If you're at all interested in what I'm doing for the next little while and wouldn't mind doing me a favor...More in this Poker Blog! -->
'Tis not a matter of ego or economics. If you wanna know the reason I'm asking, shoot me an e-mail and I'll fill you in.
Anyway, this is the code you can insert into your sidebar to get a headline feed of what I'm writing at the WSOP. If you can find a space for it (even for just a week or so), it would be appreciated. It looks like this.
[CJ's note: It'd be awesome if some of you could do this. I know Otis is going to work really hard out there, and I figure it's the least we can do. If you'd like to put it in your sidebar with a picture like I've done over to the left, then this is the code you can insert into your sidebar.]<-- Hide More
No, it's not for the WPBT July girly thingy. No, I'm booked for the kick ass August 2-6 weekend. Going in July was out of the question for G-Rob and I, so we're going to win WSOP events in August instead. The plane tickets are bought.
One thing I'm sorry I'm going to miss that July weekend is the first real poker-blogging, WPBT participant in history to play on American television! Jen Leo won a seat into the Mansion Poker Speed Poker tournament that airs on Fox Sports Net. I sure hope she gets a chance to drop the HAMMER! My luckbox skills are available to borrow if you need them that day. [Editor's note: As DoubleAs correctly points out, he landed on Canadian TV. They have TV up there? I have also updated to stress the WPBT nature of the blogging.]
Finally, the WSOP really gets under way tomorrow with the first full-field event (the casino employees play today). You can anticipate coverage from the regulars: Pauly at Tao of Poker, PokerProf and Co. over at LasVegasVegas.com, and I'm assuming The Spaceman will be doing some coverage for Bluff Magazine eventually. Of course, the best live-blogger in the world (I'm biased)
will be out there soon, too is there now. At least in time for the Main Event, if not earlier, From now, through the Main Event, Otis will be dropping his knowledge over at the PokerStars blog (And I'm hearing some rumors that Otis will take his coverage to multimedia levels never seen at the WSOP! Stay tuned!).
I've been rollicking in the glow of what Blood calls "a perfect storm," the confluence of good cards, good reads, and my usual hyper-aggressive style. Actually, it's just hyper. I can tilt a table in 90 seconds flat. That's how I roll.
I had 11 consecutive winning sessions live, and many of them were for very big wins, before losing a buyin (and a half) on Monday night. Still, even when I'm playing well, I'm never far removed from thinking I suck at poker.
Probably, that's because I do, in fact, suck at poker.
But I digress...More in this Poker Blog! -->
So, I played last Friday and almost got stabbed. Actually, there's a bit of embellishment there, but not a helluva lot. I was in the 1 seat, Otis in the 2, and the guy in the 3 seat, (his nickname was "slow"... as in retarded... which he didn't seem to mind), and we came very close to a stabbing.
The strangest part of the incident is that I did absolutely NOTHING to provoke it. God knows I piss people off. Sometimes it's on purpose, sometimes it ain't, but in this case, the witnesses will attest, I did NOTHING to this particular retard. But he wanted to stab me nonetheless.
This happened at the ol' Spring Hotel. I must confess, it took me a good 6 months to understand WHY Otis calls the place "Spring Hotel" but it dawned on me last night. It's sort of like calling the host, Tallahassee. That ain't his name, but it's in the same ballpark.
I've been hitting the place at least once a week for the past several months. It's an old 2 bedroom house, just off the road, owned by a man who lives there and plays occasionally, but rented for 3 weekly games. They always play $1/$2NL with a $200 max buy.
It's wierd that I play there so much. The dealer is good enough, but likes to talk during every hand which slows the play. There's a 5% rake on every hand with no max, and with occasional dealer tokes it does crimp the EV a bit. Plus, it's a semi-advertised game, the kind every player in G-Vegas knows all about, so there is always a risk of bust.
Still, I can't stop.
I haven't had a losing session there in over 3 months. Most sessions I win big. Most players there are totally awful, and the ones with mediocre skills have more tells than a bratty first grader. I've cashed for more than 5 buyins 4 times.
500 pounds of ANGER
The problem here should be rather obvious. This is a good game, with a few dozen regular players and the house, "Tallhassee," does pretty well from the rake, but none of the players are the type who can easily afford their gambling jones. My guess is this unskilled menagerie simply passed their money back and forth for years, with the table always skimming a steady profit.
One donkey wins another donkey loses, sure that the roles will flip next week. Everyone is happy and everyone is on the verge of becoming a WINNING PLAYER.
Last Wednesday I heard one of the donkeys, one of the worst actually, say he was ready to quit his job and hit the road as a pro.
Christ I laughed at that one.
