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Gamblers in Kentucky will no longer have access to some online casinos. Kentucky's Justice Cabinet spokeswoman Jennifer Brislin says some casino operators have begun voluntarily blocking access to Kentuckians.More in this Poker Blog! -->
This comes a week after commonwealth officials filed a lawsuit against them at the behest of Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear. Brislin says the commonwealth's objective is to shut down the Web sites only in Kentucky. Settlement negotiations were underway before a court hearing today in the legal disupte over whether Kentucky had the right to block residents from accessing certain websites.
Ultimately, Kentucky wants 141 different domains to block access to Kentuckians or to relinquish control of those domains to the commonwealth. Last week, a judge actually ordered the domains be transferred pending a hearing at which the sites may object.
Sites affected include Pokerstars.com and BodogLife.com, among others. AbsolutePoker.com is also affected, but I think we can all agree that Kentucky can have that one.
Online gambling is illegal in Kentucky as it is in all 50 states. At least, online gambling that isn't horse betting, lotteries or sports betting is illegal in all 50 states. And that's what this comes down to. Horse betting is a massive industry in Kentucky. The governor's theory is that online gaming is costing Kentucky money because those people would otherwise be betting on horses.
So, like I said, if you live in Kentucky, now is a good time to call Two Men and a Truck.<-- Hide More
In case you're wondering, here are Week 2 results:
Luckbox: 2-0, 176 points
G-Rob: 0-2, 152 points
Otis: 0-2, 125 points
Regarding the $5 bet, Donovan McNabb scored another 19 points and is up to 46 on the year. Carson Palmer racked up 6 points and has 11 for the year. I like my chances.
Otis' last post was a great idea. So now I'm going to blatantly rip it off. Here's my list:More in this Poker Blog! -->
1. Quads, June 2005
I had just moved from the deadly $2-$6 game to this fresh $4/$8 1/2 Kill game. I was joined by the rest of the G-Vegas crew (Otis, G-Rob, and Bad Blood) and ScurvyDog. The tables was filled out by a few grizzled locals, including an older woman who wouldn't be there too much longer.
The cards are dealt and I look down at the most powerful hand in poker, 72o. I'm UTG and correctly raise. There are, I believe, two or three callers, but none of my fellow bloggers. I was disappointed that no one raised.
The flop comes down 7-7-x. Um... jackpot!!!
I calmly look down at my chips and stack four $1 chips, tossing them into the pot. It actually felt good to not have to bluff with the hand. This time, I get just one caller, the old woman with the impossible-to-believe blonde hair. I begin to pity her, she has no idea what she's up against.
Then it happens.
The dealer peels the next card off the deck and rolls it over. The felt looks like a slot machine, and I'm the one pulling the handle. 7-7-7-x.
Quads. I believe it's just the second time I've ever had quads in a B&M casino. So what do I do? I think you'll all be proud.
I value check my nuts.
To my delight, the "blonde" bets. This is where I wonder if I made a misplay. I simply value call my nuts. I figured I could get more on the river with a smooth call. I think I should have raised.
The river is inconsequential. And I lead out this time. Should I have check-raised here, too? I was really hoping the "blonde" had a legitimate hand and would raise me. How could you possibly put me on a 7? Instead, she simply calls.
Before I even get a chance to show my cards, the "blonde" proudly displays her pocket K's. I would have been proud, too. In fact, if I had been her, I'd have lost a lot more money. How could you not raise me on the river, dammit!?!?
So I calmly flip my HAMMER and lay it down right beside the three 7's on the board. Suddenly, half the table erupts. My fellow bloggers are out of there seats with exclamations of "Hammer!!!!" and "Oh my God!!" I raise my arms in victory.
2. The Legend of the Luckbox, December 2005
The Asian woman is on the button and pushes all in. The solid 30-something guy looks down at his card and also announces all in. He's got her slightly covered. That's when I look down at KQh.
What would you do?
I called, shocking both of my opponents. In fact, I believe I pissed off the Asian woman. She flipped her Big Slick and the other guy flipped pocket J's. Ouch.
I was about 25% before the flop. The J's were in the best shape, favored to win about 42% of the time. But I had them right where I wanted him. Do you know anyone who plays better from behind?
"Well, at least I have outs," I said.
The dealer laid out the flop and it was...
The rail full of bloggers erupted. I was so shocked, I'm not sure I even saw the Q on the turn. The Ace on the river put an extra knife in the back of the Asian woman. She would have won the hand had I folded. Instead, as the shortest stack, she got the third place she said she'd be happy with.
