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
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 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!
Anyone who's played poker in a casino is likely familiar with the "English Only at the Table" rule. I believe it's a regulation designed to curb any collusion that might go unnoticed by a dealer unfamiliar with foreign languages. Of course, I always think of the scene in Rounders where Worm is dealing off the bottom of the deck and complains about the Russian mobsters violating the rule.
But I digress...
It seems that at least one professional sport is following poker's lead.More in this Poker Blog! -->
Beginning in 2009, all players on the LPGA tour will be required to speak English. Apparently, the geniuses running women's golf think the reason no one watches their sport is because of those damn foreigners.
The solution? A lot more broken English. Imagine if you were told that in the next 6 months you needed to know how to speak Korean. I doubt you'd fare very well.
Starting in January, every player will have to pass an oral exam. I'd be real curious to see how that test is administered. What exactly is the threshhold for proficiency? Seriously, this has to be one of the stupidest things I've ever read.
This regulation likely won't be as successful as the LPGA's last initiative designed to boost ratings. A few years ago, players were told to sex it up. They were encouraged to wear sexier outfits and to, well... be hotter. That managed to boost ratings by a factor of absolutely nothing.
Nonetheless, there's a reason you likely know the name Natalie Gulbis (pictured and ranked 34th in the world) more than Yani Tseng (ranked third in the world, and I dare you to click through for her picture).
I guess it's a good think Natalie knows English. No word on how fluent Yani Tseng is!<-- Hide More
I've never done an illegal drug in my life. In fact, I've never even smoked a cigarette. I'm pretty square, in case you didn't know. I figure I'd be one of those sad cases where a cigarette lead to a joint, lead to some acid, lead to some heroin, lead to some cocaine, lead to a forgettable prison demise. It's the gateway theory.
Well, this weekend, I came across Vegas' own version of the gateway. It's called Dave & Buster's.More in this Poker Blog! -->
This isn't the first time I've ever been to a D&B's, but it is the first time I noticed just how pervasive the Vegas-like games are. Wheel of Fortune? Check. Horse Racing? Check. The Big Wheel? Check.
Leaving there, I wondered whether or not the operations were owned, at least in part, by a company with gambling interests. My limited Google research came up empty in that regard. D&B's is currently owned primarily by the private equity firm Wellspring Capital Management. That doesn't mean there isn't some gambling in its past, however.
David Corriveau and James "Buster" Corley are the men behind the franchise, and one of Corriveau's early jobs was as a blackjack dealer in Vegas. The very first D&B's in Dallas 26 years ago included cashless blackjack. In 1994, a Texas judge ruled that the restaurant could, in fact, give away prizes worth more than $5 in exchange for tickets won while playing games.
As we all know, it's not a far cry from winning tickets to winning money. And although the company says its target audience is adults from 24-44... I'm fairly certian the number of kids out-numbered the number of adults while I was there. Of course, places like Chucky Cheese have been perfecting the kiddie gambling racket for years, but this is different. When the games look virtually the same, the intent seems rather clear.
So am I arguing this is a bad thing? Not a chance... Start 'em early. That's what I say. The sooner they learn how to lose their money, the sooner they start losing it to me!<-- Hide More
I'll admit it... I'm a sucker for the Olympics. I'm a red-blooded American who loves watching the USA beat up on other countries. That means I especially enjoy sports like softball, where the rest of the world doesn't have a chance. No wonder the International Olympic Committee voted to get rid of it (Commie terrorist bastards!). But I digress...
Whenever an event rolls around, I start to wonder who among those involved might make for a good poker table. Let's look at the choices:More in this Poker Blog! -->
He's far and away the biggest name in the Olympics right now. He's already won 5 gold medals in the pool this year and a record 11 in his career. His goal is to win eight in 2008, setting a new standard there as well. Oh... and he's got a slew of world records next to his name as well. He's money in the bank and no one else is even close.
Not a chance. Someone who wins that consistently and in that dominant a fashion can find himself another table.
She's the U.S. gymnastics team captain although she's, at best, third best on the team. And when the team needed her the most, she fell... twice. I suggested that perhaps she was better suited for Canadian citizenship.
Anyone who reacts that way to pressure is welcome to sit at my table any time!
Some say he's the best basketball player in the world. I'm not one of them (put me in the LeBron camp). Still, being the second best player in the world isn't all bad. Thankfully, this team is a little closer to the Dream Team than they are to the disappointing teams of the last few Olympics.
The guy's been pretty clutch in his career, but I know how to throw him off his game. I'll just bring up Shaq and the rape charges in Colorado. Oh... and he's rolling in the dough so he probably won't care about the stakes we're playing.
She's Australia's swimming queen and a big hit in the Aussie tabloids. She also has three gold medals and three world records so far in '08. She's a winner in the mold of Michael Phelps, but looks much better in a swimsuit.
Phelps got tossed because he never loses. I'm not willing to do the same with Rice. Have you seen her? She's in.
Hamid Soryan Reihanpour
He's the defending world champion in Greco-Roman Wrestling at the 121 lbs. weight class. And he's Iranian.
One crack about them "terrorists" and he'll crush me with his bare hands. No thanks. I don't care how bad of a player he might be.
Kerri Walsh and Misty May-Treanor
This beach volleyball team hasn't lost a match in something like ten years (101 matches in 18 tournaments). And you thought Michael Phelps and the women's softball team were good? And being a bit of a dabbler in volleyball myself, I'm a big fan of this duo.
Sorry, they're out. I know Drizz will be disappointed, but it's not like they'd be wearing their bikinis! They'd just make me feel bad about not being as good in volleyball, and they'd likely take my money.
This guy is from my old haunting ground down in Leezy-anna. He's also America's first Olympic representative in that ancient sport of Trampoline. That's right... as the Olympics get ready to dump sports like baseball and softball, they're showcasing that world-wide craze of trampoline. Just more reason to look down on the rest of the world.
He's in. Look... he jumps on a trampoline as an Olympic sport. I just can't be intimidated by a guy who's sport is performed by spoiled 7-year olds in suburban back yards. I'm also about a foot taller than him, so I've got that going for me. And according to his Olympic profile, "In 2001, Estrada walked away from the sport. He had a mental block that prevented him from twisting on forward flipping skills." Mental blocks? Oh yeah,
I'm a big believer in the power of the mind. You get lucky because you believe, truly, deep down in your heart, that you're going to get lucky. It's not that you hope you'll get lucky. It's not that you declare you'll get lucky. It's that you have no doubt, no doubt at all, that the card you need is about to fall.
For a year or two, that was me. I knew I'd get lucky more often than not. I'd ask the dealer and the card would fall. It was simple. And it made the game easy. You don't get the nickname "Luckbox" because you get lucky just once or twice.
My confidence is shaken. For every yin there is a yang. Where there is light, there is shadow. Just as belief in luck will bring luck, believing in failure breeds failure. Just read Waffles for all the proof you'll need on that account.
The Tao of Poker 5-year anniversary tournament was the last bit of proof I needed.More in this Poker Blog! -->
We weren't too deep into the tournament and I was still sitting right around my average stack. I'd given a few chips away before check-raising with the Hiltons on an undercard board getting myself back to even.
I'm dealt JhTd in middle position. There's one caller in front of me and I limp as well. It's folded around to the small blind who completes. The big blind then raises to 3xBB. The first limper folds. I call and the small blind folds.
That means two of us see a flop of 8s9s8h. I'm open ended. My opponent, with whom I am unfamiliar, leads out for about 2/3 of the pot. It's an easy call for me, I think. It's as likely to be a continuation bet as it is to be an overpair or underpair.
The turn is the seven of spades. I love the fact that I've hit my straight, but I hate the fact that it's a spade. Nonetheless, I'm pretty committed to this pot at this point. I can't sit around fearing the flush. My opponent leads out again and I push. He instantly called.
Any guesses on what he held?
He flipped over pocket tens, including the ten of spades. I would imagine that he thought he was in great shape. He had both an overpair and an open ended straight flush draw. That's strong. I was 68% to win the hand and 4% to tie it. There was a 2-1 chance that I double up and almost a 3-1 chance that I'm still in the tourney.
I knew I was done. Before the card even came. That evil poker doubt crept into my mind. The four of spades did it. The table said, "Ouch."
Was it "ouch," really? It's not like it was a stupid call. It's not like I tricked the guy into betting into my monster. Who among us wouldn't have made the call he did?
The cards fell his way that time. I'm sure he truly believed it'd go his way. Next time, I'll believe in the power of the Luckbox. It got me this far...<-- Hide More
Four of us sat in camping chairs around a cooler serving as a table and with nothing to help us see the cards except the glow of a fire and a few dim lanterns.
"It's gray," G-Rob said.
"How gray?" Otis replied.
Yet again, Uncle Ted and I were running over the table. We, frankly, couldn't be stopped. Call it collusion if you want, but in this game, we didn't mind. In fact, in this game, you can't win without it.More in this Poker Blog! -->
It's the first card game I played with the G-Vegas crew. As you can see from G-Rob's post about frolf, the G-Vegas crew has rolled through a few obsessions over the years. For awhile, we couldn't get enough Euchre. In fact, we began referring to it only as M.E.N. (Marathon Euchre Night). It doesn't get much more gay than that... but, I digress...
Here is where I toot my own horn. I was (and probably still am) a killer Euchre player. It's a great game and I love the strategy involved. But it lacked something... the gamble. We never did put any real money on our games (not that pride wasn't enough of a prize). And that's a shame, because I would have cleaned up.
Cribbage is a game that's been in my family for years. My grandfather played it back during his Navy days. It's one of the first card games I learned to play despite the complicated nature of the rules.
Back when my sister got engaged, my Dad challenged my soon-to-be-brother-in-law to a game of cribbage. If he won, he got to marry my sister. He won. I think my Dad had a few beers that night because my brother-in-law isn't very good at the game. I was. Here's that horn tooting again.
There were family vacations where we would set up a cribbage tournament. I wasn't always the best in the family, but in this game, sometimes the cards just don't fall your way. I suppose that's true of every card game... so it's a lesson I learned very young.
If there's one game I remember playing before Cribbage, it was Canasta. Apparently, it was really popular on my Dad's side of the family. This one could be played with as many as 6 players which made it a lot of fun.
I'm not sure how good I really was. In my mind, I was awesome... but I stopped playing that game regularly in my early teens. I don't think looking back 15 or 20 years is easy. I wouldn't mind playing again soon.
