Playing the Hammer is a skill borne over time. But some people seem to take to it fast than others. Jena is one of those players. I first wrote about her back in May when I sat next to her at a table in New Orleans. It's there that I introduced her to the most powerful hand in poker.
It wasn't long before she was using it to her advantage. And now, she's done it again:More in this Poker Blog! -->
I just had to get my poker fix before I come to join you in Vegas. I was playing the single table tournaments. The first tourney ended up with me and Cindy heads up. We were rather friendly and we got to talking about our favorite hands in poker. While we played, I told her the story of my first exposure to the Hammer (under the tutelage of CJ).
When Cindy wanted to know if I continued to play the Hammer, I answered with a laugh and said, "Ah, not really--all the players at my regular game have read the blog--I only play it when I am on the button now."
Cindy and I went on to chop first and second for a nice $470 each. We soon met on another table that morning. I landed the prized button. I did not look at my cards until the action was on me. I had to suppress a smile when the peek revealed 72o. There were two limpers ahead of me when I called as did the blinds.
The flop came 3A9, rainbow. Both players checked to me. I immediately raised to $400. Both blinds folded, followed by the first limper in early position. He threw down his cards disguised and threw me "the Look." The last limper folded and I took down the pot.
Just before stacking my chips, I flipped over the Hammer for all to see. This caused the early limper to exclaim, "You did not play that!" And began to boil at having laid down the best hand to the Hammer. I laughed and told him, "Now, we've broken the ice at this table." Cindy began to laugh and recanted my first exposure to the Hammer to the other players.
Jena arrives in Vegas tomorrow. We'll see how many Hammers she drops this week!<-- Hide More
I'm not sure why Phil decides it's a good idea to miss the first two hours of play, but that's exactly what he did again this year. Perhaps he enjoys the attention more than the chance to chip up early against some terrible dead money players.
When Phil finally arrived at 2:13pm, he had lost a tenth of his stack. The first hand he played he ran his pocket J's into Randy Jensen's pocket Q's. The second hand he played he ran his pocket K's into pocket A's. And at 2:23pm, we got our first, "You've got to be kidding me!!"
He still had chips and started to build back up, until he ran into a few more hands and found himself short stacked right before the second break. In fact, it was the last hand before they stretched their legs for 20 minutes.
Phil got himself all in with AQ and ran into 77. The board never got higher than an 8 and Phil busted. He seemed as calm as can be expected as he shook the hands of the player who busted him and the others at his table. Unfortunately, some jackass in the crowd chose that point to heckle him.
"You got real class, buddy," Phil told him, as he walked toward the bleachers. There he shook more hands before walking out of the room. I guess there's irony in Phil saying that to someone in the crowd, but this WSOP featured a kinder, gentler Phil. Too bad he showed up so late, otherwise he might still be alive.
It's day #1 for the Main Event, and it's predictably crazy. The total number of entrants has topped 8500 and it continues to climb. In fact, you'll be able to enter yourself all the way up until the first level on Monday.
I've been doing floor work today for the PokerStars blog. It's been fun. I've found some good stories of players who are a lot like you and me. They were just fortunate enough to win their seat. One table I've been sweating has 5 PokerStars qualifiers in a row. They've developed a bit of a bond. Of course, that doesn't mean they won't felt them if they have a chance.
I don't think there's a whole lot of other "fun" stuff on the schedule tonight, but once I get a chance, I'll do a picture tour of the ladies at all the WSOP expo booths. You're welcome in advance, Drizz.
URGENT!!!: Otis makes the final table!!!!!!
This is a complete violation of the WSOP rules and could result in my dismissal from the event entirely.
But I've always been known to challenge authority, so here it goes.
Thanks to my untimely exit from the Media Event, you'll get "live" updates of the remaining last-longer participants. Here's how we stand:
Tuscaoosa Johnny: 1900
Live updates below....More in this Poker Blog! -->
9:26pm: Alas, it is over. Otis tried a steal from the small blind with T3o but the BB called in a shot with just K9s. Otis had more than enough chips to cripple the guy, but it didn't seem to matter to him. Well played, Otis!
9:18pm: Otis is at the final table meaning he's won at least $100 for a charity of his choice and could win up to $10K for his charity. He's got 30K, which is slightly above average with 9 left, but his M is terrible, meaning everyone's M is terrible. He's actually sitting about 4th in chips or so.
By the way, in the memory of our good friend, Chris Gulfman, Otis' donation will go to the American Cancer Society.
8:55pm: Otis skillfully draws two people all in preflop while in the Big Blind holding Q's. That takes real skill folks. Like Harrington-skill. They hold up against Denny Crum's KQ and some guy's 77 and Otis is now the chipleader at about 50K, that's more than a 5th of the chips in play with 13 left.
8:35pm: Quick gallery:
8:31pm: We're down to 18 players and on break. I just witnessed a three-way all-in: AJ vs. TT vs. QT. Any guesses on what won? A Queen on the river sent two packing. Otis has about 19K and his M is about 4 when we get back (blinds are 1000/2000/300). There are three short stacks alive and a number of players close to Otis.
8:10pm: Cindy is out, thanks, in part, to Otis. She got in with AJs vs. a shorty's JT and Otis called with 66. A 10 on the turn gave the shorty the main pot but the side pot went to Otis and Cindy was out. The plan was to have her tilt Otis by saying, "I kissed Isabelle Mercier last night," but Otis never really gave her the chance. Otis is still at about 20K.
7:55pm: Otis is HUGE! He crippled the lovely Cindy Margolis when he caught trip K's and she had Aces up. But she fought back a few hands later, A6 vs. A9. Flop came down 6-high, but I said, "Dealer, she needs a 9." And guess what? Otis is at about 20K or so.
7:29pm: Tragedy strikes. Change100's AJ ran into QQ and she's down to T350. Blinds are somewhere around 1000000/2000000 or something. Needless to say, she's all in as soon as the break's over. Otis is still looking strong, although I think I'm going to give Cindy Margolis some ammunition to tilt him.
7:24pm: URGENT NEWS!!! Otis, now holding the Luckbox, has more than doubled up and now has more than 6K. Change100 is holding steady at 4500. They'll be a lot easier to follow now that they're at the same table. In fact, only Cindy Margolis separates them. It's like a Cindy Margolis threesome there. Sorry, Drizz. In other news, Change100 now has the Luckbox.
7:18pm: The Luckbox lives!! Well, at least in someone else's hands. I let Change100 borrow it and her A2 tripled up against KT and QJ with a flop of Q22. She's up over 5K now. Otis needs help, and is currently in possession of said Luckbox.
7:10pm: Otis falls. His A5s from the SB runs into pocket 8's and only a 5 on the turn is not enough. He's back down to about 1500. Change100 has 1650. And that "Hollywood Blonde" I mentioned? Well, I got a better look and it's Cindy Margolis, the most downloaded woman on the internet. Drizz, pictures forthcoming.
7:00pm: URGENT!!! Otis doubles up with a pair of 6's on the river and takes a commanding lead over Change100. In other, non-last-longer related news, the uber-hottie Shannon Elizabeth (sporting her new Full Tilt gear) is alive with a big stack. I'd give you a smokin' hot picture, but I don't have the time. Sorry, Drizz.
6:54pm: We have a casaulty. Tuscaloosa Johnny is out. Not only that, Change100 ran her pocket T's smack dab into some Hollywood Blonde's pocket J's (is there irony there?). She's down to 2000 and Otis is at 1975. It's gonna be tight for the last longer!
