It's not you. It's me.More in this Poker Blog! -->
We've had a good time together. I like the way you know what I like to drink. I like the way you hit me in the head with the deck for two hours and then crack kings like a champ. I treat you right. I mean, how many guys will straddle nearly every time he has the opportunity and then never, ever raise? Oh, and remember the time I folded my fifteen outs twice and gave up the 1200x the big blind pot? Those were good times.
I've been trying to find a way to say this. I can't think of any other way.
There's somebody else. She's got a hold on me that I can't escape.
So, seat open. Please water the plants.
P.S. Lock up a seat for me sometime late Summer.
In all seriousness, this sort of sucks. Over the past year, I've really enjoyed the one or two times a week I've been able to get out to the underground games around town. I've met a lot of good people (and a few real pricks) and look forward to the time I get to hang out.
Alas, work calls. I'm getting ready to head out for my annual adventure and I'm not sure how soon I'll be back. While I still have a few days, the time in the interim is best spent nuturing my very understanding family.
So, find some other fish to pick on for the summer, and then I'll be back to blow off my roll to you later.
As for Up For Poker, one of two things will happen.
1) I'll roll up into Working Otis and completely ignore my space here
2) I'll go on an annual freak-out and kick out the jams here as often as possible.
Both of those possibilities are equally possible.
Here's a bit of my freak-outs from my first two years at the World Series.
A Month In Las Vegas--An arrival
Limit Poker With the Russians Nuts with Jennifer Tilly Johnny Fuckin' Chan--Watching Chan win his tenth bracelet
Are you a card player?--My definitive statement from 2005
Leaving Las Vegas--My first escape
Pai Gow with Wheaton--Monster Pai Gow for the strong-of-heart
Poker People--A look at the darker side of the WSOP
Escaping Las Vegas--My last night at the 2006 WSOP
Snickers for Wil Wheaton--Looking for ghosts at Binions
A bit on Jay Greenspan--Pimping a fellow writer
Mad No-Max--An incomplete tale of the biggest $2/$5 game I ever played in
See you all on the other side...or, I suppose, in Vegas.<-- Hide More
Danny looked like the type of man who could fight 50 years ago. His face was the hard kind, the kind that you see in old black and white family photos, the kind that survived the depression, survived the war, and came out the other side.More in this Poker Blog! -->
It was midnight at Harrah's outside of St. Louis. Danny was old and his fighter-face of the 1950s sat underneath a bald, liverspotted head. His muscles had atrophied and his skin hung like parchment paper from a deadwood frame.
Every time he folded, he said the same thing.
It was like he'd been saying it in poker games for the past 60 years and couldn't help himself. He sat on my left and waited for my mucking motion. As soon as he saw it, he said, "I'm out."
He played tight. Too tight, even. If he was in a pot, I was out.
At one point, Danny stood up. Two minutes later, I smelled it coming half a second before I felt it. It was coffee with cream. It was hot. And it was all over me.
Danny stood--rickety--above me.
"I'm so sorry," he said. Fifty years ago, he would've said something else and maybe challenged me to a fight. Now, he was just hoping I didn't say something to embarass him.
"We need a towel," the dealer said.
I broke the tension. "And a shower!" I yelled.
We got everything cleaned up. I sort of liked Danny. Depsite being clumsy and scalding me with coffee, he was a nice guy.
Something happened after that. He couldn't fold draws. He had to see rivers.
I flopped my top pair on a board with two hearts and knew what he had before he called my first bet and my all-in on the turn. He showed it to me on the river and I took all Danny's chips when he missed the flush.
"I'm out," he said. This time, he really meant it. He stood up and walked out without saying anything more.
The stains came out of my shirt and pants. The smell is gone. I have Danny's money in my pocket right now.
For some reason, despite feeling like I came out on the winning side of that fight, I almost wish none of it had ever happened. I sort of wish Danny hadn't been there, hadn't been embarassed, and hadn't lost. I want to take most people's money. Even people who spill coffee on me. Danny, however, sort of made me sad.
When I'm 75 years old, I don't want to be Danny. What's worse is that sometimes I feel like I'm a lot closer than I think.<-- Hide More
Imagine spending an entire live session in which your biggest Ace is AQs and your biggest pair is pocket 8s. In each case, I found the hand in a blind.
Not exactly the recipe for a big session... unless your name is G-Rob. And, well, mine isn't. This may be a newsflash to some of you, but when I'm playing cash games, I actually prefer to have the best hand and then have it hold up. I save the Luckboxing for tournaments.
So sitting at that table at the New Orleans Harrah's, I had to reach into my bad of tricks for something with which I'm a little uncomfortable. The bluff.More in this Poker Blog! -->
"You want me to throw this away?" I asked, as incredulously as I could. We were cleaning out my
junk storage room and things I've carried with me from L-town to G-Vegas to Knox-Vegas to Leezy-anna were being put into a trash pile.
In this particular case, I was holding a sleek Sporting News thermos that I had never used.
"But what if I need it?" I continued, "It's actually pretty nice."
