Hit me Paris

Thanks to everybody for the comments about the Vegas trip. I especially enjoyed TFG’s take:

How could you not let the fat girls buy you a drink? That’s bad karma,
dude. They would have been talking about it for years.

When I’m sitting at the WPT final table it will be a shame if those girls
have to say “We tried to buy that guy a drink!”. Unfortunately I probably
destroyed my only chance of making it by ruining my karma.

Back to reality… I busted out 6th last night in a $30 SNG, but I don’t think
I played that badly. On the good side, I caught up with my old buddy R-DUB
(no relation), a rising poker star who’s tearing up the tourneys at a major
college campus. He’s a math major, and taking game theory courses, so his
game is only going to get better. Anyway, just after I sat down R-DUB appeared
across the table, which I was not happy about, but at least I’d be losing my chips
to someone I liked.

The table was pretty tight, and with 6 players left I had 1100 chips. I think
I’d won 2 hands, and stole a couple blinds. I got A8o one off the button
(blinds at 200/400), and when everybody folded to me I popped it up 600,
hoping for everyone to fold. But R-Dub on the SB pushed in the rest of his chips,
and was all in for 600. Not a good sign, especially when the board came K T 5
Q 9 (why can’t party show the all-ins right away? it really annoys me), and
R-Dub took down 1200 chips with KQo.

In the BB I got to see a free flop with K3o, and when the flop came T 3 6, I
pushed in and collected 400 more chips to get me back to 800 when everybody
folded. The BB was 400, so I needed to catch a hand, and immediately got
pocket tens in the SB. Everyone folded to me, and I couldn’t have been happier
to push my chips in, hoping the BB would call what looked like a steal and
I could double up. BB called all in for 400 more, and the flop came Jh 8d 9h…
I like it! The turn was Th, giving me trips, but putting the heart flush out there…
and the river the 4h, and I figured the Ace of hearts would knock me out.

I would have been happier if he did have a flush? Guess the winner– Ad 7c for
the straight! Beautiful.

R-Dub went on to bust out in 4rth, so my chips didn’t even contribute to a
good cause. Ah well, at least I got my chips in when I was a BIG favorite.
I’m not really bitter.

After the tourney R-Dub offered up his Party SNG theory, which explains why the
$30 SNGs have the highest EV:

To win a SNG, you need to be able to steal some blinds
once it hits 100-200. You just can’t do it in the $10– even if I have the best of it,
my A8 gets beat by some dope with a KQ and you’re done. But in the 30’s, you’ve still
got enough loose players to go broke and make dead money, but once you get
down to 4 or 5, it’s 3 or 4 tight players which allows you steal and build up your
stack to put you in good position to win it.

I’m hoping R-Dub will start a blog, but I guess he’s too busy winning.

Poker Blog Patrol

As you see I’m experimenting with new colors. It’s been a while since I’ve gotten
to check out some new blogs, and there are a couple of good ones that I’m adding
to my daily list.

Londonfroggy pointed out "Poker & Devotion", a new blog from a
female poker dealer. You know you love poker when you can deal it 12 hours a day, play it,
and write about it.

Iggy introduced me to "Knowing When to Hold ‘Em", a new blog from a low-limit grinder and apparently a Kenny Rogers fan. I’m happy I get to follow a newcomers
progress as he overcomes the same challenges that I fought through.

OJ offers some great tales and insights to the middle limits. He’s honest and he plays in games in my area, so he’s on my daily list.

As far as the old timers go, I am very grateful to Chris Halverson, who had
the time to copy and mail the WSOP on DVD. It arrived in the mail today, so
my non-espn-getting ass finally gets to see the whole tourney. I’ve seen bits
and pieces while playing at Hollywood Park, but it will be nice to see the
Moneymaker run in all of its glory. Thanks Chris! Hopefully that’ll give you
some karma and unfreeze the cards you’re getting.

Liquid Swords has been on a terrible run, but the good news is that he’ll be working on his Poker Comics while he rests his mouse finger.

