Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Crimestoppers

This is always a sad time of year for me. On one hand it's Carnival and part of the reason I moved to New Orleans was the pit stop on my way to L.A. was to include Superbowl, Mardi Gras, and Jazzfest, well it was too much fun to leave. One of the first friends I made here, during Mardi Gras, was taken from us in a still unsolved crime. Basically it was a hit and run or vehicular manslaughter late on the Saturday night before Mardi Gras. I fear the driver doesn't even remember his actions after ten too many drinks. Nonetheless black pick up trucks with tinted windows will always enrage me if they act the slightest bit out of line.

I will be going to Disney World this year with my fiancee's family but I do want to give out a few public service messages for those enjoying themselves.

One, this Mardi Gras season don't get behind the wheel drunk, impaired, or even tired. It's an oft-repeated and much ignored message now but still an important one. It may take forever to get a cab but it's better than sitting in the drunk tank, hurting yourself, or someone else. I know of two incidences where drivers were drunk but "O.K." to drive and got hit by somebody else. Guess what, there is no "O.K." on the breathalyzer and if you are the slightest bit over you bear responsibility even if you did nothing wrong. Not to mention, I know of two other incidents where the driver didn't deserve to get pulled over and still got the DUI on his record. Don't do it for your own sake if not for somebody else's. There will be random roadblocks again this year.

Two, after the parades be vigilant. We all know that driving around late night you always have to have one eye watching out for the unexpected as too many people drive way too drunk. During Mardi Gras be even more so. Expect the unexpected and don't cross a street thinking the driver will slow down. This time of year the opposite is true. Be aware of your surroudings at all times.

Three, put your camera phones to use. If somebody seems to be out of control take a photo. If you don't know them, and can't approach them, and you see them getting into a car too intoxicated, take a photo of their liscense plate too. If you do know them obviously, don't let them do it. Camera phones are a great tool that people forget about. Recently, I parked my car in the only open spot in a lot next to this large pickup truck that was basically stradling the line to my spot. I gave the guy wide berth and parked real close to the other car. When I got back, there was a huge dent on my car, beer all over it, and the crushed beer can laying next to it. The driver of the truck drove into my door as he was turning to get out of his spot. I guess he thought it was my fault as his road cola was splashed all over my car and no note was left with his information. Lesson learned. Anytime I park next to an ass like that I take a picture of his plate.

Four, don't get involved with strangers. Discreation is the better part of valor. You don't know who you are dealing with. Don't enrage randoms or engage drunks. There is nothing to prove, they won't remember it anyway so just practice avoidance. Truly the tougher guy is the guy that can walk away.

Five, pay attention to Crimestoppers alerts and be aware of your surroundings. If somebody had noticed the plate of that truck that was driving suspicisously before he hit my friend there would be a little less heartache for everybody that loved my friend. Unfortunately, this Mardi Gras there probably will be another incident similar in nature so be aware of what's going on. If you see a guy driving wildly make a mental note, if not the plate a bumper sticker or dent or something, and check the papers the next day. Call the Crimestoppers number and help out.

Most of these tips, should be rules to live by outside of Mardi Gras season but especially so now. I'm putting up a link to Crimestoppers on the GCP site. First and foremost enjoy Mardi Gras, the company of your family and your friends, but be responsible and be alert.

For those that can afford it, a donation to Crimestoppers is a worthwhile gift that helps your immediate community. I learned how hard Darlene and the rest of the staff works on the behalf of others. They are a compassionate and tireless group and not one you'd think about when it comes to charity but they should be.

http://crimestoppersgno.org/donation.html

Monday, January 28, 2008

Digg... And Suck

Considering I'm a partner in a website, a blogger, and an internet junkie, I'm pretty naiive about a lot of things internet related. I'm adding Digg to the site and to my blog. Feel free to digg us. Will probably add some RSS Feeds and all that other crap that is on every other website. Not sure what that does for us, except publicize Digg, newswire, etc. If anybody wants to fill us in. Feel free. What's the best service, is it worth it, etc. etc. Why should we have all these little boxes on our site.