Lady Luck took it out of my hands and looked at it, "What-ever," she said, with her trademark giggle and she threw it in the trash box.
I didn't want to keep it. I didn't need it. I was running a small stakes bluff just to see how she reacted. I got the information I needed.
He seemed like a calling station. And he had been talking about how this was his last hand for the last 45 minutes. But since I'd been playing with him for the last couple hours, I knew both were an act. He was only a calling station until he sensed weakness, then he pounced.
I'm sitting in the big blind and the action is folded all the way around to him in the small blind. He reminded me of Ed McMahon, without the deep voice. I was about to suggest a chop, but he threw his $5 chip in the middle.
"Fine," I thought, and I rapped the table before peeking at my hand. Pocket 8s. My biggest pocket pair of the session.
The flop came down 753, two spades. I didn't have a spade, but there was no doubt my hand was best.
"I think that hit me good," he said, throwing $20 into the $10 pot. He was quite the talker.
"I think it hit me better," I said, raising to $40. I wasn't shocked when he called. He'd often called raises with a plan to move at the pot later in the hand.
The turn was a Jack. Obviously, I hated seeing an overcard, but I had to hope it missed him.
"Sixty," he said, confidently. He practically slammed the chips on the table. I think I saw a copy of Mike Caro's Book of Tells fall out of his sleeve.
"I call," I said, just as quickly. I considered raising there and winning the pot. I was fairly confident he didn't have a hand, but I could have been wrong. I also thought the quick call might allow me to feign a draw in case a scare card comes on the river.
The river was the deuce of spades. That opened up all kinds of craziness. Three spades and another straight possibility. If he bet, I was ready to bluff. I'm not sure I had effectively set it up, but the way my session was going, I wanted this pot.
Thankfully, he checked. Betting would have been stupid because I was likely only going to get called by a better hand. I tabled my snowmen and he mucked.
"Wow," I said. "You really know how to rip a guy's heart out," I told her, acting as wounded as possible. She knew it was an act and laughed. But I filed this away. It would take a different tact to keep something I really wanted.
It didn't take long for her to come across a couple of old sports books of mine that were gathering dust in boxes. She started moving those toward the trash pile.
"Wait, wait, wait," I said, more seriousness in my tone this time. "I've been holding on to those until I had a place to show them off. They're actually great coffee table books for the right room."
That was my first bullet.
"So where is that?" She asked. She had a point, dammit.
"Well... you're decorating the guest room. What about our second living area? It certainly needs some character."
Bullet number two. That turn card didn't scare me.
"Hmmm..." she said, clearly considering it. I had my opening and I wasn't going to miss it.
"Besides, I've got my chess sets and my poker stuff. We could come up with a cool sports and game room," I thought I overplayed my hand. There was a moments hesitation from her. I held nothing and I thought she was calling for sure.
"Okay." She folded. Ship it!
It was my last hand of the night. Lady Luck was on her way over to pick me up. I didn't mind, the session had been incredibly slow. I can hardly remember being so card dead. I was sitting a little up, but wanted more. When I looked down at A3s from early position, I figured the best I could hope for was a flush. I limped from the SB.
Three more players limped before a woman on the button raised to $25. She looked as though she likely played on the LPGA tour at one time (and I'm not talking about Natalie Gulbis here, think late 80s LPGA). She raised on the button almost every time and she followed up every one of her raises with a continuation bet. I immediately decided a bluff might be in order.
The BB and SB folded, but I called, as did the other three limpers. There was already $125 in the pot. The flop came down 963 rainbow. I was first to act.
I fired out $75. I frankly can't remember the last time I made a bet like that with bottom pair and 5 players in the pot. I wasn't sure I had the best hand, but I was willing to represent it. I'm not a skilled bluffer, so I knew there was a risk.
Everyone folded except for Nancy Lopez. She hesitated, practically staring me down, before calling. I immediately put her on over cards. I think she had a plan that included either catching her overcard on the turn or bluffing if I checked the turn.
The dealer pulled off a deuce. I looked at the board, looked up at her, looked down at my stack and said, "$165." To be honest, I didn't want a call. There was a chance, a good chance, that I was ahead. On the other hand, she could have easily been holding a 6 or a 9... or even pocket 7s or 8s. This may have been a case of bluffing with the best hand, but even then, I was out of my element.
She thought for what felt like an enternity. My phone buzzed in my pocket, but I ignored it. At the time, I though Lady Luck was calling to say she was waiting out front, but it was actually the alarm I had set to remind to get up. I wanted to seem calm, but not unnaturally sure of myself.
She threw her cards into the muck. The dealer pushed the chips my way and I talbed my bottom pair.
"I think that was good," I said. A couple players at my end of the table laughed. I'm not sure they thought it was. I don't normally show my hands, but I was leaving anyway. It felt good... even if it wasn't really a bluff. It helped me finish up a couple hundred bucks. I'll take it.
My session in the
junk storage room didn't finish nearly as well. I finished down. Waaaaaay down. I was left with my baseball card collection and one and a half small boxes. There was so much thrown away that we travelled to two different dumpsters to get rid of it.