In Wikipedia, this one is known as Oh Hell. Apparently my family enjoyed the more obscene varient. This is a game my family still plays every time we get together. It's a perfect game for a group that enjoys screwing each other over as often as possible. Maybe I should get a blogger league together...
I'm going to tell you that it's hard to be good at this game... but that's probably only because I'm not very good at it. I lose at this on a regular basis, and I lose badly. But it's a game we play so much that my Dad has invented new rules, adding jokers to the deck.
In a few weeks, I'll be seeing my family for my niece's first birthday. I'm sure we'll get a few hands in.
So what about poker? Poker is the newest card game on the list. It's one I first started learning from my father. Then I stumbled into a dealer's choice game with a few degenerates in G-Vegas. And then, this all happened. I wonder how much I'd still be playing if I was still back in South Cackalacky. Playing online is fine... but, as you can gather from the descriptions above, it's still the social part of the games that appeals to me the most.<-- Hide More
There are few things in this world that will turn a person into an absolute idiot with no regard for their own dignity. For a starving man, it may be a Big Mac. For a lonely man, it may be a naked woman who wants to sleep with him. For an addict, it's that cigarette or shot of whiskey. For G-Rob, it's any of those things.
For a lot of people on TV these days, it's money.
Exhibit A: The appropriately named "I Love Money" on VHI.More in this Poker Blog! -->
If you're not familiar with it, it's VHI's answer to MTV's Real World/Road Rules Challenges (and if you're not familiar with that, think Battle of the Network Stars but substitute people in minute 14 of their 15 minutes of fame). This show gathers together some of the more stupid and desperate contestants from previous reality shows Rock of Love, Flavor of Love and I Love New York. Remember, these are people who spent weeks demeaning themselves while fighting for the affection of Bret Michaels, Flava Flav and some crazy woman whom Flava Flav nicknamed New York.
Now they gather to battle it out for something a little more tangible: Cash.
One contestant is apparently attempting to get herself into the reality show Hall of Fame. Megan (pictured right) is now on her third reality show. She's already split $250,000 for winning Beauty and the Geek. She was then dumped by Bret Michaels. And now she's back for more. She may or may not have been a Playboy Cyber Girl of the Month, I don't know, I haven't Googled her.
Anyway, she's the kind of person in this world who is clearly getting by on the only talent she has. If you don't know what it is, you haven't looked at the picture. Should I begrudge her that? She clearly enjoys the attention and yearns to be on TV as much as possible. If we've only got 15 minutes, I guess we better get all we can before time runs out!
What the hell does this have to do with poker?!?
Good question. But if you can't guess the answer, then you haven't been paying attention to the poker world over the past 5 years.
Exposure is everything. Had Hevad Khan acted like Eric Seidle, would you still remember his name? If Mike "The Mouth" Matusow was as animated as "Action" Dan Harrington, would he get a featured table every year at the WSOP?
Hole card cameras, the WPT and and ESPN changed everything. It's not just enough anymore to be good at poker. You have to be good at poker AND have a schtick. For many, you have to be willing to make a complete fool of yourself.
I'm not suggesting the characters didn't exist before the TV cameras turned on. Scotty Nguyen has always been Scotty Nguyen. But there is a new breed of TV hogs out there. They know if they're loud and obnoxious, they get their own 5 minutes on ESPN. And if they get 5 minutes on ESPN, some online poker room out there will hand him some cold hard cash to wear a patch.
We all love money.<-- Hide More
Two years is a long time.
Two years ago, no one knew who Jamie Gold was. The Detroit Tigers were 28 games over .500 while Tampa Bay was 12 games under. Oh, and they were still the Devil Rays. Andrea Bargnani was the #1 pick in the NBA draft. Yeah, I still haven't heard of him. The nation was preparing for a Hillary vs. Rudy presidential election.
And that's the last time I was in Vegas.
The good news is that until the terrorists win, or some Socialist takes over the White House, Vegas will be exactly the same every time I go. You can change the curtains all you want, but the grime is there forever.More in this Poker Blog! -->
Lucky in life, unlucky in flights.
I think that's probably the slogan I live by. My problems on planes have been long discussed. This time, my flight to connect in Charlotte was diverted to Greensboro because we were running out of fuel as we waited for a storm to clear. After an hour on the ground, we were finally headed back to Charlotte and eventually to Vegas. I lost at least a couple of hours of gambling time... maybe that's a good thing.
I stepped off the plane a tired man. It only took one breath of the energy-infused Vegas air to change that. Or maybe it was the sound of the Wheel of Fortune slot machine which triggered my brain to boost my adrenaline.
Coming down the escalator, I saw three massive billboards side-by-side: Bette Middler, Elton John and Cher. I was 12% more gay by the time I got to the bottom. I stopped and stared at the sign for Bite just to return to normal.
It's a blur, but isn't every visit it to Vegas? I was there for about 66 hours. I spent about 20 hours sleeping. But those are just numbers. Numbers like this:
The house edge on the first game I played in Vegas, Texas Hold 'Em Bonus: 2.037%
That's not so bad, especially since the bets go up during each hand which brings down the element of risk to just 0.5335%. Of course, we're degenerates. We needed action. That meant shelling out even more for the BONUS bet. The house edge on that bet is 8.5405%. That's a bad bet.
I lost money. Bad Blood cashed out ahead by more than $3000.
Odds my flopped two pair with K5 would double up against the jackass who called me with top pair: 83%
The 5 on the turn sealed it and the table ATM pushed nearly $700 my way. Before the end of the night, he would double up Bad Blood and he would get in a three-way all-in with Otis with the sickest river card I saw all trip. I'll let him tell you that story. In just 2 1/2 hours, the three of us took almost five grand off that table. Blind monkeys were crushing that game. G-Rob dropped $1500.
Number of times my set lost to a lower pair that became quads: 2
Telling bad beat stories is no fun. And no one wants to hear them anyway. Thankfully, the first time it happened it was a $4/$8 limit game and the second time was the $340 nightly tournament at the Rio while I was already short-stacked. Losing to quads in a NL game would be much more costly.
All trips to Vegas come to an end, and most of them at least a day after they should. Sin City has a way of getting your heart pumping at the beginning just so it can suck the life out of you by the end. These casinos don't just take your money, they trade on your soul. You rarely feel the same at the end as you did at the beginning.
And yet I can't wait to get back. I love it there... even when I'm hating it.<-- Hide More
It was December 11th, 2004 when about 30 bloggers gathered in Vegas for a seminal moment in the explosion of poker blogging. None of us really knew what to expect and none of us were disappointed by what we found.
Many of the experiences were hard to describe, yet we spent thousands and thousands of words on dozens of blogs telling our handful of readers what they missed. By the time the next poker blogger event rolled around, our numbers had surged past 70. It wasn't long before we'd reach a peak above 100.
So why am I thinking about that weekend now?More in this Poker Blog! -->
In 10 days, I'll be back in Vegas for the first time since the 2006 WSOP. And of those few dozen poker bloggers whom I first met that December weekend, I'll again get to spend time at the tables with Iggy, Pauly, Bad Blood, FTrain, Poker Prof and maybe even AlCantHang. Add in Otis and GRob, and we'll have nearly a third of that first group of bloggers back in Vegas together.
It was a long strange road that got us all there in the first place. A quick check of the archives shows these poker blogs started popping up in late 2003.
Pauly launched in August 2003:
Texas Hold'em poker is probably the most difficult, yet the most exhilirating card game out there. I know there are fanatics who share my same disposition and now there's a site for them to visit. Combined with the knowlegde that there are not too many poker blogs out there... I decided to start my own. 100% Poker speak... 100% of the time!
We opened here in September 2003:
Welcome to Up For Poker! Hopefully soon, there will be more contributors than just myself. This will also help my Up For Anything readers avoid a majority of my gambling rambling.
Iggy popped up a few weeks later:
Well, well, well. Figured I might as well start trying to document some of my experiences with God's nectar, Guinness, and the online Phenomena of Poker. I've been playing poker online for about six years. Drinking seriously for about twenty.
HDouble came next in October 2003 (where have ye gone?):
That's it for my introduction. Hopefully this journal will help me improve my game, as well as give me a chance to develop some thoughts worth developing. And if it gives some readers a few laughs or nods of recognition along the way, that would be nice too...
Update: BG also chimed in with his first poker post in October 2003:
I've been playing Texas Hold 'Em (no limit, $10 buy-in, winner take all) with the same group for about three months now. Normally, we're getting together six to ten strong on a weekend night, and playing until 1 or 2 AM. So far, so good. There's only two of us that can claim three victories during these games. I'm one of them.
Maudie jumped into the game in November 2003:
I hadn't played much hold-em previously - let alone no-limit - and so I was at sea with the jargon and had no clue as to strategy. Being the curious cat I am, I googled for poker reading material and was lead to my first poker publication purchase (nice alliteration, wouldn't you say?) Super System by Doyle Brunson.
Hammer-inventor Grubby joined a few days later:
I love playing poker.
I love eating.
Hey, why not combine the two?
Mean Gene emerged in December 2003:
I'm going to write more stuff than just hand histories here, honest. I'm thinking maybe some poker fiction. I mean, you just KNOW that a flood of poker movies and books are flooding to market right now. Maybe I should jump on the bandwagon.
AlCantHang finally took the plunge in February 2004:
I've been hitting alot of poker blogs recently and they've been well written and very enjoyable. Probably not so for this one. Those who know me will tell you, I drink too much and play poker poorly. I mean really bad.
BadBlood hopped on the train in March 2004:
Ah yes, a community that I could understand. Poker.
Well, at this point in time, I'd played for a few years off-line. And about 9 months on-line, many that I'd like to forget...
And finally, PokerProf and Flipchipro in April 2004:
I decided to undertake this blog effort after considerable encouragement and harassment from various family and staff members. I will make every effort to be timely with my entries, offer content that is interesting and related to the Las Vegas poker scene and supplement the journal entries with photos.
I'm sure there are some I forgot or lost (
can anyone figure out BG's wacky archiving?), but these are the ones who I remember built the foundation. The number of new poker blogs really started to take off in the middle of 2004. By the end of the year, a few dozen of us had this crazy idea that we could get our own private tournament run in a live Vegas poker room, that we could get top pros to play, that we could get online poker rooms to give us free stuff, and that we could get other top pros to meet and talk with us before the tourney.
