Anyone who watched Jamie Gold's disgusting behavior during the 2006 WSOP knows that on at least two occasions, he violated sacred tournament poker rules.
On one occasion, Gold told an opponent whom he was friends with that he had "top-top" while the action was still open. You can watch that video here. On another occasion, while at the final table, Gold flipped one of his hole cards while the action was still open. Both are rules violations that should have resulted in at least a 10-minute penalty had anyone complained. Unfortunately, no one did.
Today, the World Series of Poker released a statement which says, in part, "The WSOP officials determined from the video review and the discussions with Gold that he did not deliberately attempt to violate the rules and that no penalties would be invoked retroactively for the incidents."More in this Poker Blog! -->
Gold's action was embarrassing, but there's not a whole lot they can do about that now. WSOP commissioner Jeffrey Pollack said, "Not only were we impressed with Jamieâ€™s candor and contrition, but we also recognized that tournament officials didnâ€™t witness the incidents or take appropriate action at the time of the rules infractions. We share culpability in this case and are satisfied that the actions in question were inadvertent mistakes. We look forward to Jamieâ€™s participation in the 2007 WSOP."
He's right. Someone with the tournament should have stepped in immediately. To this day, I'm not sure why that didn't happen. The infractions were obvious, and the rules do not require an opponent to lodge a complaint.
Pollack also said, â€œI do want to stress, however, that we do not condone any violations of the rules and will make every effort to enforce them in every WSOP event."
We can only hope. The poker world doesn't need another Jamie Gold. One is more than enough.
Photo by FlipChip at the fabulous LasVegasVegas.com... is there a better poker photog out there?<-- Hide More
My list of addictions is long and varied. For the last four years, one of my most enjoyable and time-consuming addictions was online poker. While many addictions can destroy a life, this one was not only profitable but it also introduced me to a world of crazy, poker-blogging friends that I would never have known otherwise.
In the words of Sammy Sosa, online poker has been berry, berry good to me.
With such a deep and meaningful history, you'd think it'd be hard to say goodbye. It hasn't.More in this Poker Blog! -->
I played my last hand of online poker more than a month ago. In fact, I had cashed out shortly before my trip to Tunica. It ended up being a great time to get out because none of my money was stuck in NeTELLER.
Left with balances of mostly zero and a law that scared almost all online banks out of the market, there wasn't an easy way to get back in. But that's not why I'm not playing.
It wasn't so long ago that I had taken a rather extended break from online poker. You see, I had become a Jedi. I was using the force to kill rancors. I had built my first lightsaber. Bounty Hunters were trying to take me out. Yes, I was lost in the world of Star Wars Galaxies Online. It's this kind of information that scares Lady Luck.
That addiction didn't last. It fell to the wayside like past obsessions like baseball cards and ESPN fantasy sports. It's not that I don't still own those baseball cards or still play some fantasy sports, it's that they are no longer obsessions.
I only have one obsession now. She happens to be the most beautiful women I've ever known. Each week is just spent waiting for the weekend when I'll be able to spend time with her. This is the healthiest addiction of all.
I haven't said goodbye to poker... just online poker. I miss the days of taking all of wil's chips in the WWdN or of sucking out on Waffles in the Mookie. I miss trading 5% with Speaker and Change100 in the FTP guarantees or the $5 last longers with Jo. I miss all that. But the beauty of our community is that I'm not leaving all that behind.
The draw of the real felt is something you'll never drag me away from. In fact, Lady Luck encourages my play. And, hopefully, in a couple months, I'll be sitting across from you. You may not be seeing the Luckbox online, but that won't keep me from sucking out on you in Vegas!<-- Hide More
I have mirrors on my wall.
This made not sound strange to most readers, but most of you have never seen the inside of anywhere I've ever lived. Mirrors on my wall is a big deal. It's part of the home makeover master-minded by Lady Luck. And it's only the beginning.
Now, as I sit in my living room, on my couch, writing this, I can see light and images bouncing around the room.
Reflecting is good.More in this Poker Blog! -->
Looking back, I could have saved myself some money. Perhaps my instincts aren't as sharp as they should be. That will come with time. Reflecting on this moment, however, is not pleasant.
It had already been an up and down night. I was sitting on a stack of about $550, which was about $150 more than I had bought in for. I was feeling good about my game. I felted one surly old man twice in about 4 hands. That's what he gets for buying in short and gambling.
Things got ugly when he changed seats, sitting suddenly on my right. It's not like he started giving me any trouble, it's just that the table dynamic changed. And The Luckbox wasn't feeling so lucky.
Upon reflection, he was my cooler.