I won. Someway, somehow, I went for 18th alternate to 1st place and $3650.
3. Waiting for Monsters, January 2006
Shortly after my seat change, a new player sat down to my left. It wasn't long before we all recognized he would be our personal ATM.
My turn to make a withdrawal came after the ATM managed to chip himself back up to about $850. This was after his second rebuy, so he had been spreading his money around nicely.
I'm in LP when I look down at KK. It's raised to $50 in front of me. I just call, as does my ATM. I thought about a reraise here, but figured the ATM might call the $50 from the button, but wouldn't call a reraise. It was a calculated risk inviting another player into the pot.
The flop came down K-Q-7, rainbow. I couldn't ask for much better than that. It's checked to me, I value check my mortal nuts and, predictably, the ATM leads out for $100. The other player in the hand folds. I raise it to $200 and, without hesitating, he calls.
The turn is a 9 and it puts two spades on the board. I think for a moment, and push the rest of my chips into the pot. He's got me slightly covered, but it's about a $600 bet. For a moment, JT flashed through my mind. I worried I just bet into the nuts.
The ATM thought, this time, and I knew my hand was good. He considered and considered, before reluctantly calling. I showed my hand and he dropped his head. He didn't, however, show his hand. He was waiting. That worried me because it meant he had outs.
The river was a T of diamonds. My heart sank. I heard Otis sigh. He thought the same thing I did, "That fucker has a J."
Thanksfully, there was no celebration from the ATM. He flashed K8s and mucked. He had top pair and a flush draw. It was a $1700 pot. It was my biggest pot ever. The adrenaline ran through my veins for the next half hour.
4. The $2200 Laydown, June 2007
I'm writing about this so the nightmares stop.
Why don't we touch the hot stove anymore? Is it because our parents told us not to? Of course not. It's because we touched the hot stove anyway and we got burned. Or, in terms some of you may understand better, why don't we sleep with the drunk, loose skank at the end of the bar? It's because we did it once and we'll never forget that burning feeling either.
Pain is the world's greatest teacher. Without pain, we learn nothing. The pain I felt yesterday will stick with me for a long time.
"Live straddle," the dealer called out.
As the cards went around the table, I was telling the story of the last time I straddled and how badly it went.
"As long as I don't get pocket Kings again, I should be okay," I told them. It was a good table. The people liked to talk, and since I really liked to talk, I fit right in.
"I'll raise." The old man to my left made it $20. It was a strange raise considering my straddle already made it $10. Two other players called before it got back around to me. I looked down at pocket Kings.
The flop came down 963 rainbow. I could hardly complain about that flop. I checked. I tell myself now that it was because I was going to check-raise. There couldn't have been any other reason for a check, right?
The tight old man fired out $100 into an $87 pot. If he was playing on Full Tilt, he'd be an animated rock. He had amassed a stack nearly equal to mine after two people bet into his nut flush. Everyone else at the table knew what he had.
As quickly as the old man bet, the next guy in the pot pushed all in for $285. I hadn't really taken the time to assess why the old man made his bet before the push happened. Now I was processing the second move. All the while, I was thinking about my pocket Kings.
It didn't take long for the old man to go all in. He had about $950 in front of him. I had him slightly covered. If I was following my own advice, I was calling. But I stopped. I started to think about the laydown. Sometimes making the right laydown is as important as making the right call.
There was now about $1600 in the pot and needed to call another $675. There was a strong possibility that my Kings were good. It was logical to think the original raiser held TT-QQ. The short stack may have had A9 or been on some kind of straight draw. I was getting better than 2-to-1 on my money.
All I saw in my mind were Aces. Hell, I figured the short stack had probably flopped a set. In my mind, I was beat two ways. I was seeing monsters. Something I thought I was over. It was fear. And poker players shouldn't be guided by fear. They should be guided by information.
I folded. I couldn't believe I was doing it as I was doing it. But it was done. The turn and the river were rags. The old man flipped over pocket jacks and the short stack angrily folded.
I was crushed. I touched the stove and it was hot. I'll never do it again.
"Next time take a chance," Lady Luck later told me. "After all, isn't it called gambling? You shouldn't be worried about losing."
At least I know I'm marrying the right girl.