6:50pm: I'm in the media room which is a long way from the tournament room. By the time I get there and back, we'll jump 6 levels in tournament and everyone will likely be out. But here goes... be back in a minute...<-- Hide More
Let me start by saying that Change100 is a bit of a wimp. Here was the challenge:
She grabs Phil Gordon's ass (and we were within grabbing distance) and I'll get punched by Jose Canseco.
Her part of the deal was easy, mine would take a little work. The plan was to go up to Jose and say, "Ozzie? Ozzie Canseco??? Man, you must be back on the juice, you look great!" Ozzie is Jose's significantly less talented doppleganger. And that says a lot consider Jose doesn't have much more talent than where to stick the needle.
It never happened. Instead, we got a great show from the Pussycat Dolls. That's right, Drizz, I'm sorry, we saw the Pussycat Dolls without you. And, yes, they were spectacular. Unfortunately, I left my camera in my room, so hopefully I'll get to steal one from Change100.
In case you're wondering, this was all happening at the Full Tilt Poker WSOP Gala at Pure at Ceaser's Palace. I was lucky enough to be the lovely Jen Leo's "+1". The most interesting hello from the evening was a Gavin Smith middle finger 6 inches from my face while having a conversation with Howard Lederer's stepmother. Yesh, he didn't know who it was.
Today is the Media Event and maybe an Absolute Poker party tonight, courtesy of the lovely Jen Tidwell and the great people at Absolute. I've got my Luckbox with me and I'm feeling pretty lucky. More to come...
Since all of you punks (except Drizz) got your chance to do Vegas earlier this month, I'm taking my revenge by spending 12 days there and getting paid to do it.
I'll wait a moment for your intense jealousy to build up.
Okay, you've had enough time. Not only am I going to be immersed in the WSOP Main Event, but I'm going to get to play in the Media event and I'll be hitting up the hottest WSOP parties I can find (thanks Jen and Jen!) And I'll be throwing down a grand of my own money to play in the August 3rd NLHE event. Finally, I'll be working side-by-side with the best poker bloggers in the business.
If you're running the "Otis at the WSOP" graphic in your sidebar, feel free to update to the new one:
Here's the code: http://www.upforanything.net/poker/OtisWSOP.jpg
Expect to see the bulk of our work over at the PokerStars blog, but I promise they'll be plenty left over for Up For Poker. See ya on the other side of Sin City!
Two months ago, I wrote my Congressman. Today, I got an e-mail back. A form e-mail no less. Congratulations, Bob. You've tied yourself to an issue that makes sure you'll never pull me into your fold.
Thank you for contacting me about the Internet Gambling Prohibition and Enforcement Act (H.R. 4411). The explosion of internet gambling sites requires that restrictions be placed on gambling practices that violate the federal prohibition on interstate gambling transactions.
On November 18, 2005, Representative James Leach (R-IA) introduced H.R. 4411 to crack down on the growing problem of illegal, off shore gambling, as well as illegal gambling that crosses state lines using telephone lines and Internet technologies. On July 11, 2006, this bill passed the House floor by a bipartisan vote of 317 to 93. Representative Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) introduced H.R. 4777, identical to H.R. 4411, but in a different committee. Upon House passage of H.R. 4411, the two bills have been combined into one, and now the legislation awaits action in the Senate.
Every state holds the power to allow or prohibit gambling of any kind within the borders of that state. The problem with internet gambling is that companies operate their customer service and financial operations from foreign locations. The Internet Gambling Prohibition and Enforcement Act will bring the current ban against interstate gambling in line with new technologies. That is why I support H.R. 4411 and why I became a cosponsor.
Thank you again for contacting me. Please visit the Fourth District Web site (www.inglis.house.gov/) for more information or to post and read comments on today's top issues.
Bob Inglis<-- Hide More
Whatever happened to the wide world of poker blogs? There was a time, not too long ago, when I could kill an entire workday reading your fantastical tales. Sadly, that time has passed. There are, of course, some of you who never miss a beat. You're still on my daily reading list. Some of you, however, have dropped right of the face of the Earth and are simply munching away space on our poker blogroll.
I suggest, and of course CJ actually MAKES decisions like this, that it's almost time to pare it all down.
Get writing or get out.More in this Poker Blog! -->
HERE'S WHAT I ASK
This isn't a blogroll question, but just for my use.
What poker blog should I check and read at least once a week?
Please don't nominate your own. And, for the record, there are some you don't need to suggest...
I already catch every update of Iggy, Maudie, Pauly, BadBlood, BG, Derek, and Al.
(CJ's note: The blogroll is just about due for some weed-pulling so the flowers are a little easier to see. Don't let yours die on the vine. The grass is always greener on the other side. And a rolling stone gathers no moss.)<-- Hide More
Not long ago, when I was on quite a roll in those WWdN tourneys, I was SO confident in my play (at least as compared to Wil's) that I made him a wager. If he outlasted me, I said (or typed), I'd write a piece of "Star Trek" fan fiction.
But, because it's a slow news day, here's the story nonetheless.
LONG LIVE WESLEY CRUSHER!
He always heard hum. Even in the vacuum of space, there was always a hum. Wesley Crusher was smart enough to know there was no sound in space, but so goddamn bored with his life in it, that every moment sounded like a mechanical yawn.
For 18 hours, sitting on the bridge last night, Wesley took the helm. It's almost unthinkable for Starfleet, for the ENTERPRISE, to allow someone so young to take such an awesome job, but Wesley was unimpressed. It 18 hours, with his spine cracking in chairs that hadn't been improved with 4 centuries of science, Wesley turned the ship 18 degrees to port.
Space is fucking dull, and Wesley needed a buzz.More in this Poker Blog! -->
Perhaps it's fitting, thought Wesley, that while surrounded by nothing, I've befriended a robot. Back home, back on Earth, there are millions of people with real human relations, kids my age have dates and watch holographic movies and skip school. Out here, I play chess with an android.
Data was in his quarters, which were unremarkable but strange. He had a bed but didn't sleep, a sonic shower that he couldn't use (partially because Data was the only person on the ENTERPRISE who could actually HEAR the shower which is disconcerting, even for an android) and a entire closet of fashionable casual clothes wich Data always spoiled by wearing his Starfleet uniform underneath. Everyting about his tin can home spoke to his desire for humanity and his distance from it.
"You know," said Wesley after showing himself in, "I think I've found a way to make your feelings, human feelings, show." Wes was digging into the pockets of his regulation unitard, fumbling for something that was stuck inside.
"Really?" asked Data with one magic marker eyebrow arched in excitement.
"For people," Wes continued, still distracted by something too large for his left front pocket, "the best way to feel is to stop thinking at all." Only Data could have understood the last few words, mumbled THEN SHOUTED, as Wesley finally wrestled his prize free from a tricky corner. "Humans have been escaping their thoughts for centuries."
Wes then handed an old, and badly worn, paper copy of a 21st century book to his now baffled android friend. "Bonus Code Iggy: A Midget in Amsterdam" was on loan to the ship as part of a cultural mission to Alpha Centauri.