The Grubster continues his insane dedication to the $5-10 shorthanded games, which in my opinion are the toughest games on Party. He also let me know that
he’ll be in town in a few weeks, so I’m going to have to drop the hammer on
him at the lovely Hawaiian Gardens casino. The hammer challenge is now up to
$15, so it’s still a losing proposition, but hopefully I’ll get another crack
at it tonight.

Pauly is booking tickets for Phish in Vegas. That sounds like a bad combination to me. Maybe they’ll jam with Celine in the Colosseum.

Londonfroggy is back representing the Brits with multiple daily blogs.

Felicia took 4rth in a 50 player NL tourney, and continues to gain points towards getting in the WPT. I hope she makes it, even if she’s not quite as
hot as the sexy Hon Le.

Boy Genius continues write pages and pages of quality material, and nearly took the precious hammer down. I can barely keep up, but don’t miss his great
and wide ranging posts.

TFG nearly chopped off his thumb, hopefully not out of spite– I know I have
had the temptation when my mouse finger uncontrollably calls a check raise
with when the third flush card hits on the river.

Mean Gene continues his presidential campaign, but the rumor is that the Republicans are saying he’s too angry to be president. Apparently they have video of him
smashing his keyboard after losing to THE HAMMER.

And Royal gives tips on how to teach your newborn hold ’em while winning a $200 NL tourney qualifier.

Don’t you wish you lived near Beverly Hills?

I probably came as close to hitting the jackpot as I ever will walking to
lunch at work yesterday. As we were crossing the street, a black Mercedes
SUV rolled up, and I was staring at Paris Hilton, who was 2 feet in front of
me. I yelled to my co-worker "Push me in front of that car!", but the
driver sped up, and blew threw the stop sign before I could wedge myself under the tire.
Man that girl is ugly.

Fish Fry

When we left off, yours truly was in Primm Valley Nevada, comforting himself with a whiskey after losing a huge pot when his rockets got cracked. But I wasn’t worried… the combination of a true maniac and a bunch of calling stations made for a very profitable table at the legendary Buffalo Bill’s poker room.

The maniac was 3 players to my left, and had about 4 racks in front of him. He raised the maximum nearly every single hand, and there would usually be 3 or more callers, so I limited my hands to suited connectors, any pair, and AT or above, since this was the type of table to play any ace. The hands that were shown down were unbelievable. One player would show Ace high nearly every showdown after calling 2 $6 bets.

Taking a page from Pauly, here’s the lineup:

Bubble Boy in the $9+1 Saturday Qualifier

Instead of finishing up my Vegas trip report last night, I found myself seated at the Party $9+1 Party qualifier with 240 other players. Now usually I don’t have the patience to sit through these marathons, but I figured I’d probably bust out early and then resume my $3-6 grinding (and maybe drop the hammer on somebody). Confession: when I get the hammer, I get more excited than I do when I get rockets.

Anyway, the Party tournament went very slowly for the first 2 hours, as the blinds slowly escalated (they almost have a reasonable structure for these multis!). I don’t think I played a hand (besides the blinds) for the first hour and a half, taking the Penguin’s advice to “survive early” and “play late”. To make it worse, I was hoping to get a workout in after I busted out, so I wasn’t even drinking.

I collected some chips by stealing a pot or two, and got myself up to about T1900. I was starting to wake up when I was dealt QQ UTG, and raised it up 600 (3x the BB), fearing only AA and KK. To my surprise, the player to my left went all in. To my horror, the button called, forcing me to make a tough overcall. With two all ins, I didn’t like my ladies anymore. I was getting decent odds on the call, but two all ins after a UTG bet? I folded, and watched the board come K Q J, and just hoped someone would show KK so I wouldn’t smash my monitor. Nope: AA lost to JJ, and I would have been 4000 chips richer, but at least I was right in laying down the hand.

The orbits went on and on and on, and finally I picked up some hands. With the blinds up to 100/200, and me shortstacked at around 1400 chips, I picked up A8o in middle position and made my standard 3X BB raise, only to be called in two places. Trouble. Flop came Ad Qd 7s, and I was committed, so threw in the rest of my chips, doubting that my kicker would hold up. 2 callers, and I got ready to exit with an ugly 90th place, but to my surprise the chips slip my way, and I was in business. One caller showed A3o, and I was now back in the game with 4200 chips.