But what happens to this sort of game when ACTUAL POKER PLAYERS show up? Turns out the host ain't thrilled.
I've taken thousands from these folks. They aren't winning it back. BadBlood and Otis are now regulars as well. It's like a powerful EV magnet sucking the room to the negative pole.
The donkeys are no longer on the verge of anything.
FIRST RULE OF FIGHT CLUB
So Wednesday night, I'm cruising to another fairly profitable night, Otis wrote about it below, and I start hearing what I thought were snide barbs from the jolly... and gigantic... host.
"You need to stop bullying people," he said as I stumbled out to the pisser, "people are getting sick of that shit."
"You need to stop taking advantage of my players," he said as I walked outside to stretch my legs.
"Isn't there another game worth hitting?" he asked as I left for the night... with a net profit of about 4 more buyins.
Now, granted, he didn't appear particularly threatening at any point. Nor did I ever believe he would WANT to cause any disturbance at his game. Plus, the donkeys themselves were so convinced that I could only win through good luck and suckouts that they were bound and determined to have me return... and LOSE.
Still, it's something I mentioned to Badblood when we met for lunch on Friday.
That's right. I talked about fight club.
So, against this very G-Vegas backdrop, I picked up Blood and we met Otis at the Friday night game.
Here's how you know things are going well. Before Otis arrived I was in the 1s and a guy named "George" is in the 2 with "Slow" in the 3. George limps in and so does slow and 3 other players. I'm in the BB here and find pocket Queens. I raise it to $17 and 3 players, George, Slow, and the small blind call.
The flop is Q 5 3 with 2 clubs and the SB checks. So do I. Then George, who has a relatively short stack, pushes all in for another $55. Slow insta-calls and SB mucks. I come over the top for another $125. Slow insta calls that too.
The cards, thank God there isn't a flush draw... George has pocket Aces... Slow has a set of 5s... and I'm solid GOLD.
I'd already noticed something strange about "Slow." He didn't seem to suck at poker. I mean, he wasn't particularly GOOD, but he wasn't GOD-AWFUL either, which is unusual here.
I also realized his name wasn't one of those silly ironic kinds, like calling a fat guy "Slim" or calling Otis "Curly." "Slow" was fantastically slow. On every hand the dealer would have to yell, "Slow!... Slow!... SLOOOOOW!!!! It's your turn!" He was, at the very least, slow.
So I'm in a big hand with Slow and Shep when things get weird. I have pocket aces in late position and when Shep raises it up to $15 buckaroos... I make it $30. It's a rediculous bet, but sure to have a few callers at a game like this.
Sure enough, Slow calls and Shep min raises to $60.
I re-raised it another $100...making it $130 to Slow.
That's when something weird happened.
One of Slow's other defining characteristicts is slurred and garbled speech. I DO know he started cursing about the re-raise. That's followed by him saying, "The only things I'm good at is fighting, fucking and playing pool!"
I told Slow I don't like to fight or play pool.
Then he asked, "Have you ever been slapped right the fuck outta your chair? Has that ever happened?"
Blood chimed in with, "Not as long as I'm sitting here," which I appreciated.
Otis, as I recall, dove for cover.
I offered to settle our still very bizarre misunderstanding with a punching contest. He hits Otis' left arm and I'll hit the right, first bruise wins.
Neither Otis nor Slow found that funny.
Then Slow mucks his hand and STORMS out of the room while Shep just calls.
The flop is J 9 3 rainbow and Shep bets another $60. I push.
Shep calls and shows Big Slick.
THEN SLOW RETURNS... SLOWLY
"MotherFUCKER!" he yells, when he sees the board, "You made me fold pocket 9s! I wouldda won!"
Sure enough he would've flopped a set. By my accouting, that means I played the hand exactly right, but Slow saw it otherwise.
It's difficult to say exactly what happened for the next 20 minutes or so because, again, Slow is hard to understand, but I do know he wanted to fight.
I tried to diffuse the situation. So did the dealer, the other 8 people at our table, the 10 people at the other table and the game host. Frankly, if there's anything the host wants LESS than he wants some jackass taking his player's money... its a fist fight... or worse.
Slow storms off again.
I haven't posted here in some time. In part, it's because I've been playing fairly well lately. Moreso, it's because I've been winning at a rather incredible (and admittedly unsustainable) rate for MONTHS. I'm careful about thinking I've become a decent player because I know success doesn't always mean skill... not in the short term anyway.
Besides, of all the G-Vegas bloggers, I am still BY FAR the worst player.
It just so happens that outside of our own poker circle there are literally hundreds of really really really HORRIBLE players who have a seemingly endless supply of OPTIMISM. I have a hard time passing that up.