5. Cashing at the Coushatta, January 2006
I'm an idiot. I know that. With 7 players left in the tournament, it's folded to me on the button when I look down at the HAMMER. I hadn't played it all tourney and this was no time to start. Except I raised from T10000 to T30000. The SB folded. The BB had just T37000 and already had T10000 in the pot. I immediately feared my tactical error would cost me. It's not like he could fold. Except he did. And I showed it. The HAMMER. The crowd buzzed and I loved it.
That small stack was out a few hands later.
When we got down to six, there had been three consecutive walks before the BB got to me. I mentioned that I'd appreciate that trend to continue. "But if it doesn't, I defend my Big Blind with a suckout," I told the table.
It's folded all the way around to the SB and as soon as he put his chip on his cards, I knew he was betting. He always stopped as though he was thinking about betting, but when he folded, he never put his chip on his cards.
He raised me up 4xBB. I looked down a KJo. It was decision time. If I fold here, I'm in 5th or 6th in chips. I almost never call with this hand, and didn't even consider it here. That meant fold or raise, and raising meant pushing.
That's exactly what I did, putting my tournament at stake. I'm not sure what I put him on or what chance I gave myself, but I thought there was a slight chance I was ahead, and, at worst, I figured I was in for a race.
"He raised with 7-2 offsuit earlier," I heard a woman say from the rail. I smiled on the inside, while yelling "FOLD!" to my opponent.
He was in the tank and I considered calling for the clock. "Do you have a bigger pocket pair than me?" he asked. My heart sank. I knew there was no way he was laying down a pair. He called and flipped 6's.
It was time for the Luckbox to make an appearance. However, I was 46% to win the hand pre-flop, and, frankly, that's not nearly far enough behind. So when the flop missed me (8-5-2), I felt much better about my chances. Suddently I'm just 24% and, predictably, I found my J on the turn. The river was a blank and I was in great shape. In fact, I had jumped to 2nd in chips.<-- Hide More
Luckbox has been doing most of the heavy lifting in this fifth birthday of Up For Poker. I'm wrapped up in other activities right now, but couldn't let the time pass without a brief submission. Some of these are repeats, some are original, but all of them will stick in my memory as long as I'm playing.More in this Poker Blog! -->
Five most memorable hands against a poker blogger
5. vs. The Rooster, December 2007
It might have been my emergence from focus that ended up losing me the tournament. Still, a sense of understanding about what was happening around me was welcome. What had once been half a dozen people standing around and watching poker was suddenly a crowd of familiar faces. For the past several hours, I'd rather forgotten everything except trying to win. Now, I took half a second to relish the moment. I knew it wouldn't last long. Though the heads-up battle has been described as epic, I don't remember it as such. It seemed to be over as soon as it started.
I made a quick decision that I wasn't going to give The Rooster the opportunity to dictate the terms of the heads-up match. With the blinds as high as they were, there was very little opportunity for post-flop poker. My decisions were made before the match even began. It would be up to The Rooster to decide when he was calling and when he was folding.
If there was a surreal moment for me, it was the split second between the time I looked at my final hand and the time The Rooser announced, "Call!"
I peaked at K9o and said nothing. I simply put my hands around my chips and started to move them. They had barely moved an inch when The Rooster nearly jumped from his seat and said, "Call!"
Without going into it what was actually happening in my head at that second, that fraction of time defined who I was, who I am, who I hope to be forever.
Oh, and I was surpised to see I was ahead, too. The Rooster's snap-call didn't mean I was beat. It meant he was tired of my aggression. In this case, it also meant I was better than 60/40 to win. By the river, we had seen no kings, nines, queens, or eights. I had to dodge six cards when that final piece of plastic hung in the air.
It was what it was.
4. vs. ScottMc , December 2007
"There are softer spots in this room," I mumbled.
Over the course of the next couple of hours, I sat at the toughest cash table I'd face all weekend. I don't recall everyone in the game, but over the course of my time there, I saw Zeem, Chad, ScottMc, WeakPlayer, Miami Don and Blinders.
I stacked off to Chad once in a kicker battle, re-bought and told myself that if I couldn't start playing better, I was on my way out the door for a few hours by myself. That's when it happened--the most embarassing move I would make all weekend.
I had AK and came in for a raise. ScottMc popped me back and I pulled my "Oh, realllllllly?" maneuver. I don't think I've ever played with Scott before, so I kept his range exceptionally wide. I made the call out of position.
