Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Down in a Hole

Before we get to the impending bacchanalia and my pre-Vegas angst, an announcement:

I suck.

Oh wait, that wasn't what I was gonna write there. Pauly has the May issue of Truckin' up. I am again humbled to have a story included.

I know what you're all thinking, that I am somehow blackmailing The Good Doctor. A valid stance, but Not True. Seriously, who could extort Pauly? Do you think, with his copious output that there is something he's NOT telling us? I shudder to think.

Your favorite Michigan poker blogging brothers are also featured. All thanks to Pauly for his continued committment and support.


I have always been of the firm belief that attitude matters. In all things, but especially in regard to gambling. When I'm white-knuckling, my world hanging on the turn of a card, the roll of the dice, my results are poor.

When I'm partying it up, immune to the inevitable swings, I usually do quite well.

PMA my high school Econ teacher called it. Positive Mental Attitude.

I don't have one right now. And goddamn if I just can't get rid of this cloud hanging over me.

Poker results have been for shit. Soul-sucking and constant. Bad beats, rotten decision-making, general suckery.

Which is how, incredibly, I find myself downcast, kicking at stones, even while on the cusp of this awesome fucking trip.

I feel like I just sat at a blackjack table and dropped $500 in an hour. The literal and figurative "kicked in the junk" all wrapped up into one.

The good news is, I HAVE dropped $500 at a black jack table in an hour. And I recovered. Forty-eight hours should be plenty of time to make a comeback. Not gonna play any poker in the interim though. Every time I try to get the vibe back, it just gets worse. More good news is that I likely won't be facing off with 87s if I make a big pre-flop raise on Friday.

You know what? I feel better already. This bloggy stuff is neato.

Gentlemen (and ladies), Start Your Livers.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

So Much for Preparation

Live tourney at the local indian casino:

I get dealt pocket queens in MP. Blinds are 25/50. Level 1. T2500 starting chips. 15 minute levels.

One limper and I raise 5x. A call from LP and limper calls as well.

Flop is J84 rainbow. Checked to me and I bet 500. LP raises to 1000. EP calls (?!?!?). I re-raise all-in.

EP and LP both call and show 87s. Both of them. 87s.

Turn. Deuce. No flush draw for either.

River. Eight. The case eight.

I'm still steaming. It was four hours ago. Ninety minutes round-trip to get some live tourney experience and all I get is four hands and something to piss me off for 24 hours, or at least four. And counting.


That's nuthin'.

Playing $3/$6 before the tourney, I saw the following board: 466A6

SB had 44 for the flopped boat.
LP had AA for the turned boat.
UTG+1 had 86o for the rivered winner.

Qualifying bad beat jackpot is aces full of tens, so we didn't even have that going for us.

Poker sucks.

Friday, May 27, 2005

Same Boy You've Always Known

True Vegas Stories Through the Years

January 1979 was a simpler time, a time when going to Las Vegas meant a frigid couple of days spent on desert-wind-hardened soccer fields. This particular year, "frigid" took on a whole new meaning. As in, it snowed. Hard and deep. Playing soccer in the snow is not fun. Every time you'd kick the ball, even at the hell-bent-for-leather age of 11, it felt like your foot would shatter into a thousand jagged pieces. The other ramification of this weather was that we couldn't exit the city. The pass was closed. We were snowed in.

That Sunday evening, I dined with my Dad and Uncle. We were at an Italian joint that had something to do with the Leaning Tower of Pisa. They were planning on hitting up the casinos that night and wondered what I was gonna do back at the hotel with my remaining teammates. Yes, simpler time. The parents pretty much left us on our own. I replied that we didn't have any real plans, would probably just sit around and "jack off."

That's what I said, "We're gonna sit around and jack off."

I've mentioned before that I was raised in a pretty strict Southern Baptist household. I'd heard the phrase "jack off." I had no earthly idea what it actually meant, defining it in my head as "fooling around."

Spaghetti flew from my Dad's mug. My Uncle began to laugh uncontrollably. Soon finding out I didn't know its expressed meaning, Dad passed it off, saying I shouldn't use that term. He didn't tell me what it DID mean, though I found out the next day from my older--wiser--brother.


It was late. Or early, depending on your perspective. A long night of winning craps had merged into dawn. And we were exhausted. My lady and I had spent the better part of the last three hours stuffing black chips into her purse. We'd gone on one of those craps rolls that feel like magic. But we were done.

The casino floor was almost desolate and totally empty near the restrooms. While she entered to do her business, I sat at an empty blackjack table and started rummaging around for those black chips.

When I felt two hands on my shoulders, I vaguely thought I was about to get robbed. "What do you think you're doing?" asked a brusque voice. I relaxed. It was a cop if I've ever heard one.

You can imagine how it looked. A disheveled degenerate foraging through a woman's purse pulling out couple thousand. They impatiently listened to my explanation, nodding their heads, but deciding they'd go ahead and wait until the "girlfriend" came out of the toilet. I'm glad she didn't pass out in there.


Coming out of the cafe at the Flamingo after seeing another Vegas sunrise, I slipped and fell down a short flight of stairs, nearly toppling into a family of six enjoying their breakfast.

"I'd be so laughing at you right now if I weren't so tired," my buddy Jorginho dead-panned.


Big Head (not to be confused with Human Head) was my most frequent Vegas companion before he got married and turned into Big Pussy. He was also one of the more loud and obnoxious drunks you are ever likely to find. This particular night, he was on a solid bender. We were playing double-deck blackjack (cards down) at Barbary Coast and he decided on a new strategy.

Needing a ten or a face, he'd request the dealer hit him with a 4. Needing a little card, he'd ask for a jack. Deception, he called it. Oddly, it worked. The dealer gave him the opposite of what he asked for a large percentage of the time. After one such hand, he raised his arms above his head, spread the fingers on his dancing hands and proclaimed



"How do you pronounce your name?" Big Head asked the dealer. His nametag said "Reem."
"Rem," he replied. "Rhymes with 'them'."
"You sure it's not 'REAM'!?!?!' Because that's what you're doing to me!"


Early one morning at the Golden Nugget, the dear and patient wife was about three drinks past lucid. I sat at a blackjack table with several other drunkards and we exchanged laughter and conversation freely.

The cards hadn't been coming very well, however, causing The Mrs. to complain to the dealer, who was a very friendly sort. Finally, she'd had enough and exhorted him to



Morancito and I were having a conversation at a nightclub around four in the morning. We were there with a large group, many of them dancing. I had just about reached my saturation point and was barely hanging on. It's usually about this point in the festivities that I begin to miss my family.

"Wouldn't it be great if our wives just showed up right now?" I asked him.



This space reserved for future considerations.

I'm Finding It Hard To Be a Gentleman

While it's only six days until Vegas, I prefer to winnow the number down even more. Only two more days do I have to drag my silly ass to the train in the morning for the slog to work. Only 22 more hours of cubicle donking until I can let loose. Let the clock-watching ensue.

I am, as are all of you, now fully armed with the complete blogger dossier. Here's more personalized info.

Vegas Itinerary


2 pm: Arrive in Vegas.
2:05 pm: Stop at the Rio to scout the WSOP location. I'm the guy who doesn't want to be hurrying around on Friday morning, unaware of where exactly he's supposed to be. I'm the guy who gets to the airport 3 hours early. I'm the guy who needs a couple bloody marys to settle the fuck down.
3 pm: My triumphant arrival at The Plaza. I expect to be greated with streamers and perhaps an oom-pah band.
3:15 pm: Excuse me, where's the nearest bar?
Evening: Apparently there's some sort of sushi shin-dig. I'm barred from knowing the exact information. I'll be there, if I can find a stool pigeon. Me no likee the sushi. Me likee the sake, though. And maybe I'll luck out and find something on the menu THAT IS FUCKING COOKED. Allegedly, there is karaoke as well. While temperatures will hit freezing in the underworld before you find me behind a mike, I'll be happy to cheer on the rest of you.
Later evening: Excuse me, where's the nearest bar?
2 am: My hard and fast deadline for heading to bed. Negotiable.


See, there's this tournament I'm supposed to be playing in and it's really screwing up my advance planning. I could be there all day. I could be there for 15 minutes. In the event of the former, Have Fun Storming the Castle! If the latter befalls me, I'll railbird with all my might. Right after I power binge drink my sorrow/embarassment away.


10 am: WPBT Aladdin Classic. If I'm starting WSOP final table play at 2, I'll probbly have to skip this one, in the interest of getting some sleep. I'll most certainly drop by, however. If that other tourney is not a concern, I'll be there with bells (and my Liverpool jersey) on. Reasonably coherent. Promise.

5 pm: After-party. Or, as I'm calling it, Prelude to a Yakking.


11 am: Time to go. Four hours of sheer hell on tap. Unless I win the WSOP Event, in which case I give my car to a homeless person and charter a private jet to whisk me home.

Tick, tock, tick tock...

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Ball and Biscuit

My pimp hand is strong.

A plethora of excellent posts out there in Pokerworld. And I'm not talking about those dealing with the unbridled enthusiasm for a certain get-together a week hence. Sure, there are plenty of those too, which serve as fuel on the already raging bonfire of Vegas impatience.

Today, however, we are going to focus on some fine strategy points. The first, from -EV, is a fine treatise on the spread limit game many of us will be playing at Excalibur. The point is--at its most basic--that the spread allows the tourists to make the correct play oftentimes (in regards to pot odds), even if they don't know it. Which compels a change in the way you value certain starting hands.

I played the Excalibur $2-$6 in January and it was a surreal experience. As -EV says, there are plenty of people who will play any two suited, or even any two connected cards, and chase until the chasin's done. But you will also get the classic calling stations, with middle pair/no kicker sticking around until the end. Sometimes, they even bet into you on the River. It's comical.

A perfect example: I held KK and raised it the max pre-flop, up to $8. Two callers for a 332 flop. Checked to me, I bet and get one caller. Turn is a four. Checked to me again and I bet. Called. River is an 8. And the feller bets out! I'm sincerely thinking, "What the fuck?" Could this guy really have just put a move on me? I called and he showed 54o. While expressing my confusion, the dealer commented, "They didn't come to Vegas to fold, son."