Lady Luck 1, The Luckbox 0.<-- Hide More
The first time I won a poker blogger tournament, everybody said, "Who the hell is Otis?" The second time I won, they said, "Oh, it's that Otis guy again. Who the hell is he again?"
The third time I won...was just a few minutes ago. So, it's been quite a while, huh?
Thanks to Hoy for putting on a good show.
I did the late night Gaelic game last night. Got there after the "News at 11" and played a few hours of $1/$2NL. I've been buying in for $1000 lately. More on that in a minute.
First, here's a hand that really pissed me off. I'm curious for the reader's take. I'm on the button with AJh. UTG straddles the pot for $5.
There are 2 callers to me on the button and I make it $25 to go. BB calls. UTG calls.
The flop is Kh 10d 8c.
BB leads out for $45 and UTG min-raises to $90. I've taken a hand or two from UTG and the min-raise has my attention. BB could have top pair because he's a fairly loose and incredibly aggressive player. Plus, $45 is a curious lead out in what is now a $100 pot.
Fearing the min raise, and with noting more than a gutty and an over, I fold. BB then turns to his good friend (they've been buddies all night) and says, "Well, now we can check it down!"
He calls...they flip up their cards and check it down.
I was livid.
Frankly, I was beat, but this is cheating. I said so. The rest of the table said, "I'm not sure there's a house rule about that." Which, actually, further emphasizes my point. If there is NO house rule, the standard rules apply. This IS textbook collusion and I called it just that.
UTG won the pot. I stacked him an orbit later. Then a second time with 85o. That made me happy. After the second, I said, "Perhaps you'd have a better shot with (player x) in the pot".More in this Poker Blog! -->
A THOUGHT ON TABLE IMAGE
I've been wodering if we aren't overly aware of our own image online and sadly unaware in a live game. That is, I can think of several times when I've folded away 50 straight hands online and thought, "My image is tight enough that I can move with anything here," only to find that nobody else at the table paid attention.
Plus, 50 hands isn't nearly as many online as it is at a bricks and mortar table.
In a live game, however, even less experienced players have a handle on basic playing style. The good players will see you as they sit down and expect a certain stlye of play.
I'm the maniac here. To be fair, I do usually play like a maniac and we've been over that topic a million times. Still, when I shift gears, there are only a few who will pick that up quickly. Hopefully I can make some money before that becomes obvious to everyone.
By the way, for a loose aggressive player there is NOTHING more frustrating than making the conscious decision to switch gears to something tighter and then going totally card dead.
The past two games (one at the depot and one at the Gaelic) I've bought in for a grand at the 1/2 game. At the depot I was motivated by Dusty Rhodes who bought in for the same. I tried it again at the Gaelic after great success the night before.
When I chatted with Otis about the strategy he said, "Its a good move agaisnt a weak and passive game."
I disagree. At least, I think it's even better against a loose and somewhat passive game.
There are so many times in our games in which the standard preflop raise is about 6 or 7 times the big blind. But even with that raise, we'll get 4 or 5 callers to each pot. Even people determined to limp in for $2 in middle position will then call $15. That means decent pre-flop drawing hands will be good odds to call all night.
In fact, it usually means you'll find yourself calling $35 or $40 on the flop for the same reason. Now, if you're joining, as we usually do, a game in progress, then there will already be several stacks of several hundred dollars. That means to get proper IMPLIED odds or have any reasonable fold equity with our great flop draws, we need an oversized starting stack.
Like all my big poker theories, this one has extensive field testing. I tried it twice. It worked extremely well those two times. That means it's foolproof.<-- Hide More
Well, this evening I had one of those "Holy cow," moments. It came when I discovered a new poker collaborative poker blog, staffed by...get this...
Tony Holden, A. Alvarez, and Lee Jones, among others.
I've played and drank with Holden and am proud to call Lee a friend and colleague. Still haven't met Alvarez. Would probably make an ass of myself if I did.
Regardless, fire up your bloglines subscriptions and head to The Bigger Deal Blog.
Related: I received my copy of Holden's The Bigger Deal this week and plan to read it post haste. Of course, I had to thumb through the Monte Carlo section and see if my private game with Anonthy Holden made the cut. It did not, for which I am only moderately crushed. Okay, crushed.
Any good poker player knows, decisions at the table should rarely involve how much money is involved. There are good plays and bad plays. There are good decisions and bad decisions. There are good calls and good folds. If you're making those decisions based on how many double cheeseburgers you could buy with the money, you're not using the correct decision-making process.
In life, however, it is fiscally responsible to make decisions based on cost-benefit analysis. We do it all the time. Does L'il Otis really need another Pixar film? Does Mrs. Otis really need a .38 Special and a Doberman to keep her company while I'm skulking around the local card rooms?
These kinds of decisions are personal and vary from father to father and husband to husband. However, I think I've developed a pretty good poker-based rubric for making financial decisions.More in this Poker Blog! -->
Note: This rubric should only be used when making decisions based soley on money. If you think your kid is getting spoiled or your wife is taking advantage of you forgetting to get the pre-nup drawn up, you should be thinking in other terms--like maybe why your kid is a brat and your wife is already sleeping with someone else. And while I might appear to be writing a bit tongue-in-cheek here, I am 100% serious.