I've actually purchased 8 mirrors now. Seven hang in my living room. Six of them are just 6 inches by 6 inches. The last mirror is for the bedroom. It's not for above the bed. At least, I don't think that's where she wants to hang it.
I peeled back my cards and saw two black Kings. I raised to $25 and got two callers before it got around to the white-haired man wearing the "Guinness" cap. If he were a little taller, I would have thought it was Iggy travelling back from the future to take my money.
Future Iggy immediately made it $60 out of the small blind. My instinct was to re-re-raise. For an instant, I thought about pushing. I glanced at the other two players in the hand, and it was obvious they were folding no matter what I did. One had already given an audible sigh at the re-raise and the other had his cards in his hand ready to toss them.
"I call," I said, adding $35 to the pot. I'll lay this down if an Ace comes, I thought to myself.
The dealer spread out the cards, Ace-rag-rag, two diamonds.
Future Iggy rapped the table. Why? Would he check Big Slick? Not likely. If he had a big Ace, he would have bet it. That either means I'm drawing practically dead or he's crushed. I suppose I should bet to find out.
"Seventy-five." I slid my chips across the line and watched my opponent. He waited a moment and then just called. Why? He could be on a diamond draw, but the Ace of diamonds was on the board and he wouldn't have re-raised me with just diamonds.
The turn was a blank. Future Iggy knocked the table again. Why? If his hand was that big, why not try to get more money out of me? He must have figured I would fire another bullet.
The river was another blank. There was no flush. Future Iggy grabbed a stack of red chips and slid them forward. He bet $100 into a $325 pot. Let's reflect.
It was a preflop re-raise. A post-flop check-call. A turn check. And a river value bet. There was only one possibility. He had Aces. I could almost justify the $75 I bet after the flop. At least I could see where I stood.
Reflecting back on that moment, I'm not sure why I called.
Mirrors aren't the only thing we're buying for my home. The house I'm renting has an unfortunate tile floor. It was likely once white. It's now an unintended beige color with a strange intentional brown pattern. Lady Luck wants a couple of rugs, one for the kitchen area, one for the living room and one for the hallway. We have a lot to cover.
He had me covered now. I was down to about $300. After two limpers, I raised to $25 with AJs. Four of us saw a flop of Ace-Ten-Ace. All of us checked, ruining my plan to check-raise.
The turn was a deuce. Future Iggy lead out for $50. I raised to $150, about half my stack. I was sure I had the best hand. I doubted Future Iggy held an Ace, and even if he did, it wasn't bigger than mine.
The other two players in the hand folded. Future Iggy wasted little time in going all in.
I had about $150 left in front of me. I had already ruled out AK or AQ. He would have played it differently. Was he slow playing AT? Wow, what a cooler. The only other hands he could have that beat me are TT and 22 and A2. Was I that unlucky again?
He had me covered. I was going to go broke here. Do I really save $150 when I think I might have the best hand? Then again, why would he push if he wasn't sure. I wish I had folded. But I didn't. And he flipped pocket tens.
Hanging in front of the windows throughout my house are horizontal blinds. They're ugly and not always functional. Lady Luck wants to replace them and I can hardly disagree. We're going to have to buy curtains.
It should have been curtains for me after that hand. With luck like that, why keep playing? Instead, I bought back in and decided I'd win some of my money back.
And I did. From down $500 I made $300 of that back. I knew I could beat this game. And I knew I could beat this table. My mantra was win big pots and lose small ones. I had called off $250 in river bets on hands that I could have folded.
Shortly before my night was over, I was dealt pocket Kings again. With four limpers, I raised to $20 out of the SB. I got two callers.
The flop came down J97. It was time to check-raise. I had wanted to do it all night but hadn't had a chance. I knew the next guy to act was going to bet. He was aggressive and talkative. He was the one I talked about in the preview post.
"Check," I said.
"Let's just make it 100," he announced moving a stack of reds into the pot.
Perfect, I thought, ready to move all in behind him.
I heard it, but I wasn't sure where it had come from. I knew I hadn't said it. The old guy in the 9 seat was moving chips into the middle. I was confused. Could I be that unlucky again?
It's back to me. There's no way I'm calling. The way my night was going I was probably facing T8 and JJ. And even if they both didn't have me beat, I know one of them did.
By the end of the hand, the loud one was all in and the 9 seat had called. The board never improved my hand and when the loud one flipped his Rockets, I couldn't believe how simultaneously unlucky and lucky I was. When the 9 seat disgustedly mucked, I couldn't believe how stupid he was. I guess I had him beat.