"This guy Iggy, he was, like, 3 feet tall, but he once smoked enough hash to stun Atilla's horde!" Wes was noticably excited, he kept grasping the top of his greasy hair and then rubbing the Astro-Gel into his filthy Ensign jumper. Wes spent months grunging up this particuar outfit, and then hiding it from his mother, because having a dirty StarFleet uniform was a special sign of independence. It was also exceptionally difficult in an age where laundry technology surpassed that of good taste and, for that matter, office furniture.
"And this 'hash' will make me FEEL human?" Data wondered.
"I think it will," Wesley guessed.
It's commonly know that StarFleet has the strictest and most rigid drug testing policies in the known universe. When a four-legged amphibian Cephaloid from engineering tried doubling his pain medication after a freak accident invloving a hooker, Romulan wine, and a Michael Flatley hologram, Captain Picard had him exiled to a foreign moon. But, somehow, Wesley was certain there was no longer any screen for an ancient herb that was now so uncommon that even he, the ambitious slacker, wasn't exactly sure what "hash" looked like.
It was still early enough in the afternoon that the ship's elegant bar was almost bare. Only the grusome dreadlocked barkeep stood guard, blocking Wesley from his prize. "Data," he said, "we need a diversion. Talk to her, keep that damn woman busy. I need 5 minutes at the replicator."
And Wesley was gone, a quick time dash for the food machiene that turned human waste into bacon and eggs. Wesley's friends on Earth always called it the "Defecator," which, in a sense, it was.
"So Guinan," Data said as he sidled up to the bar, "I noticed you don't bathe like the other crew, why is that?"
"The voices," answered Guinan.
"I HEAR THEM TOO!" said Data, no certain he wasn't alone.
"I can hear that damn thing whispering, talking about my body," said the troubled and filthy barkeep.
"I always thought it was just a hum," admitted Data.
Meanwhile Wesley found himself alone at the replicator, his treasure a few mumbled antiquites away. "Replicatior," he demanded, "I need 8 ounces of premium hash!" And then he backed away, not knowing what to expect.
"I'm sorry," answered the machiene in it's infinitely snobbish know-it-all machiene voice, "Hash isn't on the menu Ensign Crusher."
Wesley was crushed, or Crushered as his poker buddies like to tease, he hadn't planned on negotiating with a smart assed machiene. That is, except for Data, but Data was jonesing and wanted to score as much as Wes.
"Machine," said Wesley with insincere patience, "I didn't aske about the menu. I've come her on a secret mission from Captain Picard, and it's imperitive for the survival of this mission. I NEED HASH!"
Wesley then stomped his foot in the way that centuries before was a sign of a petulant child. Wesley thought it gave him an element of machismo. He was wrong, of course, but luckily it didn't matter to a machine.
"One moment while I assemble your selection," answered the machine.
Wesley looked around nervously and, at the moment noticed the ships bearded first mate strutting toward him.
"Wesley!" he cried in genuine surprise.
"Hello Piss," greeted Wes.
For the ten millionth time, Wil Riker was glad for his most recent promotion. While he hated being known as "Piss," life was far worse when the Captain called him "Number 2".
"Shouldn't you be preparing for the academy?" wondered the surprisingly un-offended giant.
"Shouldn't you seriously FUCK OFF!" yelled Wes clearly disturbed by the stress of this almost bust.
Just then, with a computer's impeccable timing, the replicator guggled, belched, and then unveiled a brown cube of something neither spaceman had seen before, "Ensign Crusher," it said, "your hash is ready."
"Hash?" Wes and Will both said at once.
"Ummm, err, yeah, hash," said Wes, "it's for mom, she needs it for some treatment in sickbay."
"Carry on!" barked Will, obviously glad that he'd found a way out of a personal conversation and even more happy that he'd done so in the form of a starship command. "Get that hash below and then report back to me!"
"Wil do....", grumbled Wes, "piss off."
And Piss, pissed off.
Back in the quarters he shared with his mother Wesley made Data sit next to him on the floor. Doctor Beverly Crusher was asleep in the next room and that DAMN HUM was just loud enough to muffle their business. He couldn't even hear his mother's famous snore.
Wes spread his secret stash on the carpet between them and found a StarFleet handy lite to spark it. "Are you ready to feel human?" he asked his robot friend.
"I have been, Wesley, for longer than you've been alive."
"Here goes nothing..." said Wes, who grabbed a fistful of the warm brown goo and placed it on a fork. He held a small flame to the tip of the fork and watched as a small stream of thin black smoke rose from the top.
Wes was so excited, he droped his hash on the floor.
"Nothing to worry about," he said to Data, who wasn't worried, "we've got plenty more."
This time Wesley grabbed an even bigger chunk, a quarter-ounce at least and jammed it on the fork. His eye were wide as the smoke rose again, and wider still...when his mother's door opened.
"Wesley!" said a voice coming from withing his mother's silk robe.
"Um...mom?...I can explain"
"Don't bother," said Captain Picard now stepping from the shadows, "I know what you're up to."
Wesley went limp, even limper than usual, which is an amazing feat for a boy voted most likely to de-evolve into jello by the boys at Sister Mabel's Interstellar Prep. This would be the end of his life for sure.
But then Picard, always a surpising man, grabbed the fork from Wesley's hand and crammed the brown mass into his mouth.
"My mother had a better recipie," he said, "but Corned Beef is always good."
With that, the captain headed back to his bed of sin, and Wesley looked at his robot friend.
"You were right," said Data, "I feel... embarrased."<-- Hide More
Because you know if you were in little Peyton's shoes, you'd want people to help you.
Because you know if you won the WSOP Main Event, you'd make sure some of your riches went to help someone like Peyton.
Because that's just what Bobby Bracelet would do, and who doesn't want to roll like him?
Get out your poker bankrolls again and pull off a few bills. We've got some outstanding new additions to the ForPeyton auction and you only have a few days left to bid!More in this Poker Blog! -->
It's just after 9am in Vegas. I woke up two and half hours ago and haven't been able to go back to sleep. Four weeks into a 6.5 week stay, there are too many faces, names, and win/loss records to keep in my head. When I shudder awake from a dream of dismembering the corpse of a very nice and dedicated poker player, I know it's time to stay awake, the eventual fatigue be damned. I mentioned I have many stories to tell. Right now, though, the outline in my head is a bit blurry. Still, there are things in my head that want out.More in this Poker Blog! -->
"Motherfucking loser," he muttered through a double vodka and thick undetermined accent. This guy is short, swarthy, likely in his early 40s, and a much-too-familiar face around the Amazon Ballroom.
"Floor!" The dealer, a tight-rule white boy, was having none of the fuck-talk. There are rules around here and saying fuck happens to be in violation of one, unless you're playing in a cash game, in which case it's okay to say cocksucking motherfucking motherfucker. However, in tournaments, saying fuck will get you ten minutes of stolen blinds and rail-steam.
Because the guy wouldn't shut up otherwise, I was happy to see him on the rail for ten minutes. I wasn't in the mood to hear him coffeehouse with the Asian guy at the other end of the table.
There are tons of these guys around the room. Some are fun, like the afro-topped black man who shoves online poker hats on his head and drinks brandy from a snifter. One night he told me, "If you don't like a song, don't listen to it." The advice came in response to absolutely nothing I'd said. He just said it, and, at the time, I took it as some of the most sage wisdom I'd heard in days.
There's the hillbilly. He looks to have no teeth. He has a face that would send Phillip-Morris' stock tumbling. He wears free t-shirts and a hat that looks like it was fashioned by an old lady in Appalachia. He always looks angry, but that could be a by-product of his toothlessness. He's always here, but I've never seen him in a game.