To this day, I'm not sure how much Guinness and SoCo it took for us to think any of this was possible. And yet, there we were. In the middle of an experience we would likely never experience again. From the insane limo ride to Sam's Town to doubling up on Max Pescatori to the depravity that Vegas drops on us, I'll never forget the first time I met the poker blogger community.
And now I can't wait to get back to Vegas.<-- Hide More
So I spent a good deal of time trying to decide just how I would approach my wife with the idea of a guy's only trip to Vegas. In just four months of marriage, I haven't had a lot of time to build up trade-worthy capital.
So it went a little like this...More in this Poker Blog! -->
"Hey, baby. The G-Vegas guys are going to Vegas at the end of the month," I told her.
"That sounds like fun... you should go, too," she responded.
And that was that. The good news is that Lady Luck really, really likes the G-Vegas guys since there were such great guests at our wedding. She also knows that despite their proclivity to drunken insanity, that I have a unique ability to weather their storms.
The final details are as such:
I fly out Thursday June 26th, landing in Vegas shortly before midnight.
I fly back Sunday June 29th, leaving Vegas just after 6pm.
That's two and a half days of poker and stupid table games. I may actually even partake of a cold beverage or two. Lady Luck even told me she doesn't care if I hit a strip club, although that's not in the plans.
I'm really looking forward to seeing the hard-working WSOP bloggers (and Michalski). I frankly can't remember the last time I saw Pauly and Change100. I've even heard it's a certain blogger's birthday and I can't imagine why he wouldn't want to celebrate it in Vegas!
My only disappointment is that I won't get a chance to be part of the big blogger gathering kicking off this weekend. Instead, I'll be at the ultimate tourist destination (Mobile, AL) for a news director's conference. Bet you all wish you were there!
And for the rest of you who will be in Sin City at the end of this month...
See you in Vegas!!!!<-- Hide More
Sometimes I look back and wonder how I became the gambler I am today. To be honest with you, I was right on that edge. I knew just enough about casino gambling to be a really good loser. I think it started when my father passed on his love of roulette. That's right... roulette!!
I loved it. There was a rush every time that wheel was spun. Then I learned craps. Talk about a rush...
Blackjack, Pai Gow, Let It Ride, Three Card Poker, Keno... I lost and lost and lost... and loved every minute of it.
And then poker came calling. It saved me.More in this Poker Blog! -->
It's a good thing online poker wasn't really around when I was in college. I first discovered it a couple years after graduating. I was living in G-Vegas and making a few bucks a month at a dealer's choice home game.
I found my rush at Ultimate Bet. I actually managed to build a bankroll by cashing in a freeroll and getting a few bucks from a royal flush. I turned it into a couple hundred dollars and thought I was the greatest player in the history of poker. In reality, I was a donkey (before they were called donkeys). But my itch was being scratched.
I truly believe the poker blogger community helped me get over my need for that rush. Frankly, chasing was the best way to embarrass myself in front of my new invisible friends. I wanted to show them I knew how to play. I started to think less about the gamble and more about how to be a winning player.
I've lost that.
I've played so infrequently over the past year that when I do play, I can last about three levels before I'm ready to push all-in on a button steal with KTo. I'm more than happy to race with pocket 3s despite an M of 12. When I lose, that's okay... the adrenaline lasts long enough for me to close down the program.
I'm a bad poker player again (some would argue I was never good, but I digress...). I doubt any bloggers worry when they find me at their table. It's not like I give them any reason to.
So where's the rush? I'm increasingly finding it at the track. Judging by the lack of comments on my horse racing posts, I'm guessing there's little interest in my handicapping. That's probably a good thing because I don't think I'm a real good handicapper, either. I've gotten just lucky enough over the years to fool myself.
But I love it. Whereas in the past, I might spend an entire Saturday playing tourney after tourney... now I'd rather handicap a card and watch the races at Belmont.
That's not a good thing. When I'm playing right, I know I have an edge at the poker table. At the track? The house has the edge. If I'm chasing the rush there, I know I'm going to be a loser in the long run.
So what's the answer? I wish I knew. We have a Wii now. I think I'll lay a few bets with Lady Luck on Super Mario Kart.<-- Hide More
Mondays at the Hoy.
The Luckbox is back.More in this Poker Blog! -->
To be honest with you, I can't remember the last time I played in a blogger event. From what I've read, my get-in-behind-and-suck-out technique seems to be the preferred method for winning these events. All the really talented players are being felted by players who have copied my patented strategies.
Now it's my turn. Buoyed by my luckboxing in the Pick 4, I think now is the perfect time to return to the virtual tables.
My only advice to you? Get in behind. I just can't hold a lead. I am the Mitch Williams of the poker world.
(Am I dating myself? Is the 1993 World Series too long ago? That's the BASEBALL world series, by the way, not the WSOP. Would it have been better to call myself the Eric Gagne of the poker world? Does anyone watch baseball anymore? Should I be the Memphis-Tigers-in-a-championship-game of the poker world?)
The MATH Live-blog
9:00- My starting table: bayne_s, swimmom95, NumbBono, Julius_Goat, Breeze81, UpForPoker
9:01- bayne_s flops a set of 4s on the first hand, but gets nothing out of it, tough break.
9:04- I fold KQo out of the small blind to an UTG raise from bayne_s. A weak play six-handed, but it's early. I hate being out of position with such an easily dominated hand.
9:05- My first raise, with KJo from UTG+1. No callers.
9:07- Pocket 6s in the BB, and I call an UTG raise by Breeze81. The flop misses me (J97) and I check. Breeze81 does not follow up with a c-bet. So, either the flop hit him hard and he's slow playing, or he doesn't c-bet. Guess I'll see. I fold to a bet on the turn.
9:08- Pocket Ts this time. I again call a raise. This time, the flop brings just one overcard (J94). swimmom95 leads out and I raise, she calls. The turn is a blank, she checks, I bet about 2/3rds of the pot, she folds. I'm at T3300.
9:14- Pocket 7s. For the third time, I called a preflop raise with a pocket pair. The flop was K93. Julius_Goat c-bet half the pot, which screamed, "Weak!!!" I put out a strong raise and he folded. T3630.
9:16- HAMMER. I raise 3x from the button, as per the poker blogger rule book, and get called from the SB and BB. The flop is T42, checked to me, I bet about 2/3rds and the fold. Show. HAMMER.
9:17- Rockets. Julius_Goat raises in front of me. I just call. Not my normal play, but I give it a shot. Flop comes down K-high, no straight, no flush, great flop for AA. He checks, I bet about half the pot, he check-raises me. I don't buy it... and I think about just calling. But if he has AK or KQ, I probably felt him, so I re-re-raise. He folds, "not really my night," he types. T4660.
9:23- And swimmom95 is down almost to the felt (T75). AT vs. AK on an AKJ flop. AK holds up for Julius_Goat.
9:25- My chance to knock out swimmom95. I have JJ, she has 62o. Naturally, she wins the hand, flopping two pair. Told you I play better from behind.
9:27- I double up swimmom95 again when my 89s takes the lead on her A5s on the turn, but she rivers a flush. I have to make sure I take the lead at the river, not before. T4010.
9:30- Pocket 4s. I call a raise, three of us see a flop of K77. Not the worst flop ever. It's checked around. 9 on the turn, I lead out and get called by both. River is another K. I'm counterfeited and it's checked around again. bayne_s had pocket Qs, Julius_Goat had JT. Down to T3810.
9:39- swimmom95 doubles up again. KJ outflops AT. From the dead to T1260.
9:42- Pocket 7s. I call and the BB raises to 280. I take a shot at hitting the flop, figuring I'll get paid off if I do. Flop is T84, two spades. NumbBono insta-pushes for about half my remaining stack. Looking back to a minute or so ago, I think I should have called. I believe NumbBono was pushing no matter what hit the flop. There's a good chance I was ahead. But I'm still above starting stack, just below average stack. I'd rather get my chips in when I'm more sure. I'll keep my eye out for that move again.
9:48- And we lose bayne_s. Poor guy. Okay, he just got moved to another table.
9:51- Table has gotten really tight. No flops. I'll have to take advantage of that.
9:52- mclarich joins the table. Never heard of him.
9:54- Now I don't like him either. I raise on the button with A8o and he calls from the BB. Flop misses me, T94. He checks, I c-bet, he check-raises. I pretty much knew it was going to happen, so I should have saved my money. Who knows, maybe I would have hit the A on the turn. I'll file this away and use it to my advantage next time.
9:55- swimmom95 sucks out a chop with AJ vs. AQ preflop. She is Rasputin.
9:59- swimmom95 finally makes the mistake of getting in ahead. AQ vs. J8s. J8 rivers the straight. And we lose our first player. I'm down to T2080, by the way. I don't like mclarich. I will double through him.
10:00- First break. I'm not sure how much I liked my play. I stole some pots, won a solid one with AA and got myself up to T4660. It all started going downhill when I got in ahead against swimmom95. I don't have to remind you how bad I am at that. I'll likely need to be more aggressive in the next hour. I will double through mclarich.
10:05- Loretta8 joins our table. Still unfamiliar. I've been away for awhile.
10:08- My M is 10. Do bloggers still talk about Ms?
10:11- KTs. I raise preflop and get two callers. The flop is about as good as it gets, considering I missed it. 743, two diamonds. I've got a flush draw and over cards. As long as I'm not up against Aces or a small pair that hit a set, I like my chances. I push. And get called. By Aces. So much for that. The river King must have been Full Tilt's idea of a joke. I didn't get to double through mclarich after all. Guess that will have to wait until the next blogger tourney.<-- Hide More
It's one of my favorite scenes from Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Well, I'm not dead yet! I feel happy! I feel happy!
You see, the rumors of my (and this blog's) demise has been greatly exaggerated. Sure, I've been virtually non-existant for a few months, but I've gone through a little change... in order of importance... a new wife, a new job, a new house, a new city and a new car. I've been a little busy. I haven't played a hand of poker since my bachelor party weekend in January.
There was a time when Up For Poker's future was in doubt, I won't lie to you. I thought maybe it would be easier to just forget about it. We had a good run. Maybe we should have gone out on top. The last thing I want to do was start falling behind wanna-be A-listers.
You're about to start seeing some changes around here. There might even be some time when the site isn't available, but that will only be temporary. When the transition is over, you'll see a new and improved Up For Poker.
We're not going anywhere... we're just getting started.