By comparison, TheMark's brother hosts a very nice $200NL game on Monday nights. No rake, great room, almost no risk of getting busted or stabbed... but the players always include The Mark, The Rick, Blood, Otis, and myself. Throw in a MAXIMUM of 2 or 3 donkeys and you have a VERY tough table.
I can win a little, I hope, but the money will NEVER be nearly as good.
It reminds me of my best friend from back in college.
About midway through my junior year my buddy started growing pot... really... really... really GOOD pot. As a result he started making a LOT of untaxed cash. He rented a huge house and filled it with every gigantic and fancy electonic gadget known to man. He was the king of Lexington and everyone wanted a piece.
I remember asking him once, right before graduation, when he planned to give it up. Kinda weird now that I think about it. He said, "Pot isn't really addictive, I'm not worried about quitting when I decide it's time"
But I wasn't worried about the pot... I was worried about the cash.
Nothing is more addictive than cash.
So here's one of the smartest and most ambitious guys I know, still unemployed and still risking a few dozen years in prison... for the cash he can't give up. Sad really.
I never grew weed. And I missed out on most of the great trips and cool toys back in the day. Still, I'm pretty comfortable with the decision I made.
It isn't a moral decision really, but a question of SATISFACTION.
When people asked this kid what he wanted to be one day... "stoner" was never the answer.
But I wonder if I'm near that threshold with the "Spring Hotel."
It IS a dangerous game. The risk of getting busted is constant. Otis, Blood and I have all wondered at various times if the game was fixed.
But I LOOOOVE that cash.
Speaking of cash, as I wrap up the rambling nonsense, I'm BOOKED for Las Vegas.
I'm there August 2 thru August 6.
Look me up if you'll be in town.<-- Hide More
You haven't lived until you've heard the Bob Dylan/Guns 'N Roses classic infused with some zydeco-inspired accordian. Of course, if you're going to spend a Friday night in June at a Cajun Racino, you can't exactly complain about the music.
I felt a little out of place at Evangeline Downs tonight. My Playboy shirt and jeans was more suited for the posh (by Louisiana standards) Clubhouse than the smoke-filled, litter-covered grandstand. I also stood out because my shoes covered my toes and I didn't have a wad of chewing tobacco under my lip.
I wasn't there to impress anyway. I was there to pick the ponies.More in this Poker Blog! -->
Apparently when you spend a lot of time at the track, you begin to lose the ability to enunciate. My own, "Come on with that 1!" sounded downright British compared to the Acadiana slurs I was hearing through every race.
And it didn't work, either. The #1 horse, Peetiethepieman, got out to an early lead but failed to hold off Best Minister Yet. That cost me the win and the exacta. Had the 3 horse gotten up for third, I would have had the trifecta, but that didn't happen either. The near miss was a sign of things to come.
Perhaps my problem is that I don't punctuate every exclamation with a snap. That's the way the pros do it. You can spot the amateurs because they slap their hand with their program instead. Someday maybe I'll be a snapper.
The three horse didn't finish first, but he did win the race. Despite coming out of the turn swerving worse than Lindsey Lohan driving Tara Reid home on a Saturday night, #3 Taylor's Niner was not the one disqualified. It was #1 All Black, who was clearly the better before drifting inexplicably inward in front of the three before running away with it. The DQ kept my new Pick 3 alive, but the rest of the race was a loser.
I didn't cash my first ticket until the fifth race, and that was only because my longshot special was a late scratch and I got a refund. The next race, one of my top picks tossed his jockey right after the start. The horse finished strong though, crossing the line sans jockey about 30 lengths out. Thankfully, I did score a 4-1 win bet in the race to finally break the seal.
The Pick 3 from the 6th, 7th and 8th races paid a whopping $1760. I didn't have that bet.
I did however, fight my way back thanks to an offspring of a familiar racing name, Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Silver Charm. Going off at 5/2 was Private Charm. The big win bet was nice, but the $71 exacta, which I had 2.5 times, was even better.
Back in March, I closed strong, nailing a 42-1 shot. Tonight, there was no 42-1 shot worth betting. There was, however, an intriguing 6-1 horse that was hoping to break his maiden in his 5th race. All the other money was going to a horse that had already failed to win 10 times, but not mine.
My horse, #4 Preceaux, came across the line first, securing me a modest profit for the night. Unfortunately, it was the #2 horse and not the #1 that placed costing me an exacta in the $200 range. That's okay, though. As bad as my night started, I was more than happy to pull my one outer on the river.