For the second time in the night, I was dealt KK while someone else was dealt AA. The first time, it cost me big. It could have cost me everything, but the Ace on the flop actually saved me money. The second time, it only cost me $20. It could have cost me everything, but the jackass in the 9 seat must have thought his top pair was good.
With the $400 left in front of me, I knew it was time to go. I kept telling myself I was unlucky, and I suppose I was. KK into AA twice and flopping trip Aces against a boat. That's not a good way to make money. But I got up knowing it could have been a lot worse.
Besides, I still had money left for curtains and rugs.<-- Hide More
From across the street, it might have looked like I was checking to see if my wallet was in the right spot. Or maybe it would've looked like I was feeling my ass, just to make sure I hadn't lost it in the past six weeks. The joke would be on whoever was playing Otis Voyeur. I don't carry a wallet and I haven't seen my ass in years.
No, I was feeling to see how much I had in my pocket. After you do this for a while, you can get a sense for how much you're carrying. Thickness and weight, all jokes aside, make a difference.More in this Poker Blog! -->
I slipped in the door and worked my way into the crowd. It was an eclectic bunch--women, men, old, young, wealthy, poor. There was a line. I didn't want to wait, but my jones was too strong.
When it was my turn, I stepped up and nodded to the familiar face.
"How much?" he asked, tired, ready to go home. He needed the adrenaline we all sought.
"Ten," I said and handed him my bills.
The transaction took less than thirty seconds. I slipped my purchase in my pocket and made for my car as fast as I could. I knew how it would end. In just a few hours, I'd be wanting more, my ten turned worthless inside of a few lousy ticks of the clock.
I am running so bad at Powerball, it makes me sick.
Don't get me wrong, I know I can't win every time. I know I can't even win every week. And, I know it's a game with a lot of variance. I mean, one week you're winning the thing and you feel on top of the world. The next week, you can't win the thing to save your life. The swings can be insane. It's hard to shake the winning feeling after you win $180 million. That's why it's so easy to put money in time and again when you suspect you might be behind.
I've studied, too. I mean, I've considered there might be something wrong with my game. I labored over Super:System:Powerball. I have lucubrated over the numbers. I think I'm on top of it. I think there is a pretty decent chance that I have just as good of odds to win as anybody else in the country. And yet, week after week (espcecially recently) I walk away a loser. This weekend, some weekend warrior from Oregon took it down. It fucking kills me to see these jokers come in and think they own the entire world just because they can win one of these things. Come see me after you go a year without winning one, boys. Then we'll talk about how good you are.
But, I know, man. I know I just gotta keep plugging away. My time will come. I mean, everybody runs bad. Variance happens.
As long as this Powerball thing is legal, I'm going to stick with it. And since it's a game of skill, I suspect I'll be able to play the lottery for a long, long time.<-- Hide More
It was back to the Coushatta for a little poker action last night. Here's a taste:
"Watch out, I'm trouble," she said moments after sitting down to my right and stacking her chips on the table.
"Oh.. is that right," the slightly inebriated player to her right responded, "Well, I'd like to be in trouble."
I'll give you a moment to let that crude joke settle in.
What might have been funny was actually a little creepy. He seemed like a nice enough guy,but since he got back from dinner, his shirt was unbuttoned down to the last button. I didn't really need to know that he waxed his chest.
More to come!
On Tuesday I drove an hour to Walhalla. There are, normally, very few reasons to visit Walhalla. It's far from the interstate and not on the way to anywhere. Or Anything.
The PE teacher was going places once. He was almost a big deal. Almost a coaching legend. Almost a lot wealthier that he was now. Now he's in Walhalla.
He had his shot at the big time, a 3-pointer, and it missed.More in this Poker Blog! -->
I AM SOMEBODY!
Coach "H" is the school's Athletic Director. He's also the girls basketball coach, boys coach, and bus driver. He teaches a basketball camp in the summer and helps supervise the summer school program. But he says he loves his job(s). Still, judging by the wall of memorabilia in his ofice, he's well aware of what could have been.
In 1996, Coach "H" led Western Carolina University to the NCAA Tournament as a 16th seed. As you know, 16th seeds never win. As in, they've NEVER won. Coach "H' got as close as any team ever has.
With 9 seconds left, his team down by two, his team tossed the ball downcourt. Number 1 seed Purdue tried packing the zone inside the three point line and Coach "H" got exactly what he wanted. The team's best shooter wide open for a clean look to win the game.
If that shot goes in, the Catamounts would win the first NCAA game they'd ever played. Coach "H" becomes the first coach to upset a top seed in the first round. His school, which had never even won a conference title before, would move on to the second round.