I haven't sat at a poker table in... well, I don't know how long. That doesn't mean, however, that I haven't been playing poker. It's a game of poker that doesn't involve cards or chips, but there's still plenty of bluffing, and I definitely have to know when it's time to fold.
In a little more than a week, I will be married. Less than a month later, I'll be starting a brand new job in a brand new city. Oh... and I'll be a first time homeowner.
How's that for a multi-way pot?More in this Poker Blog! -->
Change isn't easy. I haven't had much time to think about what it's going to be like to be married because I've been focused on planning this whole crazy wedding. Then, smack dab in the middle of this, I've had to find a new job. Let's just say my Luckbox skills have once again extended to the real world.
In addition to finding the perfect woman in Lady Luck, I've now had a perfect job opportunity fall in my lap. With a contract that's soon to expire, I decided staying in Lafayette wasn't right for me.
From Lincoln to G-Vegas to Knoxville to Lafayette... and now Evansville, IN. Once again, it's not a city I ever imagined I'd live in, but in my business, the job often picks you. A 30% increase over what I'm making now sure did help make it an easy decision. Throw in the remarkably good buyers housing market, and I was sold.
Oh, did I mention the casinos? Let's just say I'm thinking E-Vegas might be a good moniker.
Next week, the G-Vegas crew comes to Leezy-anna for a little gambling, a little Bourbon St. and a whole lot of alcohol. Then it's that little wedding thing that I'm honored they've all decided to be a part of. Then Lady Luck and I start packing for our new life a little further north.
To say it's a whirlwind is an understatment. But when I'm settled, I can promise you'll see a lot more of me on here and at the virtual tables. You get to decided if that's a good thing or a bad thing.<-- Hide More
It was the first time I had ever been in the bar. And it was probably the most nervous I had ever been about what I had in my pocket. It's not every day I walk into a bar carrying a thousand dollars.
The place fancied itself a sports bar. I'm not sure that a couple TV's scattered around the single room make it a "sports" bar, but people don't seem too discriminating around here. The room was sufficiently dark for a place running a poker game. The legality fell somewhere in a pretty narrow gray area. I got the impression that the bar only hosted the game and that the dealers pocketed the rake.More in this Poker Blog! -->
By the time I got there, 10 names were already on the list. Since it was my first time, I didn't know how long I'd have to wait. At about 7pm, they slid a poker table out from a back room and set it up. Player's names were called and chips were sold.
I stood by the bar, nervously sipping a Bud Light. It was a half hour later when they slid another table out from the back. This time I got a seat. It was a $1/$2 NL game with no max buy in. Everyone else was buying in for around $200. I bought in for $500. I spent the next three hours robbing college kids of daddy's money while wondering if I would be robbed or arrested before the night was over.
I left with my $700 profit and, despite deciding it was one of the softest games I'd ever seen, I vowed to never return.
Mere weeks later, the local police department began breaking up bar room games. The poker boom was going bust. Or so some would say...
That's the only time I've ever had to nervously watch the door during a poker session in Louisiana. The reason is simple. I have a half dozen legal poker rooms with games and tournaments I love to play within an hour or so drive.
There's the Coushatta Casino (my personal favorite), the Paragon Casino, Cypress Bayou Casino, Harrah's New Orleans, Isle of Capri Casino and Boomtown Casino and that doesn't even include the two poker rooms in Shreveport or the next poker room currently in discussion for Baton Rouge.
With the homegrown Louisiana players and additional flood of players from the Houston area seeking legal poker, the game is thriving in Louisiana. I can get a $2/$5 NL game at any time of day or night. On some days, they're even spreading the $5/$10 NLHE/PLO8. And you never have to worry about a gun to your head or a SWAT team invasion. I'd much rather save my fear for what monster my opponent may be holding.
On a completely unrelated note, for those who got this far, I wanted to let everyone know that I'm a long shot for Vegas. A long shot at best. As most of you know, I'm engaged, and the wedding is now just a few months away (Januray to be exact). So barring some kind of miracle (or a hell of a wedding gift!), the trip just isn't practical right now. Either way, I'm sure everyone who goes will have a blast, I'm just sorry I'll miss it.<-- Hide More
There are some days I simply lean back, put my feet up and think about how lucky I am. From the great job, to the beautiful fiancee, to an uncanny ability to pull a two-outer on the river. It's my lot in life, I suppose. If there's a constant amount of luck and bad luck in this world, then my opposite must be one unlucky soul.
But I digress... this isn't about my luck.
It's about Lady Luck's luck.More in this Poker Blog! -->
Over the past few weeks, I've been teaching her the game of poker. We started slow, just learning the rank of hands. From there, I showed her how the game of Texas Hold 'Em is played. Next, we considered starting hands. Then it was learning when to throw a hand away. Finally, we started slinging chips.
In our first mock game, it became immediately clear that being dominated does not bother Lady Luck. Late in the game, I'm holding J8 to her 89. Her short stack is destined to become mine.
I burn a card and slowly reveal the flop. It's a 7 in the door.
"Oooh," I say, "that's good news, you might have a straight draw."
The next card I reveal is a 10. Uh oh, I think. And there it is. A six. She flopped the nut straight. We had just watched Rounders. I felt a little like Teddy KGB (insert your own jokes here).
The turn and river did me no good, she had doubled up.
The next time she got herself all in, she was holding 78s. I don't want you to think she's just playing connectors. She was the shortest stack and was finding the best spots she could to get her money in. I was holding 57s. Our big stack, the ghost player (there were two other hands I was managing), was holding KQs.
The flop? How about 8-7-x. The turn? How about the case 7. Her boat was unbeatable, but, unfortunately for me, the ghost hand managed a four flush on the river and knocked me out.
I really think she enjoyed it. Checking is still a bit of a tricky concept for her, but the rest of the stuff has come pretty quickly. She's even learning shuffle chips.
We'll be home this weekend visiting family and maybe we'll have a chance to see how she stands up against the rest of the Luckbox clan. It's only a matter of time before she's taking your money at the tables.
She's got the gene.<-- Hide More
This is completely off-topic and this post will be deleted as soon as I get the help I need. So bear with me...
How do I change the values in the column of an Excel document from a percent to just a whole number? For example, I would like 12% to read "12" instead of "0.12". Do I make sense? In other words, I want to get rid of the percent sign but keep the whole number. When I format the cells from "percentage" to "general," "number" or "text," I get the decimal places. I know I can simply change the format and then re-type each number, but that's too time-consuming. I figure one of you industrious types know a better way.
Can you believe I'm using a poker blog to ask this question? My thanks in advance.
I'm sure you've all been wondering, "Where is The Luckbox?!?"
Okay, perhaps that's an exaggeration. After all, I lack the self-deprecating wit of G-Rob and the unsurpassed literary flair of Otis. I'm just The Luckbox.
And, frankly, I haven't been much of a Luckbox at the tables recently. And it's all because of my new home game. You'll never guess who I'm losing to now!More in this Poker Blog! -->
He's the big stack. At just over four months old, he's picked up the game rather quickly. He plays a lot like your online newcomers. He can't fold to save his life and wouldn't recognize a squeeze play if it was spelled out in dog treats.
But the cards have been right. And, really, sometimes that's all it takes. I flop a set and he rivers a straight. I turn the straight and he rivers the flush. I river the flush but his two pair becomes a boat. I just can't beat him.
Not to mention he's about as easy to read as a wikipedia entry on quantum mechanics. Really, those puppy eyes don't change much... and if he's wagging his tail it might only be because he smells bacon.
She's got a few more year's experience at the poker table and she's putting it to good use. Her blunt style reminds me of G-Rob. I can't tell you the number of times I've laid down a good hand to her only to see her table the Hammer. She's a killer, really... it must be the Pit Bull blood in her.
The good news is that she's got a few tells. For instance, when she begins panting, it's time for her to go outside. That doesn't really help me win any more chips, but it sure beats the surprises we get from Cartoon.
Over time, I'm pretty sure I can beat her game. She's got some skills, but I've felted G-Rob enough times to know I can break down this style. Now I just need some cards to help do it!
Here's the problem. She doesn't really know how to play at this point. I suppose on occasion she'd actually lay down that gutshot straight draw if she knew how unlikely it was to hit. Then when it hits, I'm the one who gets to explain that she's beaten my two pair.
She also thinks it's fun to root for the dogs against me. Every time Cartoon wins a pot, she cheers and gives him a treat. You can imagine how quickly that can put someone on tilt.
Finally, we're still a few months away from the wedding, and it's in my best interest to stay away from my fiancee's bad side. After all, there are plenty of consequences... if you know what I mean.
She did, however, let me put together what's been dubbed "The Man Room," complete with my poker table, so I've got that going for me!
That leaves me, your hero... and the short stack at this table.
Things have to get better, right? I am the only one in this game to read Harrington on Hold 'Em. That's got to be good for something, right?
In reality, I just haven't had as much time to play poker these days. This whole getting married thing takes up a lot of time. Of course, I wouldn't trade it for those bachelor days, not for anything.
Last weekend, I took a shot at a couple of tourneys and ran into Aces every single time. I'm also still smarting from laying down those Kings at the Coushatta months ago. It's still stuck in my mind and I have to get rid of it.
After all... I've got a wedding to pay for!
And in case you were wondering... here's the board from the hand we were playing above:
Yeah... wrong time to play The Hammer.<-- Hide More
It wasn't often that our entire extended family could get together and, frankly, it was probably the last time it ever happened. That Thanksgiving, there were 18 of us. We were all seated around my grandmother's dining room table. The spread included turkey, ham, stuffing, gravy, mashed potatoes, corn, green bean casserole and at least two jello molds.
As my grandmother said grace, she got a little emotional. She knew a gathering like this was about to become the exception and not the rule. We all bowed our heads.
"I'd like to thank God for bringing our whole family together for this dinner," she said, starting to fight back tears, "and give thanks that none of us are living in pottery."
I don't know who was first to look up, but when I did, I noticed my father trying to hold in the laughter. I think he knew it was best not to laugh at his mother-in-law. It didn't work. And soon, the entire table was laughing.
My grandmother died yesterday. I'm not sure why this is the memory that first comes to mind. Perhaps it's becaue I never got to gamble with her.More in this Poker Blog! -->
Sitting in the Keno lounge, I was sorry I didn't yet know how to play Craps. It seems my grandfather was quite the dice thrower. My family was in upstate NY visiting me at college. Perphas the lure of the Turning Stone Casino helped convince my grandfather to come.