Next time maybe I'll try the sandals, three-days-of-facial-hair-growth, spit-cup-carrying look and see if that helps me to a little more consistent night. I'm certainly working on my snapping!<-- Hide More
It's been a very long six days. I may elaborate at a later date, but for now suffice it to say, I've been on non-poker tilt for the better part of the last week. Last night around 8:30, my wife told me to shut off my computer. She didn't care what I did with my time, as long as I wasn't staring at a computer screen.
Half an hour later, I was in my car, drinking an energy drink, and calling BadBlood to see if he wanted to meet G-Rob at the Spring Hotel. Blood was otherwise busy and declined.
This morning, Blood sent an e-mail that led me to believe he was jonesing for a game last night and wanted a detailed recounting of last night's events.
All in all, it was a typical night. I walked away with no real stories. Still, I did my best to give Blood a vicarious romp through last night's session. What you'll find below the cut is not good writing, a good story, or even all that interesting. However, it is poker. So, I offer it in the spirit of letting everyone know I'm still alive, still on life-tilt, and sorry I'm not writing anything worth reading.
That is, I'm still playing, just not living a particularly interesting life right now.
Badblood wrote:Spare no details
(names changed to protect...well...me)
I got there late. Made a late decision to go and then got caught in I-765 traffic. Construction had closed down every southbound lane. It ended up taking me an hour to get there. When I walked in, the game was full (with Tallahassee sitting and Dominoes in line ahead of me). Tallahassee gave Dominoes his seat. I was already on tilt from the traffic and a bunch of other stupid shit. I didn't want to wait, but stood patiently while Tallahassee and A-Rod made the decision to make the game 11-handed and let me sit.
Seat 1: Tom-Tom (now sporting a full beard)
Seat 2: Unknown (missing one tooth, likely late 40s, dark hair, sorta fat, with a piece of gold bling around his neck)
Seat 3: Unknown (talkative guy, likely 50 with white hair and a weight problem)
Seat 4: Christy Snow (pretty MILF)
Seat 5: Dominoes The Pizza Guy
Seat 6: Twirly the Cable Guy (not sure if he is really a cable guy, but I get the impression he is. Thought I saw a cable work shirt on the back of his chair. Brown visor, cheap sunglasses)
Seat 7: Otis
Seat 8: Snow's husband
Seat 9: For the life of me, I can't remember
Seat 10: T (aka Leaf Guard)
Seat 11: G-Rob
G-Rob was wearing his i-Pod when I walked in, which usually indicates to me that he is on tilt. As he was sitting next to the world's most talkative dealer, I figured G-Rob was either stuck or the dealer was talking again about his lack of a belief in mystical powers. The dealer was wearing a shirt that said Hustler on it.
I squeezed into my seat and grabbed a beer from the fridge. This was an odd moment, because I usually sit down at the same time as G-Rob, or you, or somebody else I know in the game. We learn the dynamics together. This time, though, Rob was already two hours into the game. I caught a look in his eye. It's become very familiar. I was wrong. G-Rob wasn't on tilt. He was excited.
I stole a look at his stack. I don't know how much he was into the game for, but he had at least three buy-ins front of him. Again, it all felt very odd. It appeared that Rob had been running over the table. I learned (much later, and after Rob had left) that Rob had stacked one of the older guys after flopping a set of deuces and turning a full house. However, at the time, I had no idea what kind of game Rob was playing. One thing was clear, though. It was power poker. At one point, Dominoes bet into him on a three-heart board and Rob pushed every one of his chips in the middle. Dominoes eventually folded and Rob sighed in relief. "Did you have the flush?" Dominoes asked.
"I just wanted you to fold," Rob said, stacking chips.
Bullshit, I say.
I made a quick decision to not mix it up with anybody for a while. I was still on traffic tilt and Rob seemed to be running the game himself. His eyes seem to be imploring me to get into the action, at one point even saying out loud, "Otis!" when I folded my button to five limpers.
To be fair, I'd been getting dealt trash for the first hour and the table was proving it couldn't be bluffed. I didn't see any reason to further tilt myself by stacking off and re-buying so early.
I was paying less attention than I should. My entire point of going in the first place was to take my mind off other shit and just dissolve into a game. For the first hour, I wasn't having much success. G-Rob had control of the table and the last thing I wanted to was to fund his Vegas lost summer (any more than I do on any normal night).
My lack of attention caused me to miss most of the action on the hand that finally woke me up. The board read J96K. The king had just fallen on the turn and Leaf Guard had just check-raised Rob. Rob called and the pot was huge (maybe 2.5 buyins).
When another king came on the river, Leaf Guard made the worst mistake of the night. It's the worst mistake anyone can make against G-Rob. Leaf Guard checked the J96KK board. With maybe only the slightest moment hesistation, Rob dropped about the amount of a full buy-in in the pot.
