Game is about to start.
Here are the groundrules :
1. We're ether playing ol' fashioned NLHE with a $300 buyin and $1/$2 blinds OR we're mixing in alternate rounds of PLO8. We'll vote when the rest of the folks arrive.
2. We've got props! Badblood's tuned the 400 sq. ft. TV to Charter Cable's "Classic Rock" channel. We'll try to predict the songs. Each player picks a band and song. Band pays $5 from each player, song pays $10. If a song hits all players have the option to change up and ride another horse.
3. We're playing with full table. Frank the Tank is here to deal. Badblood, Otis, Brian the Pro and I are ready to go. We're waiting for some out of towners. Shep just rode in on a Harley..."Just to watch"
Game starts very soon.
Updates here all night.
God bless.More in this Poker Blog! -->
8:18pm : Falstaff and two of his Charlotte buddies are here. I have no read on "Brain" and "Curtis". My guess is they're good enough to beat me. I'm switching from Coke Zero to beer. Plus, we're switching from Badblood's kid watching the "X-Games" to "Classic Rock". GAME ON!
8:21pm: Cards in the air. Otis has taken over the computer and trying to figure out why UFP won't display in IE.
8:25pm: Rocket has arrived shortly after Otis won the first hand of the night.
8:26pm: Badblood all-on on the second hasnd of the night, Falstaff consdiers call on 8dJhQh5h4h board. It's about $150 to call with $300 in the pot. Falstaff says, "If I call and win, you have a $1 leftover. While we're waiting for Falstaff to make a decision, Gucci Rick arrives. Finally Falstaff calls to see Badblood's king-high flush. Flastaff shows set of eights and rebuys.
8:44pm: Otis still bured in computer trying to figure out how CJ broke our blog. Poker is being played. Check back at 9pm for more updates.
8:56pm: I double through BadBlood. I have KJo in the SB on a hand GucciRick straddled from the button. I call his $5. Otis calls and BadBlood raises it to $22. Rick calls and I come along. The flop is K 10 6 rainbow and I check. Badblood now bets $75 and it SCREAMS a pocket pair lower than K to me. I'm guessing QQ. I call. The turn is another 6 and I check. He checks behind and now I feel very good about my read. The turn is an ace. I push assuming Blood will know that Ace didn't hit me and I know he's no good with it either. He calls.
8:59pm: Falstaff is talking smack about the last game we played here. This is related to me taunting Blood into making a "Celebratory" martini to celebrate his chips going off to college. Now he remembers that time I taunted Otis here and later "the Poker Gods" punished me by letting Blood stack me with a gutshot draw. Poker God is dead. There.I said it!
9:02pm: After "Watching the game" and drinking 5 old school Budweisers....Shep and his motorcycle are on the way home.
9:03pm: Having the Charlotte crew here reminds me....I was in Charlotte last week to see Widespread Panic. They had a sign on the gate that said "Camera's Prohibited". That kinda crap makes me angry.
9:06pm: Brain from Charlotte suggest we just announce when someone DOESN'T straddle. Rule is accepted. No announcements so far.
9:15pm: Charter Calbe lets us down and "classic rock" won't work. This would qualify as a bad beat if Charter Cable wasn't such a fish.
9:21pm: Beer is good. We're looking into securing a radio for the classic rock station.
9:33pm: We're now compromising on the TV. The music is off and on. We're turning offf the TV and betting on who can name the sone first. We're still settling on the PRICE of this wager.
9:36pm: Blood vs. Otis all in preflop. It's JJ vs QQ. Otis flops his Jack and Senor Blood is REBUYING!
9:38pm: Blood runs the first hand after rebuy into??????????? That's right. Flopped set of Jacks. Good times for the host!
9:46pm: I stack QQ with 34o.
9:54pm: We are not having martinis. That's because Otis is pathetic and Blood is losing. This is yet another bad beat for the room.
9:59pm: NEW PROP BET! We're picking cards and betting the flop turn and river. You card pays $5 on the flop, $5 on the turn and ten on the river. I have 3d, Falstaff has 7c Otis has 4h Rocket has 2h. Charlotte Brian has As, Brian has 9s. Blood has 9s.
10:00pm: Jd on the flop. Yeesh
10:04pm: On a flop of 89J Ihave 89. Gooch bets $25...and I raise to $70. Gooch pushes. I call. He shows KJo. Naturally...he spikes a J on the river and scoops a $850 pot.
10:15pm: While reading THIS blog...Otis sleeps on his 4h. Otis misses payout. Ironic and funny.
10:32pm: This idiotic prop bet is changing everything! I hit once but am down for the game. Stupid 3d is not working out tonight.
10:43pm: Falstaff just hit 7c for the 4th time. This is the only thing he's winning tonight. Also, we've got one player on a beer run and I'm fairly drunk.
11:00pm: Now we've switched to iPods. Whoever wins the first hand after the top of the hour gets to play HIS for the next hour. Mine's been on since 10. We're all hoping to see Badblood LOSE.
11:07pm: We're listening to Falstaff's iPod.
11:30pm: Falstaff's skill at picking 7c is unmatched. WOW!
11:35pm: Action's been slow for a bit. I'm drinking red bull and vodka with the Gooch.
11:38pm: Charlotte Brian just hit his card for the first time on the flop. That makes this a good time for a prop bet update :
G-Rob hit twice
Rocket 4 times
Falstaff 5 times..one on the river...and left the room for one while getting iPod
Otis hit 3 and slept one.
Blood 3 times
Brian pro has hit once.
Brian from Charlotte once.
I'm DOWN fo propping but Up for Poker..so I got that going for me.
11:54pm: Something is wrong with IE evidently. Hopefully you're using firefox and reading this.
12:08am: Falstaff flops top set on a 2 3 6 board. Double's through Rocket's flopped straight. I, by the way, hit my 3d on the river! Pot size is about $1100.
12:31am: We've switched to 30 minute iPod shifts...I won on a bluff and am now playing the album "Revolution Starts Now" by Steve Earle.
1:05am: I just slept a $60 3d on the river. This is the cause for great hilarity. For others.
1:30am: Badblood wins iPod after winning a race against me. That means....I'm leaving. Goodnight all!<-- Hide More
I started really looking foreward to last Friday's game a full week in advance. Of course, that guarantees a bad night. As a rule, the more excited I am about sitting at a game the worse I'm likely to play.
Add to that the following problems and I've got almost no chance:More in this Poker Blog! -->
1. An Unfortunate Table
Table selection is an art AND a science. I knew this one was trouble. At least half this table is better than me. Almost all of the other half is smarter than me. Of course, the anti-Christ has unholy power.
Many people are under the impression that Barack Obama is the anti-Christ. He is not. The Anti-Christ plays poker in Badblood's kitchen.
2. I'm Hammered
Not hammered in the funny, HA HA, you played 27o by raising big and took down a hand preflop way. I mean we went out drinking way early and never let up. I mean I met Otis at the bar several hours before the game. I mean that despite the rather embarrasing tolerance to vodka I've developed, I was starting to slur my words.
Luckily, or perhaps unluckily, I stayed more sober that Badblood.
3. I'm not playing my best game(s)
I didn't play well in any of the games. But I'm especially off my axis when we switch to poker games that are not a personal strength.
At this game we played one round of $1/$2 NLHE, one round of $1/$2 PLO8, and one round of $1/$2 PLO.
Omaha is no friend of mine. I worked in Nebraska for a bit and have few fond memories of a state where the biggest tree is a fence post.