The Orphan Pot
The pot has been raised pre-flop and you are the only caller. The pre-flop raiser has checked to you on all streets and the action is now on you. You have ace-high and decide to make a bet to pick up the orphan pot. It doesn't matter whether you are good here. What matters is the amount you are willing to put in the pot.
The next day your wife requests to sign up your kid for an educational program with a monthly cost the same as your Orphan Pot bet. You're not sure if the program is really worth the money. Nonetheless, if it's worth a bluff, it's worth your kid learning to salsa to ska music...or whatever it is they are teaching the kids these days.
There has been action on all streets. You flopped top pair with top kicker and have not improved by the river. You think there is a chance your opponent has top pair as well, but are somewhat concerned he has made two pair. Your opponent bets the pot and you make the decision to call.
The next day your wife asks if she can fly to Dallas to see her best friend from high school. If the plane ticket costs less than the TPTK call, tell the wife to fly safe and don't sleep with any of the Cowboys. Except maybe Tony Romo.
The Pre-Flop Raise
In any no-limit game, the amount of the pre-flop raise varies from player to player. Some people stick with a standard 3x the big blind. Others mix it up. In your mind, you have a certain amount with which you're willing to raise pre-flop on any given hand.
So, it's one of those days you're walking through Target and your kid is being a good boy. He said, "Daddy! Can I have that?" If the decision is one based on money and the object of the child's affection is less than your standard pre-flop raise, you find your spot in the check-out aisle. It's time to play "Sorry, I Ate Too Many Watermelons!" on the coffee table.
The Stop Loss
You're the type of person who employs a stop-loss or only brings as much money to a game as he is willing to lose in a night.
Now, your wife wants new furniture for the living room. If said furniture costs the same or less as your nightly stop-loss, you must say yes. (Note: You can still say no if the furniture request has already been made once within the past two years).
The Third Raise
You have pocket kings and have re-raised a pre-flop raiser. You and your opponent have both doubled your initial buy-ins. Your opponent moves all-in.
If you can call with your kings, your next vacation with your wife must equal or exceed the amount of the pot.
You have called a pre-flop raise and see a flop with two opponents. The pre-flop raiser leads out, the second caller raises, and you believe you have 15 twice against at least one of the players. All three stacks are deep.
If you're willing to push,the amount you're willing to put in is no more than you should be willing to spend on a bi-monthly car payment for your wife's new ride.
There's a guy named Jackpot Jeff who doesn't really enjoy playing poker, but he does get off on gambling. The game you play allows him to straddle in any position for any amount he wants. In this case, he has straddled in his own big blind for 100x the amount of the blind. It is folded around to you in the small blind. You have A7 offsuit and have the bet covered. Jackpot Jeff is all-in and still blind.
The next night, your wife tells you she has made reservations for one of your town's nicest restaurants. If the cost of your meal is less than the amount with which you could call Jackpot Jeff's blind all-in, put on your bib, boy, because you're going to eat some grub.
These are just a few examples. Feel free to post your own in the comments. All of this, we should remember, is based on on the principle that none of these decisions should be made in reverse. That is, if your kid needs a new pair of shoes (set of braces, car insurance, etc) that cost the same as a tournament buy-in and you think, "Well, I could buy him a lot more shoes if I WIN the tournament," you shouldn't be buying in.
Of course, when it comes to our families, most of us know that--whatever the cost--if we have the money, we will spend it. However, there are days when we can't convince ourselves that our family really needs a machine gun or a G.I. Joe with the Wil Wheaton grip. Those days, the Otis Rubric will help.
Hey, I know it's Mother's Day and all. Poker is likely to play third or fourth fiddle today. However, if you've already taken care of all you duties for the day and you're playing some poker this afternoon, drop a few bucks for the Ocean's Thirteen Darfur Charity tournament on PokerStars. It's a $10 rebuy event with the entire prize pool being matched by PokerStars and shipped to the Not On Our Watch charity. George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Don Cheadle, Jerry Weintraub are putting their names a lot of effort toward aiding the suffering in Darfur and it's pretty impressive they've teamed with PokerStars for this one. And, frankly, PokerStars' $1 million donation isn't chicken feed either.
Oh, I may have neglected to mention--you make the top four in the event today, you're going to roll on the red carpet at the Ocean's Thirteen party in Cannes. If you are looking for the event on PokerStars, you'll find it by clicking "Tourney" and "Special."
So, yeah. Picking up girls might be a little easier when you say you had drinks with George and Brad last night. And, if you're like me and your picking-up girls-days are long behind you, you can make it a Mother's Day present to your wife (on the condition she doesn't offer herself up as a surrogate for Brad and Angelina).
Note: If you can't play and still want to donate, you can do a transfer from your account on PokerStars to the account: NOOW.
I think it's the "Black Stallion". It could just as easily be the "Cheese Factory" or the "Hamburger Room". I have no part in these silly nicknames and so I never remember them. Nonetheless, I finished up pretty huge last night.