That's gold.

DoubleAs has another in a long line of brilliant NL posts up. This one about pressure (or inflection) points in big stack NL play. I won't get into any more, because it will make my head hurt. He's got a big brain. Just go read it. Then head over to Poker Nerd for further analysis of the same topic.


I'm still stuck in a poker malaise, caught between past triumphs (WPBT satellite) and future decadence (guess). I just can't find the right vibe/motivation to hunker down and give it my best. I played the $20 MTT last night on Stars (while drinking Carlsberg in an empty house, but more on that later) and was actually reasonably focused for the first 90 minutes or so. Made some good plays, some good reads, but still wasn't totally "into it," a point which was hammered home at Level 8 when I made a huge donkey play. Seriously, a semi-literate chimpanzee could have seen what I was walking into before I did. But, with one eye on the WPT and half my brain dreaming about rolling consecutive Hard Eights, I just didn't get the jist.

One funny story from the tourney. Okay, not exactly funny. I could have made it funny, to me at least, but I'm fighting a batle of wills here. Lemme explain.

I was in the SB with 6h5h and I completed behind two limpers (blinds at 100/200). BB raised it up to 600, other limpers folded and I called, getting 3-1 on my call. I flopped a gunshot and a backdoor flush draw, so I fired a grand at the pot. BB called. Turn gave me no help and I checked, prepared to toss it away. But BB checked behind me. River filled my straight, I bet another grand and got paid off.

"I hate that crap."

is what the BB typed in chat. The Smart-Ass Me so wanted to respond. Something along the lines of, "What crap? Your weakness on the turn giving me the free card?" But I resisted. I like my goofy drunk table image better than my smart-ass one. Seems to work better for me. Doesn't mean I wasn't sorely tempted.

The Very. Next. Hand. Mr. Crap check-calls a flop all-in with a gunshot draw. Two others are in the hand, one with TPTK, the other with four to the (baby) flush. Crap has three outs (one eight is in the baby flush draw's hand) and catches on the River.

I was literally shaking. Talk about your willpower over-bets. A hundred sarcastic remarks sped through my head. I let them all pass.

Back to the point, I need an attitude adjustment if I'm gonna sit these online tourneys for the next week. I'll probably hit up at least one of the Crazy Re-Buys on Stars this weekend. And I have a vital live tournament on Sunday afternoon. Vital in the sense that I need to focus on a number of things regarding live play. Thanks to Felicia's generous sharing of tips and more excellent advice from Harrington, I have some definite areas to work on, some theories to put into practice.

And I did buy some new mirored sunglasses.


I still don't think I quite believe Liverpool won that fucking game. They were abyssmal in the first 45. Surely it must have come up at some point in pre-game preparation that letting Kaka run unencumbered for 30 yeards is a bad tactical idea. What a nightmare. But bringing in Hamman for Finnan, while apparently a neccessity, was a stroke of genius. It freed up Gerrard for attack. It closed down the center of the pitch with Didi and Xabi Alonso clogging the lanes.

Even so, pulling back three against a defense as classy as Milan's...you coulda got some big odds on that one.

They were fortunate. Dida should have had Smicer's shot. I have no idea how the hell Dudek kept out Schevchenko at the death (he apaprently didn't either). And considering their obvious fatigue in extra time, the Reds were lucky to get to spot kicks.

Yet, there they are: Champions of Europe. The Final was a perfect microcosm for their entire season. Long stretches of ineptitude and under-achievement punctuated by surprising and occassional bursts of brilliance.

Perhaps the best thing to come out of this is Steven Gerrard's first statements in a LONG time suggesting he'd like to stay. Words spoken in the heat of victory perhaps, but lifting that Cup has to weigh on the decision.

Properly attired in my Gerrard jersey, I watched the game again last night (and tucked the tape away in my Pantheon along with The Michael Owen FA Cup Final and the US World Cup wins over Portugal and Mexico), drinking Carlsberg (not easy to find in the desert, I'll tell you what) while the dear and patient wife and AJ were off at an "American Idol" party. Seriously, they exist. The Scousers--on the pitch and in the crowd--made this Yank awfully proud.

Now, UEFA, let The Holders defend. Pricks.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Sugar Never Tasted So Good

Ain't that some shit?

Thus ends my three-hour lunch break.

If Liverpool can come back from three down to Milan in the European Final, then I can certainly win the WSOP. Yes, it's that unbelievable.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

The Big Three Killed My Baby

This just in:

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Some mentions around the blogosphere about going to Vegas with roughly 100 "strangers" and how those near and dear to us find it odd, how our explanations are met with uncomprehending eyes. "You don't KNOW these people?" is a common refrain. And I guess the answer to that is yes. And no.

I've not actually met the vast majority of you, but there is a sense of "knowing" regardless. As talented as you are, I doubt you could completely conceal your real being--or a reasonable facsimilie thereof--thoughout your entire blog canon. It's a personal medium, so, while I've never shaken your hand, it doesn't mean I don't have some idea of what you are like, if not who you are.

But, communication being a largely physical endeavor, I'd be blind if I fashioned a whole person out of the ether. This is where the skeptics have a point. And this is where I've come across an idea.

I propose we go around the room and introduce ourselves. I've spent a couple days trying to think of a fun way to do this. One idea I had was to have you all compare yourselves to a Real World cast member. I decided that was unworkable. Back in the day, the Real World had definite types, two-dimentional characters slotted nicely into an easy description: The Cowboy, The Gay Guy, The Musician. That changed right around the fifth season, I'd wager, when MTV decided the best way to induce drama was to limit the cast to sociopaths and those who aspired to be sociopaths. As such, reaching so far back into the annals seemed like it would be a little too esoteric.

I encountered the same problem with my next idea, that of picking ANY reality show contestant. Sure, this would be right in CJ's wheelhouse, but I'm not sure there is enough attention paid to All That is Reality, certainly not as much as at my house. For the record, I'd go with Ian, from the just-completed season of "Survivor." Not entirely for the personality type, though there are similarities, but for the look. Not only would I waste away to near nothingness after 39 days on the Island (I'm a mere 175 pounds with a full belly), but I would also end up with an exact replica of his facial hair after all that time. Wispy in most spots, but those furry patches high on the cheekbones.

But I digress.

Here's what we're gonna do. Write me the lead paragraph of your obituary (either in comments or on your blog). It's not just fun! It's timely, since there is a reasonable expectation it will pass though your mind at least once that you're gonna die while in Vegas. Most of us will reach that rare level of intoxication that spawns such thoughts. Remember, obituaries are not morbid, they are tributes, celebrations of life. And, we're prepared, just in case, kinda like how I gave the dear and patient wife all my Neteller information last night.

There are, obviously, many ways you can go about this little exercise, all of which will shed light on the person you are. You could go with something currently fictional, but one which expresses your goals and dreams for the future:

Joe Speaker (not his real name), who parlayed $30 into a World Series of Poker Championship, international fame and repeated erotic adventures with Salma Hayek, has died.

I don't think I'm gonna go that way, though. Too close to the whole WSOP fantasy exercise, not to mention carrying pretty steep implied divorce odds.

Let's come back to reality, find a real description. Personal characteristics might be a good way to go.

Joe Speaker (not his real name), whose unnatural attachment to turtleneck sweaters led many to question his sexuality, has died.

Um, true, but lacking in panache (just a warning for you kids: use of "panache" in casual conversation could have the same effect as turtleneck sweaters). We need to grab the reader, need to find something noteworthy.

Generally obituary subjects need to have a certain standing. They might be famous, but just as often, they're not. But if you spent 18 months as CFO of Ford, you'll probably qualify. Or if you're one of a few remaining survovors of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, you'll get in. So, have you ever done anything newsworthy?

Joe Speaker (not his real name), the original drummer for seminal underground rock group Dissemblance, who once performed at LA's famous Whiskey A Go-Go on a Tuesday night, has died.

Yeah, that was cool, but hardly registered on the public conscience. Hmmmm, I have gotten my name in the paper before.

Joe Speaker (not his real name), an All-Section sweeper who led his Granada High Matadors to league and section titles in 1985, has died.

No, that doesn't measure up, either, though it might get me a brief in the hometown paper.

We all want to be remembered for something, if only among our circle of friends and family. It's why we have kids. While being a parent is not particularly newsworthy, it is, I'll wager, the most important thing I will ever do. And probably my best chance for getting an obit in the paper.

Joe Speaker (not his real name), the father of diplomat AJ, the man widely credited with fostering absolute peace in the Middle East, has died.

So, there ya go. Plenty of examples to work with. I leave you with my final answer.

Joe Speaker (not his real name), an eternally optimistic goofball, loved by both mothers and small children alike, who faithfully and consistently over-played Ace-Jack Suited and subsequently cast his family into abject poverty, has died.

Services are pending.

I Fought Piranhas

What do you mean it's only Tuesday?!?! I can't take much more of this. Time has virtually stopped. It's like Robert Hays and Pam Dawber are hanging around with that stupid watch (I really can't help myself with the '80s references, April).

And then this comes along promising to make the next 9 days even more interminable:

Prophet Yahweh summoning UFOs to Las Vegas.

Prophet Yahweh sounds like a hoot. I wanna party with that cowboy.


As warned, little to nothing in the way of poker content. Did a little reading last night, and as you might guess, a lot of thinking. I am through-the-roof excited to be playing in a World Series of Poker event. I am also downright terrified. I'm having these huge mood swings where I'm bouncing off the walls one minute and assuming the fetal postion the next.

Bottom line: I don't want to make a total ass out of myself. Not because I am not a total ass at times, but because I don't want my play in the Event to overshadow the rest of the weekend. I tend to obsess about my donkey plays, negatively affecting my mental condition.