I almost felt bad for Leaf Guard. He was going to have to call off almost his entire stack to see Rob's hand. Guard's mistake wasn't the check-raise on the turn. It was the check on the river. It screamed "I don't have the king." Rob could have rags and win the pot now.
Guard thought for a long time. Too long, I discovered. Somewhere in the tank, Guard found a way to convince himself that Rob had sixes full of kings. He said it out loud as he mucked.
I almost stood up and made the following offer: If G-Rob has two sixes in his hand, I will tattoo his name on my penis.
That is, I knew Rob didn't have sixes.
Rob slowly rolled over T8 for the busted open-ender. Power poker, bitches.
I am loathe to admit this, but for the first time ever, I developed a small man-crush on G-Rob.
Guard went into a slow burn after that and started working to try to get his money back from Rob. The last straw was calling a big raise from Rob and flopping a flush with with Q7 of spades. By the time the river came, Rob had made a king-high flush with his pocket kings.
Guard cashed out as did a couple of others.
The game started changing after that and settled into the second line-up of the night.
Seat 1: Unknown (talkative guy, likely 50 with white hair and a weight problem)
Seat 2: Unknown (missing one tooth, likely late 40s, dark hair, sorta fat, with a piece of gold bling around his neck)
Seat 3: Christy Snow (pretty MILF)
Seat 4: Dominoes The Pizza Guy
Seat 5: Twirly the Cable Guy (not sure if he is really a cable guy, but I get the impression he is. Thought I saw a cable work shirt on the back of his chair. Brown visor, cheap sunglasses)
Seat 6: Otis
Seat 7: Snow's husband
Seat 8: Muhammad's brother
Seat 9: Muhammad
Seat 10: G-Rob
An hour had passed and I hadn't opened a pot. As often happens, I started to get bored and put in a live straddle.
G-Rob seemed to sense my state of mind. He's seen it before and likely (and rightly) feared I was about to start playing badly.
Muhammad (note: not a reference to his ethnicity or religion) raised it up to 3x my straddle. Three people called before it got to me. I looked down at 5s7s and muttered, "What the fuck."
I called to see a flop of 25T, two spades. I put out a bet that was maybe 1/3 of the pot and only Muhammad called. My plan to thin the field had worked, but now I feared Muhammad was on two big spades. Even if my pair of fives was still good, the flush I wanted may not be.
And then the most beautiful thing happenend. The five of hearts fell on the turn. I bet out, hoping Muhammad would give up on his flush.
And then something changed. Muhammad raised me all but about $70 of my stack. My flush draw read, I decided, was way off. Buddha had to be sitting on a pair. I thought for about thirty seconds before saying, "Well, I guess it is going all-in on the river anyway." I pushed in all my money.
Now, Muhammad went in the tank. No flush draw, no five, for sure. I almost started kicking myself for driving him out of the pot. And then, thank you Muhammad, he called.
He never showed, but he said he had pocket nines. He had two outs and missed. I doubled up and started to get happy-happy.
About ten minutes later, Twirly came in for a raise. He's a tight guy and I made a decision early on to not play many pots with him. But then I looked down to find pocket kings.
You'll remember this moment from a game a few weeks ago...
As the game started to get short-handed (G-Rob and BadBlood had left), I picked up pocket kings in the cutoff. With two limpers to me, I made a standard raise. The button called. Sitting in the big blind, one of the house players re-raised. While the guys has a fairly wide range of starting hands, he's more of a calling station than re-raiser, so I put him on something big (AA,KK,QQ). His stack was fairly short (only $64 behind). I raised enough to put him all in and was fairly surprised to see the button call. As expected, the house player called. When the flop came down Qxx with two clubs, I knew I had no chance of winning the main pot. The house player certainly had either outflopped me or was ahead the entire time. I pushed in my stack and got the button to call with his AJ of clubs. He missed, which was good, because his missed draw almost made up for the money I lost to the house player. Oh, I didn't mention? The house player, indeed, held pocket aces to my pocket kings.
Twirly, obviously, is not a house player. Nor had I seen any evidence of anything nefarious going on. What's more, I'm not laying down pocket kings. I re-raised and the big white-haired guy in the one-seat called. The guy had been doing a lot of calling, then pushing after hitting top pair all night. Twirly then announced he was re-raising all-in. He'd been chatting with Dominoes while I was playing with my chips and I already knew Twirly held aces. I mean, I didn't KNOW, but I basically knew.
That's when I made a mistake. I don't think I was letting my read get to my hands, because the next thing I knew, I was doing what I would do if I thought Twirly held queens (still a possible holding, obviously). I was pushing all in (about two buy-ins) to isolate myself with him.