As I should always try to work in some poker on a poker blog. Here's another hand I sucked out on. I try and track them all because like Mikey Matasow I think Gene and I get run down more by bad players with bad hands then anybody else. As people that think that are incredibly annoying I'm trying to convince myself that is not true.

As a tight player sometimes I have to make a stand, especially when my blind is getting attacked relentlessly. There is defending and just being stupid. A guy picking on me raises my blind 5x (again) and I say f'it with 10h9h hearts. I come over the top all in. He insta-calls (oops). Hello, Aces. Flop is 910x, turn is x but puts the third spade on the board and gives AsAc flush outs to go with pairing the board. He hits his flush, the dealer doesn't see it and starts to push the pot my way. It's pointed out to him, he shrugs and starts to push it his way AND starts to muck the cards. I stop him pointing out the 5th spade also made my boat and that pot was coming back to me.

Moral of the story, I can be just as dumb as the next guy. I would couch it with the fact, I was making a move and not calling off all my chips, still I sucked out and got my money in bad.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Still Recovering

So little sleep this past weekend.

No sleep (with the fishes) and dinner for the whales is a more appropriate blog title for me.
Let's get the recap started with Friday night, I got off on the wrong foot (a foot fetish joke comes to mind) when I played on the last chance table with several friends and a few solid players from around the country. I was immediately wary of Cleveland's own Greg Rauch who came into battle with two loaded guns. One was the chip stack he amassed the other was the Vodka he brought. He shared it with Houma's Summerall as the rest of us milked beers. I played fairly tight to start.

Adam from Nantucket seen in the pic got short stacked pretty early on after yet another bad beat. I think Adam has made every Dead Money Tournament since winning a seat in the second one. Every year on the last chance table I watch him suffer a bruttle beat. It looked like this year would be no different. His day started miserably. Booking his travel way in advance, he was slightly tiffed when he got to Philly for his connecting flight and was informed it didn't exist. Oops. Showing the ticket to the imaginary flight did nothing for the a-clown at the gate. They shuttled him to Charlotte. When he got there he was asked "Why would they send you here? We got nothing."


Somehow, despite being 14, 15, and 16 on the waiting list for loaded flight, the Nantucket crowd made it just under the gun. All that travel for naught, I thought, as I got it in good against him and then I saw his luck change. He hit. From a selfish standpoint I wanted a player of his caliber out but part of me was happy for him (that part of me being the lying part, that also says "No, you don't look fat in spandex").

Rory O'Brien, who won last years last chance table, also joined in and though he's limited to playing opportunities in Atlanta I knew he was a threat. Another college friend Eddie B has played a lot of last chance tables but I don't think any final tables. His record of near misses is close to my own. He brought a former final tabler Crebs down with him and I was wary of the big fella from the get go.

Lance from Houston was the third spider at our table. Lance is no Ryan Daut. In fact, the last chance table was only his second time playing. So why not bully the table and take an early cheap lead by dragging the first three pots.
I doubled up through him when he called my pocket Ks with A8 suited. A little more practice and he doesn't make that call. Considering how inexperienced he was I'd have to say he played great. The last chance table also welcomed the Bethesda boys, both final tablists in the past, who gave me worry. The cards ran away from them, unfortunately, and they couldn't get started. Really felt like Taylor and Summerall were having one of those nights when the cards just weren't complying.
At some point I became the chip leader and I thought it'd come down to me and Greg. Then I got it in good with short stacks who'd reraise my raises all in. My hands while not great, were all ahead, and I went 0-3. Probably should have just waited until we got three handed TJ Cloutier style but didn't.
I think I got busted with 5 left. Rory went out right after me, and then Ed, Adam and Greg battled it out. Adam took it down and I was happy for him.
Then we met up with PureHank to hit Bourbon street, and despite the miserable cold and rain, found it fairly lively. The piano bar at Pat O's was our second destination after hand grenades at Tropical Isle left many of us the walking wounded. At some point Austin Martin convinced me to head out to Harrahs.
To say the shrapnel from the hand grenade was still in my hip, more accurately in my now bleeding wallet would be an understatement. I gave away money to plenty of folks, you're welcome if you are reading, and probably acted like a jackass. The Dead Money tournament was certainly well named that night.
Anyway, congrats to Adam. And thanks again to David Akers, Taylor Ainge, Martin Tyson, Daniel Rush, Ed, and others who helped me get everything finished. When I get a chance I'll cover the final table and try and think of anything Philly Tom might have missed in his assessment.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Dinger Does It.