And while I'm no Omaha player, others at this difficult table were. Badblood is solid at the game. Otis can play. And Drizz actually PREFERS the stupid post-flop drawing game.
Silliness I say.
I'd rather play razz.
4. I got unlucky
When I flopped a straight and top two in Omaha, Drizz flopped a straight and a flush draw. I lost a big pot.
When I sensed weakness in another player after we both missed a fairly large flop, I pushed $250 into a $200 pot.
That weak player called with only a gutshot draw. And hit.
5. The Prop bets
When we play at Badblood's house, we put his TV on the digital music channel called "Classic Rock" and gamble on it.
Each player picks a band and a song. If your band hits, all the players ship $5.
The song pays $10.
I hit the Rolling Stones twice and something else, the Beatles I think, once.
I promptly put all that money in play and lost it.
6. I got tilty
In particular, that last hand put me out of sorts. I bought in one more time after it and missed a big PLO8 draw in a 3-way pot.
Stacked again, I packed up my remaining Benjamins and went home at 1AM.
I hate leaving early, but if I'm going to fail THAT badly at table and game selection at least I wanted to make one good decision and hit the door when I knew I was too tilty to play.
I could already feel the desire to push on any draw and try to win it all back. Usually, that's a formula for losing whatever you have in your pocket.
In a sense, walking away was the only +EV play I made all night.
7. The Bottom Line
I lost a whole bunch of money.
This farewell e-mail from Drizz probably sums it up best:
Just wanted to say thanks for the gracious southern hospitality you showed me on Friday.<-- Hide More
Wes - the BBQ, tour around Columbia, and driving skillz made my vacation, and desperately looking some similar BBQ up here even if its in a bottle
BB - The host. For the booze, the smoothly run game, and ability to get everyone together I thank you sir
Otis - For drinks at On the Border and a lesson on 3-betting my pansy ass
G-Rob - For paying for my Vegas trip in December with your awesome PLO skillz! Thanks man! I kid. I kid.Shep and Scott - For completing the last check on my SC trip, hitting up a Waffle House to soak up some of those Captain and Cokes. Did anyone manage to get the waitress' name?
I should feel more guilty about those times I play badly and win. I should. I don't. I've played well and lost too. These things happen.
The key is not letting those mixed results distort our perceptions.
Here's an example from GucciRick's on Monday night:
I'm on the button with Kh9h and Otis is the small blind. I've button straddled and Otis limps in from my left. DammitBobby and Frank the Tank both muck before Dr. John raises from $5 to $20.More in this Poker Blog! -->
One caller to me and I call as does Otis.
The flop is 7h 7c 5h.
Otis checks and John leads into the $82 pot for $40. I instantly put him on a pocket pair that's smaller than Q but bigger than 7. I'm certain my K, 9, and flush draw are good.
What's more, during the action to that point, Dr. John has shown me that he will almost certainly pay off the flush if it hits. He has about $300 behind.
Then Otis check-raises all in. Otis has a relative short-stack here and his raise is for another $125 or so.
I put Otis on the 7. I figure it's a suited connector that got lucky.
Now Dr. John just calls. If I trust my reads, I've got the 9 outs vs. Otis and 12 against John. I'm not only getting decent odds from the pot, but because I'm sure John will pay off the flush I'm getting decent implied odds too.
The turn is a 9. Now I've two additional outs against both players. Lucky for me, John checks my card and I check behind.
The river is another 9. I have top boat. Now it's time to see if I get paid.
John checks. I put him all in and after climbing far enough into the tank that we assembled a search party... he finds a way to fold his pocket 10s.
Otis shows Ah10h. I scoop.
...there are several places I may have played that poorly. Partly because I failed to consider the broader range of possible Otis holdings. If I'm sure of my read on John and IF I correctly read Otis' hand, I CAN NOT CALL!
My misread helped me get lucky and win a big pot.
That's not skill. I don't credit it as such.
I've won money in my last three live games. Two of them were very good nights. Yet I'm confident I only played great poker ONCE. One of those games, a night at Frank the Tank's I got lucky twice, with a huge two outer and a very poor call by Otis. He's usually smarter than that.
On the two outer, I called a raise in position with 44. The raiser had actually, limp re-raised in early position but he does play a WIDE range of hands.
The flop is A, Q, 7. He checks. This is obvious no? This guy fires a c-bet with kings and then prays for a fold.
Instead, like an idiot, I push. He insta-calls with AQ. Top Two. Let's not wonder about the wisdom of limp re-raising with AQo. I'm lucky that's all he had.
I'm LUCKIER when the turn is a 4.
Clearly, after his check on the flop, I get his money on the turn if I'm smart enough to check behind. That would NOT be a huge suckout. The way I won it was. I played very poorly and won.
I am NOT playing good poker but I'm winning.
That's not really what matters I suppose.
But then again, it is.<-- Hide More
Last Saturday afternoon I played poker at the House of Blood and, again, had a blast. I mean, sure, I went out of his tournament on an absolutely insanely disappointing bad beat, but other than that it was good.
Badblood always hosts good games. The room is always lively and fun but the poker is serious. There are drinks but nobody gets drunk. I like seeing my old friends there and have made new ones too.
Along with Gucci Rick, Blood is the best host around.
So what do those game have in common and what makes them work?More in this Poker Blog! -->
THE STAKES DO MATTER
Sure you can, and probably have, had fun at games of all stakes. The quality of play can hinge on the relative value of the stakes to the players in the game. That isn't to say that wealthy players can't enjoy playing for nickles and dimes, but the stakes should involve a relatively similar risk for all players.
Clearly this is less of an issue in a casino where you would want to maximize your advantage versus your opponents. I want to play against scared money if I can, so in a casino I want to play against people who may be a little uncomfortable with the stakes.
Online there are relatively standard rules of stakes as they relate to bankroll management.
Yet for a homegame to be sustainable you need to have a group of players for whom the stakes are comfortable. Even for the people who almost always lose. You want them to come back and lose as often as possible.
HAVE DRINKS BUT DON'T BE DRUNK
Now, granted, I've
played with been the obnoxious drunk guy at a poker game. Sometimes it's fun to let loose. But nothing will kill a good poker game faster than someone who loses interest in poker and loses control with drink.
I rarely play a hand without a beer or two. 12 beers is too much. 12 beers and a martini means you're not playing poker anymore. You're at a party. At a good homegame, poker is enough of a good time in itself.
KNOW YOUR FELLOW PLAYERS
Here's another rule that is true at both a casino and online. But, again, it means soemthing different at a homegame. I've made some of my closest friends at the poker table. Even people I rarely see outside the homegame are people I look forward to goofing around with.
If you can't watch a player badly misplay a hand and then unload somewhere between 100 to 500 cruel mocking insults... you're NOT at a good homegame.
PREPARE TO NEGOTIATE
Not long ago I posted a situation on which I wanted some clarification with regard to the "official" rules. It was something that came up, oddly enough, in a hand with both GucciRick and Badblood during a homegame.
I felt there was a ruling that may have been more strongly in my favor. But I didn't make a big stink about it at the time. Why? Because even though there was some money at stake a good homegame is as much about friendship and fun as it is about money. I'm not going to trade injured feelings for a few extra dollars.
Not at a homegame.
Online or in a casino... I'm going to the mat.
By the way, as an update to that earlier post, Gucci Rick... felt bad about that situation earlier and, the next time he saw me at BadBlood's house, paid me his share of the pot.