There are lots of those people. Some poker players describe them as parasites. They feed on the misery that bubbles up underneath the bracelet-winning celebrations and million-dollar wins. They are sports-bettors, tax-shelters, underground businessmen who know how much money is in the room and know they can get a piece if they hustle just right.
Fuck-man is always saying fuck. It's his adjective, his verb, his noun. He's in games as often as he can get in. He's a baby whale, seeming to always have money to blow, but not enough to get him in the real games. He's the type of guy that is always allowed to buy into $500-max games for $1,500. He is action animated.
When he got back to the table, he busted out in fifteen minutes and asked the table if anyone had ever spent any time in the Clark County jail. He was drunk and ready to drive.
In the weeks since I first ran into fuck-man, I've taken to viewing him as the icon that symbolizes the part of the World Series of Poker that you don't see in Harrah's commercials.
Two nights ago, as I walked down an empty corridor, I watched the guy steal two things from a vacant vendor booth. I looked for security, but by the time I found a guard, the guy had bagged his booty and made tracks for the door, a common petty thief with a penchant for the word fuck.
Thievery here comes in many forms. Last night, a friend's laptop was stolen. That and fuck-man's early-morning heist are the most blatant form of crime. The hustlers, con men, and impersonators work out of radar's reach. By the time you realize who they are, they are gone, mere whispers of your future embarassment. I've not yet fallen victim, but I'm always wary of the people I meet.
That is a long way of saying, there is a less-than-quiet desperation at the WSOP that you won't see in a segment of The Nuts on ESPN. There are people for whom you would refuse to open your front door in the middle of the day. There are people you would let borrow your car--only later to find that borrow meant steal and you had police reports to fill out.
I'm fortunate that I've found many good and sane peoople here that help me stay level-headed. I had a wonderful conversation last night with the wife of a poker pro who personifies what makes up a good person. Still, there is a sickness here. There has been a lot of talk about how Harrah's and ESPN have turned a one-time gamblers' convention into a corporate, homogengized money machine. A lot of that talk is true.
But what you won't see unless you're here for more than a couple of days is that this giant corporate machine is still more wild west than it is new big business.
I am no victim, yet. Here's to hoping I make it through the next three weeks with money in my pocket, a firm grasp on my morality, and the ability to sleep for more than a few hours without waking up to nightmares.<-- Hide More
Okay, I'm lying. Full Tilt Poker is not auctioning off their hottest property. But... win this auction and you'll get to see her looking as hot as possible.
It's your chance to win an invitation for two to the Full Tilt Poker WSOP Gala. Expect to see all the pros and celebrity-hangers-on you can imagine. It's bound to be one of the hottest parties of the summer.
Of course, none of that really matters. What matters is that your bid can help change the life of a little girl who lost her mother to a rare form of cancer. It's the latest item in the ForPeyton.com auction.
So if you're going to be in Vegas, or get can to Vegas, on July 26th, get your bid in now!
Just in time for Vegas, it's my new card protector:
It measures 3 1/2" x 1 1/4" so it's small enough so that it won't completely cover my cards. Let's hope it does its job!
Now less abridged!
I have five minutes until I get on a plane back to Vegas. I have more stories from the past three weeks than I will ever be able to write. I don't have time to tell this story, but something inside me is dying to start.More in this Poker Blog! -->
"It's always hotter in the parking garage," I said. The Mark had to pee, Wil should've been sleeping, and Spaceman was on a three-week waking binge that even Pauly couldn't handle. We had just crossed the street into the Gold Coast parking garage. The idea was a simple one. We didn't want to play big. We wanted to play little. We wanted to play $5 Pai Gow.
"I've stayed here before," Wil said as we passed the registration desk.
"No, you haven't," I said. I was sober, save a couple beers and a shot of tequila that some photographer found in the back of a trailer. The photog said they had a frozen drink machine in there, too.
Into the pit. We walked like a thirty-something version the Resevior Dogs, without the black suits or violent demeanors. We were like Swingers, but without the good looks and hip banter. We walked like low-rollers. We wanted to play $5 Pai Gow.
And, of course, we wanted some steak and eggs.
Zone 1 is boarding. I'm in Zone 2
The $5 tables were full. We begged for four empty seats together, but the pit boss wasn't having it. Suddenly, The Mark was spreading six grand in hundreds across an empty table. I dropped a roll of $4,000 on top of it. Thirty seconds later, a new boss was there.
"A quarter a hand okay for you guys?"
Sure it is. Sure it is, indeed.
Zone 2 boarding...and this story waits...
Now in Hotlanta, with a dry sandwich and a watery diet soda in my system. This Dell Inspiron almost decided to shuffle down that mortal coil. Then, Lazarus at Hartsfield International, it popped up and said, "Keep writing, bitch."
Quarter a hand. When I told this story later, the listener thought I was playing really low. Instead, I instructed, we'd managed to find a table playing for five times what we planned. However, as we had stood an beseeched the eye in the sky, pointing to our stacks of cash, and screaming, "Helllllloooo," it was evident we were sufficiently rolled for the game.
What's the right buy-in for this game? A couple hundred a piece sounded right, and suddenly eight hundred bucks was on the felt and getting turned into green. The pit boss eyed us warily, but summoned all forms of service. A cigar for The Mark, cigs for Spaceman, a round of drinks for the low rollers. I mistakenly ordered a beer.
It started badly. No one won a hand except the dealer. Something was wrong. We tried to summon every ounce of winning energy we had, but the atmosphere was decidedly off.
The dealer, a decidedly male fan-boy type, was looking at Wil. "You're..."
Indeed, Wil was. He has been for years. He's more famous than he lets on. I've been walking down hallways where people yank out cameras and shoot him like Us magazine or People might be buying big. I've seen other celebs go out of their way to talk to him. Wil is the humble type and won't let you believe he's famous. He is.
It was established Wil actually was Wil. He was playing quarter a hand--wait, $50 a hand, now--Pai Gow poker in a dark, smokey, off-strip casino at 3am. Wait, maybe it is 4am now. But, he's nice, and he's telling about his favorite episodes, and he's signing autographs for the entire pit staff.
But we're not winning yet. I just wanted to teach the boys the game. And, of course, get some steak and eggs. (Note: Another time, I may tell the story of trying to woo a pit boss named Simone at the Excalibur, then getting a casino host out to witness my $200 a hand bets, and to then REFUSE steak and eggs on general principle.)
Then it hit me. Just as Spaceman and Wil started into telling the life stories of the cowboys on the $25 chips (Don Gay? Is that right? Am I remembering a cowboy named Don Gay? I remember Bodacious the bull, for sure, but Don Gay? Or was it Dennis?), I figured it out. I was drinking a blue-wrapped, room temperature Bud Light. There was neither vodka, nor grapefruit juice on the table.
The short-skirted girl was at the table as if the ten grand we put on the table would be hers before night's end.
"We need greyhounds, ma'am. All of us."
Wil wasn't drinking much, The Mark needs umbrellas in his drinks, and Spaceman is a beer man. But damn it, there is a way this game is played. And we're down a collective $300. No make that $400. And I'm in my pocket. What? I'm buying in again? I've got too much money on this table.
Pai Gow is a game of playing even. You play for the drinks, the cigars, the company. And, of course, the steak and eggs. I wasn't leaving down. It appeared I wasn't leaving at all.