At the Dead Money Tournament in Houma, I was glad to see Dinger take it down. He's a great guy and likes to mix it up. It was the first time me and him weren't playing a side tournament after getting knocked out early. As Ruttley mentioned, I got over my "final table" hump (with 17 players that's not saying much) but I could never get started.

Have to give some respect to Parfait and Davey (that f'ing smartass :) )who were at my and Gene D's table. I felt like they were able to capitalize on the table's tightness the best. I didn't like my spot at all. If Gene D didn't lead out, Parfait usually would, since they were both on my right I had to muck a lot of betting hands that didn't qualify as calling hands and were borderline enough I didn't want to resteal when I felt like they stealing. My tightness was my own best enemy.

Early on I bumped multi-limped pots with legit hands in the blinds or on the button. Would have liked at least a one caller when I had position. Not to be. My next plan was to open it up and play lose, which I'm not very good at--right when I wanted to switch gear was when Gene, and more often Parfait, entered the pot with bets and not limps. Sweet.

Ken of SUBMAR was on my left, who is a very good tight player. That also meant my bets wouldn't have to go far for me to know I was in trouble. In one hand, I forget what I had, we did battle in the blinds. I bet the flop, he called. A king came on the turn. That seemed to be his neighborhood, but I had a feeling he already had a piece. I checked saying, "I don't have a king.' Predictably, he bet like I would have in the face of weakness. Preparing to fold I said "What if I was lying?" He did a borderline doubletake and from that reaction I knew I could bet him out. I raised, he folded. Maybe we both had air. Sorry, Ken I stole one from you but I'd have to say I probably pushed more chips to him than he to me. Felt some empathy for him, as he also turned over some big hands that he couldn't get an opponent to catch anything on him.

Another interesting hand came up, when I had 5-2 suited. It was unopened past Gene and Parfait, so I decided to take a flyer as I wasn't getting any other chances. Davey on the button called. I hoped to hit the flop solid and surprise him with my low cards, plus I thought he'd give me credit if big cards hit so I could win a few ways. It came King, 10, 9 with two clubs, I believe, my suit was red. Something weirded me out as the texture of the flop could have matched his strong (or so I thought) holdings in a couple of ways. I didn't pull the trigger and decided I would check fold thinking I had to be behind. When he checked behind, I wish I had sold the king. It also suprised me, maybe he had a AQ or AJ for a draw he rather see cheaply then disguise. The next card was a baby and I checked feeling he wouldn't buy the king even if I did bet. When he checked behind I really regreted not betting, he had air too.

The river brought a club. I checked, he bet. Now, I was convinced he had nothing post flop and turn, so I mulled over pushing on him. His bet size was just right too. Ultimately, I figured I'd get out of this hand cheaply. He could have walked into a flush. I really hadn't see him check with position so I pondered some more. Something told me had something and I couldn't see a valid reason to push in that pot. No need to outplay myself. He showed 5-4 of clubs for the flush. I said, "I let you get there," and laughed to myself imagining our mutual suprise if we both hit say the two other 5s on the flop. I didn't put him on low cards and he probably didn't put me on my holding.

I limped into the final table. Thinking about the blind schedule I think we should adjust it in the future. We follow the Beau's tournament structure and it works from a time perspective, not taking all night, but I think as other players mentioned that it leaves us a little short on chips. That structure is designed for a tournament where for the first 6 or 7 rounds tables are mostly 10 or 9 handed, so the blinds really don't eat you up. Considering we started shorthanded on each, the blinds were hitting us 33% to 50% faster. So there really wasn't much room for error. Plus, these tables seemed tighter than the last tournament and we played 6 and 5 handed forever. Thus, in that window if the short stacks couldn't get a pushing hand they were crippled.