It was unprompted and unnecessary... but it's a further gesture that sometimes he values getting along more than getting paid. That's what makes him the kind of person I like to play homegames with.
TAKE IT SERIOUSLY
Finally, despite all the rules that would seem to contradict this, it's still important to take the game seriously. Even for the smallest of stakes there can be a high level of competition. That's the thing that matters.
This is true in any game.
I never liked playing pickup basketball with people who were just screwing around on the court... and playing poker with people who aren't really interested in the game itself is... in a word... boring.<-- Hide More
Hello dear blogging world! I've missed you terribly. You know, according to this blogging widget we're using here I haven't posted since the middle of February. Kinda pathetic methinks.
I've made a commitment to change that from here on out. We'll see how that holds.
So how does a one-time frequent blogger return to the page? By fighting with his good friends of course!More in this Poker Blog! -->
So I'm in a pot with BadBlood and Gucci Rick. I've had a decent night and I've made a little. One orbit earlier I'd announced I'd be leaving on my next buttton and this was to be the second to last hand.
I'm dealt 6d6s and because I've built my stack through (mostly) aggressive play I open it UTG for $12.
Badblood calls in Middle Position. Gucci Rick calls from the Small Blind.
The flop is Kc 6h 3c. For the slower reader, I have a set.
Gucci Rick checks so I lead out for $40. BadBlood smooth calls and then, oddly, GucciRick check-raises to $140.
Without much hesitation, I push for another $500.
Badblood says "FOLD" and everyone at the table hears him do it.
Then GucciRick says, "I almost folded to the $40!"
The dealer, Rick is in the 1s, hears him say that and misunderstands. He mucks Rick's hand.
I SEE Rick's hand get mucked and also thought I heard Rick fold so I then allow MY hand to get mucked as well.
Now we have a problem. Rick protests. BadBlood makes the initial argument that because he's the only one who still has cards, he is entitled to some of the pot. Rick says I can't win because, while his cards were accidentally mucked....MINE WERE TOO.
I have to have cards to win the pot.
I didn't argue much because these are my friends, but I strongly believe I'm entitled to this entire pot.
We ended up chopping it between me and Rick.
Here's a 2+2 Thread BadBlood posted about it. I'd be interested in your responses.<-- Hide More
Good evening from the Otis homegame. We're trying another Up For Poker experiement tonight... I'll liveblog the game while trying not to lose my ass. Luckily we're playing small stakes.
Oh, and the prop bets. Otis and theMark have $5 on who goes bust first. Otis took theMark... theMark took Me.
$10 with 4 to 1 odds... Blood will lose to a 2-outer. Otis says he won't... Blood says he will. TheMark just bought half that action from Blood.
$1 per player into a pool for the first player to win, post-flop, with the hammer.
It's now 7:39PM.... we're 6-handed...
More players coming... this blog is LIVEMore in this Poker Blog! -->
7:41 Otit is here... and I won the first hand with TPTK against Mark. The prop bet taunting is firece.
Plus, I'm thinking of going from martinis to beer
7:47 TheMark and I have added another prop bet... I have the 3c and he has the 5d. We're betting flop, turn, river for increasing stakes
Mark just rebought to replenish his stack. Already.
7:51 PM One prop bet down. Otis just busted theMark on a AhQh6h flop. Otis re-raised all in after theMark led out. TheMark called with a gutty and a Kh. Otis had A pair of Q. Otis wins.
Mark rebuys AGAIN.
7:54 I just flopped a 3c. Mark loses another prop bet. That one continues. I am now moving to red wine in lieu of beer. This will end badly.
7:59 Blood and I are now back to drinking Steins of mid-price petit sirah. Mine is a giant insulated Missouri Tigers mug. Blood is drinking a discovery island mug. He refuses to use the straw and lid.
8:04 Another prop bet. From now on... any time we double someone up, we take shots of tequila. Luckily we're instituting this rule AFTER I just doubled Shep up.
8:16 Looks like a tequila shot a-coming. Otis is in the tank after the turn... Blood is all in. Board is Ac3s7c2s. Otis calls and mucks. Blood wins with JJ. Otis is enjoying tequila.
8:25 A stein is no way to drink wine. Jesus.
8:26 TheMark just won his first hand vs. Otit. It was a small hand. TheMark likes 'em small.
8:29 Rules change to the prop bet. Now Shep will drink tequila any time ANYONE ELSE drinks any tequila. Shep likes tequila.
8:32 TeamScottSmith is here. He's drinking a stein of Pinot out of a PokerStars stein. Shep just doubled theMark. He'll take a shot for that AND a shot because someone (in this case him) took a shot.
8:39 TeamScott just tried to win with the hammer on the turn. I'd like to thank TeamScott for those chips. Still, a good effort.
8:45 Shep just mis-dealt for the 4th consecutive time. Blood had KK that time.
8:48 TheMark just bluffed Blood off a winning hand. Now we're all singing "Your Vagina" to the tune of "Oh my darlin' Clementine"
8:54 I just doubled Shep... again. Over pair on flop vs. over over pair on flop. I drank tequila... so did Shep.
Plus, new rule, next person to misdeal slams a Bud Light.
8:58 Blood drinks tequila after doubling Team Scott. Now he's drooling while yelling, "HOW DO YOU CALL THAT????"
We're laughing at him.
9:02 TeamScottSmith hits on river. I drink tequila.
9:07 On a five minute break... first picture of the night, titled "Taking a picture so it will last longer."
9:12 Buckeye Timmy is here. He doesn't play poker but heard we were drinking and came over. He's now "official photographer."
9:16 Stina just won her first pot. Mark, Blood and I are ALL DRINKING TEQUILA. That is, for the record, the first hand back from the break.
9:17 Stina, excited about last hand, misdeals. She's slamming a Bud Light.
9:26 I'm now blind raising the straddle by 5x. We shall see. 5 callers. The Mark, Otis, Otit, and Blood.
I push on the flop... because I flopped a set. Otis re-pushes.
Otis drinks tequila, WOW.
9:29 Wolverine is here.
9:32 Otit just won his first hand.
9:40 I'm drunk. Blood is drunker.
9:41 Otis and his wife are in some sort of fight over a dog. I hate their dog... it's a goddamn rat. Plus, we have a tequila showdown. Team Scott forces YET ANOTHER tequila shot. He has theMark crushed and theMark tried to get him to run it twice. It's a stupid question but it has Team Scott confused. He still declines and so... Mark drinks tequila. Mark rebuys with a thick wad of sequentially numbered bills. That makes the above picture really resonate don't it?
9:45 Otis has now shifted to tequila for no good goddamn reason.
9:49 3-way all in with Wolverine, TeamScottSmith and Otis.
Plus me and Blood make a side bet with theMark that his hand is good. Wolverine's set is good and Blood and I win. Scott and Otis meanwhile take shots of tequila.
9:51 You know, it's now occured to this live blogger that this has nothing to do with poker. I'm hammered. Blood and I are now into a bottle of Merlot. Each stein o' wine is a 1/2 bottle. For the record, the bottle of tequila is also 1/2 gone. For some reason Mrs. Blood is sitting on theMark's lap.
9:55 For some reason, Otis is now wearing sunglasses. Here's the exchange between Mr. Blood and Mrs. Blood.
Mr.: Kris, wiil you go out to my car and get my sunglasses?
Mr.: Otis has some! (in whiny voice)
Mrs.: So? $10 and I'll get them.
