond with a quick look down, a shuffle of the shoes, maybe a shrug - you can barely contain your excitement, but for some reason you feel you should (that poker face starts early, don't it?).
But youâ€™re overjoyed that you are WELCOME - you have on some, small & brief, and as yet undefined level, been ACCEPTED; you've found kindred spirits - you've made FRIENDS. If you're lucky, this scene repeats itself several times throughout the course of your life - at school (grade, middle, high), at college (the separation of "school" & "college" is not unintentional) â€“ wait, is that not a non-double-negative? (this writing stuff is harder than it looks !!!) - and even more importantly, when you become an adult and start W * O * R * K * I * N * G for a living - when it no longer seems to be so easy to do something that once came so naturally - the simple act of opening up and extending one's self to another.
I remember instances of this in my life â€“ there was probably something similar to the aforementioned preschool incident (though I must confess, I may have created that one out of whole cloth) â€“ but thatâ€™s not the point â€“ you get the idea (donâ€™t you?) â€“ for I really do remember a time when I and a bunch of other drunk & rowdy members of the high school football team traipsed out to the beach at night, and gleefully dug a giant hole in the sand â€“ which we proceeded to fill with the smashed, cracked, and broken members of the lifeguard chair we had just demolished â€“ and then set it afire â€“ in retrospect (and at the time), it seemed incredibly pointless & wasteful â€“ but it was FUN and I was doing it with my FRIENDS â€“ I was IN with THE CROWD â€“ sounds a little likeâ€¦
Other serendipitous & socially engaging epiphanies have followed â€“ such as the discovery that learning to keep time on a drum set at a volume remotely resembling reasonable, while simultaneously listening to what other folks were playing on their instruments â€“ well, that skill earns you an eternal membership in the brotherhood of aspiring amateur musicians.
And if you like to run, and participate in organized group races, you find no shortage of sweaty, fellow striders â€“ especially if you continually pace yourself a few steps/seconds behind them, and share your extra energy gel packets â€“ bonus points for remembering to pack some post race ibuprofen.
Well, for months now, Iâ€™ve been enjoying the collective works of poker bloggers in general, and specifically the posts of the contributors to Up For Poker. Iâ€™ve watched from afar â€“ I think I may have caught a subtle wave of the hand from one of them, but Iâ€™m not sure. Iâ€™ve affected a bored and averted gazed. But now its time to come clean, and get to the pointâ€¦
â€œhey um, Guys?
â€¦can I, ah â€“
can I play too??â€
See you at the WPBT tonight, folks.<-- Hide More
Click "There's More" for details.More in this Poker Blog! -->
What: The WPBT's first event of 2005
When: Tomorrow night! (Wednesday), 9pm Eastern/8pm Central
Who: Poker Bloggers and their loyal readers
Why: So us bloggers can take your money
How: By using "thehammer" as your password, the tourney is called "World Poker Blogger Tour" under the private tourney tab. The entry fee is a measley $22 and there are already 61 entrants.
The knock came through a dense fog of hyper-sexual dreams and worry that I had somehow missed the final hand of a tournament that had not yet started. I jumped from the bed and found myself standing in a room decorated in East Asian chic. Where in the hell am I? Tai Pei? No, that's not right. Something is wrong.
I saw the hotel room door just as it was opening. The man was walking in with a tenative lean. He looked at me as I started to speak and muttered with a thick Danish accent, "Oh, I'm sorry. Sorry, sir." And he escaped back into the hallway.
I stood confused for two seconds and then looked down at myself. I was wearing nothing but a pair of tight, tight European-style boxer briefs.
It looked like I was smuggling fruit and I suspected the Danish police would be there soon to arrest me on some customs violation.
This is my new life, I thought.More in this Poker Blog! -->
SAS airlines had lost my luggage as I flew into Copenhagen and I was forced to go on a three-hour walking tour of the city's downtown in search of clothes to wear in the dress-coded Casino Copenhagen. I ended up with a new sport jacket, slacks, socks, shirt, and fruit-smuggling underwear. How many thousand Kroner they cost, I'm still not sure.
My luggage eventually arrived and I settled back into the tournament reporting routine, rubbing elbows with some of the finer players in Europe and giggling at the antics of Marcel Luske. Note: He doesn't just perform when the TV cameras are on. What you see on TV is Marcel as he is all the time.
While a good tournament, the weekend was otherwise uneventful. For those who haven't been to Denmark, a few notes.
* Scandanavian women are some of the most beautiful creatures ever created. Even the ugly ones look good. It is as if there is nothing extraneous on their body. Every curve and slant is there for a purpose. I have no doubt now why Hank chose a Scandanavian woman as his bride.
* European players are far more polite and reserved at the poker tables. Only twice in the entire tournament did I hear an Americanized outburst. The first was received poorly by the other European players. The second was from Luske after he hit a two-outer on the river and was more funny than outrageous. I think Americans, especially members of The Crew, could learn a lot from the Europeans.
* Suck-outs happen everywhere. I watched one hand where a guy called an all-in bet with AT of diamonds on a paired flop (sixes) versus ace-ace. Sure enough, the turn and river came runner-runner diamonds. Only online, my ass.
* I've been quietly studying a particular kind of tournament player. I think I'm developing a theory about loose-aggressive tournament play. If I develop it a little more, it may be worth a post of its own.
I lurked in the blogosphere over the weekend and found myself reading a lot of posts about the changing nature of our poker blogger community. While I don't really feel comfortable inserting myself in the debate, I think I will anyway.