I hadn't yet perfected my Lite Brite method of Keno wagering. It, of course, is no better than any other method that's sure to be a loser. It didn't matter, however, because I just thought it was cool to be gambling with my grandfather.
He played the $5 20-spot ticket and as the numbers came up, he missed and missed and missed. He missed every one of them. And it paid off a couple hundred dollars. I thought he was the greatest gambler of all time. Who actually wins at Keno?
We spent the next couple hours in the Bingo hall playing off his winnings. It's the only chance I ever got to gamble with him. He died a few years ago. It was a bit of a surprise.
Yesterday was not a surprise. My grandmother had been sick for years. In fact, it's probably been five years since I had a coherent conversation with her. Her mind went first and, unfortunately, her body took years to break down. It was a long time coming, but she's in a better place now. And that's not just a cliche to me.
I'm not sure how much my grandparents on my father's side gambled. I know they loved to play cards. I've been playing canasta and cribbage and gin and just about any card game you can imagine since I was old enough to understand them.
It was my Dad who first introduced me to poker. He also first introduced me to horses. And craps for that matter. There's no question that I wouldn't be the gambler today if it weren't for Dad.
Of course, I don't want to let Mom off the hook either. She once came to visit me when I lived in Lincoln, NE and we took a trip across the river to Council Bluffs and the riverboat casinos. She spent most of her time at the Wheel of Fortune slot machine and hit a nice jackpot for a couple hundred bucks.
Perhaps my luck is genetic?
Even if my grandmother wasn't a gambler, I'm sure she considered herself lucky back on that Thanksgiving afternoon. She had a big family that loved her.
And none of us lived in pottery.<-- Hide More
We're into Round 3 of the Hot Blogger Bracket and Joe Speaker is in big trouble. You see, he got the worst draw imaginable. Some chump from Kentucky is racking up votes faster than is humanly possible. So how is it happening? That's easy. The seven people in the state of Kentucky who know how to use a computer are cheating. They've rigged this thing.
So what do we do? We cheat better. I gotta imagine the poker blogging community has enough computer savvy people to overcome whatever the state of Kentucky can throw at us. Time is running out. Start your ballot stuffing now. Joe Speaker's future relies upon it.
The poker-blogging community is strong! Want proof? Joe Speaker breezed through the first round of the "Hot Blogger Bracket" over at Ladies...
Now it's on to Round 2 and our resident Obituarium and men's hair product expert is in a dog fight with an ambiguously gay duo from Pittsburgh (no connection to Mean Gene!). Joe Speaker needs your votes and AlCantHang has promised to bribe you for your cooperation. You can read Speaker's own request for votes here.
Let's show the sports world the true power of the poker blogger community. Our very own Joe Speaker is in a fight. And it's a fight we can all help him win. Please head here for the details. Or, if you don't like to read, head directly here, scroll down some and vote for Joe Speaker!
There are those moments in your life where you are faced with a decision. A decision that will decide your fate. Shrink from the moment and regret it forever. Rise to the occasion and your life will never be the same.
Last night, I moved all in.More in this Poker Blog! -->
Looking back on my life, I wonder where I'd be today had I made different decisions. My first job after college took me to Lincoln, Nebraska. At the time, I had a job offer to work for ESPN (yes, Pauly isn't the first to get the call from the Worldwide Leader!). It was a chance to get on the path to my dream job.
I turned it down.
For a time, I wondered if I had made the wrong decision. I put all I had on the line and moved halfway across the country to work an overnight shift in a town in which I knew absolutely no one. It was hard. But I got lucky. Perhaps I pulled a four-outer on the river. I was quickly promoted and got a nice raise.
When it was time to move on, I had two very tempting offers. One was in the Pacific Northwest, Spokane to be exact. The other was in a small South Carolina town that I didn't even know existed. The Spokane job offer was for more money, a better shift and a more prestigious position.
I turned it down.
I never looked back to wonder if I made the wrong decision. I landed in G-Vegas and made the best friends I've ever had. And I got lucky. Perhaps I drew out again. After less than two weeks on the job, I was promoted. I worked side-by-side with Mrs. Otis for three years. I never wanted to leave.
But I had to. And out of the blue, I got a call to move to Knox-Vegas. It was a huge opportunity for me. Lots more money and a chance to take a big step professionaly. I had to take it.
It wasn't all I had dreamed of, but I was still close enough to get back to G-Vegas regularly. And then I got lucky. This was more like hitting the one-outer for the straight flush to beat four of a kind. A station down in little Lafayette, Louisiana needed a news director and they wanted me.
I couldn't turn it down.
That was more than three years ago. For the first two and a half years, I focused on my job. I focused on my job to the exclusion of anything else. And I wasn't happy. Let me amend that... I wasn't depressed, but I wasn't exactly walking on air.
Then I got lucky. This was more like holding a losing hand but having your opponent accidentally muck. That's the kind of luck I'm talking about here. It's like hitting the bad beat jackpot.
With some encouragement from BG, I dove into the dating world. The first woman I met was Lady Luck. To say I was nervous would be an understatement. She was gorgeous and funny. She laughed at my jokes and loved baseball and movies.
I fell in love. And I never looked back.
Last night, I put all my chips in the middle. And I won.
Lady Luck will soon become Mrs. Luckbox. And I couldn't be happier.<-- Hide More
My list of addictions is long and varied. For the last four years, one of my most enjoyable and time-consuming addictions was online poker. While many addictions can destroy a life, this one was not only profitable but it also introduced me to a world of crazy, poker-blogging friends that I would never have known otherwise.
In the words of Sammy Sosa, online poker has been berry, berry good to me.
With such a deep and meaningful history, you'd think it'd be hard to say goodbye. It hasn't.More in this Poker Blog! -->
I played my last hand of online poker more than a month ago. In fact, I had cashed out shortly before my trip to Tunica. It ended up being a great time to get out because none of my money was stuck in NeTELLER.
Left with balances of mostly zero and a law that scared almost all online banks out of the market, there wasn't an easy way to get back in. But that's not why I'm not playing.
It wasn't so long ago that I had taken a rather extended break from online poker. You see, I had become a Jedi. I was using the force to kill rancors. I had built my first lightsaber. Bounty Hunters were trying to take me out. Yes, I was lost in the world of Star Wars Galaxies Online. It's this kind of information that scares Lady Luck.
That addiction didn't last. It fell to the wayside like past obsessions like baseball cards and ESPN fantasy sports. It's not that I don't still own those baseball cards or still play some fantasy sports, it's that they are no longer obsessions.
I only have one obsession now. She happens to be the most beautiful women I've ever known. Each week is just spent waiting for the weekend when I'll be able to spend time with her. This is the healthiest addiction of all.
I haven't said goodbye to poker... just online poker. I miss the days of taking all of wil's chips in the WWdN or of sucking out on Waffles in the Mookie. I miss trading 5% with Speaker and Change100 in the FTP guarantees or the $5 last longers with Jo. I miss all that. But the beauty of our community is that I'm not leaving all that behind.
The draw of the real felt is something you'll never drag me away from. In fact, Lady Luck encourages my play. And, hopefully, in a couple months, I'll be sitting across from you. You may not be seeing the Luckbox online, but that won't keep me from sucking out on you in Vegas!<-- Hide More
This is my nephew. He's sitting in the awesome fire truck filled with legos that I got him for Christmas. I show you this picture because he's just about the cutest nephew in the world and for another reason.
This weekend, he's participating in the MS Walk in San Antonio. For those who don't know, my sister has MS. Thankfully it's not a severe case, but finding a cure is something about which my family cares deeply. With that in mind, I was hoping some of you might be interested in sponsoring my nephew in the walk.
This is the link to my nephew's page. I really appreciate anything you're able to do.
From Jeffrey: Thank you so much, Uncle CJ, for putting up this post! I got lots more donations from your friends, and Mommy and I are really happy about it. Plus, nobody else has cool names in their Honor Roll like "Puncher of Donkeys." And Mommy said I'm probably the only little boy who got a special "Hammer Donation" (I couldn't figure out what was special about $27 until Mommy explained the power of two-seven offsuit to me). Thank you to all of Uncle CJ's friends who donated--and if you still want to donate, you can at my webpage until April 3! Thank you so much, everyone!
In case you haven't noticed, the "Up For" franchise has expanded once again. First, it was the world of poker. Then, it was the world of sports. Now, it is the world of entertainment.
Up For Hollywood delves into everything from movies to music and from television to pop culture. And you'll probably recognize a couple of the writers, too!
February 7, 2007
On this day, I think back fondly on my favorite HAMMER. Here's just a taste:
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.
You can read about my Hammer quads here.
And here are some other tales of the most powerful hand in poker:More in this Poker Blog! -->
Finally, this tidbit from G-Rob from a post in Dec. 2005:
I was playing over at Frank the Tank's last Wednesday, it was a $60 tourney where I played like crap, when someone dropped a huge hammer bluff. Weird thing about it was: a) I'd never seen this guy before and b) he called his hand "the hammer."
One of the players at the table, an older guy sitting to my right, asked him, "why do people call that hand 'the hammer'?" A third player, at the end of the table, another guy I'd never seen before, chimed in, "That's what it's always been called... like Big Slick... it's what all the pros call it."
I was stunned.
BadBlood, who was also at my table, chimed in with this nugget of truth, "Actually, it was invented by a friend of ours, a writer named "Grubby"."
The entire table laughed at what they obviously thought was a joke. BadBlood didn't bother to insist.<-- Hide More
I haven't been playing much poker lately. I'm up about 12 bucks for the month playing in just a few WWdN's, a Mookie and a CC's Thursday Night Bash. I haven't sat at a live poker table since the middle of October.
The reason is simple, and many of you already know it. I have a rather welcome distraction in my life and it's taking up my weekends. But don't worry... I'm not giving up on poker and I'm not done sucking out on all of you.
The key is getting Lady Luck into poker. A couple that plays together, stays together, right? Here's where you come in.More in this Poker Blog! -->
Who's got some advice?
I figure breaking out the deck of cards during foreplay is a bad idea.
The good news is that she's not a complete novice. She's played cards, she enjoys games... has even played a little poker here or there in her past.
It's the whole Texas Hold 'Em thing she's worried about. She says she tried it once and couldn't quite grasp it. I explained it was probably the easiest of the poker games to learn.
The bad news is that she'd be learning from me. Frankly, I'm not sure there's a real sound way of teaching my way of playing poker. In one of my favorite all-time posts (The Legend of the Luckbox), I laid out just a few rules of sucking out. But, really, is that a skill that can be taught?