Mr.: Pleeeeeeease? (in VERY whiny voice)
Blood is wearing sunglasses. They're the Bet Hold 'em glasses we picked up at the 2006 WSOP. We call them "Beth Oldem" glasses.
9:59 Now theMark is wearing sunglasses.
Plus, I've just lost a 25 to 1 sidebet with Blood that theMark would ask to raise the stakes by 10pm. He just did so with a minute to spare. FUCK!
10:00 Stina just bluffed Otis off a big hand. She's good at it because Otis lusts after Stina, who it by the way, Mark's wife. Otis rebuys... again.
10:08 TheMark not only just won the hammer prop bet... BUT HE ALSO STACKED OTIS. PLUS HE JUST RAKED MY STACK. And I was outside at the time. Now we're counting chips... paying theMark the prop... and Otis... is drinking tequila.
10:13 I got my chips back. Otis is TILTING like hell. GAME ON.
By the way, now that the "official photog" is here. There are now SOME things that can't be blogged.
10:20 Wolverine is sober. He has a hell of an advantage. Everyone else is in TROUBLE.
10:25 Misdeal for the Wolverine. Things are looking up.
10:29 Otis makes a 7x raise UTG. Blood raises THAT another 5x. I push for about 3x THAT more. Blood calls. Blood drinks TEQUILA.
10:30 Next hand Blood is all in against Stina. Blood now REFUSES to drink more tequila.
11:06 Otit is UTG, and pushes blind. Mark pushes blind. Otis can see his cards due to lack of blindness and calls... Blood also calls with sight. Otit has AJo. Blood has AQo. Mark has KJo and Otis has Q4H. Winner? Otis.
Shots for a lot of people. This low stakes game is now very very very expensive for some.
11:11 Otis jumps the shark. Blood is now refusing to drink and wants to try and kill everyone at the table. The question is... can he take me AND theMark? I say no. Blood says yes. This makes other people laugh.
11:13 Team Scott misdeals.
11:23 Stay tuned for THIS PICTURE. Blood and TeamScott just went outside and fought... errrr wrestled... whatever. Team Scott won.
12:42(SUNDAY AFTERNOON) Somehow parts of this blog were "edited" overnight. Otis claims ignorance. I suspect the blog fairy. C'est la vie, some things will just disappear.
The game broke up at about 12:30 last night. Blood was in some degree of trouble because of the wrestling thing. I'm not sure what happened there. Otis kept disappearing and eventually I found him sitting in the dark on the bathroom floor.
If I can get Otis to do the upload, I think you'll really enjoy the pictures... look for the next post with that.<-- 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
"It takes three 'Atta boys' to make up for one 'Aw, shit!'" Mr. F#*@ the River
It was a wild night of poker at the regular game. The best part of the night is we doubled the buy-in to $20 and we added the 75/150 and 150/300 levels instead of doubling the blinds each time. It's remarkable how much more play we got with just that simple change.
I'm glad I went tonight because really needed to get some play in before this weekend. In fact, the way some of these guys play any two cards, I should be more than ready for Gavin Smith!More in this Poker Blog! -->
The first game got off to a good start when I put in a pretty big raise after the flop holding a flush and gutshot straight draw. The raise virtually committed me. I probably should have just pushed there. Instead, Mr. F#*@ the River called my flop bet and then pushed on the turn. The board was 6-high.
"Ugh," I said. I had missed my draw. "You've got pocket tens. Or maybe jacks." I wasn't pulling a Daniel Negreanu here, I think based on the play it was a pretty safe bet.
I counted up the pot and there was a little more than T1600 on there. I was facing a bet of about T500. Calling there would leave me with about T500. With about a 30% chance here, I decided to take a chance.
Mr. F#*@ the River turned over pocket tens, including one of the diamonds I needed. That made me a 3-to-1 underdog with just one card to come. Thankfully, my opponent lived up to his name and the deuce of diamonds gave me the pot.
I maintained a healthy stack throughout before flopping a set on the first hand of heads up play and busting my opponent's top pair.
The second game almost went the same way for me. Holding J6s, I flopped a flush and gutshot straight draw. This time I pushed. Unfortunately, I pushed into a pretty loose player with a lot of chips, and he called me with bottom pair and a gutshot straight draw. I was actually favored here, 57% to win or chop.
It didn't happen, and I was out two from the money.
The poker was almost secondary tonight (almost...). I had a really good time, especially since the poker was less of a push-fest than it's ever been. Hopefully it stays this way, because the all the players are getting better, making this much more fun.<-- Hide More
(EDIT : BEFORE THE REST OF THIS POST...YOU MUST READ THIS!)
"Annoying someone via the Internet is now a federal crime.
It's no joke. Last Thursday, President Bush signed into law a prohibition on posting annoying Web messages or sending annoying e-mail messages without disclosing your true identity.
In other words, it's OK to flame someone on a mailing list or in a blog as long as you do it under your real name. Thank Congress for small favors, I guess. "
(NOW ON WITH THE ORIGINAL POST)
Yes folks, there's a secret code in the title. Bring your Orphan Annie decoder ring and "Don't forget to drink your ovaltine."
Blood and I usually reserve Monday for the super delicious "big game" on the hill. This week it was full, so we went to plan B. I got an e-mail from Frank the Tank at work. He's almost always a good host and is a regular at our other donkfest games. His $40NL tourney was a decent fallback.
I gotta tell you folks, I run a good homegame. Blood runs a great one. I've always thought Frank's was good too.
Otis ran a homegame that one time, a long time ago, before he turned soft. It was fun too.
Last night, we played the worst homegame in America.More in this Poker Blog! -->
The game was a fair drive from home, and after Blood left directions on my phone, I had to get clarification from Frank. Actaully, I deleted the voice mail from Blood after getting this far, "Hey Mark's game is full... let's play the other one..." and I deleted the part about it NOT being at Frank's house.
So I called Frank after getting confused.
Back in the cul-de-sac of this rural subdivision, the kind that used to be a farm before a developer's bulldozer helped created 6 dozen identical homes, the cars parked 3 deep along the curb. Frank was waiting outside with a few of the regulars from his game.
Badblood, with excellent timing, pulled in just behind me.
Now, in what turned out to be quite a coincidence, I had recently blazed through some "BadBlood on Poker" achives and read this post. I'd been teasing him about a verbal tell, he'd picked up at a less reputable game. "This," he said, "is that game."
I was NOT pleased.
They had 3 tables set up inside.
One in the living room.
One in the bedroom.
One in the garage.
Buy-in :$55. (Actually $50+$5 a fact not made clear until the money was collected)
With 26 players, that was $130 juice for the house, which was... of course... also PLAYING at my table. The host explained the juice thusly, "We provide pizza (4 $5 Little Ceasars) and we still have to clean up."
Therefore, I'd just paid about $100 for maid service at someone else's house.
Blood and I found seats at different tables. He was in the garage with TeamScottSmith. I went to the car and got my I-Pod once the host cranked up... I kid you not... Mariah Carey on his TV. I like to be social folks, but I can't do Mariah.
Actaully, I'd DO Mariah if I wasn't married. But I don't like her music.
After 2 hours, I went out 13th.
THE CASH GAME
Here's the really stupid thing.
The cash game was on the living room table now that they'd consolidated to the bedroom and garage.