If I'm being perfectly honest and pragmatic, I'm at a pretty severe experience disadvantage in this field. Aside from the considerations of play, there are other factors which make this a wholly new affair:

1. The length of the event. To make it through the first day, we're looking at roughly 14 hours, more than twice the length I've ever spent in an online tourney. And online, I can freely move around, even make dinner. Gonna take extra focus.
2. The inability to run to the toilet quickly so as not to miss a deal. Online, I can fold UTG, sprint down the hall, do my bidness and make it back for my BB. It's a gift.
3. Having to wear pants. Self-explanatory.
4. Scary professional poker players staring at me for inordinate amounts of time. I don't even like it when hot chicks stare at me. Well, that's not true. I like it, but not in a "I enjoy being stared at" way. Rather in a "Yeah baby, I know you're diggin' it, but please stop staring at me, you're making me uncomfortable" way. If Lederer fixes his mojo on me for more than 15 seconds, I'll not only blurt out what I'm holding, but I'll probably give him my wallet, too.
5. My wife keeps asking me how much I'm going to win. She did the same thing for weeks leading up to my "Greed" appearance and we all know how that turned out (CHESSMAN, YOU FUCK!). All us bread-winners suffer from Latrell Spreewell Syndrome, so the pressure to feed my family is intense.

Of course, I haven't actually received my confirmation e-mail from the Rio yet. Today should be the latest I'd hear from them. If not today, I'm officially worried.


Speaking of the dear and patient wife and her unreasonable expetations (though I don't necessarily take them personally since she unreasonably expects to win the Lottery some day, too), I thought I'd list something that SHE does that makes me want to file papers. You know, in the interest of equal time.

She puts kitchen utensils away in a different place every time. It's like a never-ending game of "Where's the Cheese Grater?" When we were house-shopping, her one demand was to have a "big kitchen." I thought it was so she would have more room for her culinary masterpieces. Turns out it was so she could torture me with 6x more drawer space in which to hide the can opener.


Pauly's running a Freeroll tonight on (Ig)Noble Poker. I won't be home in time from work to participate, but I encourage you all to play and show support for his efforts. And it's a good way to kill a couple hours off the Vegas wait.

Monday, May 23, 2005

I Just Don't Know What To Do With Myself

Absent a mandate, this week's posts will be titled courtesy of the White Stripes because their last release was called "Elephant" and yesterday I rode a pachyderm. It's all connected, people. There is no Chaos Theory. We're all on one big inter-related string. You need more proof?

Last week was Def Leppard week and my cousin plays on a soccer team in Hollywood with Vivian Campbell, current guitarist for Joe Elliott and Co.

Don't mess with me on this. I can Six Degree myself to anybody in the universe (perhaps tenuously, but you're welcome to give it a shot).

Back to the point, riding elephants sucks. It turns out I'm not quite as limber as I used to be. Despite my body consisting of 70% legs, I did not have the span to comfortably straddle the mammoth's girth. From the instant I was perched, a shooting pain assaulted what I tenatively diagnose as my hip-ular joint-al area, just behind the ball socket in what might universally be called the right buttock. Yes, I had a pain in my ass. No amount of squirming or re-adjusting could relieve this agony, though all attempts provided humor for the dear and patient wife.

The Boy, whom I hope someday reads this and appreciates The Sacrifices I've made for his enjoyment, was utterly ignorant of my plight, as well as the danger this wobbly beast could quite easily toss us to our certain deaths. No, he was giggling and swooning like an adolescent girl at a Rick Springfield concert.

I'd like to extend my thanks to "Kitty," the elephant, and her lesbian handlers for allowing us to live, but perhaps some thought should be put into making the ride more comfortable for those of us lacking Olga Korbut's flexibility. Or, better yet, let's completely abandon the entire idea of Elephant Riding and stick to fucking ponies. By which I mean riding fucking ponies, not actually "fucking" ponies.

Just to be clear.


That Saturday evening post serves as a road map regarding what you can expect from me in Vegas. When I get drunk, I'm very talkative. And very random. Don't get me wrong, I can manage a conversation. I can even follow the line of thought and make pertinent comments thanks to years of drinking pitcher after pitcher with my friends, all of whom like to get drunk and argue/discuss things. No, not 'things,' issues. Like foreign policy. Endless Pitchers of Newcastle + The Monroe Doctrine = My Idea of a Good Time. It's amazing I didn't get laid more in those days, wouldn't you say?

But I will just as often start pulling unrelated material that pops into my head. My thought-editor takes a vacation after 8 drinks.

The hat, for the record, was a simple Adidas cap.


Poker's taking a bit of a holiday, as I focus more on reading Harrington (damn it's good) than actually playing (and more on hanging out with the family on the weekend than actually playing). Will probably take a run at another live tourney next Sunday at Pechanga, a local indian casino. The buy-in is a ridiculously juiced-up $35+$15, but the time and location are good. I'll try to take notes this time.

"Pechanga" in the native language means "place where the water drips." Thought you'd like to know. Of course, I went looking for the definition so I could play off it in my in usual clever fashion, but damned if I know what to do with "place where the water drips." I'm sure there's some backstory/legend there which makes the name mystical and worthwhile, but I can't see it, nor can I use it as a pretty little bow to tie up this post.

So much for a kicker.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

High and Dry

Note to self: On the last hand of the re-buy period, ALWAYS play two suited big cards.

That's exactly what I did after an hour of trying to get blood from turnips. I kept getting big hands--including AA twice--and not getting paid off. IT'S A RE-BUY YOU JACKASSES! The tightest table I've ever seen in these things.

I managed to work my way up to T5000, which is fine, but below average. Then, I see KsTs in the BB as the break looms. A 5x raise from EP and two callers (the latter making my decision pretty easy). I call and see a flop of two spades, including the ace. Look who's drawing to the nuts! I check-call a grand, check on my turned nuts (checked behind) and fire out another grand on the rag river. Pre-flop raiser pushes his remaining 2700 (two pair, AQ) and I'm at nearly 10K at the break (and add-on coming up).

Only got $31 in, so I'm getting an excellent overlay on my money with only 850 remaining and a prize pool of more than $46K.

Now it's time to play.

(A suited Hammer is good when checked to showdown; I completed from the SB and pair of sevens takes it)


Another memo to self: Every time your son talks about smoking, don't relay the story to the dear and patient wife.

See I quit once before. I've quit many times before but I REALLY quit once before. Eight months I was smoke free. Cold turkey, too. And then just about a year ago, as we were preparing to move into our first house, I cracked. There is no excuse, but there was some pressure. Anyway, the result of that is my promises to quit after Vegas are met with serous skepticism.

The dear and patient wife herself used to be a smoker. She quit when she got pregnant, but resumed afterward. Then, on AJ's second birthday, she quit as a present to him and hasn't gone back since (coming up on two years now). Well, she has smoked two cigarettes in that time; both times in a severe stupor. The end result of those twin attampts was her puking. There's a lesson there, kids.

So, basically, when I told her I was gonna quit after Vegas, she dismissed me with a wave of the hand and a look of disgust. Because she's heard it before, and really, ex-smokers are THE WORST. So, I started to play the angles. "Honey, I need your support!" No. "Baby, I can't do it without you!" You suck. "For The Boy!" Bite me.

So, I'm on my own, apparently.

Ah, serendipity. Not only one of my favorite words, but once of my favorite occurences. I just hocked up some shit--which happens occassionaly--and went to spit it into my empty Newcastle bottle. What follows is an exact quote from the dear and patient wife:

"Don't do that. It makes me sick. Seriously, that's the only thing you do that makes me want to file papers."


I can't believe I didn't reveal this in the midst of the whole "secret shame" thing. I didn't think about it. Because it is de riguer for me.

Since I was a child, I have crossed my toes. When not wearing shoes--and trust me, in the early days, I had a few issues with shoes--I cross my pinky toe over the fourth toe (is there a generally accepted/medical term for the fourth toe?) using my feet. I sit like this a good 70% of the time when my feet are un-shod. My pinkie toes, after years of such abuse, both veer inwardly. It's the most natural thing in the world to me. I often don't even know I've done it.

And it freaks The Mrs. right the fuck out.

Kinda unique wouldn't you say? I've never run across anyone with this peculiar fetish, which might be attributable to the fact I rarely mention it in polite company. My mother used to berate me for it. Said I was going to deform myself. Which is exactly what happened, but what's a little deformity when comfort is involved?

So yeah, that might be my most secret shame.


Secocnd break in the re-buy. Yes, I'm blogging the entire way. A lot of time between folds. Fortunately, when I do get a big hand, I can get paid off. I saw, by my estimation, 8 flops that hour. But I doubled up with KK (seriously dude, have you been paying any attention? When I re-raised your minimum raise to 2K, you should have folded your shitty ATo. When you flopped second pair you REALLY should not have check-raised me all-in. Dumb motherfucker. Yes, I know I hugely benefitted, but stupid people still annoy me).

I'm sitting 77th of 436 with a well-above average stack of 26K.

My biggest regret is not getting a shot at the redneck over-better at my table. Okay, so maybe I'm pre-supposing that he's a redneck, but his avatar was wearing a cowboy hat and his only move was all-in and he had a big-ass stack. Bet of over 20K into blinds sitting at 300. He managed to win every showdown, too, working his way up near 40K, but he wasn't exactly showing down monsters. Just got called by idiots.

Sadly, he got moved.


Ah, big stack poker.

I'm mildly aroused right now.


Speaking of redneck over-betters, I just pulled one my own self. Ended up with a classic coin flip (re-raised all-in from the BB with A6s to a button raise who flipped Presto which held up). Decimated my stack, but, perhaps thinking I was on tilt, a gentleman just called my QQ with A5o and I doubled up. Still, I fucked up by not just calling the former hand. Or hey, even folding. One stupid mistake.

Not a good hour for me. I managed to hang in, but well below average (nearly 7x the BB) and sitting 124th of 153. Top 135 paid.

Ah. the classic dilemma. Try to fold into the money--such as it is--or push with your first playable hand. With the escalating blinds and no real big stacks at my table, I probably have to wait for a biggie. Chips roaring into the middle like nobody's bidness.

Stay tuned.

Well, we made the money. Currently sitting on a profit of $15.76. Cards suck though and it's push monkey time. For me.