There's no doubt that the number of poker blogs continues to grow exponentially. Therein lies the real fear of the poker blog message, such as it is, becoming watered down and trite.
While I don't think it's something we should ignore, I don't think there's any reason to get over excited about it. Here's why:
There is something very Darwinian about the online world. Those with the wherewithal to leap out from the masses and get noticed will leap out from the masses and get noticed.
While I have a vested interest in maintaining the poker blogger community, the last thing I want it to become is an exclusive club. The beauty of this community is its willingness to look at new talent and accept it for what it is. I can't imagine how discouraged I would've been if I had been turned away at the door 18 months ago. I probably never would've continued with the poker blogging that is now becoming my life and income.
Now, don't get me wrong. I don't think any of the bloggers have suggested we shut the doors and not let anybody in. What's more, I agree, there's a lot of crap out there. But I've noticed some good new talent.
That's a long way of saying, while I think it's good if we look at ourselves and ask where we're going, I don't think we need to worry too much about about the new blogging glut. If we strive for excellence and maintain an actively inclusive atmosphere, we will thrive in the same way we have for the past two years.
As poker players, it is our nature to be both competitive and success-oriented. As people, though, I've found we are at our roots good people. I owe this group for almost everything good that's happened to me in the past few months. I would love to think we could show someone else the same love and respect I've received.
Here ends my two-cents worth.
While this is not something I want to discuss at length or in the comments , I think everyone should know that I am no longer going to play in the PPMIV. There are a few reasons behind my decision, which the more intuitive readers can probably figure out. To answer the obvious question with an obvious answer: Yes, I'm disappointed. But in the long run, it's for the best.
One thing about my new gig is that it's going to cut into time that I would've otherwise spent playing poker. I've been to two major tournaments in the past four weeks and haven't played one hand of cards the entire time. While I feel like my game will suffer in the short-term (it's already suffering, actually), I think I have a lot to learn about tournament poker in watching the world class players on the circuit. While I'll still be grinding away in my off-hours, I'm becoming a bit fascinated with tournament play and strategy. Like G-Rob, some of the energy has seeped out of my cash game play and I'm not playing well as a result. I'm playing distracted, like something to do in the background when I'm doing something else. That's no way to play poker. I think further studying tournament strategy might add something to my game that could re-energize my poker play.
Oh, yeah, and thanks to everyone who has written with words of encouragement. You folks are, in no uncertain terms, the best.<-- Hide More
I have the two best children in the world. Lots of kids are smart. Some, a rare few, are both smart and good-looking. Mine are all that and a bag of chips. Its a miracle of random genetics, like if Chris Kattan fathered a supermodel, but its true. They are God's ( or nature's for you agnostics ) greatest blessing. They make me insane.
Aw Hell! You know where I'm going. Its those times when I'm at home all weekend, when I've played my 32nd game of CHUTES AND LADDERS, when I've explained for the 100th tome that Martin Luther King was not dreaming of "PEAS", that I want to be swingin' single. I'm a celebrity, you know. Chicks dig famous guys.More in this Poker Blog! -->
HANG IN THERE....FRIDAY'S COMING
Right now, the moral of this tale is hanging on the wall just behind the over-teased hair of an overweight secretary. In between XEROX runs and, "Oh my GOD! LATTE!" screams, she glances back at that Hallmark store poster to learn that, "absence makes the heart grow fonder".
Like in those much-ballyhood (a word?) trip reports from Vegas, there is always that unstated constant. I really wanted to see those kids. I was in the middle of everything great : heavy booze, close and new friends, and poker...and THAT makes me love my family. CHRIST I'M A MESS. Call "Modern Parent!"..sappy degenerate on line 1.
Which is where I am with poker. I really need a break. I'd say the past month I've average a good 40 hours a week. I give my job about 10. Granted, the career still pays a lot better, but the adreneline is gone. Likewise, the poker vibe is running dry. That rush of winning is duller right now. I feel like I DESERVE to win, and God (or, again, NATURE) knows I've earned it. Even the bad sessions and the near-misses have stop hurting as much. I've gone poker numb.
A wiser poker mind would probably say this is a very good thing. That I've finally become more rational about my play. But I play for fun, and profit is just a way to keep score. So if it isn't as much fun, its probably time for a break.
So heres the deal. I'm signed up for the WPBT tourney on POKER STARS (have you noticed the writers that site employs..F"N AWESOME!) and I'll definitely be there. But after that..oh and BADBLOOD's home game on Saturday..I'm taking 2 weeks off.
That'll give my time to finish Otis's copy of "Theory of Poker" and reflect on my recently HORRIBLE play. Plus it may re-kindle the joy. I'm sure it will. Hallmark never lies.
And before you go, this from the father-in-law-tells-horrible-jokes-file :
A man in town decides to quit his job and start a new handsome cab ride.
He finds the perfect horse and the most beautiful cart ever made.
But, just like Kosmo Cramer, he has a major problem : the horse farts!
In the middle of every ride...he'll life his tail and let one rip..."HONDA!"
So the man goes to the best vet in town and tells his tale.
Sure enough, the tail goes up...and here it comes.."HONDA!"
The vets smiles and walks right to the horses mouth.
"Just as I thought," he says, "absess tooth!"
"But how could you tell," says the cab driver.
"Well," said the vet, "everyone knows absess makes the fart go HONDA!"
Family....ahhhhhhhhhh...family.<-- Hide More