Plus, at some point below, I'll get to the bottom of this little gem from the comments to my "Hooker" post, "you've been tagged."More in this Poker Blog! -->
Lately, the Thursday game's been my favorite. My work schedule is Saturday to Wednesday, so Thursday is the best part of the weekend. Plus, I usually win there, which is nice.
The room has 3 tables, but I've only played on 2. The main game is in what would have been the living room if this was a real, functioning, house. A plasma TV hangs from one wall. There's a piano in the hallway.
I called Blood to get him to reserve a seat for me in that room but he and Mark we late. I got the last seat at an incredible game.
1s: Dudley Overalls (who just won the jackpot there a week ago, Later, Buddha)
2s: Tighty McTightbox (I called ONE preflop raise from him all night)
3s: G-Rob (I love this guy)
4s: Tilty McDrunkerson (Later replaced by Drunky McMoredrukerson)
5s: Solid aggressive guy
6s: Steve Shortbuy (bought in for $40... 15 times)
7s: Dave Drawsky (will call any bet anywhere with a draw. Later MarkySals)
8s: Loose guy (Later different loose guy)
9s: Unabomber wannabe (Later Father Christmas)
10s: Unhappy Pappy (Later Unabomber Wannabe)
This is important because, for most of the night, this is the single best table of all time.
I bought in for $300 at first. I lost it in an orbit. Most of it with Jh9h. I was on the button and called a raise to $15. The flop is J, 10, 3 with 1 heart and it's checked to me. Because there are 3 of us to the flop, I bet $40. Only the preflop raiser in EP calls. The turn is a 9 and I'm sure I'm good.
EP checks and I bet $75. He pushes for another $30. I call. He has the nuts.
So, after tilting off the rest of THAT buyin, I rebought for $500. I'm not a big chronological order kinda guy (EAT THAT SLOW MARCH TO DEATH HANDS OF TIME) so here are some of the biggest hands... such as....
Father Christmas sits down and everyone says "Oh boy look out this GUY IS CRAZY!"
He's determined to prove them right. He's been playing O8 at the mysterious 3rd table and brought about $600 over with him. I start in immediately.
"You know, people say you're nuts."
"I am," he says, "I'll play for this whole stack."
"Well, a real man makes it $75 blind. Especially from the 9 seat. But you're not crazy. You're weak. Go on, make it $75."
Father Christmas tosses 3 green chips, $75, into the pot.
I slowly look down and find a King, and hey what's that, another King. I raise.
$375 to go.
Now two short stacks in EP decide THEY want to play too. And Father Christmas? He just calls.
The flop is 7,7,5 rainbow. I have visions of this guy holding 73o, but when he checks... I push.
He calls, and tables KJo.
Lord I love poker sometimes.
Buddha made a really good fold a few hands earlier. He'd taken the 1 seat after I stacked Dudley Overalls. I straddled and caught AKh. After bumping it to $25 only Dudley called. The flop is K, J, 2 and Dudley went all in with J7. He lost.
So, on Buddha's first hand there are 2 limpers to me, and I make it $20 with JJ. The BB calls and so does Buddha in the 1 seat. The flop is A,J,9 with 2 hearts. BB makes it $25 and Buddha calls. I hate those draws and raise another $50. BB calls.
Buddha folds what he later claims is J9. If that's the case, he made a very good fold.
The turn is a King and that's one of the kooky gutty draws that's been killing me lately. BB checks and I bet $125. He calls.
I push in the dark (he only has $25 left). The river? Q of hearts.
He calls and shows A9. Yeesh.
I'd built that $500 into $2255. I decided to call it a night.
SO ABOUT THIS "TAGGING" BUSINESS
The most popular "bitch" in G-Vegas has one of these silly blog question things a-going and I'm game for it I suppose.
7 THINGS YOU DON'T KNOW ABOUT ME (AND FOR GOOD REASON)
1. The one thing I can't drink is Scotch. In high school my best friend Jay moved to Chicago after his Junior year. When he graduated I flew up there with our friend Beth Ann and we hit the town. Chicago didn't bother to ask for ID so I remember drinking "Old Styles" in some crappy blues bar all night. Then, when we got back, the only thing in the house was his stepdad's Scotch. To this day, if someone 10 feet away is drinking the stuff, the smell will make my stomach turn. Bad times. Bad Times.
2. Once, a moose shit on my head. I actually told this as a bedtime story to my older daughter the other day. I didn't use the word shit. But I was camping alone in Montana and heard some rustling late at night. When I flipped on the flashlight a startled moose ran past. Only the next morning did I discover just how scared that moose was.
3. I once flew to Amsterdam for a week after seeing an ad in "High Times." My college buddies and my then-future wife drove straight to the travel agent and booked round trip flights. We arrived a few weeks later with a few hundred bucks a piece and no plans at all. Ask me to show you pictures sometime. That was back in my very long ponytail days.
4. I got into TV by taking 3 newspaper stories in Chattanooga and faking coverage of them with a wedding photographer and a former TV news director. When I got my first reporting job I'd never been inside a TV station. I'm still not entirely qualified for my job. Luckily, my boss couldn't care less about qualifications. It's a necktie thing.