Obviously, the shot was a brick.
Two years later Coach "H" was fired by a new Athletic Director. The school hasn't had a winning record since. Coach "H" teaches PE in Walhalla.
Poker has taught me a lot about life. Just yesterday I was giving a co-woker advice on negotiating a contract. We knew exactly what our management is planning to do to force him into a bad deal. I tried to show him that if WE know what they plan to do, WE have an advantage. All we have to do is remain unpredictable. I learned that from poker. It helps.
Poker also teaches us about success.
This sounds somewhat religious, eh? It isn't. Part of religion is deciding to ignore information that doesn't conform to what you already believe. I'm in search of something new.
More than anyone I know, my friend BadBlood understands the difference between quality and success. He wins but plays badly, he feels genuinely bad. The opposite is always true as well. Let's be honest, we all know it isn't always the RESULTS that inform our play, but we all fall into that trap. I've maintained a pretty consistent win streak lately, but I'm not always playing well. Sometimes I'm pretty awful.
But what about poker do I enjoy?
Surely there is more to life than money but, in poker, money is how we keep score. Still the game I usually most enjoy is the one that's been the hardest for me to beat, the former G-Vegas Big Game (now the No-Bigger-Than-Any-Other-Game-We-Play-Often-Quite-A-Bit-Smaller Game. My, how times have changed.)
The game at Gucci Rick's is a big favorite of mine because I like Rick. I also like the other usual players like TheMark, BadBlood, Dr. John, and Tight/Passive/Tim. Otis plays sometimes too. I have fun. Two weeks ago the poker action stopped so we could debate what sort of humiliation is acceptable in exchange for money and how much money it would take.
Clearly we know Otis' price.
Obviously I enjoy the money in poker, and I'd play a lot less if I didn't need the CASH. But that's never the entire motivation. I'll play for small stakes with good friends even if a rich game of morons is available that night. Then again, sometimes I'm the moron.
Like Senor Blood, I just want to play well. Playing well, the way I like to play, doesn't always mean the same to me as it will to you, but I want to know I executed the strategy I, myself, set forth. That makes for a satisfying game regardless of outcome.
Usually, playing as if the outcome doesn't matter will make the outcome better. It almost always makes the experience itself more enjoyable.
So here's Coach "H", he's older and plumper and poorer than just 11 years ago. At least, he's much poorer than he would have been if that shot had fallen. He'd have been a college coaching legend. The giant killer. Now he's in middle school. He got the shot he wanted, the best player took it, but the outcome of that on last shot was beyond his control.
Coach "H" could set the play in motion, but he's helpless to change its outcome.
Now, is he successful?
Could you live with that?<-- Hide More
Thanks to everyone who submitted questions for the "Know Otis" experiment. I took a stab at answering a few of the questions in a short narrative. Not sure it's worth anything, but after the jump you'll find the answers to...
Five years ago, did you see yourself where you are today (poker,life, work, etc...)? --TripJax
Chronicle for us your teens to adulthood by telling us what has been and now currently is your drink of choice. --BG
Have you ever uttered an obscenity on the air? If not, can you recall a time when you were very, very close? Sincerely, Riveted in Rancho Cucamonga --Speaker
Have you ever gotten in trouble for cursing loudly at a live shot location when you weren't even there?
When was the last time you played 7-Card Stud-Follow the Bitch-Low Cincinnati, and how much did you lose? --Team Scott SmithMore in this Poker Blog! -->
My parents, I think, never expected me to be a drinker.
The summers in southwest Missouri were 100 degree saute pans, sizzled in 100 percent humidity and spent on my grandparents' slab concrete porch. Nearly everybody drank iced tea saturated with cheap sugar, the likes of which made for a syrup that would slide over a young boy's tongue and propel him up into a backyard tree. It was shade and it was cool and it was a sense of place.
Grandpa drank Busch beer, though, and drank just enough of it that it seemed there were always enough pull tabs to fill a small bowl. Uncle Randy looked like he was drinking coke, but when he let his nephew take a pull from the bottle, there were a lot of laughs. It might have been my first taste of whiskey, an imperfect compliment to the occasional sip of beer my smiling Grandpa allowed.
I was fine with iced tea, though. It cooled me enough to walk past the Indian's house, past Purple Lady's house, and down to the corner store to pick up some baseball cards for me and cigarettes for the adults. Back then, all you had to say was, "They are for my dad," and the store clerk wouldn't think twice.
My parents didn't keep booze around the house. Much later in my life, I'd ask my dad why he didn't drink more than the occasional scotch. He said, "One day I realized I needed a drink at the end of the day. And I didn't need that." And that was it.