Now, I'm not really the type to get all superstitious, but just about the time the grehyhounds showed, the dealer started dealing himself (now, it was actually a fan-girl dealer) pai gows.
"Pai Gow!" we screamed, and dutifully pointed at all the losers around us.
The pit boss, ready to leave her shift for the night stepped up.
"You're going to scare my regulars."
I looked at the regulars. They were aging, tired, Asian gamblers. They hadn't said a word all night. They were playing for a little nickel a hand and they hated everything about the Pai Gow lifestyle. They weren't getting steak and eggs. They weren't getting anything but sore-asses and finger-pointing from we low-rollers.
"Scare, ma'am?" I said. "Inspire. We will inspire them."
The winning continued. Suddenly, I was back out of my pocket. The boys were winning on either side of me. The green chips were stacking up. We couldn't stop playing long enough to pee, so we put out our chips and let the pit boss set our hands for us while we ran to the bathroom. We played the dragon like it was our own personal bitch. It was a tornado of Pai Gow activity so intense and insane that the greyhounds were all set on my napkin and my liver was fueling every bit of energy on the table. The boys read about Don Gay's exploits, The Mark blew his cigar smoke into the eye in the sky, the dealers got their autographs, and we screamed "Pai Gow!" loud enough to shake the parking garage pillars 500 yards away.
And seconds later, the old Asians woke up, stood up, pointed at their table, pointed at us, and screamed, "PAI GOW!!!!!!"
I looked at the pit boss and said one word: "Inspire."
It all passed too quickly for me to record more than that in my addled memory banks. I have no more. I only know that I looked down, counted out my chips, counted my other players' chips, and realized we were within $5 (FIVE DOLLARS!) of even. Over the past two hours, we had gambled hundreds...no wait...that was hundreds per hand...THOUSANDS of dollars. And we were down $5. I did a quick accounting of the drinks, cigars, commissions, and tokes and realized we were way, way ahead.
It was a good thing, because Spaceman and Wil were getting antsy. Just then the pit boss walked up and handed us our comp.
Steak and eggs, bitch. If Simone and that casino host could see me now.
It was with something like post coital afterglow that we four low rollers settled into the food joint at the Gold Coast and ordered our food. The table was awash with steak, eggs, shrimp cocktails, strawberry daquiris, and, for Wil, a dry English muffin.
Then the prop bets started. There exists video and pictures of that. I can only say that I lost everything I played.
Regardless, folks, as I prepare to board this final leg to Vegas, I'm bouyed only by the knowledge that steak and eggs still exist and getting them is still my game. I may need Wil's face, Spaceman's drive, and The Mark's roll to get what I need, but I get'em.
Steak and eggs.
Now boarding Zone 1<-- Hide More
I'm not one to mock a man's weight. I've struggled with mine for years. Still, I've always wondered why an otherwise average young man would attract attention to his most unflattering traits. "Buddha1" does that and, in a different way, so does his buddy "Coop1."
Both of them, Buddha1 and Coop1, are regulars in our underground games. Both fancy themselves to be amazing card kings. Both of them are losing players.
Last time I saw them, Buddha1 was modeling his new ballcap with his nickname written in giant white script across the back of the black fabric. His buddy already had a personalized cap, but "Coop1" was written in smaller type along the side of his white hat. The front said "True Grinder."
They are "Buddha1 and Coop1".
I am G-Rob.More in this Poker Blog! -->
In my line of work, all stories are stories about people. Tax stories begin and end with pictures of some average taxpayer struggling to comprehend whatever data I provide. House fires are never about houses or fires. Of course, some reporters are better at this than others.
The one thing we try to avoid more than anything is the "official" guy. God save us all from the badge wearing cop, the slick PR goon, and the pencil pushing administrator. New reporters are often impressed by sound bites with official sounding words.
"The subject fled on foot with an undisclosed amount of cash."
"The fiscal year should bring us an opportunity to pass a bond bill provided our credit rating improves."
Give me the average joe. I report the news, but real human beings don't talk like that. The absolute first thing I do, the minute a story is assigned, is look for real people to wrap it all around. This pure elementary stuff for most reporters, but its important for our little poker post today.
Here's a recent example:
A guy was asked to do a story that explained some very non-sensical billboards around town. 3 of them. He found out the answer in about 5 minutes. Then he went looking for real people. See if they aren't the strongest part of the story...
Would anything ruin that story faster than a coupla billboard "experts" talking about "teaser" strategy?
I think not.
Everyone has a game with a Buddha1 and Coop1. Actually, our games have a half dozen. Players who fell in love with the action of poker and, more importantly, the image of a gambler. They're the same as the golf pro who buys 11 high-tech drivers and a different glove for every hole but still slices into the woods. They're the dorks with "Las Vegas" T-shirts and a stack of chocolate candies shaped like poker chips. (Coop1 and Buddha1 actually brought a few dozen "WPT chip" candies last time I saw them.) This player has memorized the look and the lingo of the world's most deadly shark and has no idea what he's doing.
The movie role of buddha1 will be played by Jack Black.
For the longest time, players like that really got under my skin. Evertime some player chimes "the nuts" in a sing song voice, despite having TPTK, it makes me cringe. For the longest time, this was the biggest hole in my game. I'd be the first at the table to add, "You know, genius, them ain't the nuts." It was as if I felt I could only countermand the idiocy of the self-professed experts with a little "expert" analysis of my own.
My role model in this respect is the always courteous BadBlood. From the first game we played, I'd always noted the intense idocy with which he comments on a donkey's hand. He's one of the sharpest poker minds I know, but when a donkey calls an all-in bet with A-3 on a K, 4, 2 board and says to the table, "I put him on a big pair," Blood is always first to say, "Great call... you have 7 outs!"
Folks, that's pure genius. Actually, it's just common sense, but most of us are bad about not following through.
What is it about poker, like many other things I think, that makes want to LOOK so much better than we are. We want the table's respect and admiration, and perhaps a little fear. We want people to KNOW how much poker we've played and how much we understand. That kind of image if seriously -EV, but we've all fallen into the trap.
More often than not, however, the people who try to look smartest are exactly the people I target.
The most useful tool I've used in recent months is to narrow my focus. In any game your table selection is paramount but it's just as important, if not moreso, to further target specific players once you sit. Again, this is elementary stuff that's often forgotten once the cards are dealt.
I've never been an expert on tells. I know a few things to look for but I'm no pro. Still, I'm looking more for PERSONALITY tells these days. I look for outlandish behavior that tells me, "Get into every cheap flop you can with us, it will always PAY OFF!" That's my entire strategy really.
Here are a few:
1) Guy who likes to make his reads out loud, despite the fact they are always wrong. Buddha is pretty good for this. Recently, with me in the 10 seat and him in the 9 I limped from UTG and he just checked in the BB. The truth was, I had 9h-6h and was following my strategy of getting in with morons. I could easily fold to a raise, but would love to see a flop. Once around to him pre-flop, Buddha looks at me as he checks and says, "You were just PRAYING for a raise, huh?"
So the flop is Ad Kd 5h. I check and the guy on the button bets the pot. Buddha1 folds and I raise it 3x. Buddha1 says, "See? I told you!" And button mucks out of respect for this brilliant read.
This guy is profitable because, if for no other reason, we can be sure he can't read opponents.