Why exactly I decided to check dark, I don't know. I only know I did. And I know I saw the flop come down AQx. Scott made another bet, and because I had checked dark, I had no way of knowing what the bet meant. It could mean as much as AA, as middling as AQ, or as little as some underpair. Hell, it could even be AK.
Now, I made what was the only smart move in the entire hand. I figured out where I was with a check-raise. Thing is, my chips hadn't hit the table before Scott cupped his hands around his mouth and said, "Allllllllllll innnnnnnnnnnn" in a deep voice.
That's pretty much where I went over the edge. After 22 hours of the worst beats ever, I was stuck bad and wrapped up in a hand with a player who is now wearing a sign that says, "You are beat, Otis!" around his neck. There is now no hand he can hold that I can conceivably beat. At best, he's holding AK and I know that's not the case. I might be lucky enough that he has AQ, but it's far more likely he has a set.
So, of course, I call.
Scott is a nice damned guy, which goes beyond and sometimes against his great abilities at the poker table. He wasted no time showing me his QQ for the flopped middle set. Knowing I need runners to win, I start planning a graceful exit and wondering where the solo rage will take me. I was at once a nihilist.
I'm still not sure the next ten seconds happened.
The groan and cheer rose up from the table as the board came runners to give me aces full. Having not yet revealed my hand, I fanned my AK to the table and buried my face in my other hand. The chips landed in front of me. Now, I could no longer hate my luck.
I could only hate myself.
Scott took it much better than he should've. For my penance, he only required I post this list:
1) That was the worst suck-out ever
2) Scott is a better player than Otis
3) I am a donkey
Or something like that. My notes don't make a lot of sense.
The only thing I remember with any clarity is Miami Don looking up from his vodka and remarking wryly, "Otis, I think your luck just changed."
3. vs. Absinthe, December 2006
I was angry. So angry.
There is a particular table at the MGM where I cannot win. Don't call it superstition, because if you do, I will soak your toothbrush in a jar of hot peppers. I can't win there. Ever.
I'd just called off several hundred dollars when people at the other end of the Strip in Caesars knew I was beat. It was so obvious that it was actually embarrassing to continuing breathing. Making it worse, the off-duty dealer to whom I'd stacked off berated me for losing. I wanted to crawl in a hole, stuff the rest of my cash in an uncomfortable place, and light it on fire. Due penance, I thought.
I'd had pocket kings. Not that it matters, but it mattered.
Absinthe sat on my right, quiet as always, and ostensibly targeting everybody at the table but me. We're friends. We've shared time. We've eaten at fancy restaurants. He wouldn't fuck with me.
I found pocket kings on the button a few hands later. I figured I'd get no action, because, hell, everybody knew I wasn't rebuying. I had to set my ass on fire in a few minutes.
Absinthe came in for a raise to around $20. I don't recall the size of my re-raise, but I think it was around $100. Absinthe did this thing he does. I can't explain it, and if I could, I wouldn't write about it, because we're friends. We don't fuck with each other. But he did this thing.
He quietly slid out a raise. I don't recall the exact amount, and it doesn't matter, because it was a giant, flashing sign that said, "Hey, bitch, I have aces. Get the hell out and get on with the ass-fire."
I gritted my teeth, I wondered whether I was going to use a lighter or a match, and mucked my hand.
A few minutes later, he raised his eyebrows.
"Kings," I said.
He shook his head. "What a cooler," he said.
"Aces," I nodded.
"Same hand," he said.
For a moment, I felt okay. It wasn't a lot of money and, you know, no flop, no drop.
Half an hour later as we headed to a fancy dinner, I brought up the cooler.
"I had ace-ten," he said and kept walking.
2. vs. Bill Rini, and I honestly don't remember the date
Okay, we were drunk. Let's get that out of the way. I'm pretty sure it was summer, I'm vaguely certain Spaceman and Pokerati Dan were there, and I know we are at the Excalibur. The size of the pot makes me believe Bill and I both had around $800 in front of us. Everything else is pretty much a blur.
I know I had pocket aces. I'm pretty sure one was black. Let's call it the ace of spades. It doesn't matter.
I raised and Bill re-raised me. I complained in a way guys with pocket aces do. Folded back to me and I decide to give the guy a break.
"All-in," I said. Because, in poker, that's how you give a guy a break.
Bill looked peeved, but only for a second. "I call," he said. Because, with AK, he didn't want a break. He wanted my $800. When he saw my aces, he was visibly agitated. I said something to the effect of, "I was trying to give you a break."