I drank my first full beer in 1990. While memorable, the effect of seeing my mom's face when I came home with the beer on my breath made it an unhappy memory. It wasn't until the summer of that year that I tasted my future. The parking lot of the Ozark Empire Fair grounds was filling up. Two girls, one blonde, one brunette--both with natural breasts as good as you'd find in the Ozark mountains--were taking money from people in need of a parking space. And they were drinking beer in huge plastic cups full of ice. Later in life I'd find the idea of beer on ice ridiculous. That day though, it was cold, it was illicit, it was sex, and it was the best thing I'd ever tasted.
I would be a beer man.
September 8, 2000 was the first time I lost $50 in poker game. It was a Friday night. Through college, I'd remained a beer man, fancying everything from Stag to hip microbrews (unfiltered wheat being both my savior and executioner). I went through a scotch phase. I went through a gin phase. I always came back to beer. On that night, I was sober as a judge. The game mixed up everything from five-card draw to insane bastardizations of seven-stud. It was rotating game that lasted for years, but spawned only a few posts on Up For Poker, most notably my failed creation of a game called Timebomb Poker.
For that game and many of the next several years, I packed candy and Diet Mountain Dew to get me through the night. It was a different time for me, one in which $50 wouldn't break the bank, but felt really, really bad. In those years, I was working in television and getting paid in the neighborhood of $26,000 a year plus overtime. I wasn't bad at my job and gained the respect of my then-employers. I rarely disappointed them.
One afternoon, my boss called me into the office.
"We have had some complaints about your behavior," he said.
I'd been up late the night before on the scene of a horrible interstate car crash. People were dead, the interstate was shut down, and I was in the middle of it all. I'd seen some bad, bad stuff that day, but didn't think my behavior had been out of line.
"Okay," I said.
"People said they heard you use the word 'fuck' several times last night when you were on the scene," my boss said.
Again, I likely muttered it a few times to myself, more in the manner of, "Fuck, I can't believe what I'm seeing here," but never screaming.
"When was this?" I asked.
The boss read off of his notes and said, "Somehwere between 10pm and 11pm."
It didn't make sense. I'd been off the scene during that time, back in the office working on the story.
Eventually, I put two and two together. Team Scott Smith, a man who would one day become a friend, was working for the same TV station at the time and had managed to knock the power out to an entire neighborhood after raising live truck equipment into a bunch of power lines. He was reported to have said at the time, "Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck."
Somehow, in the darkness, the people had heard the words uttered by a Gene Wilder look-alike and attributed them to me.
The worst thing I ever did on the air was identify the president of a ritzy homeowners association (an old white dude) as Priest Holmes.
It was football season.
And that was just a little more than five years ago.
I was about to play poker at the Bellagio for the the first time. I had not yet started playing poker online. Though I'd been playing for years, I think I can admit, I wasn't very good. Five years ago was the end of my old life, the time when I spent four nights a week in a bar, three days a week getting some sort of exercise, five days a week seeking out truth and justice, and maybe two nights a month playing poker. Back then, poker wasn't something that affected my mood. It was a pleasant diversion that, on a bad night, cost me $50.
Five years ago, I wouldn't have imagined that in 2007 90% of my recreational time would be spent playing poker. I would've laughed if you'd told me the kind of stakes I'd be playing for at times. Nor could I have imagined I would soon be making all my money writing about poker.
The are people who stay in the same job their whole life and there are people who bounce around and take risks. I'm not sure who is better off. A lot of people look at me and shake their head at how good my life must be. And, truthfully, most of the time it is.
These days, though, I am a vodka man. I still drink beer on most occasions, but if you give me a chance to have one drink with a friend, I'll more than likely order what I like to think of as a Dirty Goose.
It was in the middle of one of these drinks that a good friend and I had a long discussion about the pitfalls of defining one's self by what he does to earn a living. This friend is one of the people I know who puts in his eight hours and then leaves to live what he considers his real life.
I've not yet been able to do that.<-- Hide More
Think you know more about the NCAA Tournament than me? Well, you'd be wrong, but that doesn't mean you can't try. I've set up a bracket challenge to see just who amongst us can make the most correct guesses. Because, really, we all know this has nothing to do with college basketball knowledge.
So, now's your chance to lose to The Luckbox. Just click here to join the Up For Sports Bracket Challege. The password, appropriately enough, is luckbox. If you've got any problems joining up, just let me know!
A few years ago, I did a series on Rapid Eye Reality called "Get to Know Your Otis." For lack of something in the way of a fine story to tell this week, I beg your indulgence in this forum.