Here's the structure:
$50 MAX buyin
5-handed (at the time including me, before I realized the game)
A 10% RAKE. A FREAKING RAKE AT A SMALL STAKES HOMEGAME! I DEMAND FREE LIQUOR BROUGHT TO MY CHAIR WITHOUT DELAY IF I'M TO PAY A RAKE!
I played 4 hands, cashed out, and left.
Really, this post is for all of you OUTSIDE of G-Vegas.
We have the best homegames in the world. But we have some that suck.
This one sucks.
I won't be back.<-- Hide More
I waited for three days. Three days and none of the Up For Poker crew managed to type a single word about Friday night. We all have our excuses, I suppose. I spent 36 hours testing myself to see if I have what it takes to survive a four-day Vegas bender (jury out, but the foreman gave me the stink-eye on the way to the deliberation room, so it doesn't look good). CJ was on the road home to Loosey-Ana. G-Rob had to do his hair.
So, what happened?More in this Poker Blog! -->
"There's no way I'm getting away from that hand."
G-Rob had the look on his face. If you've not seen it, it is the TV anchor version of "I usually play such trash hands, it is inconceivable that I lose when I flop perfect with a real hand." That is, he'd actually woken up with a hand and got beaten by a better hand. It wasn't his fault. I would never imply that. I also wouldn't admit to doing a little dance when G-Rob busted out of the 17-person $50 freeze-out first.
So, that's what happened. It's less important that I went on to bust out in third (ignoring the fact I should've won had it not been for a AT vs. Hammer suck-out three-handed against The Luckbox). It's less important that Wolverine and CJ got heads up and The Luckbox sucked out again for the win.
Other fun, but less important things:
* The Mark busted out right after G-Rob while making a move on a QQQ flop. The Luckbox looked him up with AK.
* I managed to not get seated with Cigar Girl, and that likely had a lot to do with my success.
* Shep Tiltstein literally tilted too hard in a plastic chair. Someone has a picture somewhere... [Ed. note: Picture added.]
* I actually won a race against The Big Pirate when my 99 held up against his AK.
No, none of that is important. What is important is that, with G-Rob and The Mark being the first two out, trays of Southern Comfort started making the rounds every time someone busted out. Remember, there were 17 players.
Among the late-evening issues this caused:
* SoCo, when spilled by an errant Otisian deal, can make chips sticky
* Bumping the stakes up to $2/$5 NL and my not having a firm grasp on the rules of the much-fabled Pinizzle. When holding JTx on a flop of 789, it is a bad idea to push in your entire stack. Why? Cause it ain't the nuts. It's not even close to the nuts. Even your opponent (who has you crushed with a holding of QJT) doesn't have the nuts. SoCo-addled neurons don't know that. It makes it worse when you wrongly accuse yourr opponent of sucking out when he was ahead preflop, post-flop, and at the river.
* At some point around 3am, I was in bed with The Mark. I'm not sure exactly why, or that I want to know exactly why. Let's just forget I brought it up.
Regardless, I'm not sure I have much of the young man left in me. I turned 32 yesterday and I feel double that. I am either not conditioned for this kind of behavior anymore or I'm too old for it.
I guess we'll see here in a couple days, eh?<-- Hide More
I badly misplayed a hand last night in a game of Crazy Pineapple 8/b. I'd like some feedback on the hand.
The game is (with 2 exceptions) an EXTREMELY LOOSE $2/$4 dealer's choice with a $200 buyin. Usually it starts with hold-em but 9 of 10 hands are a very silly NL Omaha 8b.
The big exception is Badblood who almost always calls for Crazy Pineapple.More in this Poker Blog! -->
I'm in the SB in the 2s at a 9-handed table. The entire table limps in until the 8s raises it to $12 and the 9s calls, the dealer folds.
I look down and find AsAd7d. Knowing the character of the table, I raise it to $50!
The 4s and the 9s both smooth call.
The flop is 6d,8s,9s which is, of course on of the most coordinated and least desireable flops I could see. With my holding I have either:
Top pair with the ace of spades.
A low draw with A-7-6-8
An OESD with the Ace of spades.
I figure the A-7 low, after the 2 preflop callers is clearly no good, and I decide I like the top pair better than the OESD.
I suspect THAT was my first mistake.
Then I decide at least one of my opponents is on that low draw, and I don't want the flush to hit so I made mistake number 2...I vastly overplayed my hand....pushing all-in for another $140.
The 4s insta-calls and so does the 9s. I know I'm beat.
The turn is a 4s meaning the low is good and so is the flush. 4s checks and the 9s bets all-in for another $200...after a good while in the tank...4s calls.
The pot is now about $1100!
4s shows 9-9 for a set of 9s.
and sure enough
9s shows Ks-Qs for the flush.
Now, at this point I consider the 9s calling for $140 on a flush draw EXTREMELY LOOSE..and the set of 9s FAIRLY LOOSE. The 4s put his opponent on the nut low and figured the call on the flush draw was unlikely.
I also, with the ace of spades, now had great outs. Any low card gives me the low. Any spade gives me the scoop.
The river is an 8c and the set catches big and scoops $1100.
I figure BOTH players were awfully loose pre-flop...but the loss was my fault after that.
At this table, I don't apologize for the $50 pre-flop raise...I figure I have a very strong starting hand and I WANT callers there. The question is in the post-flop play.
Obviously, I'm out of position here...but do I want to bet out and thus represent the low? It wouldn't have helped me here.
Given, a check is probably best on such a co-ordinated board, but with THESE players I would be pushed out by huge bets with a VERY VERY wide range of hands.
Perhaps the best suggestion on such a loose table, and usually this is how BadBlood and I play there, is just to wait for the nuts and clean up. But, I was on totally CARD DEAD TILT...which is a subject for my next post.
Any Crazy Pineapple players have some strategy to spare?
It's clearly one of my weakest games.<-- Hide More
Eight months after I finished college I was working as a waiter at an O'Charlie's restaurant in Knoxville. I dressed like a professional, with dark shoes and a pressed white shirt, then covered it with a long maroon apron, which I could never keep clean. I wasn't good at my job either. It's odd, knowing you're not good enough to succed at one job, but are destined for something more challenging. It was after a long shift slinging yeast rolls and "salads," that I made a phone call that changed my life.
By comparison, television is easy. I've gotten pretty good at the business lately, good enough to get by, but I never forget how it started.More in this Poker Blog! -->
THE BRADOWEEN OPEN
Back when my obsession was frolf, not poker, I used to tease my card slinging friends. They'd invite me to this monthly game, dealer's choice, with a few guys from the station. "Now, why would I do that?" I'd ask, meaning to sound insulting. "Why give away the money I earn?" Well, folks, the times have changed.
One night, about 2 years ago, I joined a tournament at Otis' house. Oddly enough, I finished 2nd. A few weeks later, I won. By mid-summer, I played as often as I could. I played the Bradoween tournament, and had a great shot at beating a wide-open field, but then as now, I enjoy people and parties even more than poker. I quit the tourney and got my drink on. Oddly enough, I was having mild success at poker... but I was a horrible player.
I think that's the night I met Badblood. We were both at the final table. Within a year he and Otis had made a player out of me.
I knew Tony through a friend of a friend. After the gig at a radio station, I'd sent my demo tape to a few places in town, but they weren't down with my vibe. This family friend knew Tony was a News Director at some station in Tennessee. A friend of his was an old news photographer who shot weddings for a living. So, I made them both a deal.
For $500, I paid them to help me LOOK like a TV reporter. We took a single page of the local newspaper, found 3 likely stories, and I reported on them. We shot 3 stories in one day, with me changing clothes in the bathroom during each shoot.