That's why I respect the players who loosened up early, they had the foresight to to realize it was kind of a short stacked short handed tournament. A thousand or two more to start would have alleviated some of that early pressure and might have encouraged people to mix it up a litle more. For the last chance and final table I'll definitely stack people a little deeper. My thanks to Gene D and Dinger for getting everything together and helping to put on a great tournament. See everybody Friday.

Harrahs flame out.

Today I played at Harrahs I had KK popped a raise and folded to AK after an Ace hit, he showed. I had QQ and folded to AK again, after a K hit. I thought he might have KJ but he was convinced AK was good. I don't know why people get married to top pair top kicker. They radiate strength like they got the borderline nuts. Not that it mattered, but it made it easier for me to fold. I walked into dog poop, again, with pocket 88s by betting only to get a guy with AAs going grossly over the top all in. I folded. I thought back to Gene D laying down 88s last night to me in a similar situation. I only had AK and just min-raised but I was short stacked enough I was prepared to get it all in. He laid down thinking I had the type of hand my opponent had today. Middle pairs are so dangerous.

Then I had AJ and raised, only to have KK go way over the top all in. I folded. Short stacked I reminded myself I always go deep in the Wednesday tournament after bleeding chips early but this was definitely a snakebit kind of day. I flop two pair and somehow save myself money when a loose caller hit his higher two pair on the river and inexplicably didn't bet into me after I gave a passive check prepared to call his bet. I wondered what he had called me with on the flop and turn.

This was just after a guy with the higher full house (one jack) to go with two jacks and two twos on the board flat called and didn't raise the river. The other guy folded either a two or an Ace. Strange. Same guy flopped the nuts on me and checked it after I checked in a multi-way pot. He min-checked raised me on the turn as I bet top pair (he had the flush) and the rest of the table got out. Great, I was so short I was commited considering what was in the pot. River gave nothing. He bet 500 and I had 600. I knew I was beat but the pot was laying 8 or 9 to 1. I decided I'd call but refused to throw in my last chip even with the break upon us. Ten minutes later my 10-7 didn't win vs. A10. Oh well, better than the bubble I guess. When I got my parking card checked, they asked if I wanted a seat at the cash tables. Not today boss.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Dead Money Tournament

Amped up for the Dead Money Tournament. We have a table in Houma on Tuesday and the last chance Friday. I've come in second on a qualifying satellite more times then I care to remember. However, I've run pretty bad on Houma's tables not even making the top 3. I'm hoping to end my little slump as it's about time for me to play on a final table.

In the years past we've had some talented players win this event and go on and do admirably at the World Series. We've probably had some prevail, at least as far as making the final table, where luck might have had more to do with it than anything. This year for the first time we have a returning overall champion defending his crown, again beating his table Captain: blogger Shoats, in heads up play. Both years Shoats had a chip lead, though last year it was only 10 to 1.

Speaking of good runs, three years ago Shoats made a final table and finished in the top 3. Speaking of returning players, Austin Martin, another GCP blogger, though he's about 2 months overdue on his next post, has made the final table in every possible fashion. The first year he won a table. The next year he won a last chance table (beating me heads-up) and this year, he came in second BUT his winner can't make it so he's got the place in his stead.

Also returning are Dan R. and Brad F. from last years final table. A table captain who has kept coming close but never made it, David "Here's a couple of" Achers finally prevailed this year. They'll be joined by a slew of new faces but again we'll all be chasing the dream. Two more chances for me to make it happen. Look forward to seeing all you guys in town. Same location as last year.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

I'm a slacker but the hiatus is over

Been trying to do a 1000 things at once. Going through the hard part of buying a house, inspections, estimates, all that crap. Also, planning a wedding, hosting family, putting the finishing touches on the dead money final table and trying to get the satellites off the ground. So, I haven't been playing much poker and missing some juicy sessions at Harrahs. I heard the Ohio State fans were looking to donate money. The Hawaii fans were really nice and the Georgia fans also pretty generous.

Today I saw a guy in an O-HI-O T-shirt looking beaten down. He had a small stack of reds at a black jack table and a beer. I'm guessing he missed his flight. They say when you are down you should avoid the casino, from the looks of things he should have.