I have to say that the play was generally terrible up to this point– a lot of people limping, and lots of weak tight play. I played pretty tight, hoping to steal my way to the final table when the blinds got high, and people tightened up trying to get in the money.

30 players left and play is super tight. I’ve stolen a couple blinds with KQ and middle aces, and I’m almost up to 5K chips. I get J2d in the SB, and everyone folds to me. The blinds are 400, and BB has around 200 chips, so I figure this is the perfect time for a steal. I raise it up 1200, and hope he folds… but he calls, and the flop comes A K 7, no diamonds. Now I’ve got two choices… give up on the hand, or represent the Ace to try to steal the pot. I’ve already got 1200 in, and losing the hand will put me in rough shape. I figure that to call for 800, there is a very good chance that the BB has an Ace, and I reluctantly check. To my surprise, he also checks, and the turn is a rag. What could he be holding? I quickly fire a 1K bet to try to represent the Ace, and BB goes into the tank and finally, to my disgust, calls. The river is a 9, and I don’t think I can push him off the hand, so I check to him, and he turns over pocket 8’s.

A good read by him, and a bad one by me. By not betting the flop I lost this pot– for him to make that call on the flop would have been pretty tough, and the ace scared me off. I don’t regret the steal attempt. I didn’t have enough chips to coast into the final table, and I believe that stealing on a very tight table against a relatively short stack was my best shot at building my stack. But my mistake was betting on the turn… either take a shot on the flop and then check and call, or give up when I miss the flop. The worst play I could have made was to show weakness by checking the flop, and then continue betting on the turn.

You aren’t allowed many mistakes in tourney play. And this one cost me half my stack. But I wasn’t quite dead yet. I had 2K chips to work with, so if I could double up I still had a chance. The blinds went up to 500, and this time I found myself in the SB with A6o. Everyone folded to me, and it was now or never… 22 players left, and I had one of the shortest stacks, so I had to double up to have a shot at the final table. I moved in, and was called by the BB. The flop came 9 2 2, the turn a 9, and the river a 6. I liked my chances with Ace high, but the BB turned over 98o to knock me out 22nd out of 240.

The total tourney time was around 3 hours, and what did I have to show for it? Well, I learned something. Survive early, steal late. And when stealing, either give up when called, or try to take the pot on the flop. DON’T bet the turn after checking the flop, this play will cost you. You’d think I could have figured that out BEFORE I made the play, but maybe sobriety was clouding my mind.

I do recommend these Multis if you have the patience to sit for 3 hours. There is a ton of dead money there, and if you play tight and catch a couple hands, you’ll have a chance to make some moves when you get to the last 50 players. I really think Multis offer a reasonable way to hit it big, and if my wife starts working nights I might start to play more of these. When you’re getting cards, it’s a hell of a lot more fun than grinding. At least I say this until I go out on the bubble with 20K in prize money.

I also had the honor of being “sweated” by the mighty Iggy himself, and probably wouldn’t have survived the 3 hours without him. Expect big things from this man (or is Iggy a woman?) in the near future.

Check out BG’s Conference Championship picks. He was on the money last week, and I think he’s nailed these games as well. His “things I don’t understand” was also a relief, knowing I’m not the only one baffled by most of the stuff going on in the world (“The Sports Guy” should definitely have his own show).

Pauly is back after a brief hiatus with another Foxwood tale. I miss my old stomping ground, but I’ll take the wild LA poker scene anyday… Chris and PL continue their ride on the low-limit swingset… and I can only hope that TFG is in the poker lab, devising a down home texas recipe for winning hold em.

The conclusion of the Vegas-State Line trip to come. And oh yes, the hammer will drop… The creator of the challenge himself says he’s throwing his hat in the ring, but he’s too addicted to the 6-max tables, which by the rules, can’t qualify for the prize. Fear the hammer!

If you can’t spot the shark at the table…

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to play in a game with 9 fish? Can you even conceive of it? Well friends, I am here to tell you that I played in such a game. Saturday night on the Cali-Nevada state line, there was a fish fry in the poker room.