River Stars!!!!!!!!!!!!

With only 4x the BB, I called a min. raise. Yes, leaving me with ony 2x the BB. But there were four people already in and the BB called as well. I had A8 of clubs. Flop was 944 with one club. BB bet out and I called, putting me all in. He is a huge stack in 6 figures, so I'm thinking it's a feeler bet. Three folds to me and I'm KINDA pot committed, so I'm in. BB/Big Stack has 93o. Rag turn. Ace river.

I have 12x the BB now.

Just got dealt two hammers in a row. I didn't play 'em.

It's been a coon's age since I've found a pocket pair to call my own. There's no earthly reason for me to still be in this tourney. Damn. I can't get a goddamn thing to play. Then there's the 3-outer on the river thing. Yet, I'm sitting on a profit of $60.

There's also no earthly reason the dear and patient wife and AJ are completely crashed out on the couch, considering the light is on and the ceiling fan is going and the tunes are at a substantial volume, but there they are, blissfully asleep.


You wanna know how hot it was here today? I'm wearing a single article of clothing at 11:10 p.m. Well, two if you count the hat.


I've folded my way to 4x the BB. Time runneth short.

Well, nevermind me.

I got the following in three straight hands:

ATo--Got the blinds, which is not insubstantial at 3000/6000
AKo--Blinds again
AJo--Yeah, of course. Got called by a shorter stack with JTs. He flopped two pair, but all spades. Ace of spades I have, says Yoda. Turn is another spade. I now have 12x the BB again.

Crazy fucking game.

Yes, I'm still in. With all of 4x the BB. I haven't seen paint since the Carter Administration and my stack is so feckless that any steals are gonna get called, with the behemouths at my table.

I posted the BB and had one more bet left. So I called the button's all in with T5o (HEY! It makes all possible straights!). Button had only Q8, so live cards and I turned the ten. Got the blinds once after that, and then doubled up with AQo.

Funny thing about that. I called an all-in with it. Mr. All-In had KTs. Which is an absured bet, considering he had 15x the BB. But anyway, I flopped the ace, but two hearts on board (his suit). "No heart!" I scream.

The dear and patinet wife pats me on the shoulder and assures me none are forthcoming.

She's right.

She's not so right when protesting my call of a 3x raise from the BB with 8h7h, getting 2.5-1 on my money. I flop an OESD and push. Big Stack folds.

I do believe I'm leading a charmed life at this point. After another blind score, I'm sitting 18th of 45.


Actual conversation:

Me: Honey, why are all your CDs scratched?
Wife (yes, she's awake now): Because of your son. Because we didn't send him to an orphanage when we had the chance.


Well, 33rd is the final placing. How I got there, I've no idea. I guess I could read this garbage, but it's awfully late and I'm awfully drunk. Good night's work.

All mis-spellings and grammatical errors are purely the fault of the author and in no way reflect the intellectual capacity or views of Blogger or any of it's subsidiaries.

Random Spewage

The song/post titles are not mandatory on the weekends, though if Dep Leppard had a song title approximating "Random Spewage," I'd certainly have used it.

Played my first live tournament last night, a 12-table affair at a casino that looks like it might not be able to hold 12 tables. Not a badly run gig. Walked out of there thinking it was about my level and could beat it with a little luck. Buy a "little luck" I mean actualy getting some fucking cards for the first hour and/or the last hour I lasted.

The first hour was a re-buy and I took the double off the top (1000 chips for $20 added to starting stack of 300). Needn't have bothered. Those chips did nothing but gather dust. Best hand during the re-buy period was A7o. Dropped T150 or so in blinds and took the double add-on, another T1000 for $20.

Finally got some cards in the next 45 minutes, dragging pots with KK, and two Big Slicks. Was up to T5000 when the antes kicked in. And I again went dead. Actually saw a couple flops with medium suited connectors, but no love. No Ace-big. No pocket pairs. By the time the break rolled around, I'd been blinded/anted down to T2700 and staring at one orbit to make a move (500/1000; 100 ante). Folded three hands until I took a stand with KQc. A minimum raise in front and the guy wasn't happy I pushed, even though it was only 300 for him to (obviously) call. He was stealin' with K2s. Natuarally, he flopped a deuce. So rigged.

I think I accomplished what I wanted. I focused on every hand, got the rhythm of the game, tried reading players/counting the pot even when not in the pot, focused on my body language. There weren't any plays/players against whom I felt over-matched. In fact, I felt I could out-play a majority of them if given the chance. I'm also a better dealer than half the ones we had, as I not only helped out with the math on side pots, but once saved a player from taking a premature walk. Two nimrods were all in with shit (Q8o vs. J4o; seriously) and the board read 979A7. J4 got up to leave, the dealer pushed the pot to Q8 and started to muck the cards, when I slammed my hand on the board saying, "The board plays!"

As I said, I think I could take these guys. I was at least a little more observant. On a related note, it was a solid time. Some good-natured players and conversation.


Haven't played any online poker since Tuesday (though that'll change in 45 minutes). The Boy and I spent this exceptionally hot May day out and about, an afternoon that included the following exchange:

AJ: (Crossing his arms) Daddy, I want to be grown up.
Me: Don't be in such a hurry, buddy. Being a kid is much better than being a grown up.
AJ: But I want to be like you.
Me: That's sweet. But you should enjoy being a kid.
AJ: Yeah, but if I'm like you I can smoke cigarettes.

On a scale of 1-10, with 10 signifying feeling like the biggest asshole in the world, I spent about a half-hour at 20. Guess I will have to quit. After Vegas. I'm feeling better about it now. A cig always calms me down.


Went to the bookstore today and picked up "Harrington on Hold 'Em." I'm only 30 pages in and I'm already digging it. I'm gonna read it a couple times in the next 11 days. Also picked up "Sex, Drugs and Cocoa Puffs" by Chuck Klosterman. Been wanting to pick this up for a while, but kept forgetting. Suffice to say, Chuck's the guy I want documenting my generation, not Douglas Fucking Coupland. Best way to get on my bad side is to say "Gen X." Don't even think it!


An open letter to the California Department of Transportation:

Dear assholes,

I don't mind you closing down an entire freeway. I'm aware it must be done. And midnight is the right time to do it. But, there are A LOT of people who aren't exactly familiar with the Pedley area. In fact, I would suggest that anyone who doesn't live in Pedley would fall into that category. As such, herding us off the freeway, closing all the freeway on-ramps within a five mile radius AND NOT GIVING US DETOUR SIGNS is bad manners. That's 45 minutes of my life I will never recover. And if I sustain irrepearable kidney damage because a a crucial urination was delayed for said 45 minutes, I'm gonna have your asses.


What to do now? What to do, what to do...

12-pack of Newcastle. Check.
Fresh Pack of Cigs. Check.
Crazy $11 Re-Buy on Stars. Check.


Friday, May 20, 2005

Bringin' on the Heartbreak

Seriously, I'd like to kill myself right now. I wrote a long post, began yesterday, finished last night. My son hit "recover post" before I could post it and I lost it all, but for a few sentences. Today, I wrote it again. Somehow, some way, I just lost it again. I feel like a pregnant woman who's two weeks overdue. I JUST WANT THIS THING OUT! I DON'T CARE WHAT IT LOOKS LIKE!

I would like to stress that I fully intend to be the 'bringer,' rather than the 'receiver' of said Heartbreak. As does, I'm sure, the rest of the Blogger Regiment, set to alight upon Cibola in a swarm of decadence two short weeks...er, a fortnight...from now.

We are gonna use Vegas up and put her away wet. She'll be walking funny for weeks.

Welcome to this week's giddy, over-anxious version of "The Countdown," our regular march toward Infamy. The ponies are turning for home, the crowd rising as one, the metaphors fast and furious.

This installment's font of misinformation concerns table image. Sure, a hundred weaving people descending en masse on the Excalibur poker room carries with it its own indelibile image. But you've only two weeks left to hone your individual persona, to find the exact fit for maximum profit or, more likely, learn to recognize who to avoid. Let's start with my personal favorite.

The Dean Martin: Everybody's digs the social drinker. A little goofy, occassionally charming, always entertaining. Your advantage here is that people like you. They are not concerned with the calculating moves you're making below the surface. They see only the "Good Time Charlie," and don't even mind when you're stacking off their chips. There's a fine line, though. Generally, this tactic works best when you can keep a steady buzz going, somewhere around the five drink level. Get too far past that point and you run the risk of becoming...

The Foster Brooks: Not nearly--as in, not at all--as endearing as the above, this image can quickly turn ugly. Knocking over chips, insensitive burping and frequent prompts from the dealer are all possible manifestations. The buzz is a buzzkill for the rest of the group and they will slowly begin to hate this player for it. Their only possible saving grace is that they are probably giving their chips away due to their inability to see/talk/think.

The Al Michaels: This jackass makes sure everyone knows what he thinks everybody has and what the pot odds are and how the dealer is getting ready to reveal the turn card. No table nuance escapes his commentary. He provides a far-from-succinct wrap-up of every hand. He is very likely to end up with a bottle to the skull.

The Mishca Barton: This savvy player can quote liberally from Caro's "Book of Tells." Like The O.C.'s over-wrought star, every card triggers an elaborate act. Flop a set? Here comes the tsk-tsk-ing, the head shaking. Four to the flush? Gosh, hope nobody draws out on me. Two overcards to a pocket pair? Fires out an emphatic bet, complete with follow-up stare-down. Like our beloved Marissa, this player makes me laugh.

The Harvey Keitel: The Hard Ass. You don't mess around with him and he's definitely not sitting to mess around, either. Like "The Wolf," he's no nonsense. He doesn't wanna hear any of your shit. Bet. Win. Ship It. Get it straight, gentlemen: He's not here to say please, he's here to tell you what to do.

The Steve: You don't know Steve, but you know A Steve. Steve was a guy who once lived in my apartment complex and was a very accomplished individual, according to him. If you've climbed K2, he's climbed Everest. If you've successfully bluffed a four-figure pot, he's taken half a mill off Raymer heads-up. He's most likely to eventually be found bound and gagged behind an off-strip dumpster.