It wasn't long after I met Badblood, that we became a traveling poker roadshow. Our chance meeting, he came to Bradoween just to meet Otis, led to us spending every Thursday night at a game. We started with $30 NL ring, which very quickly moved to $50. One year later, we'll spend Monday at $200 NL, Wednesday at a $20 tourney, Thursday at $50 NL, Friday at TheMark, and Saturday wherever we find a game. It's sick really.
Sometimes experience is our greatest teacher. Blood was already a good player, but he's gotten better since we've met. I'm not even playing the same game anymore. I think I always had an affinity and aptitude for poker, Otis always said that, but it took that random meeting at Bradoween to really get me involved.
Thursday night, I won 6 buy-ins. I felt good about my play from the very first hand. I found black Queens, and got all-in against big slick. He caught a K on the flop and I turned another Q. It was just that kind of night. Once I was up a buy-in, right at the beginning, I played with confidence all night. Badblood donked a major hand to me later. I appreciated that. He's still a better player.
Those fake TV stories became what we call a "resume tape." In the news world, we send a paper resume just like all of you, but the tape is what really matters. I sent mine to the first 2 stations I could find with openings. Both of them offered me a job. The bigger market, the 101st largest out of about 212 nationwide, was in Hastings, Nebraska. I accepted the job by phone. I had no idea where it was.
I took the next flight, and rented a car in Lincoln. (By sheer coincidence, I didn't know him until years later, CJ was already working at a station in the same market.) It's a 90 mile drive from the airport to Hastings, through some of the most God-forsaken land on the planet. Interstate 80 could be driven with a broomstick and a rope, while I napped in the back seat. Every road in the state breaks off at a right angle from that one highway, or runs parallel on a grid. It's easy to drive in a place unburdened by trees, hills, or human life.
The station was a one story brick house nearly 10 miles from the town itself, surrounded on all sides by cornfields. The main lobby was smaller than a generous cublicle and led to a single hallway. On the left was the sales and management wing, which was really another long hallway leading to the station's only real room. Our two salesmen were in that hallway, with an electric typewriter between them. The GM, Mussolini, kept his door closed.
The right side of the station took you past the control room and into the studio. My new boss, Dennis, took me there first. We kept walking into the giant garage, which held all the cameras, editing equipment, 4 Dodge Neons, and my desk.
"You'll need 4 Packages and 2 vo-sots today," he said with a straight face.
The entire staff, to whom I hadn't been introduced, laughed. He was telling me I had to turn 6 stories but I was too new and stupid to understand.
Lately I've started wondering if maybe I'm starting to suck slightly less at poker. I'm not good, that much I'm sure of. But perhaps I've turned a corner in my play. I still donk off big piles of chips when I get bored or tired but my "A" game is less crappy than before. But now that I have an idea or two about the game, I realize how lucky and stupid I've always been.
You know that frustrating bastard, the St. Louis crew, to reference a beating I once took, calls this guy a "brown shirt," that guy who makes stupid plays but catches huge cards for giant pots. That was me. At least, I think it was. I've taken my share of monster 3 outers from Badblood, and he's been good enough to not obviously hate me for it. I've been very lucky to have the opportunity, and the bankroll, to play anymore. I wonder how many thousands of fish, just like me, never caught that lucky break. They still suck at the great game of poker because they didn't get that lucky start.
I'm still working in TV. I caught a lucky break at first, but I'm not boasting to say I've worked incredibly hard. Am I lucky to have that first shot? No doubt. Am I lucky to still be doing it? Yes, but it's taken a lot more than luck.
I feel the same about poker. I'm getting better, but it's damn hard to improve. I'm lucky to have the friends, bloggers and the locals, who are willing to help me learn. I'm still one of the weakest players in the room, but the gap is smaller now.
I'm playing bigger limits at home and online, but my online game is still a weakness. One step at a time. I need a lucky break. Actually, more than anything I'd like to win that trip to the Caribbean. The WPT thing.
I ramble at times...
If you, dear reader, would like to join me... I'm GRobman at Stars.<-- Hide More
It is, perhaps, the most expensive poker table I've ever played. If you figure your full-sized tournament pool table runs well over a thousand dollars, I have to figure not even the casinos have to pay that much. And it's really rather functional, too. It comfortably seats 12 and has 6 big cup holders.
Last night we had just 11 to start, but that was plenty. The usual mix of fish and moderately skilled players had assembled to throw caution (and $10) to the wind in a Texas Hold 'Em shoot out. My game has been tight which means I was likely to bust out in the first five minutes.
I keep the cellphone in the car. I hate the damn thing. For awhile, after the last one was stolen, I was swept away by all the features, even downloading "Rock Lobster" as the official Otis ringtone. Now the whole thing's passe. So I missed the Mark's call on Monday night. I would have missed the game, but Mrs. Blood called the house.
Monday night, I played for real stakes and I'm more confident than ever in my game.More in this Poker Blog! -->
I missed the house at first, God knows why. The Mark said turn at the "amber street light near a gas station," which is just as simple as the directions for building a home. Is that all? No problem!
Rick's house is on the side of a mountain, very close to the top. I drove up half in first gear. I found the address on a brick column, along a dark tree lined drive. Well down the path I saw the Jaguar first. The new Mercedes was in front of that. As Badblood would later say, our cars devalued the entire neighborhood. I kept waiting for a neighbor to hand me a rake and a plastic bag, but OH HIGH SOCIETY!...I'm here to scoop pots.
Rick's room is a married man's wet dream. Gone are the fantasies of nublie bikinis, replaced with rich leather couches, big flat-screen TVs tuned to the NFL, and the atmosphere of a Vegas card room. On one wall was a fully stocked bar, with the tube tuned to baseball. The San Diego "Super Chargers" were on the big screen on the other end. The table was Vegas chic and the chips were outstanding. Incuding BadBlood and I we had an 8 handed game, the others were obvious regulars at the game.
We had The Mark and his brother Rick, our host that evening.
Another set of brothers sat on opposite ends of the game.
And two coworkers, one of them with a full pack of cheap, cherry scented cigars traded limp..re-raises along with fraternal workplace humor.
I sat between The Mark and Blood. I just wanted to play MY game...not be intimidated by the stacks...or the buyin...or the blinds....this game was bigger than most.
These guys play dealer's choice with a $200 buy in. The blinds start at $2-$4, with stud games at $4-$8. When I got there they were in hold-em land, and I folded almost every hand. I did win one pot with a scare card bluff...position won me the hand when the others advertised their weakness. What suprised me most was the incredible amount of limping, almost every player saw almost every pot and a late position raise...sometimes $20-$30 would almost always get a hal-dozen callers.
Soon, the other games began, which with these folks means NL o8 almost every hand. In the first game I found A,K,2,9 and saw the flop for cheap. I flopped the nut low. With 2 other people in the hand, I bet the pot at first and both players called. The turn was a 9. Both players checked and I bet the pot again, one player called that too. The river was a brick and I pushed for another $140. My opponent, one of the jovial co-workers hemmed and hawed and then showed Rick his cards. I knew as soon as that happened, I was going to scoop this pot. He called, with the SECOND nut low and I took that mutha down.
Later, I dealt a hold-em hand and found two black Jacks. My omaha opponent raised it $20 and another player called. I re-raised it another $40.. and Omaha-man went all in...and additional $27. The middle player called, and because the re-re-raise wasn't a full bet...I couldn't raise again. I called and saw a flop
7, 5, 3 RAINBOW.