5. I don't use pot odds much. I do use implied odds, but I rarely do any math when I'm playing poker. I'm not what you'd call... um... good at poker. You already knew this one but I'm struggling to think of 7 things.
6. I've crashed 5 different cars. A VW Jetta, Toyota Camry, Corolla and Tercel, and a car I borrowed from this girl during an ice storm in college. The Jetta wasn't my fault, we got rear-ended on a highway on ramp. The guy didn't have insurance. The Tercel wasn't my fault. A guy from Louisiana ran a red light and hit me in Lexington. The Girl-in-college's car wasn't my fault either, this Chinese national had stalled out in the middle of the road, blocking all the lanes, and I crushed his car. He then fled back to China without paying. The girl never talked to me again. The Corolla and the Camry were all my fault. I actually crashed the Corolla twice.
7. I've had knee surgery 3 times. Twice during high school, one on each knee, and then again a few years ago. After the first my dad asked the doctor, "Will he be able to play basketball after this?" The doctor said yes. "Good," said my smartass dad, "He could never play before."
NOW I'LL TAG A FEW MORE:
Have a nice day.<-- Hide More
Men who buy hookers, by and large, aren't spending their money for the 15 minutes of paint-by-number sex and five seconds of afterglow they get for their money. They spend their cash for The Process--the search, the choosing, the negotiation, and the eventual purchase. It's not the getting off that gets them off.
It's The Process.More in this Poker Blog! -->
I wish I could remember where I heard that. As a happily married and duly-satsified guy, I spend my money on other vices, like food, booze, and travel. Still, whether it was a working girl at the Hooker Bar in Vegas or something I saw while watching Hookers at the Point on HBO, I once heard a prostitute drop that bit of philosphy. It made sense to me, not because I'm a John, but because just about anything that gets us off has a Process.
Poker ain't much different.
My favorite part of a poker game is not flopping a set against an overpair or having my 15-outer get there. It's the ten minutes I spend before I walk out the door of my house. I walk around the house and collect the money I'm going to take for the night. I walk into my bedroom, count out the bills, wrap them up, and pocket them. I get dressed. If they are clean--or marginally so--I wear one of four pairs of boxer shorts, a particular pair of jeans, and one of about four different shirts. I walk back downstairs to find my cell phone and iPod. The cell goes in one pocket and the iPod slides onto another. I kiss the wife and kid, walk out through the garage, get in Emilio the SDV, and start the drive.
Usually, that ten minutes is all I can control about the night. I can choose what I'm wearing, how much money I take, how I exit the house, and how fast I drive. It's methodical and it rarely changes. When it does change, it throws my night off. If the wife is cranky, the kid says soemthing sappy, or my iPod isn't charged, I'm set off balance. If I have to wear a shirt I don't like or a pair of uncomfortable jeans, I don't enjoy it as much. However, if everything goes right, I'm at peace...for at least ten minutes.
Because, after that, we as poker players start to lose control. Once I walk into the room and buy-in for my standard amount, external forces come into play. Is Wyoming going to turn his hat around and offer a fight? Will the cold decks hit? Will a former cop sit down at the table and make me wonder whether I'm about to see a raid in person?
I'm not going to stretch the metaphor too far, but I have to imagine it's the same for a John who gets off on The Process. Once he hands over his money, he has lost all control with his girl. It is, for all intents and purposes, over. The excitement is in getting there, you know?
I'm not a superstitious guy. Sometimes I am rational to a fault. Still, there is something about The Process that changes me. These are things that I usually don't admit in conversation. I take care to pass myself of as a reasonable person. So, admitting the following is a bit of a look inside the Irrational Otis.
I refuse to take $50 bills at the bank or when cashing out of a game. If I somehow end up with $50s, I leave them at home when going through The Process.
A couple of years ago, I picked up a online poker site's money band and used it to wrap my cash. When I started losing, I gave the band away and went back to the drug store rubber band stash I have in my junk drawer.
I have owned no fewer than a half dozen card cappers. I've either given them all away or put them in a drawer following a losing session. I now use a chip and nothing else.
I noticed that my favorite pair of jeans was developing a hole in the knee. One more wash, I figured, would render them unwearable. So, last night, I grabbed the family and headed to a discount store to buy iron-on patches. My wife was incredulous. This afternoon, I turned the jeans inside out and essentially glued the knee back into place. The jeans are now in the washer and look like they are going to come out whole. I will wear them tonight when I walk out the door. It's just a little bit of comfort when nothing else seems to work.
Some things, though, don't work out as well. For instance, my Bongo-Playing Monkey boxers finally got so tattered nothing could save them. I actually wore them twice when they had a hole in the ass big enough to fit a grapefruit. I had to throw them away when the wife finally got disgusted. I was almost afraid to play poker the next day.
I booked a Vegas flight today and was offered the option of choosing my seats on the plane. I always sit as close to the front as I can. The seat nearest the front of the plane was 13A.
I chose seat 17G instead.