The Blogger: S/He says 'jopke' a lot. S/He knows the correct rules for a straddle. S/He rams and jams with 72o with alarming frequency. S/He is having the best fucking time.


One more list before I take myself out permanently. Goddamn Fucking blogspot.

People with whom I'd like to sit in the WSOP

Gabe Kaplan: If only for the chance to say, "Nice Hand, Mr. Kot-tare"
Dutch Boyd: I'll call him Russ the whole time and drop an occasional "meow" when he's in a tough spot.
Evelyn Ng: Since the dear and patient wife can't come, having a stand-in hot statuesque Asian nearby will be soothing.
Otis: I'll just badger him the whole time. "Show 'em how big yer cock is, Otis!! Show 'em!"
Phil Gordon: So I can slip him April's room key.
Paul Phillips: Donkeys alwasy draw.
Isabelle Mercier: For research on my forthcoming post, "Isabelle Mercier smells SOOOOO good," a post guaranteed to send Gene on a tri-county ass-whuppin' spree.

Okay, labor over. I need a sedative and bed rest.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Armageddon It

The End truly is Nigh if I'm gearing up to play in a WSOP Event.

Awfully sleepy today having stayed up most of the night to see the new Star Wars.

I made a jopke.

I was trying to explain to an outraged Geek why I'd never seen Episodes 5 and 6 (perhaps it has something to do with the stupid numbering system), but couldn't come up with a concrete answer. "Star Wars" was huge, of course. And I saw it more than once in the theater. By the time the others came around, I guess I had other things on my mind, like trying to get my hand inside Tanya Elkins' bra. In fact, the only movie from that Era that I remember desperately needing to see was "Fast Times."

As I told Chris, maybe if Phoebe Cates bared her breastises in "Jedi," I'd have been more likely to see it.

Regardless, I hope you all had fun costing the economy $627 million with your calling in sick today.


I'm heading out to Crystal Park Casino tomorrow night for their $12+$3 re-buy tourney. Call it the Education of Me. Any LA bloggers care to come with? Shoot me an e-mail. Tourney starts at 7.


No poker last night, so I've got nothing for you on that front. Leave now if you don't want to be subjected to basebal talk.

I'm a big fan of Bill Simmons, The Sports Guy, on ESPN.com. He's roughly my age with the same cultural frame of reference and he's entertaining regarding sports, instead of being in the mold of a usual columnist: overly opinionated and sanctimonious. He seems to know more about his subject matter, taking the tactic of being a fan, rather than some holier-than-thou informer of insider information. He's not the classic Ink Stained Wretch, pontificating on high to us lowly consumers searching for Truth about our ball clubs. He's a guy sitting on the other side of the table in the grimy pub arguing sports with equals.

Well Bill, today I'm leaning across the table with one thing to say to you:

Lick My Balls.

This is what he wrote:

After watching the Red Sox play Oakland five times in the past week and a half, I'm ready to start popping Prozacs. Is there a more depressing team on the planet than Oakland? Every A's batter is hitting between .180 and .220. Poor Jason Kendall ... it looks like they're forcing him to live under a bridge between games. Barry Zito is feeling the pressure of a guy who's killing tens of thousands of roto teams across the country. Octavio Dotel looks like he's bringing his suitcase to the stadium every day in case they trade him. And so on. During last night's comeback by the Sox, it seems like 95 percent of the crowd was cheering for Boston. If they don't fire Ken Macha soon, they're going to find him hanging in the dugout within the next 3 days.

(What a bad situation. I think Michael Lewis needs to write a new prologue for "Moneyball" titled, "OK, maybe I was wrong.")

Yeah, the A's suck (though not enough to prevent them winnning 2 of 3 from the Sawx this week). But the "Moneyball" shot is beyond ignorant and TYPICAL of the very commentators Simmons has gone out of his way to convince us he is not.

A lot of people have a misconception about "Moneyball." Some idiots think A's GM Billy Beane wrote it. Others think it trumpets On Base Percentage as the Holy Grail of Baseball Superiority.

No. What it is, at its base, is a team, with limited resources, attempting to exploit market inefficiencies in the game and managing to do it very well for an extended period of time. At the time the book was written, OBP was an undervalued skill. Only three years later, that's not the case. So, perhaps the A's DID know something.

But that's not even really the point. The point is, this team with limited resources has averaged more than 90 wins a season the last 5 years (a better winning percentage than...oh, I don't know...the Red Sox?). Yet, because they are sucking ass for 40 games THIS season, Simmons thinks it renders the entire philosophy invalid.

Let's see, five seasons...40 games...5 seasons...40 games. Which would be a more accurate barometer of a team's worth?

Sample size matters, Bill.

Maybe you were just being cute. Fine. As long as you know exactly what kind of company that sort of behavior puts you in. It rhymes with Shaughnessy.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005



Now, we're talking. I lost the Def Leppard vibe about 1985, or before Rick Allen lost his arm (Hell? Party of Joe? Your shuttle is ready). But High 'n' Dry and Photograph were both in steady rotation in my 14 lb. Sony Walkman. I had a regular Saturday afternoon baby-sitting gig my sophomore year in high school at a house without fucking cable and "Photograph" is the only thing that got me through. I never did own any Union Jack apparel, however.


I played the $20 MTT on Stars last night. It was a bad idea.

This one time (at gambling camp), I won $1200 at a craps table in roughly 45 minutes. This elderly gentleman was hitting points like crazy, I'd pressed my bets the entire time, even some -EV hard ways were coming in. It was rapturous.

Hard to have a down side to such a rush, but it came later. Basically, I had no desire to gamble the rest of my weekend. Because every time I sat down at a table, or wrapped my hand around the dice, I was going for that earlier feeling, that adrenaline high. Obviously, I wasn't going to get it.

That's how I felt in the tourney last night. I wasn't "involved." I wasn't committed to playing. I just signed up because it's what I generally do. Within 15 minutes, I was completely disinterested. Not exactly the right frame of mind for solid poker.

Aside from the intensity of the blogger satellites, there was the familiarity of the players, the witty banter. All these things make it so damn fun to play. I was missing that last night, the buzz.

So I played predictably shitty. And the hand I went out on was one that I played so poorly on all streets that I may have subconsciously just dumped it. Bad me.

My cure for this, as well as a necessary exercise, is to hit up one of our local card barns for a live tourney this weekend. I really need to have at least one under my belt before the WSOP. I'm thinking two or three will be even better. We'll see how it goes. Thanks to Der Kaiser for giving me the skinny.


My knuckle isn't broken. Swelling way down, range of movement returning. But it's odd that Bob, Russell and I are all sporting hand injuries. Feeling okay, Pirate? Bob suggested we call get casts to wear at the Final Table for the TV/sympathy effect.

Which is funny, because the last time I was on TV, I had a broken bone in my wrist and was wearing a cast. If any of you are serial watchers of the Game Show Network, you may have seen me in the last couple weeks. I was on "Greed" back in 2000 and the show gets re-run about every six months, including recently.

I only won $6000, because our asshole captain didn't know his Pepperidge Farm cookies. I did oust a guy on the Terminator, however.


Have I mentioned lately that Vegas is coming up? I keep forgetting about for...oh...15 seconds before it slams back into my head like a freight train. Just my usual trips to Vegas are events for me. But this...this is just so overwhelming. In the best possible way.

Move time! Move!

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Pour Some Sugar on Me

I know at least one person who is REALLY looking forward to this one. More on him later.

This recent rush I'm on has been quite a ride. Aside from the obvious euphoria, it has also made me wonder, in the words of David Byrne, "How did I get here?"

Analysis and introspection about my game are areas I've always worked hard to maintain. Usually, however, it's when things aren't going well, when you need to look at your hand histories to find out where you're going wrong. But I've spent the last couple of days trying to figure out exactly where I've gone right.

I think I have a pretty realistic view of myself as a player. Lately, I think I've played about as well as I am able, maximized my present ability level, which is a lesser one than many, including a lot of you bloggers out there. But I think I've learned some valuable lessons to get to this point. I think I've adapted a method of study, of practice, that works for me. Perhaps the following will be of use to someone. I hope so. I'm definitely indebted to many of you who have come before.

As a reader of poker books, I'll wager I'm not as well-versed as most. The thought came to me early in this journey that theory wasn't much use to me without experience. Now, basic Hold Em play obviously provided ballast for my early trips through the rocky seas of Party Poker. But I found that the lessons didn't become entrenched until I'd experienced the situations I'd previously only read about. And it was that continued play, the repitition, that helped me to recognize the patterns much quicker. In addition, going back to those books after countless hours of play is invaluable. The lessons therein are much more easily assimilated. You nod your head when TJ talks about overplaying Big Slick. Because you've seen (done) it. And the concepts are reinforced.

I knew this guitar player once. Amazing, he was. Never took a lesson in his life. When I asked him why, he said it was because he didn't want to be taught the same things everyone else was being taught. He didn't want the rote chord progressions drilled into him. He wanted to forge his own way, find his own unique style.

I think I'm sort of like that guy in regard to my poker. I can't play like Doyle. Which is not to say Super/System isn't enormously useful. But, at this point, everybody's been taught those chord progressions.

So, that's a lot about what I'm not, my typical long-winded and heavy-handed approach to getting to the nuts. So, the question remains, How did I get here?

I've settled on two important keys. One, I learned to not be so goddamn stubborn. Two, I've gained a williness to experiment.

Many a time was the dear and patient wife would console me as I grumbled about "how I played it right" and still lost. And I would continue to try jamming that square peg into the round hole, even as evidence (and losses) mounted that perhaps that WASN'T the right way to play it. Theoretically correct, perhaps. Correct in regard to that particular situation and that particular opponent? Maybe not.

I've learned to admit when I'm wrong, sometimes to the point of self-flaggelation. But I've made great strides in using those mistakes as tools, to learn how I could have better played those hands. There was an obvious recent example.