Ask a question, I'll do my best to give an answer.
If I get a little lucky, your questions might remind me of a story I haven't told yet.
It's been a very long time, dear reader, and I'm sorry for that. I've half-written and then discarded a dozen or so posts in the past few weeks. I've tried to craft something smart or pithy or, at least, legible. Frankly, it's been a chore. I'm in a pretty nasty funk these days. I'm not stuck in the poker sense but I'm stuck nonetheless.
C'est la vie.More in this Poker Blog! -->
THIS ISN'T A WHINE PER SE
God knows I've got it good. I'm still playing poker with friends. I still have friends. That's a real plus. I still do decent work at my job. I still cling to that. It's odd how hard it is to focus on the wonders of life when things seem so... grey.
In the last year my dad had a stroke, my wife a miscarriage, my dog died, and now my wife's lost her job. My employer is having a pretty rough stretch too, it seems people aren't loving us like they used to. Someone will have to pay for that and I just hope it's not me.
I'm still playing poker, and enjoying it most of the time, but it's been hard to write about it much.
Typical of these other problems, I've been winning, generally, in poker. I post more winning sessions than losing ones. Sometimes I win pretty big. Otis, theMark, and I have this silly yearlong side bet: Which of us, in games we all sit at together, will finish the year the biggest winner? After just 3 such sessions, I'm winning by a little.
But I'm playing like shit. And I know it.
Sometimes after one of those losing sessions, I can't shake the feeling that I DESERVED to lose. Like it's the end of an unusually long string of variance curves and the TRUTH is about to emerge.
We all have a very tenuous grip on life and poker is a reflection of that. Nobody wins forever.
C'est la vie.
CHRIST THIS IS A BUMMER TO WRITE AND READ...
And the truth is I'm not as down as this makes me seem. I'm just a little confused. I think what I need much more than another poker night with the guys is probably a good night of bars and booze with friends. I just want to be with friends.
The truth is my dad is doing just great and we're going to the SEC Basketball tournament this week. It'll be fun, even though our team (Kentucky) suddenly sucks. My wife, now unemployed, has had more time to just sit with me and chat or watch TV or just hang out and that has been a gift. We got a new puppy too, but that's been a bit of a hassle. Plus, I'm still under contract at work, which is nice.
Perhaps the problem is the lack of traction. My career isn't advancing and I'm no better at poker. I don't have any wisdom to share. I don't have feeling to bare. I don't know what I feel.
That's why I haven't posted here much. But, now that I think about it, perhaps posting here helps.
We shall see.
Perhaps the next long post I write might make it past "delete."<-- Hide More
Don't ask why I was playing 8-4 suited in diamonds. It doesn't matter. It was shaping up to be that kind of night. Plus, I'm sort of lost. Nevertheless, I saw two diamonds on the flop and stoppped paying attention. I paired the four on the turn and hit another diamond on the river. It was checked to me and BadBlood asked, "How much will it cost me to buy this pot?"
"Thirty-five dollars," I said. That was the amount I will was willing to call with my weak flush.
"Then I check," he said.
I saw Do-Right getting ready to table K4. I was happy my little flush was about to win.
"I have a flush," I said and tabled my 8-4 of diamonds.
"You realize you don't have a flush?" Eddie, the dealer said. He looked at me like I was something just short of a diagnosed moron.
I looked at the board and re-counted the diamonds. Sure enough, there were only two.
Do-Right tabled his K4 to outkick my 8-4 and dragged his pot.
"Cocktails!" I yelled, startling the waitress into action. I then buried my head into a felt of shame and listened to someone joke, "Five red cards...FLUSH!"More in this Poker Blog! -->
Avoided in all of this was what would've happened if Do-Right had mucked his K4. That might have been ugly.
Now, to be fair, I don't think there was a person at the table who would've accused me of shooting an angle. First, it was pretty clear how humilated I was by my mis-read of the board. Second, the $40 pot really wasn't substantial enough for me to risk an otherwise clean reputation by trying to shoot an angle.
Still, there was a guy at the table--not in the hand, by the way--who insisted on making an issue of it.
"So, what would've happened if he intentionally mis-called his hand and Do-Right mucked?" Shawshank asked.
"That would be called shooting an angle," I said, and tried to crawl further into my iPod.
And that is where the debate began. Eddie the Dealer insisted my hand would be declared dead and Do-Right would win. Shawshank said that if the other hand had hit the muck, it didn't matter. It was a dead hand and I would've still won the pot.
