Live at The Plaza
All apologies for the inactivity in this space. Been having a hard time getting the brain to synch up with availability. When I felt like writing, I didn't have the chance. When I managed some down time, inspiration ran dry. What I usually do in those instances, as my readers will know, is get drunk and ramble on about nothing in particular. Sadly, that was not a viable option.
None of which is to say that poker and bloggery hasn't been very much on my mind. Chiefly, where to stay for the WPBT event in June. The blogger cognescenti has chosen downtown--specifically, The Plaza, for Ground Zero, and it would seem natural to follow (if slightly like inviting oneself to the party). But I had a few concerns about that site, so I did what my Daddy long ago told me to do when faced with a difficult decision: create a list of pros and cons to see which comes out ahead.
So, onto the tale of the tape:
Pro: With the crew of bloggers already committed to The Plaza, it'll be some kinda party. I like a party.
Con: That same crew damn near killed Otis last December with their party.
Pro: Downtown is less populated by annoying tourist types.
Con: Annoying tourist types made me a lot of money in the Excalibur $2-$6 game in January.
Pro: Less crowded and thus more opportunity for a bloggers-only craps table.
Con: Craps is -EV.
Pro: I take a lot of ribbing from my friends, family, neighbors for always seeking out the cheapest hotel in Vegas. To my mind, there is no more ridiculous waste of gambling money than to plunk down $200/night on a Vegas hotel room, a room which will only see the likes of me roughly 15% of my stay.
Con: Cheaper hotels more likely to be the subject of a "Dateline" expose showing how dirty the bedspreads are.
Pro: If the bloggers DO kill me, at least they'll be nearby and theoretically will find my body quicker.
Con: Or dispose of it in the desert.
Pretty tight race. The Plaza wins out, though. I am throwing my liver on the mercy of the bloggers. I have secured a junior suite at the Plaza for $80/night. Why a juniopr suite? I have no idea. Maybe so I can say, "yeah, I've got a suite at the Plaza." Or maybe so there's room to set up a makeshift bar.
Played a little bit of poker yesterday. Broke even in the cash games, no thanks to my first try at limit in a while. "Sure," I says to myself, "let's dial down the stress and play some $2/$4." I then proceed to get bad-beated nearly down to the felt within 15 minutes. Just as I get set to re-buy--my remaining $10 not bucking up the ol' confidence--I get dealt cowboys. Well, good. But also, well crap, since I'll only be betting to the turn, at best. But, when a short-stack is all-in early, you get a lot of callers. True in this situation, as well. Six to the flop (all paying my raise). Six to the turn (only got one bet in there) and four to the river (again, only one bet). The board was crap and a king came on the river, so I took it down. The bizarre thing is, I needed that two-outer on the river. Why? Guy made two-pair on the turn. Sevens and twos. Yes, he played The Hammer. No, he didn't know it had a name. He's just dumb. Because he didn't raise it pre-flop.
One other hand to mention. Not because I got runner-runnered, but because of the immediate ratholing of the opponent in question. He was a short stack at the .50/$1 NL table. I found pocket 9s and flopped a set (board was 9-high and included a 6). I made a small bet and he went all in. I called and started counting my money. Turn is a 10. River is a 10. He shows T6o for the bigger boat. And fucking leaves the table. Almost before the cyber chips slid his direction. I know who you are, asshole. And I'll tell anyone who wants to know who you are, too.
Played a couple tourneys, as well. The first was a Stars FPP qualifier to the $350K Sunday tourney. I don't know what it is, but if I don't pay actual money for a tourney, I tend to suck. No difference in this one. Yikes. Didn't last a half-hour. The less said, the better.
Bombed out of the $10/$1 re-buy on Stars in 170th. I was going good there for a while, sitting in the top 40 in chips at the first break. Had to re-buy twice, but went from T1500 to T11000 at Level 4. More than doubled up with AA when three people called my big pre-flop raise. I then flopped a boat and AJo went all in. Sorry. Then, a hand that could not possibly have been played any worse. I was in the BB with J3s (clubs). A minimum raise from MP and three callers. I call, as well, paying an extra hundred for a potentially huge payoff if I can catch a monster. The flop comes Ac Kd 6h. Oh well. I check and prepare to fold, but it's checked all around. Turn is Qc. Well now. Here's something. Draws to the nut straight and second-nut flush. I check and pre-flop raiser bets $500. Into a $1000 pot. Two calls behind him and I'm getting a huge overlay on my call. River is the 10s. As we like to say 'round these parts, "Daddy's got the nuts."
Because it's still in the first hour, because re-buys are still available, because people are not shy about dumping a bunch of chips at this juncture, I just shove my whole bleeping stack into the middle. Pre-flop raiser calls me, his stack just below mine. Flips AQo for top two. Boy oh boy oh boy. I appreciate that, really. He didn't even re-buy and I can imagine his disgust played a part in that.
Didn't make it through the next hour. Chipped up early to T19000 with AA again, but my table was in hyper-agressive mode. Had to fold a couple pre-flop raises. Big stack forced people all in with regularity and once pushed me off the best hand. I had pocket 7s and he called a 4x pre-flop raise. Flop came with two overcards (ten and queen) and two hearts. I threw out another 4x bet and he came over the top all-in. I'm either well behind if he paired or slightly behind if he's got hearts and overcards. I folded. He did have hearts. The six and the three of hearts, which he was happy to show me. So, I was a 2-1 favorite. Hard for me to put him on those cards with the pre-flop raise, so I just shrugged and accepted being outplayed. Then came over the top of him all-in on the next hand. I had ATs and he folded. Small consolation.
I went out in Level 8. The guy directly to my left had twice re-raised my pre-flop raises, causing me to fold (one was a steal; one was AJo which suddenly didn't look so good for an all-in). The third time he did it, I called with my pocket jacks. He showed kings and it was beddie-bye time.
One last thing. I've gotten this question several times now, the latest from Glyph, on the origin of my fake blogger name, Joe Speaker. It is the name of the protaganist in one of my favorite books, Homeboy. I'd encourage you to read it if you like tales of degenerates (this particular degenerate is a strip show barker/heroin dealer in San Francisco's tenderloin district) and redemption of degenerates. A ton of colorful characters, a somewhat lightweight though engrossing plot and a genius use of language, some of it made-up (a hack might even say the dialogue "crackles"). It's out of print, but your local library might have a copy. Or I can bring mine to Vegas if you are so inclined.