In the WPBT satelitte #2, we were down to 10 players. The PokerProf raised UTG and I pushed my stack in with 88. I got called in LP and knew I was cooked. Which I was. You hear it time and time again, that kind of overbet and you're only gonna get called by hands that beat you (which, to be fair, is really not always true at some of the lower-level buy-in MTTs thanks to the preponderance of fish). But in the blogger tourney, yeah, bad play.

Had roughly the exact situation arise TWICE in the last week. With 12 players left in the Crazy $11 re-buy on Wednesday night, instead of pushing, I simply re-raised with my pocket tens and folded to an all-in (he had queens). Sunday night, I re-raised Iggy with my pocket jacks and folded to Jason's re-raise. He, too, had the ladies. I pull that all-in play again and I'm out of both tourneys. Instead, despite taking a chip hit, I was able to hang around and get a result.

Now, I knew about, had read about, the concept. But I didn't truly "get it" until I experienced it.

A couple months back, I was feeling pretty good about my game and results. I was cashing in a fair amount of the MTTs, was returning a solid ROI in the two-table SnGs, but I was a little bored. Because I wasn't expanding my game. I wrote about that a little about 3 weeks ago, how I felt like I needed to add variety to my game instead of always playing tight/weak and waiting for cards.

Opening up the bag of tricks has been a boon to my results. Plenty of mis-steps along the way, but I've also found some things that work for me, that are well-suited to what I think is becoming my "style." It was obvious I needed some new arrows in my quiver if I wanted to improve. I completely overhauled my attack in the Crazy Re-Buys. I'm more alert for weak players and pounding them with big bets. And I will even slow-play pocket Kings when heads up for a WSOP seat, which is most definitely the first time in my life I've ever slow-played kings.

That last brings up an important point: Maximizing your big hands. My tendency, right from the start, has been to bet hard when I'm holding. Discourage any and all attempts to get drawn out on. Well, that's wrong in a lot of instances. Working on those teaser bets is yet another area where I'm experimenting more.

So, there ya go. My personal State of the Union. Nap time is over.


So, my main man El Paso Larry downloaded Poker Stars just to sweat me on Sunday night and I guess he hitched his wagon to the right pony, since I promised to pimp his blog in return for his support.

As you can imagine, my hits have gone through two roofs the last couple days, so talk about your premium ad space.

It truly is a niche blog, catering exclusively to us Oakland A's fans looking at a long season of craptitude from not just the players, but especially from the manager. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you...

Ken Macha is a Moron & I Hate Him.

That should make up for the mental image.

Monday, May 16, 2005


I'm glad this is "Def Leppard Song/Post Title Week" and not Air Supply or somesuch. Pretty appropriate title to encapsulate the last 14 hours.

You want a seamless narrative? You want precise language? Sorry, not today. Go read Pauly. I am incapable.

Again, thanks for all the comments. I kinda missed all the chat there at the end, though I vaguely saw the box go zooming by. See, when the third spade fell, I shot off the couch like a rocket and shouted "I'MGOINGTOTHEWORLDSERIESOFPOKER I'MGOINGTOTHEWORLDSERIESOFPOKER" while awkwardly and repeatedly high-fiving the dear and patient wife, an act which ultimately resulted in me banging my right pinkie knuckle on the coffee table, perhaps breaking it. What the hell? Win a seat, break a bone in your hand? Is that the deal, Bob?

Anyway, I wished I'd "acted like I'd been there before" and at least managed to copy the chat. Special gratitude to Iggy without whom none of this is possible, in more ways that one. You sir, are drinkin' for free when I'm around three weeks hence.

Didn't sleep much last night. Way too amped. Got pre-registered and extended my stay at The Plaza to Thursday night. Just like that, one day closer to Vegas. Damn WSOP is really gonna cut into my drinkin' time, though.

Even my mother, who frowns on this little hobby of mine, seemed genuinely happy for me.

Some weekend. Get pimped (and mocked) by Felicia and win a blogger satellite. Whose friggin' life is this anyway?

Schmaltz Alert: Down to two-tables, The Boy handed me a necklace he'd made out of these plastic chain links. I promptly put it on and proceeded to win three big pots with AJ from that point. Coincidence?

Hell no. Shit like this doesn't mean a damn thing without the love and support of your family and friends, which I'm lucky to have. They're kinda proud of me today. That means everything.

Sunday, May 15, 2005


So, I guess the WPBT Aladdin Classin WON'T be my first live tournament.

I'm sure I might have something relevant/dorky to say at some point, but right now, I'm just stunned. I've said it before, I'll say it another million times, playing with you guys is an absolute pleasure and a blast, no matter the finish.

Thanks for all the railbird support (and to Pauly for the screen shot) and the 'tough love' to keep my rapidly-becoming-drunk self together.

I. Am. One. BAD-ASS. Motherfuckin'. Card. Player.

Let us now begin negotiations on the blogger 'last longer' side wager.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Saturday in the Park

Didn't think I'd be blogging today, hence the usual "Countdown" post on a Thursday instead of Friday, but I have been inspired--again--by posts from others and I enjoy a laying down a good spot of stream-of-consciousness drivel. Almost out of Chicago song titles, though.

BG's "secret shames" post has spawned some hilarious self-reflection/self-deprication, not the least of which is Al's admission of an '80s hair band fetish. He actually confessed this to me at Commerce a few months back, but I held his secret close to my breast, lest BadBlood "freak out."

Back in the '80s, I was...er...desperately wanted to be hardcore. Metallica's "Four Horsemen" changed my life. When Slayer's "Hell Awaits" and Trouble's "The Skull" came out on the same day, I thought I'd died and gone to Hell. THAT was heavy metal. Anytime someone associated MY music with Winger or Cinderella, I wanted to stab them. It was a personal affront. I was a snob. I was, quite clearly, an idiot.

With the benefit of nearly 20 years hindsight, I can look back at the hair bands and see some things I missed back then. By and large, they're still hilarious to watch, and the music still doesn't really appeal to me. But there are exceptions. I like "Bathroom Wall" by Faster Pussycat. I really dig the galloping riff of "Uncle Tom's Cabin" by Warrant. And one time, I saw Skid Row open for Guns 'n' Roses and Sebastian Bach and Co. blew the Big Boys off the fucking stage.

That is neither here nor there. The important thing is that I rarely miss "Metal Mania" on VH-1. Talk about a video music show that's got it all. You'll get to see Metallica doing "Whiplash" or Slayer's "Raining Blood" live. Or some lesser-known and under-rated outfits like Testament or Accept. But you'll also get White Lion or Slaughter doing some horrible song complete with choreographed kicking/guitar-slinging/knee sliding and bad clothes and psuedo-macho posturing. That shit kills me. Funniest stuff on TV.

Maybe the most unintentionally funny video of all time is Journey's "Separate Ways." If you've seen it, you know. If not, I can't possibly adequately convey the hilarity. No, they're not a hair band, but I needed a segue to

What I've Been Listening to Lately While Playing Poker

and Journey actually qualifies. I listened to their Greatest Hits CD the other night while playing an MTT. Call it a trip back to my adolescence. Perry can sing and Neal Schon is a solid guitarist, but yeah, there's not a great deal of innovation or depth there. Even so, some day, love will find you...

My main poker soundtrack lately has been Avenged Sevenfold. I don't know much about them, but caught a video a few months back that intrigued me. The opening riff was decidedly Slayer-esque, if a little less heavy. And the video showed that the band abbreviates their name as A7x, which looks like a flop, so cool. You can actually see the video on their web site, if you're interested. The song is called "Unholy Confessions" and is representative of the whole album. I can't link the site, but any google search will yield it (and I see upon navigating over there that they have a new album out in a few weeks).

So I bought the album and listened to it a couple times. Some good parts, but it didn't catch hold of me. I still like my metal a little on the hard side and it didn't appear to measure up, occassionally coming off more like Queensryche than Slayer.

(Quick Queensryche tangent. They were the first band I ever saw live--as opening act for Dio. This was when they had only released an EP featuring awesome songs like "Queen of the Ryche" and "The Lady Wore Black" and long before they became the melodic rock outfit responsible for "Silent Lucidity." Still Geoff Tate can fucking belt it out.)

Anyway, A couple weeks ago, I decided to give A7x another listen and now I can't get them out of my head. Some very creative songwriting and a ton of hooks. Right now, "Eternal Rest" is kicking my ass DAILY. I have to hear that song. A lot of pace changes, the guy can actually sing when warranted (one thing that bugs me about the current state of thrash is the gutteral growling. I'm one who thinks the voice can be effectively used as another instrument, but you can't be an instrument if you just shout or growl without regard to melody) and a unique hybrid sound.

Others that have gotten a lot of recent play:

Mars Volta
Kings of Leon
Broken Social Scene
Queens of the Stone Age

And just to bring it all back to the "secret shame," I have one more:

I have never seen "Return of the Jedi" or "The Empire Strikes Back."

Wait'll Chris finds out.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Feelin' Stronger Every Day

My brain is like a TV dinner. There's a little compartment for the salisbury steak, one for the carrots, the mashed potatoes and that odd dessert-y thing. I'll start in on the carrots and get easily distracted, "Ohhhh, steak!" As such, I leave the other items sitting around too long, getting soggy, and ultimately, inedible.

So I'm going to try to clean my plate here today before we get to this week's episode of "The Countdown." Speaking of "The Countdown," I've been trying to work in a reference to "The Final Countdown," that '80s anthemic piece of hysterical garbage performed by Europe. I'm sorry, any "rock" song that needs the keyboards to carry the melody is an instant classic. Not in a good way. There's a line burned in my memory from Bruce Dickenson of Iron Maiden in some long-ago metal documentary that goes, "You can't play heavy metal with synthesizers." Amen, brother.

Anyway, I suck at weaving the obscure into the idiotic, so I haven't been able to get the Europe reference in there, leaving me no choice but to just plop it in like a huge dump on your lawn. Just know this: The lead singer's name was Joey Tempest.

Why that makes me giggle, I don't rightly know.