2) Guy who makes every move a TV EVENT! This is "Coops" thing. When he calls any bet, and I do mean ANY bet, it's with a dramactic flip of the wrist. When he's trying to make ANY decision, like say calling 5 limpers pre-flop from the cutoff, it's a 4 minute internal monologue... WITH SOUND. This CAN be a table tilting maneuver, which I happen to love, but it falls short when the decisions you fret over are as simple as ABC.
I think we've all played with that guy, and actually COOP doesn't do this, who makes his opponent count out his chips EVERY TIME HE'S ABOUT TO FOLD.
In TV we see guys like this all the time. We ask for a few minutes of time and they immediately change their demeanor. They want to control their "image" and sound super cool, or super smart, or super not-as-big-a-dork-as-they-are.
As a rule these people:
a) have no "image" to speak of.
b) aren't good on TV.
They are fantastic at the poker table if you can make them look bad. I saw Blood do this to a guy the other night. He called a half-pot bet, heads-up, with a gutshot draw and hit it on the turn. He let the guy bet the turn and river and then raised big on that final bet. He was called and his TV DRAMATIC opponent blew up at his gutshot call.
It has the same impact as a very good bluff. Guys like this are so concerned about LOOKING like a poker player that they are vulnerable to a big bluff. They don't want the table laughing at them after a stupid call and you can push them off by showing considerable strength. Then show them the hammer or somesuch and they'll be DAMNED if they'll let THAT happen again.
The whole, show a bluff and get paid later thing is totally oldhat, but THIS GUY is most likely to bite. He's so afraid of looking bad after a good bluff, he'll call you down till he's broke. He's a friggin' goldmine this guy.
Compare that to our super fantasic NORMAL HUMAN BEING, the guy who just looks like everyone else or, at least, wants to.
That guy scares me to death.
Like Otis and BadBlood and CJ.
I hate playing pots with them. In poker, nothing is scarier than average.<-- Hide More
I'm an idiot. I signed up for what I thought was a Deep Stack NO LIMIT tournament, but as you can see, I managed to find a LIMIT tournament.
More than 10 hours later, I ran into a card rack and busted in 3rd place for a nice little profit. I'll have much more to write about this later, but right now, I'm exhausted. There are lots of thanks to go around, and I'll get to them all! I'll leave you with this tidbit:
34 players left, 27 pay, The Luckbox is in 34th with T2600 and blinds at 600/1200. I'm like MacGyver trapped in a cage with only a toothbrush and a cracked DVD.
Congrats to Bobby B., et al on their very successful charity auction. The ForPeyton.com fund now has an extra $1600 in its piggy bank. Thanks to everyone who participated, and my aplogies to those who adore Isabelle less than I do!
The Associated Press is now reporting:
CAPITOL HILL (AP) - The House has passed legislation aimed at
making it harder for Americans to gamble on-line.
It would keep gamblers from using credit cards to fund their
on-line wagering, and it could block access to gambling Web sites.
And it would spell out that most gambling is illegal on-line. But
the measure is not considered a high priority in the Senate.
Update from CJ:
Update from CJ II: The bill makes an exception for online horse racing betting and most fantasy sports. Now why is that okay?
I've come to learn that the poker blogging community is one of the most caring and giving communities I've ever known. When I wanted to raise a little money to fight MS, the community came through. When Spaceman wanted to raise money for Charlie Tuttle, there was no hesitation.
Now it's time to dig deep for a 2 1/2 year old girl who tragically lost her mother to an extremely rare form of cancer. Little Peyton has a difficult time ahead, but we can make the road ahead much easier for her.
Bobby Bracelet (with help from Spaceman and Shelly, as well as poker pros like Gavin Smith) is spearheading a huge auction and fundraiser to raise tens of thousands of dollars. It's simple, click on the links below and make your bids now!More in this Poker Blog! -->
I'll tell you this right now, I'm going to outbid Mean Gene for the autographed picture of the lovely Isabelle Mercier. And if you don't want to bid on anything, you can still help out by going to this page and making a donation. It'd be nice to donate as much as poker pros Gavin Smith, Phil Hellmuth and Josh Arieh, but any amount will help.
Remember, it's For Peyton.<-- Hide More
The first time I went to Vegas, I didn't play poker. In fact, I thought the friends who did were stupid for trying. We went as an enormous throng, old friends and new, and I ended up sharing a room with CJ, his brother, and a guy named "Carmine". I hadn't seen Carmine before. I haven't seen him since. He did, however, have enough of a Vegas connection to guarantee that 25 drunken morons don't pay cover at the areas "finest" adult establishemnts.
Meanwhile, I played blackjack and lost every dollar I took. I expected that, of course, you take to Vegas what you plan to lose.
Or so I thought.
Otis and CJ played poker that time. I have no idea how they did.
I assumed anyone who played poker in Vegas was an expert.
I've been back to Vegas several times since. There's another trip coming on the first week of August. This time, I'm taking a test.More in this Poker Blog! -->
FIRST POKER TRIP TO VEGAS
The first time I played poker in a Las Vegas casino was in December of 2004. It was the silly blogger junket du jour, and I'd been a poker blogger for all of 3 weeks. Luckily, I was close friends with the other donkeys on this site, and I found my way into a cool circle of friends.
One thing it took me years to learn, blind internet airfares are usually not your friend. That December I stepped of the plane at about midnight Vegas time and caught the shuttle to "Excalibur". Everyone else was already at a table.
At the time, the Excalibur room ran NLHE on $1/$2 games with a $100 max buyin. I felt fairly confident about my skills and bought in without thinking. Then, 8 minutes later, I bought in again. Ten minutes later I bought in a third time.
I got crushed on the trip.
I lost every dollar I took.
THE SECOND TRIP FOR VEGAS POKER
I learned a valuable lesson on that silly first trip. I sould avoid drinking one beer per hand. Honestly, that first night, I stayed up from my arrival...until after the blogger tournament the next afternoon. The bender on the following day was 10 times worse. I was there, ostensibly, to play cards. Still, I lacked focus and, eventually, lacked money.
The following summer we went back for a blogger doohickey at the Aladdin. Still not hip to the whole airfare thing, my wife and I checked into the Plaza at midnight and I dumped her in the room while I hit the MGM. This time, still smarting from December's ass-whoooping, I sat down at a 2/4 HE game with a few bloggers and a coupla local retards. I cashed out for about half my stack after a guy (later named "Brownshirt") sucked out a dozen times.
At least this time I had the smarts to not lose my entire bankroll in the first 3 hours. I paced myself somewhat. In fact, once I was down to my final $200 or so, I stormed back. On our final day in town, a Sunday ( we were booked on the damn redeye that night), I took 8 buyins from the dopey "Luxor" game and finished even-ish for the trip.
The tide began to turn.
THAT'S A DOUBLE BREAK-EVEN
I had very much the same experience when the great AlCan'tHang, BG, Otis, and I crashed the WPT in Nassau. That was in January of '05. We stayed at the Atlantis Casino, where a cheeseburger costs roughly the GDP of Haiti, and I lost money in the first 3 sessions. I even dumped myself out of a $150SNG when my pocket kings hit pocket Aces on the third friggin' hand.
On my last night there, I played $200NL and ran crazy over the game.
I cashed out with just enought to break even fort he trip.
VEGAS POKER...PLAYING FOR TRIPS
So, back again, blogger get-together in December of '05. This time I really felt my game was staring to grow. Because I'm 100% results oriented, just like a good dokney, I left feeling much the same.