I was stuck in an odd situation. I actually like Eddie the Dealer and am not as big a fan of Shawshank. That said, I thought Shawshank was right. If a hand hits the muck, it's dead. I decided I'd keep my mouth shut out of respect for Eddie's authority. It was all hyopthetical anyway.
This argument kept on for some time, so long that I didn't actually pay any attention to how it ended up. Today, however, I got to thinking about it again and decided to consult the authority that was many times brought up in the middle of the argument: Robert's Rules of Poker.
It's a tricky question. Most of us believe that if cards hit the muck, they are dead. Well, not always.
Here is what Robert's Rules of Poker has to say about it (with my emphasis added):
Cards thrown into the muck may be ruled dead. However, a hand that is clearly identifiable may be retrieved at managementâ€™s discretion if doing so is in the best interest of the game. We will make an extra effort to rule a hand retrievable if it was folded as a result of false information given to the player. The dealer assists in reading hands, but players are responsible for holding onto their cards until the winner is declared. Although verbal declarations as to the contents of a hand are not binding, deliberately miscalling a hand with the intent of causing another player to discard a winning hand is unethical and may result in forfeiture of the pot
So, basically, I interpret that rule like this: If I mis-call my hand intentionally (a subjective matter to be ruled upon by the floor) and someone mucks a winner, the dealer (if he can accurately determine which cards were mucked) can pull out the cards and determine the winner. What's more, based upon a decision by the floor, if I mis-call my hand intentiionally, I may forfeit the pot.
The way I read this rule (and based on what I know about how most poker rooms are run), if a person is known to be an angle shooter and repeatedly mis-calls his hand, the floor will finally say, "Listen, buddy, you do it again and you lose."
Now, this angle gets shot a lot more in stud games that it does hold'em games. It apparently happens enough in lowball games that Robert's Rules of Poker's lowball section has a special rule about this very subject (again, with my emphasis added).
Cards speak (cards read for themselves). However, you are not allowed to claim a better hand than you hold. (Example: If a player calls an "8", that player must produce at least an "8" low or better to win. But if a player erroneously calls the second card incorrectly, such as â€œ8-6â€ when actually holding an 8-7, no penalty applies.) If you miscall your hand and cause another player to foul his or her hand, your hand is dead. If both hands remain intact, the best hand wins. If a miscalled hand occurs in a multihanded pot, the miscalled hand is dead, and the best remaining hand wins the pot. For your own protection, always hold your hand until you see your opponentâ€™s cards.
So, my interpretation is as follows:
1) I am an idiot and probably am in need of a 30-day poker hiatus or a 30-day jail sentence.
2) If I had been intentionally mis-calling my hand and Do-Right had mucked his hand, Eddie could've tried to find the right cards and pull them out of the muck. If he could do that and Do-Right won, then Do-Right won. This is one of just a few cases when cards can be pulled out of the muck.
3) If I repeatedly violate this part of poker etiquette, the floor can penalize me by declaring my hand dead.
4) If we're playing lowball, my hand is automatically dead.
So, thereya go. That's what the rulebook says. If anything, it's a good reminder (and the same reminder Eddie offered) to always wait to see your opponent's cards before you muck. Don't trash your hand until you know you have no use for the cards. All else fails, just turn up your damed hand. I know one person (who used to write here, incidentally) who mucked a full house on the river when he was sure he was beaten by a flush.
One final note on the rules: Every card room is different and rules are enforced more strictly in some than others. What's more, Robert's Rules has a caveat that a floor person may make a ruling contrary to Robert's Rules if it is in the interest of fairness.
Thanks to my friends at LasVegasVegas for offering Roberts Rules of Poker on their site.<-- Hide More
I really just wanted to touch her again.
She looked amazing. Her blouse was cut tantalizingly low, but I couldn't allow my eyes to wander. It was a first date. And I was a gentleman.
But I really just wanted to touch her again.
When I saw her for the first time, I was stunned. She walked out of her house and towards me. I stood there, trying to decide if I should shake her hand.
"Well..." she said, "Aren't you going to give me a hug?"
First impressions are important. I wonder what impression I gave.More in this Poker Blog! -->
I stood there behind the 5 seat as the players gathered. I didn't have sunglasses or an iPod. I was dressed casually with only my 6'5" frame and my black walking-cast boot to draw any attention. And once I sat down, I was rather inconspicuous.
Anyone who sits down at a live table without sizing up their opponents is wasting their time. They may as well sit behind a computer. Live poker is as much about the people as it is the cards.