Recognizing The Process, I think, is a two-fold boon for one's game. It allows you to figure out what makes you comfortable. It also allows you to identify the silly notions that creep into your head.
More important than anything, though, is a personal study of whether you're more into The Process than the game. Sometimes I think I am. If I ever decide that I couldn't play the game without The Process, I will quit.
Because that will be the day I'm just another of Madame Poker's tricks.<-- Hide More
Hello degenerate readers and a special shout out to the whole horde of new local yokels. Good to have you here. You know, I've been busy for years telling the whole world how terrible I am at poker and now some of the people who truly believe that have blogs of their own.
Some stories:More in this Poker Blog! -->
Last night I finished 5th in a PokerStars tourney. I think I won $800. I was feeling good after cashing in the $109 the previous night. This one, the 5th place one, was one of those $10+ 1 $10 rebuy + $10 addon. I bought all three. With 630 players it took all damn night but a good cash is always fun.
Feeling good about that I took some of the new roll over to the $3/$6NL tables. For the record, I still think its dumb to cap the buyin at $600 there. In the very first orbit I have 89h and call from the cutoff.
The flop is 67J rainbow. Checks to me and I decide to lead out. One caller in early position. The turn is a K. He checks and I lead out about 3/4 of the pot. He check min-raises. It's a pretty odd move dontcha think.
The river is a 5.
He checks and I push. He calls.
Then he rebuys and launches into a tirade about what a godforsaken donkey I am.
"Do yourself a favor," he says, "take that money and leave before you go broke!"
"This is my first time playing for real money," says G-Rob (goin' all third person).
"Make it your last and you won't be a lofetime losing player," says angry donkey.
"OK," I type.
Then I went to bed.
Lesson here: If you actually do think you're playing a donkey who just took you for a big pot, don't ask him to leave with your money. That's allfire dumb. Also, don't check min-raise the turn without the NUTS.
This is my first day off in a long long while. It's nice. I was gonna post some pictures and stories and whatnot but I'm not sure you poker readers give a rip. Still, the Virgina Tech shooting followed by the Democratic Primary debate and another debate next week, plus the start of a few investigative whatnots and wheresuch. I'm busy and work is kinda stressing me out.
I thought you'd like to know.
Posted a few wins last week. Very small wins but wins nonetheless.
On Thursday, I lost my first stack (bought for $300 and had it to about $425) on a massive hand that went sorta like this...
I have 44 in the BB. It's straddled and there are about 6 preflop limpers. There's no sense thinning the herd with 44 because, frankly, I'll get 6 callers anyway.
The flop is, seemingly, outstanding.
4d, Qh, 10d.
SB checks and so do I.
New player I don't know who both looks and talks exactly like Larry the Cable guy (he says he likes to be called Big 'Un) makes it $15.
Action over to Otis in MP. He raises it to $40.
Blood is to Otis' left and pushes all in for about $200.
SB, a very short stack of about $75, pushes all in.
Otis may have top pair. Hell, he may even have top 2. I can take Blood off of QQ and 10-10 because he limped in late position. SB has been playing any pair all night and I'm not the least bit worried about him or his stack.
Surprise! Larry the Cable Guy pushes too... and he has me covered!
Action back to Otis, who thinks for a good 10 minutes and then finally mucks.
Otis claims to have had QJd... for top pair and a flush draw.
Blood has Q4 for top and bottom pair. SB has AJ for the guttie.
I, as you already know, have a set of 4s.
Larry... set of 10s.
Yup, I'm drawing dead (Blood has my other 4).
I rebought for $600 and cashed for $980. Good enough I say.
The G-Vegas scene is changing again. I think it's a change for the better. The "Gaelic" game is close to my house and runs at least 2 full tables of $1/$2NL on Tuesday and Saturday.
The "Hell I don't know what silly nickname we're giving it" game is perfect for Thursday night. Usually 2 tables going there too. Plus, besides some of the die-hard locals, there are usually a few new faces there. New faces are always good for a bluff monster like me.
The "Spring Hotel" on the other hand (I have to be careful because the people who run the game are good folks and they read this blog) seems to be on life support. I haven't been in some time. Usually there isn't much of a game. More often that not there are 3 people seated who own a piece of the rake and perhaps 2 or 3 other regulars. The fish disappeared.
Plus, Springsville is about 10 minutes further away than any other game. 20 minutes further than "Gaelictown". It's a shame, I made a living at that game last summer.
Finally, there are rumors that I beleive of another joint opening on Friday nights. It sounds good. In fact, the place sounds pretty swank. We'll let you know dear reader.
Peace.<-- Hide More
Luckbox's back. Tell a friend.
Tonight was my first foray into Riverchaser territory. It started well enough when a fellow blogger decided to call my all in holding the HAMMER. I was lucky enough to have my Hiltons hold up and I was in business.