But I'm all about anthemic rock cheese. Yes, my secret shame is Styx. When I was 13 and doing my paper route, I listened to "Paradise Theater" for a good 6 months straight while folding. I got my first handful of Wendy Stephens' bum with "Babe" on the turntable. I love them like I loved my first silk Adidas sweat suit. I make no apologies for my affliction.

That said, since Def Leppard got two votes, next week's titles will be all theirs.


Felicia and others can be rest assured that I will be spending some of my recent poker windfall on a suitable Vegas wardrobe. I'm thinking something in a fuschia, mesh if possible. I have an image to uphold as the pre-emminent metrosexual of the poker blogsophere. Speaking of which, can I be "The David Beckham of Poker Bloggers?" He's a primary Poster Boy for our "movement" and I can swerve in a mean cross if called upon. Judges?

(Yes, there's some possible blasphemy there as a Liverpool fan, since I'm obligated to hate anything and anyone ever associated with ManUre, but while I think Becks is horribly over-rated by many, the man works his ass off on the pitch and I've always respected his engine.)

On the wardrobe front, is it any coincidence that my WPBT ringer-T arrived during the first hour of the Re-Buy on Wednesday night and covered my torso during the drive to the Final Table? I think not. The only thing, as a ringer-T, I expected the sleeves to accentuate my throbbing biceps (if you haven't seen my throbbing biceps, think Angel Hair pasta). Instead, the sleeves flare like an ill-fitting softball uniform, giving the appearance of two umbrellas hanging off my shoulders. It's still kick-ass.

Okay, another fashion question, this one for April. If I wear my WPBT ringer-T in Vegas, am I "that guy?"


The Aladdin Classic will be my first live tournament. In fact, unless something changes, it will be the first time I've ever played no limit live. I've tried to get into one of the myriad tourneys at my local Indian Casinos/Card Barns, but they're all at bad times for me and I'm pretty much booked up with family bidness for the next few weekends. I'm pretty sure that inexperience will show. Adding up all the potential issues, from having to fight off what will surely be a massive hangover, to counting the money in the pot, to helping Al figure out his chip colors, to my propensity to shake worse than a methadone clinic waiting room and I don't really like my chances. I'm looking into wearing a Haz-Mat suit to obscure the tells.

My bounty arrived yesterday...drum roll, please...and the person who knocks me out will receive a copy of one of my favorite novels, "Homeboy" by Seth Morgan. I know it's kinda boring, but I am, after all, known in your better poker circles as "The Librarian." And while a poker book would have been an obvious choice, I decided to go with this one for a couple reasons. One, it's about a degenerate, which should appeal to roughly 75% of the community. Two, it's protagonist is none other than Joe Speaker, the inspiration for my internet poker nom de plume. The book is in really good shape (thank you, e-bay), surprising since it's been out of print for several years (and my copy no longer has a front cover). Sadly, it's the author's only finished novel, as he died in a motorcycle accident shortly after its publication. It's really quite different, with some richly drawn characters and innovative use of language. I hope my vanquisher will enjoy it as much as I.


Okay, on to "The Countdown," our weekly episodic stroll through my feckless imagination.

Things to Do in Vegas When You're Drinking Yourself to Death

It has come to my attention that we will have several first-timers in the fair city of Sin, so I'm here to offer a list of "must do's" and "bests."

Walk The Strip: Few things are as liberating as rolling down Las Vegas Blvd. with a drink in each hand. I do this every time I go. I stop in at the various casinos for a drink or some quick table action. I people watch. Get a little exercise. Get propositioned for every imaginable act/substance.

Some of my favorite places to stop:

Barbary Coast: Old school casino is my favorite place for blackjack. Centrally-located and they feature two-deck games with as little as a $10 minimum, even on weekends. It's always a party in there and the dealers are fantastic. Last time I was there, some incredibly drunk guy was giving me $100 chips to bet.
New York, New York: Best greyhounds on the planet, thanks to the freshly squeezed grapefruit juice. Also the best collection of restaurants in a single casino. Special shout-outs to the carnitas burrito at Gonzalez y Gonzalez and the authentic Irish pub smack in the middle of the casino.
The Mirage: Has lost its lustre in recent years, but their Lagoon Saloon features the city's best bloody mary. Get it spicy, you big baby.
Caesar's Palace: For you shoppers/metrosexuals, The Forum Shoppes are the first place to go.
Paris: This hotel has a great outdoor cafe to sit and drink in the sun and watch the masses go by. As an inveterate people-watcher, I've passed many an afternoon here. It also has quite the wine list--so I'm told--for you vino-philes.

Nightlife: I hate nightclubs. Gimme a noisy pub with a killer jukebox over a dark dance joint with rib cage-rattling techno music any day of the week. As such, I have next to nothing for you here. I DO like the Double-Down Saloon, an off-strip dive bar near the Hard Rock, though I liked it better 5 years ago. Last time I went, it was a little too "scene-y" for me. I have been to "The Beach," an off-strip nightclub that is tolerable, thanks to areas where you can hear yourself think and an around-the-clock sportsbook upstairs. And I can see the lure of The Ghost Bar, located at the top of The Palms.

Best Places for Breast Implants: To see them, not to purchase them. The centrally-located bars at the Hard Rock and The Palms. Again, people-watching opportunities up the ying-yang. I'm especially partial to the ultra-wealthy shriveled-up toads with back hair and a hooker on each arm. Also, I suppose some strip clubs might fall into this category, but I can't confirm, nor deny, any particular knowledge on that score.

Best Place to Pass Out: I'm not sure, but I DO know a bathroom stall at the New Frontier isn't it.

Best Looking Cocktail Waitress/Revealing Outfit Combination: Rio. Ah, serendipity.

Best Show: HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!! How the fuck would I know?

Best Fine Dining: Well, I've only been to two of your upper-crusty Vegas food troughs. Aqua, at The Bellagio, was unbelievable. Like being drunk on food. Like an edible orgasm (that's meant to sound appetizing, even if it doesn't). Delmonico's, an Emeril Legase joint in The Venetian, was excellent, though not quite as good as Aqua. In both, the service is impeccable, far above any standard I hold for wait staff. Take you wife/husband/partner to either of these places and you'll reap great reward.

Best Day Trip: I suppose it's Hoover Dam. Or the helicopter ride over the Grand Canyon. Again, I have no idea. Neither has to do with gambling or drinking.

Best Pool: Hard Rock. Oh Sweet Lord.

Best Buffet: Rio wins this one as well. Often a ridiculous line to enter, but a few dozen drunken railbirds might be able to clear it out in a hurry.

Best Wedding Chapel: Don't do it. Get on a bus to Albuquerque. Now.

Please note this is only one man's opinion and despite that one man being a BAD-ASS motherfuckin' card player, your mileage may vary.

Baby, What a Big Surprise


That's the sound a pirate makes. Congrats to Wes for winning the seat.


That's the sound I make when I go out to a runner-runner flush at Level 3. But there's no crying in poker.

My biggest problem, outside of walking off my tilt, was what to do with the rest of my evening? I was well into a 12-pack of Newcastles, I'm a degenerate chip slinger and I was a little pissed off. The perfect mind-set for the Crazy $11 Re-Buy on Stars.


I know I promised no more screen shots until I win an MTT. But, how 'bout this:

PokerStars Tournament #7715142, No Limit Hold'em
Buy-In: $10.00/$1.00
971 players
Total Prize Pool: $38740.00
Tournament started - 2005/05/11 - 22:15:00 (ET)

Dear JoeSpeaker,

You finished the tournament in 7th place.
A $1,317.16 award has been credited to your Real Money account.

I am one BAD-ASS motherfuckin' card player.

I hope everyone realizes that phrase is a joke. You should have seen how funny it was when Glyph typed it into chat after I busted someone during the re-buy period. I swear he had 3 or 4 players on tilt. In fact, his running commentary for the full six hours was often hysterical, keeping my increasingly drunk and tired ass both in stitches and focused. I appreciate it, man. Thanks also to Jason, who had a nice WPBT finish, for hanging out and rooting me on.

I was only in for $31, just a single re-buy and add-on. I worked up a huge stack in the first hour, massaged it up to about T30K during the second and, after quickly doubling thru in the third, got the break--the one hand--I'd been waiting for lo these many sessions.

I got AJ, of course, in the SB and raised the BB, who was also a bigger stack. He called and we saw a flop of 443. I bet out and he called. Turn was an ace and we repeated the dance. River was another 3. I bet again, hoping to keep the pot reasonable. This is not a hand I wanna go broke on. Big Stack was having none of that and pushed. I've had some trouble lately with the smooth calls and then the big bet on the river. Didn't get the hint I was behind early enough. But I didn't feel that was the case here. I worked my way through the hand and knew he had an ace. It was a kicker deal. I called. He showed A7s and my heart began to beat again.

From there, I just spent a lot of time stealing, especially on the various bubbles. Glyph made a comment about my pre-flop raises getting respect and they absolutely were, though I did drop (and show) The Hammer at some point early on. In fact, my table featured real solid players all the way around. At one point, we had 3 people who I would see again hours later at the final table (what up, Tuscon!?!?).

Down to two-tables, I made a great play. And then a poor one. First, I re-raised pre-flop with pocket 10s. Got a call behind from a short stack (ugh) and the original raiser pushed. I folded my tens. He showed queens. Good, good fold.

Couple hands later, against the same guy, I tried a turn check-raise on a scary board. He pushed and I folded, followed by me pulling my head out of my ass. Wasn't too long after that I was down to T350K, a small stack compared to both players and blinds. AA came just in time. Even better, there was a raise and a re-raise (from my nemesis in the previous graf), putting nearly 250K in the pot before I even acted. I pushed and both called. Ragged board and my nemesis bet at it, getting the other to fold, and flipped KK. WEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!

Cruised to the final table from there where the luck ran out. Lost twice with QQ, once to the short stack in the BB who beat me with 94o. The second time to AKs. Went out when my Big Slick fell to A9o. We both flopped the ace and I bet at it, perhaps a little too lightly. I was sure I was ahead when he didn't raise, so prepared to push. When the 9 hit the turn, I wasn't worried about it.