The first night was kinda lame actually. Guess why? That's right...my flight arrived in the middle of the damn night. It's like 3AM EST when these things touch down. You'd think a person with an IQ higher than 80 would make some sort of scheduling adjustment.
Actually perhaps that sort of person WOULD adjust. I, however, did not.
Here's the tale of the tape by casino for that December voyage:
Imperial Palace +$125
I didn't have a losing NL session during my stay. I felt like a shark. I'm not. But for a few days I felt like one.
A few months later, January or March I can't remeber, Senor Blood and I drove to Tunica where we met Otis, CJ, and Iggy.
At least I had an excuse for showing up in the middle of the night. It's a LOOONG drive from G-Vegas and Blood drives like a granny. When we got to the Grand Casino we found a few no-fold-em limit games and a $2/$5NL game with no max buy. I tried $300 and felt I played well. Then I busted and rebought.
I ran the next $300 up to $900 and closed the night a winner.
The next day was special.
Blood and I started the day at the Gold Strike/Tooth/Nugget/Fist and played some $1/$2NL with no max buy. We both bought in for $200 and by the time we stood up for dinner I had won more than $1000.
After the comp buffet we went back to the Grand and I played $2/$5 for $600. 5 hours and one $1000 hammer bluff later, I cashed with a profit of $1200. It felt pretty damn good and the $2200 was my most profitable single day so far.
The next day I donated about $1000 back to the good folks of Tunica. In part, I felt invincible and it's nice of the game to remind me otherwise.
I play $200-max NLHE almost exclusively these days and it's been a pretty sweet racket. I'm more confident in my play than ever and I've found that I can catch myself drifting away and losing focus. If I'm too tired or too bored to play good poker I've learned to walk away.
I've learned that I'm not at the poker table to have fun. I'm only there to win.
Winning is actually pretty fun.
Blood, CJ and I will head out West on August 2nd. I'm planning to play at LEAST 1 WSOP event, possibly 2. I'm planning to focus primarily on the $2/$5 games. My bankroll is in a pretty comfortable place and so is my game.
I think I can win, but now I want to PROVE IT.
I want to turn the corner, from worst player alive, to..I dunno 3rd or 4th worst. I want to prove to myself THIS YEAR, that I'm finally ready to take the next step.
I think I am.<-- Hide More
If you're like the rest of us, you've probably read a few bad poker books in your day. Well, it's time to get yourself a good one. And I'm confident in saying that about a book I've never read. Why? Because it's written by, perhaps, the best player in the WPBT. It's written by a guy who consistently beats the cash games he plays and still finds time to crush the tourney circuit when he wants to. The guy is smart and he's good. He's someone you can learn from, and now's your chance.
Scott, aka DoubleAs, has written Pressure Poker. Get your copy by going to his blog and clicking on the link. I'm getting no kickbacks for this. I'm buying a copy for myself and you should, too.
So get your copy now! You won't be sorry.
I'll give live results for those not watching (in reverse order, scroll down for earlier races)...
In the end, the Pick 6 paid more than $300K and getting just 5 of 6 paid $1175. It's the kind of pay day we were shooting for. Next time, we just gotta do better.
And we missed the final race. We knew it was going to be the toughest race to call and we really didn't go as deep in this race as we'd like. Our top choice, Marquis Form made a nice run on the rail, but had too far to come and finished 2nd. Sixcess, the winner, was one of our backup horses.
Race #10 makes back-to-back winners. We really liked 1 Charming N Lovable, making her our second choice. We were really willing to go just two deep in this race because we were confident in the picks. If we hit this last, it'll be bitter-sweet.
Finally a winner. In Race #9, our top pick, Siren Lure ran a perfect race. He went off as the co-favorite and looked the best closing from off the pace in this sprint. We're now 1-4. BG put the over/under at 3.5 and we both figured we'd hit three races. That means hitting the last two. Won't win us any money, but might help our pride.
After watching Race #8, I wonder if we'll be able to find investors next month. Our pick, Attima, got out front for most of the race, but, as happens on turf races, he was caught by just about everyone. The third choice ended of running away from the pack and won by a mile. We're 0-3. There aren't many excuses.
Race #7 wasn't much better. This time, a 10-1 shot beat the post time favorite. Our horses finished 2nd and 3rd. Getting 4 of 6 doesn't pay, unfortunately. I can't imagine anyone hitting this Pick 6 today. Even if you had the 33-1 in the first race, there's not much chance you had the 10-1 in the second. Picking 6 winners isn't easy. Hell, picking one is hard enough. I just wish we had gotten off to a good start.
Race #6 was a disaster. A 33-1 shot won. It's a horse we never considered, and I have to figure it wasn't a popular horse on most tickets. Our horses were near the front much of the race, but couldn't quite finish. The only good news is that a 33-1 shot likely kills a large majority of Pick 6 tickets. Getting 5 of 6 could still play. We'll see.
It's a crazy idea, really. Boy Genius and I thought maybe we could put together a ticket for today's $1 million guarantee Pick 6 at Hollywood Park. That means picking the winners for the last 6 races on today's card. Of course, on yesterday's Arlington Park card, we had trouble picking 2 winners, but I digress.
Apparently, we've been able to fool 11 other people into jumping on board with a $30 investment. And so the Lucky 13 are all rooting for a nice six figure payday. Here are the picks:More in this Poker Blog! -->
3-Fighting City Hall
BG and I feel pretty good about this race. There was one other horse we considered, but we've got the class of this field locked in.
We really expet the 2 or 11 to win this, although BG is big on the 3 as well. The very last horse we put on our ticket was County.
In order to have a managable price, you have to find a race where you have a good feeling about just one horse. For BG and I, it was Attima in the featured race of the day.
BG and I feel real good that these are the only four horses with a chance to win this race. We'll be very happy if we're alive going into the 9th race.
1-Charming N Lovable
2-Silly Little Mama
The 3 was another late add to the ticket after one of our choices was scratched. We have a good feeling that Silly Little Mama is the horse here. We'll be on cloud nine if we're still alive going into the 10th race.
The final race of the Pick 6 is a 12-horse Maiden Special Weight. That means 12 horse who have never won. It's the kind of race designed to bust Pick 6 tickets. And despite that, we're going just two deep here. If we had $1000 to spend, we might go 6 or 8 deep on this race. Instead, we're hoping the chalk, Marquis Form, runs away with it. And, really, if we're still alive at this point, BG and I will be like giddy little schoolgirls.<-- Hide More
Apparently sucking out for 7 straight months catches up with you, and the karma of poker is returning the favor. I don't mind losing a race here or there, but one too many two outers is leaving me discouraged. I know, I know... correct decision. Still doesn't take the sting away.
With that in mind, I'm devoting another weekend to the ponies. First, it's the card at Arlington Park. Later, I'll probably do a little Hollywood Park. Then, I may drive out to Evangeline Downs for the big stakes race tonight. Finally, tomorrow is a big Pick 6 with Boy Genius.
So as I go, I figure I'll live blog a little for you. Enjoy!More in this Poker Blog! -->
1:00pm: It's time for race #1 at Arlington Park. I have my eye on Sweet Baby Ray and Small Fry. Sweet Baby Ray bled on his first race and is on Lasix this time. Small Fry has very good breeding and solid trainer numbers. When this trainer wins, there's usually a price. For some reason, Custom Cart is going off at about even money. I don't get it, so I can't bet him. Small Fry is at 12-1, and since I'm not sure why Custom Cart is such a huge favorite, I'm betting this one light with just a $2 WP on Small Fry.