He said something to the effect of, "Fuck your mother." That's not an exact quote, but it's close I think.
Bill didn't win. He left.
To this day, I actually feel bad about that hand.
1. vs. Iggy , December 2004
I was still steaming from having my Hiltons cracked, and raised pre-flop with pocket sixes. Of course, Iggy called. The flop came down 589. Again, Iggy and I went to war.
Now, I know I'm not necessarily favored to win this hand. In fact, I should assume that Iggy is ahead. Maybe a set. More likely, A9 or A8. If he is ahead, I know that I only have six outs to catch up. Still, having played low-limit with him before, I know Iggy can sometimes be aggressive when he's way behind. I could only hope he was on a draw.
I think I maintained my poker face when the turn brought a seven, giving me the straight. I check-raised Iggy, who cold called and gave me a look.
The turn was a blank, as I recall. This time I bet into him and the sonofabitch raised me. I re-raised, and he capped.
But as he put in his final bet, he turned to the dealer and said, "You know, in a lot of cardrooms, when play gets to be heads up there's no limit on the number of raises."
It was at this moment that my heart sank and I picked up on Iggy's biggest tell: When he has the nuts, he'll turn to the dealer and ask for the game to be no-limit.
The dealer said we could do whatever we wanted, but I already knew what was about to happen. I put in my final crying call and watched Iggy turn up Vince Van Patton's favorite hand, JTo.
Iggy began raking the pot and eyed me from behind his locks, "Drawing at the dummy end of the straight," he said with a playful scoff.
In one moment I felt both chastened and so happy to be alive that I didn't mind losing another big pot to Iggy.<-- Hide More
In case you're wondering, here are Week 1 results:
Luckbox: 1-0, 100 points
G-Rob: 0-1, 73 points
Otis: 0-1, 59 points
Regarding the $5 bet, Donovan McNabb scored me 27 points and G-Rob's favorite QB (Carson Palmer, who's not on his roster) racked up 5 points. Otis, once again, is on the short end of the stick as his starting QB and first round selection Tom Brady scored 3 points before being lost for the season. I ask you all to pray for Reggie Bush before the Otis jinx hits him, too!
As we continue the Up For Poker 5th Anniversary celebration, here are a few top 5 lists:More in this Poker Blog! -->
Luckbox's 5 Favorite Poker Hands
The HAMMER (72 offsuit)
The JackHammer (J4)
Snowman, Tater Legs (83)
The Tourist (A7)
Luckbox's 5 Most Famous Live Opponents
Five years ago today, I launched Up For Poker. At the time, I had a personal blog called Up For Anything. I was apparently boring my dozen or so readers with my tales from the table, so, like Pauly before me, I created my first niche blog. Later, there would be the short-lived Up For Sports and the even shorter-lived Up For Hollywood. Today, only Up For Poker survives. And I'm surprised it's lasted this long.
Here is a brief look at our history, by the numbers:More in this Poker Blog! -->
Number of posts: 1085
Number of comments: 6561
Number of authors (total): 8
Number of authors (current): 3
First commentor: TheRandall, a G-Vegas poker buddy
First author other than me: Otis, with Otis' Aruban Adventure
First author other than the big three: Ken Goldstein from The Illuminated Donkey
First reference of a Former Star Trek Actor: Wil Wheaton in Even Stars Need a Card
First trip report: From Otis with Otis in Vegas Pt. 1
First poker blog referenced: Table Tango on Nov. 10, 2003
First double-digit comment: jk's vegas sojourn written by jeremy from one of the original poker blogs, love and casino war
First post to top 30 comments: From Ducks to Rockets
First post that Iggy wondered whether it was real: I'm All In written by my twin brother
First post by G-Rob: On the Road....again on Nov. 30, 2004
Total blogs on the blogroll: 95
There's lots more to add on our 5 years... stay tuned!<-- Hide More
Five years ago tomorrow, I wrote about three bad beats that knocked me out of an online tournament. If you go back and read it now, you won't get your three bucks. Bad beat payoffs aren't retroactive.
Over the last half-decade, we've virtually eliminated bad beat stories from Up For Poker (unless you win a lot of money doing it). It's just one of the many things that have evolved over the years. We've had as many as 8 different writers here, although all but three of us came and went pretty quickly.
Today, it's Otis, G-Rob and the Luckbox. And over the next few days, we'll be taking a trip down memory lane. Five years is a long time, and I don't think any of us thought we'd be around that long!