Of course, that's when some guy named M3Trader decided to accuse us of colluding. I would have thought it funny if it weren't so sad. At that point, I vowed to win the whole thing.More in this Poker Blog! -->
That plan almost failed when my 88 was all in preflop against Pushmonkey's 99... but I calmly asked for an 8 in the chat box and the dealer obliged on the flop. From there, I was at or near the chip lead the whole way. Here now is my best Hoy impersonation (minus the donkey references):
Hand 1 This was some tricky strategy. I employed my super, reverse tell, continuation check manuever. Ah, screw that. I got all in with JTo vs. Iggy's Hiltons and I sucked out hard core. It's what I do.
Hand 2 Some more tricky strategy here. This time, it was against Garth and I had to be extra sneaky. Ah, screw that. I limped with the HAMMER. Flopped trips. Turned a boat. And cracked his Aces. The best part was when Al said, "Hammer goot" before the showdown.
Hand 3 At this point, oossuuu754 had promised me that he was in my rear view mirror. I told him I couldn't see him. He said I wouldn't until he passed me. So when I flopped top pair with KJo, I let him do all the work. He pushed with his AT and never improved.
Hand 4 I'm heads up now with FishyMcDonK and I have a 9-to-1 chip lead. He actually made quite a comeback, cutting my advantage to about 3-to-2. But it all ended when I masterfully and strategically flopped top pair to his second pair and all the money went in.
And that was that. Beware... my game is feeling good again. I'll see you at the tables!<-- Hide More
...unlucky in cards?
Tell that to my pool table poker opponents. The Luckbox is still in full effect.More in this Poker Blog! -->
For those who don't remember, pool table poker is a small stakes home game tourney which this week featured 8 players. We start with 1400 chips and 25/50 blinds which double every 20 minutes. It's a bit of a craps shoot, but it's a good time.
We're only a few hands in when I look down at rockets. I raise to 150 and thankfully, the button calls. The flop comes down Kxx rainbow. I check to the button who bets the pot. I call. The turn is another blank. I lead out this time and the button pushes. I call and his K9 is no good. I've doubled up.
"Jeeeeezus Keeerist," I hear from the end of the table. It's F@#$ the River. I haven't written about him for awhile, but if you think tilting Waffles is fun, you should play with this guy. "Just what we need, the Luckbox with a big stack."
We're in the next level now and I limp from the cutoff with T8s. I've got the stack, after all. The small blind, a guy who's played lots of hands, raises to 300. I call, hoping that F@#$ the River joins me. He doesn't. Whoops.
The flop comes down J9x. Not so bad. He leads out for another 300. I'm open-ended, so I decide to speculate a little. I call. After the chips are in the pot, I realize the J is actually a Q. Whoops.
The turn is a J. Wheeeeeeeee. He bets out 600 this time and I smooth call. The river is a blank. He bets another 600 and I raise another 1000. He reluctantly calls and flips over AA.
"Nice call on my raise," he says, referring to his preflop play. Considering my huge stack and the potential to get paid off if it hit, I wasn't too worried about the play. If I were him, I'd have complained about my flop call. It's a little embarrassing to misread the board, but I got lucky nonetheless.
A few hands later, I knocked out another player when two of us checked down a short stack and my 94o became trip 4s by the river. Shortly after that, I sent another player packing when my double-gutted 45 became a straight at the river.
But the best hand of the night was my showdown with F@#$ the River.
I limp for 100 with QTo and he takes no time before pushing for another 650. Frankly, it's about a tenth of my stack. I know I'm way behind. Frankly, I was just praying I wasn't facing an overpair.
"I almost have to call here just in case I suck out," I say.
"And you probably will," F@#$ the River grumbles.
I flash my cards to the rest of the table, "I mean, I know I'm way behind, but it's so tempting." They laugh while I push my chips into the middle.
He flips AQo. "That's great," I say, "all I need is a ten!"
The dealer burns a card and flips the flop one card at at time. Jack. Nine. Eight. I flopped it. The table erupted in laughter. I wish I could print all that F@#$ the River said, but I have my standards.
I pretty much ran over the table until we got heads up. Unfortunately, I gave away the chip lead and found myself shortstacked when my top-pair, OESD ran into a straight. One suckout later and we were even. That's when we agreed to a chop.
I didn't need to bring much in the way of skill to the pool table. The cards did all the work. After all... I am still The Luckbox.<-- Hide More
I'm not one to add fuel to a fire. That said, I consider Terrence Chan a friend. The only thing I hate more than being accused of something I didn't do is watching someone try to attack a friend. Fortunately, Terrence doesn't need my support, as every right-thinking person in the poker world seems to be rallying around him. So, rather than add my worthless two cents, I'd just enourage you to read the following (you really should read them in order) and be sure to read the comments.
The best defense to this kind of stuff is little more than making sure everyone knows about it. A little awareness about people goes a long way.
Oh, and if I haven't already piqued your interest, try this quote:
"Remember one thing, Terrence, you're not Johnny Chan, you're Terrence Chan."
Overnight, while I was at a poker game, Terrence had some interesting updates about some conciliatory calls froms the princpals in this story. And then, Iggy went to work on the story and is posting the...other side of the story. My favorite line...
"thank you for seeing that i am being the scapegoat, it makes it a little easier to take ;-)"
Now, back to my hole.