I wasn't familiar with anyone at my table. To my right was Bobby Brown. Not the I'm-too-broke-to-get-out-of-jail Bobby Brown. No, he was more like the first-reunion-of-New-Edition Bobby Brown. You could tell there was just enough craziness under the surface. To my left was a jovial old man who gave notice on the first two hands that he would move chips around.
When I found myself UTG, I decided to straddle. I'll often do that early in a session to give the impression that I like to gamble. Besides, Bobby Brown was in the SB and had bought in for just $100 instead of the $300 max. He was already down to just $35 and I thought I might get the rest of it this hand.
Two players called before Bobby moved all-in. I peeked down at J9s and figured that was good enough for me. After all, if I don't defend my straddle, it won't do me much good later. Surprisingly, two other players also called. Four of us saw the QTx flop.
I checked and the only woman at the table pushed for $70. The other player folded leaving me with a tough choice. She bet $70 into a $140 pot. I was getting 3-to-1 on my money and had an OESD. Do I make the call?
I've never been one to gamble.
The choices I've made in life have often fallen in the safe category. When it comes to my personal life, I don't take chances. Do you know how many people saw the inside of my apartment when I lived in G-Vegas? The total can be counted on one hand.
Lafayette hasn't been much different. And now, there was someone new in my life and she actually wanted to spend a weekend with me. In my house. I wasn't sure it was the right play. I didn't want to make the call.
But I called.
She flipped over JTo. She had just middle pair. Bobby Brown flipped over pocket K's. I guess he was legit after all. I was disappointed to see two of my outs were dead.
The dealer pulled off another Q on the turn. Great. There go two more of my outs. If I was going to win this hand, I'd have to get lucky.
"8," I said. And that's all I said.
And I got lucky.
She was laying there in my arms, and I could hardly believe how lucky I was. We were watching a movie. If it was one of hers, there's a good chance it was starring either Hugh Grant or Colin Firth or both. If it was one of mine, something was blowing up and she was only moderately interested.
Things just seem too perfect. Except for the fact that women are expensive. Well, maybe that's not the best way to put it. Relationships are expensive. Especially if Lady Luck is to one day become Mrs. Luckbox. I think BG is already laying odds on that.
With that in mind, she told me maybe I should start playing poker again. Of course, she was under the impression that I could stop at the casino for an hour and win a couple thousand dollars. It wasn't quite that easy.
Boy this was easy.
When I turned the flush, I had a good feeling my hand was good. Especially when Bobby Brown hit the table like Whitney had just talked back to him. My flush was only 10-high, but Bobby had obviously laid down two clubs.
There was a good sized bet and a call in front of me. I really wanted to raise, but one thing stopped me. The guy across the table, who loved to talk, had just said to Bobby, "Boy, I hope you had the Ace of clubs!" If that doesn't scream, "I have the Ace of clubs!!!!", nothing does. So instead, I just called, figuring I'd face a tough choice if a club fell on the river.
It didn't. It's checked to me and I pushed. The other player in the hand only had ten dollars left so he obviously called. The Ace of Clubs guy folded face up. He also had middle pair, but he wasn't going to pay me off. I showed my flush and the all-in guy mucked.
I'd been playing No Limit for about two and a half hours and I had turned $300 into $1000.
A half hour later, I turned the second nut flush and cagily checked to the same guy I busted earlier. He had rebought and decided to push $315 into an $80 pot.
"If you've got the nuts, I'm dead," I told him. "I call."
I flipped my cards and the river was a blank. He mucked, shaking his head.
"Even when I get a good hand, I can't beat you," he said.
I stacked up my chips, now sitting at $1300.
"I'm pretty lucky," I replied.
NL cash games at the Coushatta.
I am pretty lucky.<-- Hide More
This is my nephew. He's sitting in the awesome fire truck filled with legos that I got him for Christmas. I show you this picture because he's just about the cutest nephew in the world and for another reason.
This weekend, he's participating in the MS Walk in San Antonio. For those who don't know, my sister has MS. Thankfully it's not a severe case, but finding a cure is something about which my family cares deeply. With that in mind, I was hoping some of you might be interested in sponsoring my nephew in the walk.
This is the link to my nephew's page. I really appreciate anything you're able to do.
From Jeffrey: Thank you so much, Uncle CJ, for putting up this post! I got lots more donations from your friends, and Mommy and I are really happy about it. Plus, nobody else has cool names in their Honor Roll like "Puncher of Donkeys." And Mommy said I'm probably the only little boy who got a special "Hammer Donation" (I couldn't figure out what was special about $27 until Mommy explained the power of two-seven offsuit to me). Thank you to all of Uncle CJ's friends who donated--and if you still want to donate, you can at my webpage until April 3! Thank you so much, everyone!