Can Michael Jordan teach you to fly?
You see where my dilemma lies, right? I suppose it makes sense to just start with a little ABC poker. But you only learn by doing. Maybe I'll buy her into the Bad Blood New Years Invitational. Frankly, watching her lay a bad beat on GRob would make my 2007.<-- Hide More
About half the 90-person field was gone by now. My stack was just below average and I was playing a solid but unspectacular game. Frankly, I haven't been playing all that much, so perhaps the $50 buy-in wasn't the best idea, but these 90-person SNGs aren't the toughest fields in the world.
Dealt A9s in the BB, a rather aggressive player raised 3xBB. I called, hoping for a favorable flop. I'd say the AJ9 flop was favorable. I knew exactly what he'd do, so I just checked. Predictably, he fired out a pot-sized bet. I re-raised all-in and he called shortly after his time clock started counting down.
He showed KQo.
I can't believe I started my first poker post in more than a month with a bad beat story. I just wish the ten had come on the turn, then I'd have been able to re-suck.More in this Poker Blog! -->
I've been a little distracted recently, for a lot of reasons.
Some of you may have noticed my other blog has been "Under Construction." I'd like to elaborate, but perhaps that's the reason it's on hiatus in the first place. Unfortunately, I have an honest-to-goodness job and sometimes it gets in the way of life.
That's the bad. But I'm The Luckbox, remember. There's always got to be good. And this is real good.
It's the first time I remembered "The Big Game." Usually, I'd log on and it'd be half over. Tonight, I ponied up the $75 to play (that's right, no little token for me!). 16 other players joined. And they all finished higher than me.
Deep stack events would generally invite slower play. That certainly wasn't the case at our table. I dumped nearly half my stack on hands I really didn't need to play. When my pocket 9s found an 8-high flop, I raised Derek all in. He gladly called with his set of deuces. I didn't even have the heart to ask the dealer for one of my two outs.
I am Gigli.
Something pretty good happened a few weeks ago. I really need to give credit to a little encouragement from BG. Next time we're in the same place, I owe you a drink.
Four fantasy football teams and four teams in line for the playoffs. One of them is suddenly in pretty big trouble. And the other may need a miracle.
More than that, my beloved Eagles are done.
Donovan McNabb tore is ACL today. His recovery time is somewhere between 8 to 12 months. That leaves one fantasy team to Michael Vick, another to Charlie Frye and my Eagles to either Jeff Garcia or A.J. Feely.
"Maybe you should pick a new favorite team," she told me, completely oblivious to the years of toil and torment I've endured since becoming an Eagles fan.
"I can't," I said, laughing, although down 17-6 to the Titans with McNabb sidelined, I really wanted to cry.
"Why not? They're not very good."
We called today our 9th date. Unfortunately, we only get to see each other on weekends, so the last four weekends we've decided are two "dates" a piece. The last few Sundays, I've tried to teach her a little about football. Being from the Houston area, she decided she should be rooting for the Texans. I tried to explain her to the folly of that decision, but I'm an Eagles fan, remember?
Last week, G-Rob let us all in on a little secret. His third child is on the way. I'm kinda rooting for a boy. I'd like to see how he handles a little G-Rob running around.
A few days later, Otis dropped the kind of post that makes me want to stop writing.
Both of them talked about friends and friendship. The friends I made in G-Vegas are the best I've ever had. It never hurts to remind myself of that. And the friends I've made in our humble little "community" have helped change my life in some of the best ways.
My life at the poker table is running pretty damn cold right now. My Eagles have taken a turn for the worse dragging my fantasy football future with them. And my job... well...
But life is great right now. As good as I can remember it being in a long time. Thanks for asking.<-- Hide More
I'm live-blogging my election day over at Up For Anything.
Otis is live-blogging his election day over at Rapid Eye Reality.
And, who knows, maybe G-Rob will grace us with some of his thoughts right here!
12: Consecutive hands I held the nuts in the Friday night mixed game.
7: Times I failed to correctly bet the nuts during that stretch.
4: Times Heather yelled at me for it.
2: World-class pros I knocked out of the charity poker tournament.
17: Times one of those world-class pros called me a douchebag during the tourney.
0: Players who outlasted me in that tourney.
1: Hammers dropped by me heads up, beating K7o.
12,000: Dollars raised for charity by the single-table tournament.
2: Hotties I bought drinks for.
1: Set of perfect legs on one of those hotties.
14: Hours later that I learned how old the hotties were.
19: Their age.
10: Beers I consumed during the Bash.
1: Beers that I chugged during the tournament.
0: Shots that others convinced me to do.
It was a blast, but I wouldn't have expected anything less. I promise a full tourney write-up tomorrow!
WPT photographer Paul Hannum died suddenly during the WSOP when his appendix burst. I did not know him personally, but from what I've heard from others, he will be missed in the poker world.
The lovely Jen from Absolute Poker alerted me to a charity tournament being hosted by one of our favorites, Gavin Smith:
When: Tuesday August 29th, 7pm
Where: Bicycle Casino in Bell Gardens, CA (during the WPT Legends of Poker)
Buy In: $1,000 (play for prizes, money goes to charity)
UPDATE: Prizes Announced!!
FIRST PRIZE: 25K Seat WPT Championship Event at the Bellagio
SECOND PRIZE: Paradise Poker Conquest Prize Package (May 12-18th, 2007 Atlantis Resort, Bahamas which includes $5200 seat to the Conquest of Paradise Island Main event, 6 nights accommodations at Atlantis, plus $1K cash to your Paradise account)
THIRD PRIZE: Seat into the WPT Invitational
If you are interested in playing, email Kristin Cranford at this email address: kristin -@- pokerpadz.com
All the proceeds will go to Paul's fiancee Sarah Percey and their unborn baby girl who's due in October. If you can't get to the tournament and still want to donate, you can go to the Baby Hannum website.
Because you know if you were in little Peyton's shoes, you'd want people to help you.
Because you know if you won the WSOP Main Event, you'd make sure some of your riches went to help someone like Peyton.
Because that's just what Bobby Bracelet would do, and who doesn't want to roll like him?
Get out your poker bankrolls again and pull off a few bills. We've got some outstanding new additions to the ForPeyton auction and you only have a few days left to bid!More in this Poker Blog! -->
Just in time for Vegas, it's my new card protector:
It measures 3 1/2" x 1 1/4" so it's small enough so that it won't completely cover my cards. Let's hope it does its job!
Congrats to Bobby B., et al on their very successful charity auction. The ForPeyton.com fund now has an extra $1600 in its piggy bank. Thanks to everyone who participated, and my aplogies to those who adore Isabelle less than I do!
I've come to learn that the poker blogging community is one of the most caring and giving communities I've ever known. When I wanted to raise a little money to fight MS, the community came through. When Spaceman wanted to raise money for Charlie Tuttle, there was no hesitation.
Now it's time to dig deep for a 2 1/2 year old girl who tragically lost her mother to an extremely rare form of cancer. Little Peyton has a difficult time ahead, but we can make the road ahead much easier for her.
Bobby Bracelet (with help from Spaceman and Shelly, as well as poker pros like Gavin Smith) is spearheading a huge auction and fundraiser to raise tens of thousands of dollars. It's simple, click on the links below and make your bids now!More in this Poker Blog! -->
I'll tell you this right now, I'm going to outbid Mean Gene for the autographed picture of the lovely Isabelle Mercier. And if you don't want to bid on anything, you can still help out by going to this page and making a donation. It'd be nice to donate as much as poker pros Gavin Smith, Phil Hellmuth and Josh Arieh, but any amount will help.
Remember, it's For Peyton.<-- Hide More
The concept of "luck" has been floating around the poker blogosphere for a couple of days now, and, as The Luckbox, I felt compelled to weigh in.
Lamenting the affect of luck is a good way to ignore the real problem.
I'm glad I didn't say more because F-Train wrote everything I wanted to say, but much better than I would have.
[Update: Scurvydog adds some great fodder for this discussion, saying, again, what I would if I could write. And judging by the comments, I've offended with this post. I'd say I'm sorry, but I'm not. Poker is a game of skill. It is a game of math. Sometimes you hit and sometimes the donkey hits. If you can't tailor your game to accomodate those contingencies, then go play craps.]
Okay, on to the fun stuff...More in this Poker Blog! -->
The Pros Speak in New Orleans
"Are you guys all wise guys?? Don't be a wise guy. Not with me. I don't deserve it."
--John Bonetti, at my table in the WSOP Circuit. After the target of his ire wished him luck, Bonetti responded with, "Good luck to you, I don't need it." Apparently, he could have used some since he didn't cash.
"If no one ever got a hand in a tournament, I'd win every one."
--Mike "The Mouth" Matusow at the $10/$25 NL table next to mine, doing his best Phil Helmuth impersonation.
--Phil Ivey after Gavin Smith busted him in the $10K WSOP Circuit Event. Phil held AK on a K-high flop but Gavin held KK.<-- Hide More
I tried to get the itch back today.
I knew there would be some overlays in some of the day's biggest tournament so I figured I'd risk large chunks of my bankroll in an effort to get back in the MTT groove.
Raise your hand if you think that's a good idea?
Tonight it all ended during EasyCure's charity tournament when I got all my chips in preflop with KK vs. SoxLover's AK. I suppose my first mistake was being ahead. My second was suggesting in chat before I called that his Aces were gonna knock me out. The Ace on the river did.
And I was really hoping to impress the one and only Poker Babe with my advanced play. So much for that.More in this Poker Blog! -->
There Were Highs
I think by now most people heard about the streak last year. I had a pretty good run of it the last few months of 2005 leading up to the WPBT. January made me believe that perhaps the streak would continue. I chopped in a big live tourney at the Coushatta and scored some nice online cashes. When I got back from the WSOP Circuit Event in Tunica, my bankroll had never been higher.
Then February happened.
The Pacific 50K
There was a $9000 overlay today in Pacific's big tourney. On the very first hand, I more than doubled up when I turned a flush. From there I found ideal times to chip up and got myself into the top ten with less than half the field remaining.
70 places paid and I was no lower 30 for most of the tournament. I was feeling really good about my play.
Then a combination of card-dead-itis and an unwillingness to use my big stack during the critical third hour found me near the bubble. I barely scratched my way into the bottom rung before completely misplaying pocket 8s (that would be a preflop limp and a post Q97-flop push into the BB's Q7). It was a disappointing result.