Played in the Wednesday tournament and my time off really sharpened my concentration. I was in tune on every hand and I felt like my opening table was an open book. I saw everybody's hands before they turned them over. I need to learn when I'm in that kind of zone to play more hands, even if I'm not getting dealt anything. No need to be tight then. The only money I won, was when I got involved with folks that had nothing and I knew it. For example I had A5 o/s on the button, call, Big Blind raises, a couple of limpers fold to me, I call. Flop is three bricks except for the low card which was a five. He bets just a little too big, I call. Turn pairs the top card. He checks. Hmm. I check. I think he's got big cards, K-J or something like that. River is like a 6. He fires a go away large bet. I trust my read and call. He says I got King high and doesn't turn over his hand. I show my A5 and he's slightly peeved.

Another read I made was button vs. blind. I got 86 offsuit in the catbird seat. Small blind raises preflop to 500 with 5 limpers in the hand. Everyone calls, position and pot odds dictate I call. Flop comes 86brick. I bet after it's checked to me through the limpers. Two spades on the board meant they were going to have to pay to see their flush completed. Blind calls.

Turn is another low card. A straight is out there but I'm putting the blind on an overpair. He checks, I fire, he calls. The river is a 10. He does a tell which is so money I'm not even going to repeat it but I know the 10 killed me when he does it. He then checks setting the trap. I check behind. He turns over pocket 10s and I show my two pair.

So that's good. Later I laid down A9d with the board showing Ad8d7s6d. It was actually an easier fold than I made it. Though top pair, open ended straight draw, and flush draw seems like a lot of outs they weren't enough. After the flop, which I checked thinking my A might be good but wanting to get a read on my opponents, he bets 3k. I call but consider reraising. I got a feeling he was married to his hand a bit. I, probably wrongly, thought a reraise wouldn't tell me anything. He could call with too many hands. The turn brings the 6d. Then he acts out of turn.

"I'm all in." I stare at him and wait for the dealer to tell him to pull his chips back. Here's why the hand was made more difficult than it needed to be. I hate the out of turn action by a player that clearly knows where the button is. Usually it's weakness. Yet, his body language was all strength. I was at the same table as Parfait from Houma who later told me he thought I should insta-fold and was trying to will me to. I gave the guy my smile test. He gave me a smile that was weak enough to be fradulent but was kind of in the middle. Damn.

I get the clocked called on me, as I mull over betting. I took forever so I didn't mind. Then I checked and he went all in. I told them to start the clock anew because I knew I couldn't make a decision. Ultimately, my gut said fold. He did radiate confidence and I concluded he wasn't angling. I think he was just so excited he hit his flush he lost himself. Problem was his smile failed, and for those of you that have Read "Read them and Weep," and implemented those tell detectors you'll know what I mean. That's normally a big weapon in my reads, so I probed a bit and asked if he had AK with the king of diamonds. Nope. Yet, now he radiated more strength. He had a made hand and being under the cooker wasn't cooking him any. I asked if he'd show. He said yes and because I am still a frickin' rube I have to admit it made my decision easier.

I folded, and I got to see what Parfait obviously saw, his made queen high flush. I was drawing dead.

Course I bubbled again going out 12 or 13th. Parfait also got shredded by two rivers and neither one of us cashed. Again, half the remaining players were in over the heads. There were several solid players still alive but there was some money to be made at that final table today.

One regret I had, short-stacked in the small blind I almost had to call with anything. Then there is a raise and I see a woman in the big blind getting her chips ready to call. The raiser was tight and the woman was a call station. I have K3. I fold. Sure enough it was AK v. QJ. Neither player hits anything and I would have rivered a 3 to triple up. Probably should have called even though I knew I was beat. I was pot commited.

Melvin, Ray and the fellas run a good tournament on Wednesdays. However, I've been meaning to talk somebody about the color ups. The last time I played there on one color up they made two separate mistakes not in my favor. The dealer and floor person also seemed irritated that I made them recount to get it right. If they need more than 10 minutes to do the color up and do it right, they should take it. The players won't mind. Gene D has also experienced some problems with this. Plus, there are a couple of players there who I don't think are above chip thieving off stacks. Always leave your baby chips up top fellas.

We are hoping to get Darryl, the Harrahs dealer, and part time pro to start blogging and maybe address some questions similar to this.