Long story short, my little "plan" worked. The big guy folded and Twirly showed me his aces.
"Surprise," I muttered.
The board opened up a lot of outs for me, but none of them came. I was back where I started the night.
I looked at G-Rob and said, "Statistics are funny."
Then Dominoes said something that made me laugh and it was all better.
"Statistics, funny? Well, nine out of ten times they are."
That's gold, bitches.
As the midnight hour passed, Rob began making his move to leave. We'd only played two pots together all night. The first one, I called with top pair weak, kicker to his second pair. The second one, he made a flush at the same time I made aces up (with a better second pair than was on the board). I paid him off on that one. I think he came out a few bucks ahead of me on the two hands. No big surprise there. He's always betting. I'm always calling.
As Rob cashed out, something occured to me.
He is killing the local poker economy.
You know the kind of heater he has been on recently. Add to that, last night he cashed out for more than five buy-ins. Again.
This kind of carnage may not be sustainable. If Rob (or anybody) continues to rape the tables like this on a consistent basis, the fish beds are going to dry up. There will be no more honey in that honey hole.<-- Hide More
Just not my night in the Mookie.
AA cracked by KQ... KKK flop.
AA cracked by 99 on the very next hand.
KK later cracked by 77.
And to think, I thought I was playing pretty well. And you all wonder why I get my money in behind.
Poker blows. Back to the ponies.
Ever get the feeling you are right on the edge of something? Every once in a while, I have some sort of premonition (not so much otherworldly as biological) that I'm either about to fall off a cliff or fall off a cliff and land in a featherbed full of millionaire virgins.
Or something like that.
And that is where I sit right now. It's a feeling of anticipation that I assume is brought on by the fact I'm heading out for the World Series of Poker in ten days. While not so much poker related, I sum up part of this presumption over at Rapid Eye Reality.
And there's something else, too. I feel like I am either on the verge of poker ruin or a big poker win. It's a bit of a dangerous place to be, I think. A few days ago, I chopped a large-for-the-locale live tournament for a nice little profit. That win came after two straight months of cash game losses. I've also been going deep in some of the larger online tournaments recently. Unfortunately, it's not been deep enough to...well, feel it.
I have no way to really explain how my noodle is working right now. At the halfway point in the year, I am stuck in cash games and comfortably in the black in tournaments. Frankly, I am not at all happy about it. I'd hoped to have my head on straight by now, but I'm like a whiplash victim without the benefit of pain killers.
Regardless, six weeks of Vegas looms. A large majority of that time will be spent working, but I'm hoping to work in a little cash game poker and a couple of WSOP events while I'm there.
I wish I had something more to offer in terms of critical thinking or storytelling. Right now, though, I got nothin'.
Here's to me hoping the cliff has a featherbed at the bottom.<-- Hide More
Who wants a piece of The Luckbox ™ ® © ?
I don't think there's a blogger in the blogosphere who can knock me out of the PokerStars World Blogger Championship of Online Poker. And I'm so confident that I've convinced Lee Jones himself to put a bounty on my head.
Bust me, and you get a seat into the WSOP 150 Seat Guaranteed tournament. That's right. Bust me, and get a great shot at a seat in the Main Event. If you don't know, that tournament entry fee is $370. That's how much faith Lee Jones has in me beating all of you. He's putting $370 of his own dollars on the line. It's not like they're making money hand over fist over there. They need every dollar they can scrape together in this difficult economy.
Think you've got what it takes? Just make sure you get in behind, because if I have outs, you're going down. I'm The Luckbox. And don't you forget it!
In completely unrelated news, I've been remiss in failing to link up the fine folks at Wicked Chops Poker. These guys got a great thing going over there. Plus, they just featured one of my favorite writers, Jen Leo (and that smile ain't half bad either!). So go check them out and maybe even add them to your bloglines, too.
I think I may know what's wrong with my poker game. I've lost all sense of patience. I'm looking for big hands to play for big pots to make big moves. I'm making terrible calls knowing I'm way behind just to play for all my chips. I need that quick gratification. That's not the way to win a tournament.
I blame the ponies.More in this Poker Blog! -->
Today, I won $1250 in 2 1/2 minutes. Poker is hard-pressed to match the kind of building excitement I got in watching my top pick, Jazil, come from dead last to first.
I remember when I won a $1700 pot in Tunica in a NL cash game, but then it was more a sense of relief when my opponent failed to turn over a better hand. I won a tournament at the MGM last time we were all in Vegas, after making a questionable, but profitable call. I guess I was in more disbelief than anything else after the cards fell that time.
Today, my blood was pumping. The adrenaline was as much as I've ever felt at a poker table. It started and was over faster than most of your biggest poker hands last.