Middle player checked...and of course..I pushed. He thought for a bit and reluctantly threw away his A-Q. I was almost certain of AK but that was good enough for an accurate read. With the pot heads up, we flipped our cards. My Jacks were good pre-flop, but his set of 7s was a monster now. I lost on a flopped 2 outer.
The limping and calling almost never stopped, and it was tempting to get sucked in, but the game was better than I hoped. I finished the night with a pretty good win, NL O8, and I held A-2-4-4. I, again, caught a nut low with A-2-3-4-6.
THE *REAL* RESULT
I have to admit, I was nervous about the higher stakes. Badblood was anxious too. But what I found was a game I CAN beat if I play my best game. Instead of scaring me back to smaller stakes, I'm looking for bigger games. I'm ready to play for more money. That may change if I take a beating over the next few weeks, but right now, in live play, I'm moving up a bit.
And loving it..<-- Hide More
11 players, $10 entry fee, T1200 starting stack, 25/50 blinds double every 20 minutes.
Just 47 minutes later I won $70.
I doubled up on the first hand when KJ called my AJ on a J-high flop. Won a nice pot on the second hand when JT filled a straight on the turn. Knocked two more out on the next hand when AT beat AK and KQ on a 10-high flop. Finished them off when I knocked out the last two players when my JJ beat their A8s and 33.
Also scored a 2nd place finish in the 3rd game. A5 vs. A4 heads up and it split, dammit. Then my A6 got caught by A9 and there was no split. I was crippled and it was over when my HAMMER lost to AT.
All in all, a good night.
So we're playing the usual Thursday game in the murky hollows of Castle Blood, and things are going well. I'm up about 2 or 3 buyins and the others seem willing to rebuy. But all good things end, don't they. Eventually the NL Hold-em players would leave.
And I nearly triple up in 1 orbit....with a game that doesn't exist.More in this Poker Blog! -->
We were down to 5 players and most of us, except one very muscular host, were nursing pretty healthy stacks. The Mark and I were, by that point, getting a bit bored with NLHE and asked to switch games... both suggesting Stud/8b. The table agreed, but we ended up playing dealer's choice instead.
The Mark deals NO LIMIT OMAHA Hi/Lo, which is both sick and silly. I fold pre-flop.
Doc Alan deals NO LIMIT OMAHA Hi/Lo, and I fold pre-flop.
Teddy Ballgame deals NO LIMIT PINEAPPLE and I manage to win the high.
So i dealt a new game...NO LIMIT PY-NIZZLE, that would change our fortunes.
1) Each player is dealt 5 cards.
2) There is a round of betting.
3) We see a flop.
5) Each player discards 2 cards and keeps three. The player can play 0-3 of those cards to make a winning Hi or Lo hand.
6) A round of silly betting.
We played that game 4 times... that's all. I scooped the first two pots.
In the first, I won a $300 pot, when both Blood and Teddy went all-in. I bet $160 into a $22 side pot, while holding the mortal nuts. Teddy called. I had a good night.
Look for more Py-nizzle in the future.<-- Hide More
It's 1:00 PM, which means I woke up early. Last night the last players left here at a little after 3. The game was a big success, I was up huge all night, but managed to tilt away a good $100 at the final FEATURE table. Here's the play-by-play, as scribbled in a reporter's notebook.More in this Poker Blog! -->
I've got the tables and chairs arranged. I use a big bedsheet to cover the banquet table in the living room. The breakfast nook in the kitchen will be table 2. My cards and chips are on one table and I'm waiting for Mr. Blood to arrive with more.
My kids love the poker setup, and they've climbed into the folding chairs to play what they think is Texas Hold-Em. It was at this time that my oldest, a 6 year old who starts first grade this fall, said those magic words, "Daddy, will you teach me to play poker?"
Dear readers, I almost cried.
A ring at the front door I didn't expect. The game was set for 8, and while a few of the regulars have been known to show up early, this is a bit odd.
My kids answer the door and Mrs. Blood is there. She's shopping for a new home and loves the house NEXT DOOR. She and my wife launch a broad-based conspiracy to acquire the property. I imagine a housewarming POKER-GAME/BARBEQUE of epic proportions. With adjoining backyards, I imagine a band, but I can't let Blood choose the music.
I tried to play this development off in a very cool macho disinterested way, but I'm pretty excited about the possibilities.
My wife and Mrs. Blood are watching a home movie that the Bloodette has burned herself. It's some sort of cowboy music played over photos of thier last trip to the beach. My wife swoons at the idea and now I've got to lug a camera around the beach this weekend.
Frustrated with the female bonding I headed for the store. I'd already arranged the booze for the night (tequila, vodka, and moonshine), but I still needed beer. The grocery is less than a half mile from my subdivision and I've never wanted to drive anywhere I could easily walk so... off the flop-flops flew.
I choose Diet Aspen brew. 12 pack.
My neighbors see me carrying Diet Aspen brew back to the house and one of them yells, "Hey G! Is there a bridal shower at your place tonight?"
It's $50 max buyin with .25/.50 blinds. Rebuys are, of course, highly encouaged.
First cards in the air. Blood and I have decided to handle the banking at separate tables. I decided hearts from the pile would get the kiddie tabe while the spades were in the living room. Blood captained there while I was, and still am, the ace of hearts.
MY TABLE :
2s Phil (Friend of Alan)
3s Alan (who claims to have been at Woodstock. That makes him one of the few people I know who was actually there OR just one of a dozen or so I know who have told me they were there... he also looks EXACTLY like Robert DeNiro, Fockers era. Plus, he's a friend of the aforementioned Phil)
4s Cardone (his nicknames include: Overdraft protection... and Call-done)
5s Rich (I'd post something about Rich here, but he won't stop talking long enough for me to concentrate on his features)
6s THE WOLVERINE (Youngest player at the game... and son of Shep Tiltstein)
7s Dymski (Who bought a Harley in Maryland and then regretted driving it back to the Carolinas)
I bust THE WOLVERINE when my AK catches an ace on the turn. He bet into me assuming his AJ was good. It wasn't and it was some time before he rebought. In fact, shortly afterward, his seat was taken by the late arriving TeamScottSmith.
I'm in a hand with Calldone. I make it $3 pre-flop and he comes along.
The flop is ace-rag-rag
I bet out $6 and he calls again.
The turn is another rag and I check.
Calldone bets 5 and I check-raise to $15.
I show the hammer!
Here's the thing: He's obviously playing the ace on the flop and his call on the flop bet seems to indicate that he thinks his pair is good. Then the turn card couldn't have helped me. What about the check-raise would make him fold?
That's the hammer baby.
TeamScottSmith has, in fact, arrived. He's got a bottle of "Forest Glen Pinot" and he's ready for one of the most entertaining table images in homegame history.
Scott's MO is always the same. Chat,chat,chat... finish the bottle of wine... and suddenly... WHAM!... too drunk to communicate. He's been running this scam on new players at the G-Vegas game since I've known him and its a damn convincing act. He knocks his chips on the floor, mispronounces words, and in general appears drunker than ALCAN'THANG in a river of booze. Scott is a pretty solid player so the ruse usually earns him so dough.
AN EXAMPLE OF THE STUPID BANTER
Rich asks Dymski, again, about the bike trip from Maryland. Mike says it would have been much better without the borrowed helmet and with much less rain.