Even so, this one wasn't like the kicked in the junk feelings of prior "just short" finishes. Felt much better about my play last night, my first FT in the Stars re-buy, my biggest payday. Three final tables and more than $2500 in winnings this week ain't bad at all. Not at all.

Now if I could just get some goddamn sleep.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

25 or 6 to 4

I've mentioned before about how I used to be a total tennis geek. My love for Johnny Mac continues unabated to this day, despite his soul-crushing attempts at game/talk show hosting. Climb into the way-back machine with me will ya, Mr. Peabody?

I was watching Breakfast at Wimbledon circa 1979. I don't exactly remember who was playing, but I'm going with Evonne Goolagong, because it's fun to say and I'm not afraid to admit I watched women's tennis. I was 12. A fairly hot, if slightly matronly, Australian woman in a white dress held a certain fascination. At one point, as she prepared to serve, the mannered ambiance of Centre Court was shattered by a swarm of insects. Ms. Goolagong bent and swerved from her attackers, the quiet congregation maintaining their silence, a silence which was soon shattered by the indomitable Bud Colins:


he shouted from the booth.

It was hilarious to me then, it's hilarious to me now. It's still an exclamation I use when faced with mock horror. Yet, like that swarm of bees, there is an underlying, if small, sense of fear.

Al, being that he is THE MAN, has organized an after party to follow the Aladdin Classic. With 40 different kinds of tequila.

I love tequila. It's the one potable that can get me going, turn a 'blah' night into a carnival. It's my ace in the hole. Scores of my acquantances can attest to this, have fallen victim to my insistence that a round of Tres Generaciones is all that's needed to cure what ails us. Shockingly, I find it even settles my stomach if necessary.

I love tequila too much. When it comes to the demon nectar, my emergency brake fails. Before I know it, I'm half a bottle in and talking to inanimate objects. Strangers berate me with "Hey man, do you HAVE to do that on my lawn?!?!" It's a fine line between stupid and stupider.

This party's gonna be awesome. And I'm afraid.

Danger Bees, indeed.


So, last night illustrated a recurring theme for me recently, drove it home with an exclamation point:

My endgame sucks.

Played a two-table $20 SnG on Stars, along with fellow bloggers Glyph and Jason (the former perpetuating a heinous blogger-on-blogger crime against the latter). My tourney/cards were relatively uneventful for a while, until I turned the nuts, checked 'em, and got the chip leader to double me up on the river. From there, I went on a rush and on the bubble, held nearly half the chips in play.

It did not take me long to piss them all away.

In the interest of context, it was aggressive play which got me to that point. Outside of Glyph, the remaining 3 players were tight/passive. I pulled a couple pots just with bets on ragged flops. I even stole one from Glyph when I got him to lay down what he said was AQ on a Kxx flop. OF COURSE I had AJ, dude. Didn't want to tell you then to keep you from tilting.

But there's a limit. There's also a guiding principle. And I violated it.

Four times I raised pre-flop as the first person in the pot. All were on the button or in the SB. All were legitimate first-in raising hands 5-handed. None were legitimate calling hands if someone came over the top. Yet, four times, the guy to my immediate left, who, prior to all this, was the short stack, did just that. I called all four times. And lost all four times. And bubbled out in 5th.

Now, I was unlucky to run into four hands which had me dominated (including AK, AK and AA) in less than 3 orbits. Which doesn't excuse the calls. They were bad plays, pure and simple. In fact, I fold all of 'em and I'm STILL the chip leader, despite dropping my pre-flop raises.

I honestly don't know what happened. Detached brain stem perhaps. That would be the only valid excuse.

Bottom line, you all have nothing to fear from me tonight if you see me at the final table.

Glyph managed 4th place money, getting no board love at the end, losing a coin flip and seeing his Hiltons boned by ATo. At the break, he and I were running one-two and I told him to take a screen-shot "before I fuck it all up."

At least I know my game, for good or ill.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

If You Leave Me Now

Thieves suck.

Honestly, if any cow-fuckers from South Dakota stole my content and put it on their shill site, I'd have a big problem. Long story, but it could be very detrimental to the life to which I have become accustomed. I'll be happy to tell you about it someday, but now, here, I can't.

Is that perfectly clear?

Anyway, I have several torches at my disposal should anyone like to organize a road-trip/mob scene to the The Mount Rushmore State.

Dakota is Sioux for "friend" or "ally."

Oh, irony, you kidder.


Support of the community is something I take very seriously. I am only responding in kind. You can't truly BE part of the community if you don't contribute to the community. And it has nothing to do with money.

Rarely in life has anyone ever made me do something I didn't want to do. I absolutely want to play in the WBPT event tomorrow. If Iggy, who is more responsible than anyone else for the daily idiocy contained herein, gets a little scratch from it, my feeling is all the better. Didn't cost me anything extra.

Feel free to differ--I'm all about the free marketplace of ideas--but don't question my motives. I am not a sheep. What I am is, if you haven't heard, is one BAD-ASS motherfuckin' card player.


Before I read about all this this morning (yeah, I'm a little slow), I was going to spend the day giving a few shout-outs to folks, imparting some info--support--I've been remiss in addressing. Serendipity demands I go ahead with it.

First, to TenMile, a hearty thanks for the die cast. The Boy is enthralled and has managed to not break it yet. TM offered this Campbell's Soup Model T to the third place (bubble) finisher in the first WPBT satellite. We chopped second place money, but he sent it along anyway. At great personal cost, apparently, based on the amount of tapeon the package. I keed.

I also got a new blog to read out of the deal. I dig TenMile's style, which was described by another blogger as full of, "uber-posts of the subconscious."

That is ABSOLUTELY a compliment.


I wanted to mention the final table finish by my buddy OBP who spends a lot of time sweating me in the Stars MTTs. Watched him take 7th in the Stars $2, going out on a coin flip when his 33 lost to...wait for it...AJ (ace on the river). I don't know how many times I've told him to avoid AJ at all costs. But since I take full responsibility for getting he and his wife hopelessly addicted to online poker, I have to say nice job anyway, and further congrats on your first-born future left-handed pitcher in a couple weeks!


With my windfall this weekend, I went on a little poker-related spending spree. Finally got me some WPBT merchandise. Ordered my WPBT Aladdin Classic bounty from e-Bay (no, you don't get to know what it is yet). Still need to think of something to hand out if someone cracks my AJ and/or knocks me out with AJ.


I'm taking suggestions for next week's song/post titles. Cheesy arena rock bands from the 70s and 80s given special consideration.

Monday, May 09, 2005

You're the Inspiration

Every post this week will have a Chicago song title, just for drizz.

Upon further review, making the final table in an MTT is way better than not cashing at all, which is what happened on my three other attempts this weekend. Dropped nearly a fifth of my Saturday morning winnings, thanks to multiple re-buys and again just not getting that one break I need. That and losing with AA to QT.

So no more bitching about not taking the top slot.

Happily, I was able to off-set those losses with a couple in-the-money finishes on the two-table $20 SnGs on Stars (no, I didn't win either of them. Shocker) and a ridiculous run in $2/$4 limit. Ridiculous as in tripling my buy-in in about an hour. Ridiculous as in the deck smacking me around and getting multiple callers/raisers Every. Single. Time. Hey fellas, I'm betting here! I've got a huge hand! You! Chasing the flush! You're drawing dead to my flopped boat! You! Capping the betting every round! See those two sevens on the board! I've got the other two!

It was wonderful.

But there was a low. I'm not playing at Party Poker ever again.

With the dear and patient wife and AJ sleeping off their Mother's Day brunch and me still nursing along a nice bottomless mimosa buzz, I went looking for a tourney. Bad time for the Stars offerings, so, against my better judgement (which really isn't all that good to begin with), I pulled up Party. I had decimated my account last week, pulling out my Vegas stake, but left a few hunny in there for the Mrs. to play some SnGs. And for me to enter their $30 MTT starting in 3 minutes.

I am not exaggerating when I say I saw some of the worst poker play imaginable. The check-raise bluff with no pair into a set of aces. Unimproved J3o on the river pushes into pocket kings. It was like a Fellini film.

I managed to avoid being hit with any major damage. I even folded the best hand once on the turn (in the face of heavy betting when the third spade fell) and saw bottom pair hit his 5-outer against someone else on the river. Wasn't getting a lot of cards, but picked up a few hands and had an average stack into Level 5.

And then...

I flop two-pair in the BB with J2s. Small stack pushes behind my check and I call. He has KJ. Turn is a 9 of hearts, also giving me the flush draw. River is the 9 of clubs, bending me over and giving me a good hiding. Terrific.

I still have 10x the BB and am in no rush when I see Cowboys a level later (75/150). A minimum raise from the CO (and you have never seen so many minimum raises in your life) and I bump it to 600. BB and CO call. Flop is J85 rainbow. I push my remaining 900 and the BB calls. With 95o.

The nine on the river sent me into a rage of never-before-seen proportions. I'm not kidding. I absolutely fucking lost it. First time in a LONG time. After stalking around the backyard for 15 minutes, smoking furiously and mumbling to myself like a crazy person, I returned to the computer and withdrew my remaining Party funds (except for sme play around money for the Mrs.).

Rash? Perhaps. But I'm fine with it even in the light of day. I'm playing mostly tourneys now and the structure is SO much better at Stars. With one exception, I've never been much of a contender in the Party MTTs.

In the long run, I'm probably giving away money by not at least playing some limit there. These truly awful players are gonna make a lot of people rich. But I'm not ashamed to say I can't handle the variance right now. Emotional control hasn't really been a problem for me lately, but that would change after a week of soul-sucking beats at Party. I'm sure of it. Perhaps I'll come back after I work on that aspect of my game, despite the chicken-egg nature of the problem. If it's only Party that makes me insane, do I really need to work on it?

So, I've got a nice chunk of change for Vegas (thanks for THAT anyway, Party). And if I come back home with anything left over, I'm gonna put it in Full Tilt. My LA blogger friends gotta eat, you know.