When I bet a race card, it's 2 minutes of pure adrenaline broken up by 20 minutes of intense consideration. At the poker table, it's long periods of mind-numbing folding broken up by flashes of excitement.
This is dangerous territory I'm entering. If I'm looking for the best place to gamble my money based on the best rush I receive, I might as well throw dice, or worse yet, play the Roulette wheel. Gambling shouldn't be primarly about the rush.
Lots of compulsive gamblers rely on that rush to remind them they're alive. It fills a gap in their life. They're constantly willing to risk everything they have because it won't matter whether they win or lose, it's that moment in which their future is balanced on a needle that they seek.
I haven't been playing as much poker recently, but I have been betting the ponies more often. In many cases, they're bets based on little-to-no information, which is akin to playing the lottery. If that's all I'm doing, I might as well hit a NL table and push with any two cards. I would never do that, so why am I doing this?
I don't want to live for the rush. Part of me thinks I should step away from all gambling for a week or so. Or maybe I should just prove to myself that the discipline exists. Maybe I should get back into a few tourneys and play the way I know how. Maybe I should refrain from betting any race unless I've spent good time handicapping it.
I can beat the Rush. I don't think it has me yet.<-- Hide More
You may remember when I introduced Jena a few weeks back. It turns out that the HAMMER is now a regular part of her tournament strategy. Here's an email she sent me:
Mike & I played in a local tournament Sunday afternoon. I was the big blind on my fifth hand of play when the hammer struck. There were six callers so there was $700 in the pot when I finally looked at my cards. I tried to refrain from laughing as I raised to $300 and got four callers. The flop comes 72Q rainbow. The turn is A and we are down to two players. The river seals the deal with a 2! The showdown comes --- my opponent flips over AK proudly until all eyes fall dumbfounded to my ducks full of 7's. I begin to laugh raking in a monster pot as the muttering begins --- Mike is at the next table and yells, "Don't gloat!"
I end up taking second place winning a cool $1,050.
Thanks for the lesson!
Well played, Jena... and if you'd like any more lessons, you know how to find me!
It was as crazy as I've ever seen. I had AA and KK in the first 10 hands but had T1020 when they were over. I fought my way back until I attempted to bust wil with my weak AK vs. his TT. Down to next to nothing, I pushed 7 times before getting called. Of course, when Waffles called me, I finally had a legit hand (JJ) and it held up. Suddenly I was in 2nd.
But then again, I wouldn't have been in that spot except for one of my top five all time suckouts a little earlier in the tourney:
I hold JJ and get all in with Waffles after a flop of 5c 6c 7c. I didn't have a club, but I knew Waffles didn't have two. I did, however fear he had one. Had I gotten the chance to push first, I don't think there's anyway he calls with pocket deuces (one of them a club). But there it was, I was ahead, but afraid. I was 55% to win and Waffles 40%. The turn was a 9 of clubs. Ugh. Suddenly, Waffles was 81%. I thought I was drawing dead.
But I forgot I'm The Luckbox.
The Q of clubs on the river chopped it up. It was a pivotal point for me and I'm sure it didn't make Waffles happy. Now he'll post about his 81%.
My tournament went all wrong when I battled wil again. This time I had KK and he had the weak AK. Of course, he flopped one Ace and turned another and I was crippled again. Thankfully, I slipped into the final table and cashed in 8th. It was a crazy tourney.
It was my worst fear realized.
Out-chipped and heads up in a HORSE tourney against The Princess. As I told her when heads up began, she had the advantage in 4 of the 5 games, and maybe all five.
Thankfully, I managed to hold my own during the last five mintues of Stud 8 before it moved into that lovely 2 card game. I chipped back up and even took a brief chip lead before running smack dab into trip 6s. I wanted to convince myself, that based on the betting, there was no way she hit the 66x flop. Of course, I was wrong and suddenly short stacked.More in this Poker Blog! -->
That's when I started catching cards. The turning point was A4. I flopped top pair, but had no idea Heather flopped two pair with K2. I turned a 4 however and doubled up. A few hands later, my Q8s turned a flush against Heather's top pair and suddenly, I had myself a good chip lead.
Then that crazy 4 card game arrived. All I wanted to do was not make stupid plays. I think I managed to win the first hand and had Heather in big trouble. She chipped up once or twice to cut it to a 3-to-1 chip lead and then it happened. The Luckbox emerged.
Playing for what I thought would have been the best low, I turned a diamond flush draw. Heather was so low I knew she was going to play for her whole stack. I announced that I was going to need a suckout and put her all in. The diamond on the river sealed the deal.