February is a Cold, Cold Month
I guess I'm lying a little. The temperature here probably never dropped below 50 during the day and barely cracked freezing a few times at night.
Perhaps just the cards were cold. Of course, it's hard to blame the cards when you're barely playing.
February wasn't the best month for me. If you don't know, I work in television news. In fact, someone was crazy enough to put me in charge of a newsroom. Four months out of the year, my performance is measured by what a few hundred people each week write down in a diary. They are ratings months, and February is one of them.
I think my bosses have expected more out of me and this was a tough month. My contract was going to come up soon and I could do nothing but hope I got an offer. I wasn't ready to go and I didn't feel like going through a job search. When you're never in one place more than 3 years, it grinds on you. If I fulfill my contract here, it'll be a record 4 years in one place.
Not only were ratings weighing on me, but I was going through an extremely delicate negotiation with a top news talent in the market. The president of the company sent an email telling me to get it done.
Needless to say, my mind wasn't on poker. I manged to lose 2/3rds of my live bankroll in two brutal sessions at the Coushatta and I played very little online and dropped another couple hundred bucks there.
More than anything, I didn't want to play.
The Poker Stars $1 Million
There was an $80,000 overlay in the Stars Million today. I decided to buy-in directly to try and take advantage of that. Things started slowly, but I doubled through with QQ vs. AK after I flopped a set and rivered a boat when the second K gave him trips.
I was feeling pretty good about my game here, too.
Then I fell into the same funk I was in over at Pacific. Maybe I tighten up too much in these levels. Whatever the case, I found myself quickly moving backwards.
Then I violated one of my own rules. Never go bust on a hand in which you check from the big blind. Okay, so maybe it's not a hard and fast rule to follow, but it's as close as it gets in my "It Depends" world.
I'm holding Q7 and the SB just completes. The flop comes down Q93. He bets out, I raise, he calls. I guess I could have figured he had something at this point. The turn was an A. He made a nice sized bet, but I didn't believe he had an Ace, I'm sure he would have raised preflop. However, once I eliminted the Ace in my mind, I decided not to think about what other hand he would make this move with. I push, he calls, and shows Q3. Ugh.
The Barren March
When March rolled around, I had my top talent's name on a contract and the bosses were happy. I then got my name on a contract that keeps me in Lafayette for a couple more years. Then the ratings from February came in and they were a mixed bag, at best.
The work pressures have been greater than they were when I got here. I thought it would have been the other way around. And the pressures make me come home from work and not want to face any pressures at the virtual poker table.
Apart from my play on Stars, I played in a total of four online events in March. It's the least I played in a month in a long, long time. I hit the live tables again, this time in Vegas (bookended around a brief trip to the Playboy Mansion, if you hadn't heard). I managed to lose the rest of my modest live bankroll. I just didn't play well, and, frankly, my head wasn't on the cards.
April is only half over and the bankroll's not looking good this month. I've been playing more, but probably not with the right mindset. I'm jumping in events I shouldn't and playing bad tournament poker.
It's Time for a Change
I've consolidated my bankrolls down to three sites: PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker and Pacific. For some reason, I've played in just two events at Pacific since February. Part of my plan includes getting back into those soft tourneys more regularly. I also plan on playing more token satellites at FTP and using those to enter guarantees. Finally, I'll likely be playing more SNG's at Stars than anything else. I've had success there and I enjoy them.
I want to start liking poker again. But, frankly, I have to play well to like it. And I'm not gonna play well if I'm not playing.
Let's see if I can turn it around the rest of this month.<-- Hide More
I am Poker Champ.
And I can prove it. LOL.
(Otis edit: Buncha people taking credit for my work pisses me off. How the hell else was I going to play on Stars without becoming the Champ?)
I come back from one of the greatest trips of my life and this is what I get to deal with. I think this is what I get for leaving G-Vegas. If I were there, this would never have happened. That's why it pays to have a sober person in the middle of drunken madness.
When I first heard of the weekend dustup, I thought it was a joke. Then I started getting bombarded with phone calls and IM's from my closest friends back in South Cackalacky. Something was wrong, terribly wrong. I immediately reached out to G-Rob and Otis... after all, there's an awful lot of history there.
Bottom line, things are bad. There's a good chance G-Rob crossed a line, but since I wasn't there, I don't want to pass judgement. I do know he's chosen to move on and join Bad Blood. I'll be the first to say I'm disappointed. Especially at the tone of G-Rob's first post. But I certainly don't hold anything against Blood. G-Rob needed a place to fall, and that's a good a place as any.
Until (If?) things get patched up, Up For Poker will move ahead as well. Joining the ranks is my brother, Lefty. Many of you know him. He's not much of a poker player (but was G-Rob really? I keed... I keed!). But he will bring a unique perspective.
It's apparent that Tri-Clops will need to go on hiatus as well. There's just too much bad blood (no pun intended) to get into any meaningful debates there right now.
Anyone who knows me knows I fall into the "peacemaker" role a lot. I don't like conflict. I especially hate when it affects this blog or this community. But it's not a role I relish and I want to get past this thing as soon as possible. Any help you all may provide would be greatly appreciated.
[21:45] G-Rob: Dear CJ,
[21:46] G-Rob: I miss you. Please come home.
[21:46] G-Rob: Love,
[21:46] G-Rob: Up For Poker
So my fellow contributor was on the girly message thingy tonight and that's what I got pinged with. He's right. I've been missing in action. I guess you can say poker disillusioned me a bit. When the Hilton Sisters take you out back and molest you with their 4-inch heels on three consecutive days, you don't exactly want to sit back down at the tables.
But losing isn't it. I've done that before. So what is it?More in this Poker Blog! -->
Two For the Money
It's a terrible movie. It's the kind of movie that I wouldn't have minded if all the main characters died in some kind of horrible accident. And when I don't care about the characters there damn well better be some sex or action to keep me interested. This had neither. What it had, however, is an Al Pacino monologue that made me think about what I'm doing:
We look like everyone else but we're defective because when most people make a bet they want to win, while we, the degenerate gamblers of the world, we're subconsciously playing to lose. All humans like going to the edge of the abyss, but what makes us different is we go all the way and hurl ourselves off into the void! And we like doing it so much we do it time after time after time! Me? I always felt most alive when they were raking away the chips, and every one here knows what I'm talking about. People like us, even when we win, it's just a matter of time before we give it all back. But when we lose there's a moment when you're standing there and you've just recreated the worst possible nightmare this side of malignant cancer for the 20th goddamn time and you suddenly realize -- hey, I'm still here, I'm still breathing, I'm still alive!
Is he talking about you? Because I can tell you this, on some days, he's definitely talking about me.
My Mom worries I'm becoming a compulsive gambler. I told her it's not gambling when you win, but I'm not sure she appreciates that joke anymore. I also say that the first step of overcoming a gambling addiction is to admit you have a problem. Well, I've been at step one for 4 years.
Okay, it's not that bad. I've taken the 20 question quiz online and I'm still in the clear. The bottom line is that I (and many of my poker-playing friends) have an addictive personality. I become attached to things pretty easily.
For more than a year, I played the online game Star Wars Galaxies. I played so long that my character became a Jedi. That's not easy to do. It means that I managed to waste hours and hours and hours of my life. I would play late into the night and fail to get enough sleep. I would come home from work and play at lunch.
I spent money playing this game. I bought it and paid a monthly fee. I never made a dime in return. At least poker has given me a return on my investment. Of course, maybe I should put my jedi on EBay. Anyone interested?
The two hurricanes that hit Louisiana helped wean me off SWG, but that's not really what did it. I actually become addicted to The Blonde. We chatted online almost every night. I was really looking forward to seeing her in Vegas, but it didn't work out. I actually got back into poker around that time, and winning a few thousand dollars from a few tourney cashes helped.
Feburary was a bad poker month for me. I'm on my second short poker break since the end of January. My head just hasn't been in the game. I've been "that guy" Al Pacino was talking about. I take the majority of my roll and try to blow it as quickly as possible.
I made $2300 playing poker in January. I lost $2100 in February. I'm down $380 in live play and up about $800 (including March) in online play so far this year. This is the first time I've closely tracked my poker playing. It helps. Looking at the numbers makes a difference for me.
February was a tough month for me at work. It was a ratings month, it ended with extensive Mardi Gras coverage, and I was involved in an intense negotiation to bring a high profile anchor back to the station. It all turned out pretty well, but I wasn't in a good place to play poker.
I was sloppy. I played poorly. I let my emotions play me. And I wanted to lose. It's the only way I can explain the kind of plays that cost me money. And then I would push even harder, knowing I would lose it in the end.
I can't do that anymore.
I'm not going on a break. I'm going to play when I feel like it. I played a little last night and did well in a couple SNG's. I'm probably going to avoid live poker for awhile unless I really get the urge.
In the meantime, I'll fill in the gaps with the ponies. I haven't learned yet how to overcome my addictive personality. Like SWG, I'm getting hocked on horses. I'll try to be as smart about it, but I'm sure I'll lose some money. It will all come out of my poker roll, though, so I hope my Mom doesn't worry too much.
Hmmmm... maybe I should just find a girlfriend instead. Now that would make my Mom happy!<-- Hide More
I'm only in La., not L.A., so the only way I'm going to feel like I'm there is through the words of our liveblogging brethren...
And, of course, the original live-blogger himself is working his fingers to the bone without the benefit of a cozy professional gig. Make sure you stop by...
(Update: The UFP boys think this might be a good marketing tool for Pauly at the WSOP ---Otis)More in this Poker Blog! -->
Although, I wonder if it's rude to ask for autographs in the john.<-- Hide More
Hurricanes are -EV.
If I ever sit down at a poker table and I've Katrina on my right and Rita on my left, I'm leaving.
But this isn't about poker. It's about the worst kind of gambling. It's about mother nature's version of Russian Roulette. It's about ignoring the warnings and gambling with your life.
Thousands of people gambled with Hurricane Katrina like they were Gus Hansen holding 3-4 offsuit. Katrina was holding the nuts. More than a thousand people died. Hundreds of those likely could have gotten out if they wanted to. They made a choice, and it cost them. Everything.
Hurricane Rita did not have as many fish at her table. When the storm approached, people fled in droves. They picked up their bankroll, toked the dealer and politely said goodbye to the rest of the table. Very few people decided to gamble this time.
When the word to evacuate comes down, it's not a bluff. It's deadly serious. When the Hurricane arrives, it will be making poker hands with a Euchre deck... the rest of the cards are yours. Who do you think is going to win?
So I don't have the writing skills of my UFP brethren, but what I lack in wordsmithing, I make up for in pictures.
Just to fulfill the poker requirement, here's the 4 aces I used to knock my Dad out of our family SNG:
Notice he was playing 45o into my preflop raise. Shame on you, Dad. Needless to say, I ran over my brother, sister and father in the two games we played.
Now, click "There's More!" to see pictures of my nephew, JP. It's why I'm posting in the first place...
Poker is a solitary endeavour. It always has been. It always will be. That doesn't mean, however, that we ignore our brothers and sisters in the poker community.
Last month, we lost one of our brothers. Read the story of Charlie Tuttle here. There's not always much we can do, but in this case, there is.
WPBT "Charlie" Tournament
When? 6PM EST Sunday July 17th
Where? PokerStars (Tourney #9680072 under the Private tag)
How Much? $20 - every single dime goes to Charlie's family
What Do I Get When I Win? The comfort of knowing you're doing something good for someone else.
No, Really... No. Really.
Get in the game. I'll see you there. Let's show people what the poker blogging community is capable of.
We've got a WPBT WSOP Satellite tonight on PokerStars at 9:00pm ET, and there are just 19 people signed up. 19 people!?!?!? That's the best you can do!?!?!?
This is your chance to join Otis, Bobby Bracelet, Russel Fox and Wes the Big Pirate in the WSOP. This is your chance to break the record for most railbirds at a WSOP event. And it costs you just $30!!!
Get in the game! Password is tequila. Anyone who doesn't show will have their blog syndicated on my new banner farm. So get in the game!!!!
Here he is... he's doing better after some more tense moments. Update below.More in this Poker Blog! -->
From the comments over at Up For Anything, Mom (that's Jen) tells us:
First, thanks everyone for the thoughts and prayers. They seem to be doing the job. JP was taken off of the respirator this afternoon, days earlier than they originally thought it would happen. Steve and I were there for it, and it was a question whether the nurse or our feisty little boy was going to be the one to pull the tube out!
He's still on supplemental oxygen and still has a serious lung infection (he passed his first bowel movement, called meconium, in utero and aspirated it before he was born), but the docs are as close to 100% certain as they're comfortable being that he's going to be just fine.Steve and I are both grateful for the quick work and professionalism of the staff here at Portsmouth Naval Hospital--they saved JP's life.
Those other tense moments I mentioned were an issue with a collapsed lung earlier today. There were some issues with the tubes and machines used to keep JP breathing, but it sounds like all that will heal in due time as well. Thanks you all of you for your kind words.<-- Hide More
I became an uncle today for the very first time. What would normally be some of the best news of my life has been tempered by some complications.
Jeffrey Paul Johnson was born at about 3:30 ET, but the delivery was anything but smooth.
Once my sister went into labor, there seemed to be a problem with JP's heart rate. The doctors were concerned enough that they rushed my sister to the OR. Once there, the doctors decided there wasn't enough time to do anything buy knock my sister out and perform a cesarean.
When JP was born, there was a problem with his breathing. In fact, he didn't seem to be breathing very well on his own at all. Before Jen or Steve could even see him, he was taken to the NICU so he could be hooked up to a ventilator.
JP has some kind of lung infection he picked up while in the womb. The doctors are worried that if he's taken of the ventilator, he won't want to use his lungs because it will hurt, and he hasn't learned yet that his lungs are the only way he'll be able to breathe.
The good news is that other than that, JP appears to be very healthy. And my sister came through it all okay (she's still a little woozy from the medication, so I haven't talked to her yet). Steve seems to be handling it all really well, but he and Jen have always been strong.
It's a delicate time right now, and I could really use your prayers. I've got plans to teach JP how to play volleyball and disc golf and, most importantly, poker. I'm his godfather, after all, so I've got lots of responsibilities. The biggest is doing whatever I can to make it sure he gets through the next few weeks okay.
In case you haven't heard, AlCantHang, Boy Genius, Pauly, Iggy, Hank, Grubby and BadBlood are stranded on a desert island. Apparently, island leader has come down to Hank or Iggy and they can't figure out who to eat.
What they don't know is that they're not alone on the island...
On the other side of the island is a more formidable group of poker bloggers. (Yeah, I'm bitter for not being included in the conversation, so sue me). On our side, we've got the Up For Poker Crew (me, Otis and G-Rob), along with Maudie, Sean, April, the Poker Geek and wil wheaton.
And things on our side of the island are much better!More in this Poker Blog! -->
First of all, there's gonna be no fight over who's in charge. That's me. I'm power hungry, it's in my nature. I'm drawn to positions of power and I just act like I'm in charge until everyone else starts to believe it. There will be no power struggle here...
Sean's my vice-president. He's an Eagles fan, so I know he's smart. He's also organized and I sense his type-A personality will work well with mine.
G-Rob and Otis are in charge of entertainment. If you think there's nothing to do on a desert island, think again. G-Rob and Otis have invented ways to entertain themselves with much less. Ask them about the Drunk Olympics some time (or just come to Bradoween!!!!).
That other group was dumb enough to travel with just guys. That will never work. With Maudie and April on our side of the island, we've got a clear advantage.
The Poker Geek's first task was to figure out how to develop an alcoholic beverage with whatever is at our disposal. If you can't tell, the Poker Geek is smart. He'll come up with something.
Finally, I brought wil wheaton. That automatically puts us ahead of the other side of the island in the coolness factor. Plus, we're much more likely to be rescued because the world will want to know what happened to wil!
After while, we'll stumble upon the other group near death, and considering who among them would taste good. That's when we'd rescue them. We are nice people after all, right?<-- Hide More
My brother gets married today. That's him over there with the apple in his mouth. Lest you think pictures like that might dissuade his fiance from going through with the ceremony, it was the bride who sent that picture to anyone and everyone proud that this is the man she was to marry.
It's only a little weird to me that starting tomorrow I'll have a new sister-in-law. The good news is that she is a beautiful woman with a heart as big as anyone I've ever met. It didn't take me long to figure out that Meghan was going to be a part of the family. My brother likes to hide things, but it's hard for him to hide anything from me.
In a few hours, I'll stand and give a toast to the new couple, and I figure it will go a little something like this... (although I'm likely to write a lot more than I'll say!)More in this Poker Blog! -->
I've known Joe longer than anyone, which is kind of easy to figure out since we spent 9 months in the womb together. And since the day we were born, he's been on an eternal quest for the perfect sidekick.
I obviously didn't fit the bill, but for years, I was all he had. There was the time he convinced me to help him hook up the vacuum hose to the faucet so we could play fireman. I guess it's my parent's fault for taking us to the fire station. Then there was the time we managed to cover our bathroom entirely in that green Comet cleanser powder. My mother's clue that we were up to no good was the green cloud through the doorway. Needless to say, I got in trouble an awful lot as Joe's sidekick.
When high school rolled around, Joe finally found an adequate replacement. Nate took my spot and the two of them became the closest thing our high school had to Laurel and Hardy. Their widely acclaimed "Nate and Joe show" was replete with some of the worst jokes you've ever heard... maybe Joe will recount them for you if you ask.
When it came time for college, Joe was on another search. That's where Mike came into the picture. It takes a unique personality to handle and appreciate Joe's sense of humor. Mike not only appreciated it, but he complimented it well. Their summer of Gettysburg trolly shows sealed their friendship. They were only almost arrested once.
Then Joe wound up in Chicago, and I was a little worried about him. Then he started talking about this girl. She was beautiful. She was fun. She laughed at his jokes. And most of all, she actively participated in his bizarre sense of humor. Perhaps they'd go into a convienence store and pretend that Meghan had a intense fear of sugar... so when they reached the sugar aisle, Joe could apologize to the rest of the shoppers.
It didn't take long for me to realize that Meghan was much, much more than a sidekick. Meghan was the love of his life. When they weren't together, he talked about her. When they were together, it was hard to get his attention. You could see it in their eyes, you could hear it in their words.
It was only a matter of time until this day came. I love my brother, and wanted to make sure I could proudly stand up for him on this day. Thankfully he fell in love with an amazing woman and I can stand here today and say, "Congratulations, may your marriage be a long and happy one. I'm sure it will be."<-- Hide More
First, there are no actual prostitutes in the post below, but I think it's fun anyway.
Secondly... Otis' brother, Little Willie, shows us how to drop the HAMMER...More in this Poker Blog! -->
All the money in the above hand went in pre-flop! I love the chat, "lol"
Thirdly, I did some free-rolling at Pacific last night. The site sucks, I remember why I don't play there. But I logged in to see what I had, and found they added $10 to my account. So I played in a $10+1 SNG and won $50. Then I played in a 2-table $30+3 SNG and won $120. Then I cashed out my $138 so I can put it into a site I enjoy. Pacific will probably drop another 10 bucks in my account in a few months.<-- Hide More
First, go below this post and read Otis' post. He poses some questions for those of you joining us in Vegas.
Second, I wanted to thank all of you for the tremendous growth of Up For Poker this year. We'd be doing this if no one was reading, but knowing so many people stop by makes us want to do an even better job!
Another UPDATE: It's over, and the poll disappeared. I think Beth came up a few votes short. They cheated. The vote disappeared late last night before I could launch my final assault. Cheaters...
UPDATE!!!! We're still behind, but you can revote today. Apparently the ISP's reset each day. Vote today and vote tomorrow and tell your friends.
This is not poker-related, but important nonetheless. Otis and I would like all of our loyal readers to go to this website and vote for Beth Brotherton as Hottest News Girl.
Any help you can provide, and networking you can do to help swing this vote would be greatly appreciated. Beth must win! It's important to the poker bloggers of G-Vegas and one of our poker buddies (Beth's husband).
It started at about 3:50 pm on Friday the 13th. I'm not sure if that's an omen or not.
It was a marathon session, lasting about 15 hours. I'm guessing that's longer than any tournament Otis has ever played in.
But there's no question this was Otis' best session ever. This was Otis' biggest jackpot. This was Otis' WSOP bracelet.
At 5am on August 14th, 7 lb. 11 oz. Dylan Price was born. If that's not a poker name, I don't know what is! Mommy and baby are doing just fine.
Congratulations to Mr. and Mrs. Otis!!!!!!
(To here it from Otis' own mouth, just go here.)