1:07pm: Well, the bettors knew what they were doing. Custom Cart won by a few lenghts. Unfortunately, Small Fry got edged out for Place by my other pick, Sweet Baby Ray. Too bad I didn't do some kind of trifecta here, it paid $110.
1:18pm: In race #2, I think it's all about My Little Mimi. The trainer win percentages show this horse is in this race for a reason. The Beyer speed figure has jumped eah of the last two races and even just a repeat of last time will be enough. This horse is ITM 4 of 6 races. I also like Catchyounextime who's been ITM last 3 times against similar. Great breeding here as well. Just one win in 25 attempts, though. I'll also keep my eye on Willy's Hope and Mrs. Capp.
1:24pm: The wagers: (Pick 3-$8) 2,4/7,8/4,6... (Pick 4-$12) 2,4/7/4,6/2,3,4... (Win-$10) 4... (Win-$5) 2... (Trifecta-$8) 2,4/2,4/All
1:28pm: Willy's Hope is a late scratch.
1:33pm: Well, unfortunately, My Little Mimi ended up going off at even money. She was 5/2 when I got my bet down. Catchyounextime didn't figure in the result. She made a late closing run, but couldn't get past a big pack of four in front of her. My Pick 3 and Pick 4 are still alive. On the bets on this single race, I wagered $23 and won $21. I'm down $6 for the day with a Pick 3 and a Pick 4 still alive.
1:37pm: Here's how #3 breaks down for me. Gigi From Fiji will likely go off at worse than even money. She's the best horse in the field. She's handled this class while having trouble when she steps up. The trainer numbers are outstanding. The competition should come from just outside her in Meet My Kid. She's won or placed in her last 4 claimers. Last race out, she stepped up and was slapped down. Great breeding for this distance. Indelibull Rose is my third choice.
1:58pm: The wagers: (Pick 3-$4) 7,8/4,6/4... (Exacta $5) 7/8.
2:01pm: Well, all my Pick 3's and 4's are dead. My third choice, Indelibull Rose won the race with my top choice second. I didn't have Indelibull Rose in any of my exotics, however. That means I'm down $35 for the day.
2:05pm: Race #4. My top choice is Dubuque. He'd been showing Beyer improvement prior to a light regression last out. Has been in the mix in the last two vs. similar. The trainer win percentages are solid. Tenpointfive is going to get a lot of attention because he's got the best Beyers in the field. He's been ITM three straight vs. similar. He's had trouble making the distance, however. Irish Song shouldn't have that trouble. The breeding is the best in the field. He's also had some Beyer improvement. Irish Song is BG's top pick.
2:15pm: The wagers: (Pick 3-$6) 1,4/4/1,5,12... (Trifecta-$12) 1,4/1,2,4,6/1,2,4,6... (WP-$10) 3 (BG recommendation)... (Exacta-$8) 4/1,2,3,6
2:33pm: Damn. Somehow, #7 Sign the Ticket won that race. BG's top choice Irish Song and my top choice Dubuque placed and showed respectively. That's how quickly it can go bad when one horse screws you up. Now down $71. Gotta hit a winner here.
2:45pm: Race #5. Spanning is my top choice here. She was the 9/5 ML favorite but is now sitting around 7/2. For some reason, I Love Lisa is now at even money. I like her, too, but not as much as Spanning. BG doesn't like my choice. The best prices will be Miss Expectation (my third choice) and In Case of Wind (longshot pick).
2:56pm: The wagers: (WP-$10) 6 (both BG and I like the price here 10-1)... (DD $6) 2,4/2,5,12... (Trifecta-$6) 2,4/2,4/1,3,6.
3:01pm: Spanning went off at even money so I didn't bet the win there, but he ran away with the race, slowing to a gallop at the wire to win by a mile. It looks like our longshot Proven Honor got up for the place. That means my Daily Double is still alive and no my bets for the race, I finished up $1.50. That puts me down $69.50 with a Daily Double still alive.
3:11pm: Big field for race #6, 12 horses. It's really wide open. Both BG and I have Lacer as our top choice. This is the 2nd off a layoff and a return to form would be plenty for this field. Second choice is Gallo Del Bar who's got consistently good Beyers and a slight step down in class could help. Lord Carmen is coming off a long layoff and is worth a look. Your longshot is Load a Chronic and anything north of 7-1 will get a bet from me.
3:18pm: The wagers: (Pick 3-$9) 2,5,12/1/2,3,7... (Pick 4-$9) 2,5,12/1/2,3,7/9... (Win-$20) 2... (Place-$10) 2... (Ex Box-$12) 2,5,12... (Trifecta-$12) 2,5,12/2,5,12/1,2,5,12
3:35pm: Disaster. I'm now down $153.50. Some way, some how, Rapid Proof won the race. Lacer stalked but faded and Gallo Del Bar never closed. My long shot, Load a Chronic ended up going off as the second favoritre and got up for third. I lost everything. Ugh. If this is a sign of things to come...
3:45pm: Race #7. I'm glad no one is actually reading this. This race was supposed to be about #1 Chile's Quest and #1A Omaggio. Unfortunately, Chile's Quest was scratched leaving the lesser of the coupled entrants. Omaggio is still the class of the field. That said, I don't want to bet him at even money or worse. I'm going to turn my attention to Chameleon who's coming off a layoff and Buillion who's coming off a win vs. similar and a place before that.
3:57pm: The wagers (I'm betting against the favorite on this one): (WP-$20) 5,6... (Exacta $8) 5,6/1,5,6... (Trifecta $12) 5,6/1,2,5,6/1,2,5,6... (Pick 3-$6) 1/2,3,7/9
4:06pm: Sigh. I was right, Omaggio didn't win. Unfortunately, it was Royal Flyer who won it and my money on #5 Systematic Saint only got up for show. Down $199.50.
4:20pm: Race #8 is all about Kentucky Derby alum Storm Treasure, but I'm not sold on him. Equal Opportunity is a good horse and worth a look. The long shots are Arbuckle Bandit (who I'll put money on), but he's likely out of his class, and Proudinsky who's likely been brought over to America for a reason.
4:28pm: The wagers: (WP $10) 2... (Exacta $10) 3/2,5-8
4:37pm: Sigh. My long shot went off at 43-1 and ran a great race, dueling until the end, but managing just a place. Storm Treasure was never a factor, as I figured. #1 Kingship eeked out a win over BG's upset choice Proudinsky. Make that down $219.50.
4:58pm: It's time for the ninth and final race. This card couldn't end soon enough. Can I get even? Not likely. BG says long shot Boom Boom Charlie (currently 9-1) could be the upset pick here. There's lots to like about Devil's Diary who will be about even money at post time. BG doesn't buy it. If the last few races are any indication, the big favorites are paper tigers. My 2nd choice is the second favorite, Class Ack. I wish the price were higher than 3-1.
Mr. Jingles could be a possibility here and with a good price.
5:03pm: The wagers: (WP-$20) 2,3
5:08pm: Fitting end to the card. Boom Boom Charlie never threatened. Mr. Jingles lead the whole way and, naturally, was caught to finish third. Class Ack won it going away. Guess betting my second choice might be a good idea. That means I wrapped the Arlington Park card down $239.50. I suck.<-- Hide More