The things that went on at that table had to be seen to be believed, and I’ll do my best to recount them, but I really wish I had a digital video camera with me as imit games are spread limit. There is a single $2 blind, and you can bet/raise anywhere from $2 to $6 at any time. My previous experience with spread limit (at the Excalibur) had made me dislike the game– tight play is extremely important, because it may cost you 3 times the BB to see the flop. Usually after the flop the number of players is widdled down to 2, since pot odds for draws are terrible. So I went into the game not expecting to win much, but at least it’s still poker.

If you read my previous post, you’ll remember that the gambling day started off horribly with the heartbreaking miss of the under in the Carolina-St.Louis game, followed by dropping a couple of bills on slots. I was hoping to win a rack or two at most and get even for the night. I bought in for $100 and took my rack to the 3 seat in a table full of players aged 40-70, plus one middle aged guy wearing sunglasses and trying to look mean. I licked my chops. It was 10:30, and I was ready to ram and jam.

I folded my junk hand and watched the action progress. Chips were being thrown into the pot like Marc Bulger interceptions. A $2-6 action table? 5 players were in for 8 chips preflop. One player bet the max and 2 players called to the showdown. The bettor showed AK, for Ace high. Another showed KQ. The third took the $100 pot with Q4, pairing his 4 on the flop. Where am I?

I played tight for an orbit and finally picked up AJ. I raised it the max, and a player with 4 racks in front of him raised it $6 more up to $14. 2 callers. The flop was J rag rag, with no straight or flush draws. I bet out the max, and big stack guy just called this time. The turn was another rag, and big stack folded when I bet out. With that stack, he was either a maniac or a good player, and there was no way in hell this clown was any good. So his laydown irked me, but I raked in a sizable pot… maybe my luck had turned.

I told the wife that I might be here a while, and if I didn’t leave with a lot of money she should shoot me. In early position I checked my cards and saw only white. I squeezed the other and saw more white. Like staring into the whites of a tiger’s eyes, I almost smiled when I saw the single mark on each card. Rockets in this game? I resolved to offer a sacrifice when I made it home. I got 2 callers, and maniac reraised me. We capped it at $20 preflop, and took a poor sap in the middle along for the ride.

Flop was Q J rag, and I bet out the max and was reraised the max. Ok maniac, you got kings? AK maybe? Would you cap it with JJ? Or maybe QQ? Let’s find out… I reraised and he capped it at 20. No way, does he have the trips? I put on the brakes and called the rest of the way, and he said “you lose” as he flipped over his QUEENS and took $62 off of me, as I chided myself for the reraise on the flop. I guess I was hoping he had KK, but with two face cards out there, I could have been beaten by several hands. My wife told me not to worry about it, and as I bought another rack and looked around the table, I definitely wasn’t worried. There is no better formula for profit than a maniac surrounded by calling stations.

Not a good start. I was down almost $100 in a $2-6 game, where it’s tough to win money fast. Or so I thought…

Apologies for running out of steam, but the game took the energy out of me. I need to catch up on sleep…

Lots of great blogging going on out there– Grubby laid down the HAMMER CHALLENGE today, and now has taken his blog up to the next level with GRAPHICS. Grubs Hammer Challenge nearly knocked me out of my chair at work, and my co-workers gave me funny looks as I busted up at the genius and comedy of this challenge. I’m not making any guarantees, but the hammer is mine, all mine!

Mean Gene gets my vote– for quote of the day, with “when I bet out he folded like Superman on laundry day”. One of those joke grenades… it took me a minute to get it, then BOOM!

Iggy owes my employers probably 1/8th of my salary, as I spend a good chunk of every morning crawling through his links. The Fat Guy hypothesizes that Ignatious’ female party avatar reveals his true gender. Should we start calling him Iggamina?

In the strange dream department, I had a rambling journey last night in which I kept removing and replacing my nose. I found this:

“Seeing your own nose in your dream means a conscious effort to achieve whatever endeavor you chose to undertake. The nose represents energy, intuition, and wisdom. Alternatively, the nose symbolizes curiosity.”

So, have I lost my energy? Probably. Have I lost my curiousity? I hope not. I think not playing football is driving me insane.

Good luck on the tables and watch out for THE HAMMER!