Rich says, "How come you didn't take a more direct route?"
Dymski says, "I did go direct, right down I-77."
"No, no, no," says Cardone, "I-77 curves around so that you have to merge with another interstate."
"I'm telling you, I just made the drive, I took I-77!"
"Sorry man, I just don't believe it, I-77 has a curve and can't be the most direct route," insisted Rich.
And so for 9.5 minutes we debated the curvature of I-77. Neither side gave ground. Especially the side represented by the guy who was, in fact, ON I-77 a short time ago. Stupidity ensues and it's damn hard to get a hand dealt.
I change the subject by asking everyone at the table, "Sooooo, who's coming to Bradoween?"
CJ calls. We all drink moonshine.
I call Al. We all drink moonshine.
Sexy Maudie calls. We all drink vodka or tequilla.
Austin April calls. We drink tequilla.
MY NOTES GET ALL SCRAWLY
I've spent a good deal of time this morning trying to figure out why I wrote "Blood vs. Carter admin." in my notes. Was he related to a hostage? Did he resent the loss to Reagan?
Which reminds me... A few weeks ago I had a dream about Jimmy Carter. I was in a Taxi cab in Atlanta and Jimmy was driving. I decided to sit in the front as a gesture of respect to our former President. We'd talked for some time when, for no reason, I blurted out "Hyper-inflation! I mean can a phrase sound worse that that? HY! PER! INFLATION! Jeeeezus!"
Jimmy gave me shit for using the Lord's name in vain.
Anyway, it now seems the notes say "Blood vs. Cardone arm", which would makes sense, Cardone kept challenging Blood to an arm wrestle. I knew this wouldn't actually happen. It didn't.
I wrote, "The wheel". I assume that's in reference to a hand I played against someone. I don't actually remember at this point.
It couldn't be in reference to the music because I eschewed the Dead tonight for something we could all enjoy.
MY 5 DISK CHANGER :
1 Phish at Charlotte '94 disk 2
2 Phish at Charlotte '94 disk 3
3 Allman Brothers EAT A PEACH
5 Phish Picture of Nectar
BadBlood actually liked Particle. I was pleasantly suprised to find out that TeddyBallgame is also a phish-head. He prefers Widespread Panic, which is just wrongheaded, but I still find it acceptable.
Phil is busted and Otit joins our table. There was some confusion about this.
We were using different chips at each table and so I counted his chips at Blood's table to give him the equivilant amount at ours. What I didn't know was that Blood cashed him out. So Otit pocketed that cash and then took free chips at my table for about $75.
I don't blame Otit for that. He's an honest guy. I think we both just screwed up. Tommy the Axeman promises to collect the money today.
I raise pre-flop with the hammer and everyone folds to me
Dymski and I are in a big hand.
He limps pre-flop and I make it $4.
Flop is all hearts... queen high. He bets $6. I call.
Turn is another heart. Dymski thinks for a bit then bets $10.
I come over the top and put him all in. He goes in the tank and then folds.
I show the hammer. There's no way he plays a solid flush like that. I was pretty sure the hammer would work that time. Neither the 7 nor the 2 was a heart.
We're down to 1 table now after a substantial amount of attrition.
It looks like this :
1s BadBlood (our favorite Metal listening future neighbor)
2s Alan (I've got nipples. Can you milk me Greg?)
3s Shep Tiltstein (He earned this nickname last week at Otis' house. He was on wicked tilt at the time. Obviously. But the name sticks because he was previously... without a nickname)
4s Team ScottSmith (By now VERY fake drunk)
5s G-Rob (tall)
6s Tommy the Axeman (Once built a guitar for a woman he doesn't know. She plays in an 80s cover band and he's hot for her. For the record, they do a great cover of Billy Jean)
7s Teddy Ballgame (Exactly like TeamScottSmith... except Teddy IS actually that drunk. All hands played by Teddy feature the phrase, "Awwww hell")
8s The WOLVERINE (finally rebought. Twice)
9s The Mark (Known worldwide as the man who defeated BadBlood at arm wrestling. Also known for hosting a competing game which features No-Limit Omaha hi/lo.)
I'm in a hand with TeamScottSmith.
Scott bets $3 and I make it $8. He calls.
Flop is A-A-10 with 2 diaminds.
He bets $10. I call.
Turn is a 4 of diamonds.
He bets $10. I raise it to $35.
I show the hammer.
The very next hand... Scott and I are at it again.
I limp in with 4-6 of spades.
The flop is 3-3-5 with 2 clubs.
Scott bets 2 and I call.
The turn is an offsuit 7! Bingo! He bets $5 and I raise to $25. He calls.
The river brings another club and I'm concerned. He checks and I do to.
My straight is good.
That's the beauty of the hammer on the previous hand.
Teddy bets $3 and Mark makes it $18.
The flop is king high and Teddy would be golden with his suited slick.
He looks down to make a bet... and notices his cards aren't there.
Shep looks sheepish. He's mucked Teddy's cards. Nice hand Mark.
BadBlood's chair is taken away for cleaning after he rivers a straigh flush to the 8... in diamonds.
At this point, I've stopped taking notes. A good thing because now TeamScottSmith has a pint of Jim Beam on the table.
I finished up $30. I was up $200 when I got to the final table. I'm a bad poker player. That post is next.<-- Hide More
I was deeply scarred by that first blogger intervention last year. The memories are hazy, like a late summer here in the "G". Worse still there's a small tatto, shaped like the finger of a dwarf on the front of my brain. Otis and I have a love-hate sorta thing when it comes to booze, we love forcing more damage on each other's liver, and we hate each other in the morning...sort of like bran cereal in sour milk.
But the worst part of the Vegas bender was the vague suspicion that I'd had a great time. Most of my old Phish shows were just like that, a blank slate with a pleasant aftertaste. I remember chatting up the hookers at the SHERWOOD FOREST, and God knows I'll never forget their answer to, "What's the wierdest thing a John ever asked you to do?" But I have no idea what I injested that night. I always hated the idea that I was a central charater in a drama that I still couldn't recall.More in this Poker Blog! -->
Fear and Self-Loathing
So tonight I'm taking a different tack. 14 players will invade stately G-manor tonight. We're running 2 table of 7 each. As usual I'll be drinking heavily, but this time, I'm taking notes.
BUT G! Isn't that just what a good blogger does?
I say yes. Which is why Otis and CJ do it. I never have before so this is new ground. BadBlood will also be there and if we're at different tables, I'll ask him to take notes from that action.
WHY SHOULD I CARE?
Good question. Next!
WHAT WILL THIS NOTE-TAKING ACCOMPLISH?
Even better question. I should interview myself sometime. That would be really great TV.
Two things :
1) I've been trying to use the 2 or 3 weekly games here to devise a few strategy ideas that I hope will be helpful. They'll be helpful to me but, one less shot of moonshine would be helpful, and I ain't taking THAT advice.
2) I think these games have some truly facinating people and, because I enjoy the writing as much as I enjoy the actual poker content on this here blog, I hope they'll make a pretty interesting post.
SO WHEN WILL THIS MEGA-POST HAPPEN?
Actually, NOT a good question.
CAN I, A BELOVED READER, HELP?
Yupperooo! If you have my e-mail send me a cell phone number. If you have my cell phone, give it a buzz. We're gonna do dial-a-shot about 25 times tonight and I think the stupid buzz will make this thing fun. Get your drink on people.
Final proof that THIS homegame is the best in America.
See you soon.<-- Hide More