Had it not come, Heather would have cut my lead to about 2-to-1 and I would have been staring down the barrel of Razz, Stud and Stud 8. There's not enough luck in the world to help me through that minefield.<-- Hide More
I don't understand it, I tell myself. My kind of gamble is a semi-bluff with twelve outs twice. My kind of gamble is eating the pizza that's been sitting in the box overnight. My kind of gamble is not equipped for what's happening in the room around me.
See, it's nighttime and I've not been sleeping well. The beds and pillows are the kind that will eventually pleasure-slap me into a plane-missing coma. But for now, I need Monaco beer and 18 hours worth of work to feel at all sleepy.
But, you know, now I do feel a little bushed. I feel like I could take a little nappy nap. But I can't, because this room is just too full of action.
No, I don't get it. It's electric like a Kansas thunderstorm. It is as sick and stimulating as a bloody car wreck. And my feet and knees are throbbing, but I'm not leaving the room. Hell, no.
Because, this isn't the kind of thing you see when your home game breaks up. This isn't your drunk neighbor betting your other drunk neighbor $20 he can hit a three-pointer with his eyes closed.
And, hell, this isn't even what's happening behind me. Yeah, behind me, Greg "Fossilman" Raymer is now heads-up with Per "Nemo" Ummer. They're finishing up a $10,000 sit and go. And Raymer, he's going to win it. He's going to win like $60,000 or $70,000 and not blink.
Greg Raymer faces Per Ummer in a pick-up SNG
Yeah, the buy-in to that one was merely ten grand. That's the kind of kiddie bets they were making at table five. (Later, the boys wouldn't feel enough of the action and up the buy-ins to $20,000 and $30,000).
No, right now, the action is all Chinese.
Martin de Knijff, Ram Vaswani, Erik Sagstrom, and Patrik Antonius are playing Chinese Poker, and though there is no money on the table, the ever-changing score sheet and the vast amount of attention being paid to it is indication enough that this game is off the charts.
High stakes Chinese Poker
I'm not even sure what rumors to believe any more. Is it $1,000 a point? Three grand a point? I don't know anymore. I just know that this game has been going on forever. The players have ordered pizzas and they've gone through three or four sweaters a piece.
And, really, fuck this 'one player to a hand' rule. I'm not even sure who is playing anymore, because it seems everybody and their brother is setting the players' hands for them. Girlfriends are there. Wives are there. It's an ever-changing cast of charcaters where the only constant is that this ... is....fucking...crazy.
Martin de Knijff and his sweater set his Chinese hand
What's crazy is that I barely understand the rules of the game. Somebody called it Rich Man's Pai Gow. And yeah, I know the concept behind all of it, but I wouldn't sit down and play for $5 a point, let alone risking my bankroll ten or fifteen hands.
Of course, these guys aren't risking their bankroll. These guys are all millionaires. In some cases, they are millionaires many times over.
What's more, these guys think they have an edge on each other. Somebody said, "Ram is the live one." And, yeah that was supposed to be the case. Ram was supposed to be the gambler among the gamblers. But, other rumors have the story going another way.
Yeah, that's the story. Ram is winning, man. Ram is winning big. And he's going to keep playing this game until this little festival is over. And yeah, somewhere down the road, Raymer is going to take a break from killing the high-stakes SNGs and he is going to start setting Ram's hands for him. Because, in the parlance of the some of the young railbirds, that's how these guys roll.
Me? Well, I want one of those pizzas with the big hunks of cheese. And I want to be setting my own hands while a line of nubile Nordic women wait in line to whisper in my ear what a fucking stud I am. And I want to drink beer while my wife sleeps in the heavenly bed upstairs, patiently waiting for me to come up and tell her I just won a couple hundred grand, but no big deal because you would've loved me if I'd lost it.
No, I don't want that. I want to stand here with throbbing feet and broken knees and live vicariously through these guys. Why? Because I'm not a gambler.
No, that's not quite right. I AM a gambler, but I'm not this kind of gambler. I'm something else that I've already forgotten about.
Now, I have to remind myself that, beyond being a gambler, I'm a writer. Or, at the very least, I have deluded myself into believing I'm a writer. And THAT is why...THAT is why, I tell myself, I am standing here at three o'clock in the morning. Because THIS is the kind of thing that people don't see.
The question is, does anyone really want to watch this? I mean, these guys are talking, but quietly. They are winning money, but the casual observer can't tell how much, because it is all on paper. Only the winners are going to tell you if they won. And, still, there will never be an accurate accounting of what's going on here.
And yet, I sit and watch. Not because I'm a gambler. Not because I'm a writer. No, I sit and watch because I can't stop.
And, that, I tell myself, is reason enough to stay.<-- Hide More