***** Hand History for Game 330955410 *****
3/6 TexasHTGameTable (Limit) – Tue Jan 13 00:39:55 EST 2004
Table Card Room Table 3973 (Real Money)
— Seat 5 is the button
Total number of players : 10
** Dealing down cards **
Dealt to hdouble [ 7d, 2h ]
glenda1960 calls (3)
jonkira calls (3)
dsscanuck folds.
alaskankid checks.
hdouble raises (6) to 6
gooseduck folds.
heyryn folds.
DRAMA_Q calls (6)
notchincorp calls (5)
Mona_Lot calls (3)
glenda1960 calls (3)
jonkira calls (3)
alaskankid calls (3)
** Dealing Flop ** : [ 7c, 2d, Qd ]
notchincorp bets (3)
notchincorp calls all-In.
Mona_Lot calls (3)
glenda1960 calls (3)
jonkira calls (3)
alaskankid calls (3)
hdouble raises (6) to 6
DRAMA_Q calls (6)
Mona_Lot calls (3)
glenda1960 raises (6) to 9
jonkira folds.
alaskankid folds.
hdouble raises (6) to 12
DRAMA_Q folds.
Mona_Lot calls (6)
glenda1960 calls (3)
Creating Main Pot with $60 with notchincorp
** Dealing Turn ** : [ Jh ]
Mona_Lot checks.
glenda1960 checks.
hdouble bets (6)
Mona_Lot calls (6)
glenda1960 calls (6)
** Dealing River ** : [ Ad ]
Mona_Lot checks.
glenda1960 bets (6)
hdouble calls (6)
Mona_Lot folds.
** Summary **
Main Pot: $60 | Side Pot 1: $60 | Rake: $3
Board: [ 7c 2d Qd Jh Ad ]
alaskankid balance $221, lost $9 (folded)
hdouble balance $116, lost $30 [ 7d 2h ] [ two pairs, sevens and twos — Ad,7d,7c,2h,2d ] gooseduck balance $155, didn’t bet (folded) heyryn balance $296.50, didn’t bet (folded) DRAMA_Q balance $205, lost $12 (folded)
notchincorp balance $0, lost $9 [ 4c 4h ] [ a pair of fours — Ad,Qd,Jh,4c,4h ] Mona_Lot balance $98, lost $24 (folded)
glenda1960 balance $136, bet $30, collected $120, net +$90 [ 4d 3d ] [ a flush, ace high — Ad,Qd,4d,3d,2d ] jonkira balance $114, lost $9 (folded)
dsscanuck balance $67.50, didn’t bet (folded)
hdouble: “HAMMER!”
DRAMA_Q: preflop raise on 7-2?
hdouble: yep
hdouble: that’s the hammer
jonkira: lol
DRAMA_Q: love ya
jonkira: real imtimadation there
jonkira: lol
hdouble: you aren’t scared of the hammer?
jonkira: i had jacks, 4s
DRAMA_Q: of course i am . i folded my hand
hdouble: smart man

My precious… the diamondses bad beats the hammer… we has the hammer in our handses, and they STEALS it! Precious… we takes the h
ammer and crush them! Yeeeeeeeeesss! Crush them! Gollum! Gollum!

And Miles to Go Before I Sleep

The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep

–Robert Frost

After a one-night trip to the Vegas state line, I feel like I have enough Blog material for a week. What a trip! Imagine being 10 feet away from blackjack, craps, and a soft poker game, and the NFL playoffs going on. I felt like Pacino as Tony Montana, running around with a kilo of coke on my face. I didn’t know which way to go.

Hopefully I can return to writing some better posts… my wife’s friend has (finally) left after 3 weeks, and I get some time to let my thoughts unfold, and reflect them. I have a deeply introverted streak, and if I’m around people all the time for an extended period of time, my brain turns to mush.

Anyway, let’s start with the NFL games. Although I think the overall quality of the teams this year is somewhat lacking compared to recent years (the no-talent Pats are looking the best right now), the games this weekend were some of the best I can remember. Kudos to Boy Genius, who picked all 4 games correctly, and was on the money about the Colts-Chiefs over: