Monday, July 28, 2008

Better Poker Player Tony Parker or Chris Paul?

I don't know the answer. Better point guard is almost as interesting a question, but any sports fans knows you have to be smart to play the point and both guys seem like shrewd tacticians with a penchant for anticipating the play before it happens. Certainly an asset for an aspiring poker player..

What I do know is the point guard of the Spurs is a really nice guy and enjoys poker. In fact, he makes me completely reconsider my French people are rude stance. Just the opposite. Why? Because he suffered some idiot in Vegas on his bachelor party challenging him to a heads up game where he had to put up 500 to win a 1000. His wife, dressed like Phil Laak, though it's hard to hide her kind of beauty no matter how big the hoodie, was also tolerant of the idiot. The couple were very gracious even after many other people would have suggested that the lout isssuing the challenge be removed. They just wanted to play some 2-5 and have some fun. Though the challenge was accepted IF the lout won the Caeser's tournament outright. He bubbled. Anyway, I have no idea who the guy was that kept interupting their night though I hope they got a laugh of it as they seemed to be doing.

In a weird concidence I was in Vegas on my bachelor party and will have details soon about the entire trip. I also have a couple of autographs though the only legible thing on there was Go Spurs. Sorry to my future wife who is a big Eva Longoria fan.

Anyway, more to come.

oh... and go spurs until the next time I see Chris Paul at Harrahs.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Book of the Month.

I've had a lot of success in sit 'n gos recently. This book has been helpful. I will do a review after I get back from my bachelor party. It will be in flight reading as I give it another perusal. Time to extract some notes from it like I'm a high schooler.

In the meantime, it's a great add to your poker library and introduces some important elements and perspectives to one and two table sit 'n gos. I got a lot out of it.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

I have seen the future of poker and it is a scary, scary trip to your IT department

The Future of Poker... It's Bleak, It's Dark, and Pretty Pathetic.
Tom Dwan and Tiffany Michelle two of the four horses of the Poker Apocalypse...

Wheeeeeeee. Wheeeeeeee. Wii, Wii, Wii, the felt is going to be taken over by a new breed. It's internet whiz kids. Anybody catch an episode of Poker After Dark on NBC this week? It's Vets vs. Nets as the new generation of internet poker stars square off against Dolye Brunson, Johnny Chan, and Huck Seed. Brian Townsend, Tom Dwan aka Durrrrrrrr (or just your average vampiric shut-in tethered to the broadband connection in his parents basement), and a kid whose name I don't remember but is probably worth 100,000 of me.

Anyway, if these guys are the future of televized poker we are all in trouble. Don't worry about the mortgage crisis putting a dent in poker revenues the real bringer of the poker apocalypse is Durrrr's personality. I'd rather take a razor blade to the any of my skin tissue that is dark pink then be shut in a room with him. Then you factor in they speak in internet pokerese. Sure, I can follow what the kids are chatting about "100 Big Blinds, 3bet... blah, blah, blah" but will the average poker viewer trade in the dangerous appeal of somewhat shady guys talking in coolish poker lingo for a bunch of Magic the Gathering Vets who talk in abbreviations like they are straight out of Silicon Valley. I think the luster is gone. You could see it on Doyle and Johnny's faces.

Doyle Brunson and Johnny Chan both looked like they were contemplating just shipping it with any two rather then spend another 5 minutes with those kids. Durr, all 94 lbs of him, starting bragging about a pushup bet he won (1,000 in a month? Maybe it was two either way... yawn) and said of course he did that when he was in shape. Yeah, when he was 98 lbs soaking wet. You gotta give Huck Seed credit, normally reticent and quiet, he patiently listened to the two prepubes (Townsend seemed more in line with the Vets then the kids) who should be playing at a card table set up by mommy and wagering their cookies rather then on NBC tv and didn't once mock them.

I've always liked Huck, and though I should probably follow his example, I can't help but rip these newly minted poker millionaires a bit. I'm probably just jealous. Still, I felt like Johnny and Doyle looked like which was if somebody put our nuts in a meat grinder everytime Durrr spoke. Granted, better man than me, Huck gave them the affirmation they so obviously desired from the old timers. He didn't roll his eyes about the pushup bet or point out they are a bunch of wannabee geeks trying to be something they are not--they are not degnerates, they are prodigies. Just because you play poker you don't have to be Eric Lindgren or Huck Seed and try prop bets, and if you have to make it a legtimate prop bet not 1000 pushups in a month. Train and do a 1000 pushups in a day... if you can get time away from your computer.

It's such a screwed up poker world, Devilfish Ulliot is dressing like he's a 24 year old baller in Ed Hardy T-Shirts (that fad was killed 8 months ago, but the Devilfish in a skintight shirt had to be it's deathnell unless of course your are Tiffany Michelle who is oblivious to everything) and all the young up and comers are trying to be the true gamblers. Little do the know the reality is more Eskimo Clark then Doyle Brunson. It's like young from the burbs rock bands that do drugs and drink themselves into oblivion because that's what rockers do. Not because they were at risk to be alchoholics or drug addicts or had the f'd up home lives of say Ozzy Osbourne.

These internet kids don't all have gambling personalities but they think since they play poker they should. No, what they should do is model themselves off the successful geeks like Eric Seidel, Chris Ferguson, Andy Bloch and Howard Lederer who may not be as cool as say Phil Ivy but neither are those kids. Nothing is less "cool" then desperately trying to be something you are not.

Am I being too hard on a couple of 14 year olds who just hope to grow some facial hair and be accepted and belong to a bigger culture and fraternity. Yes, I am. Tom Dwan and the nameless kid are a 100 to a 1000 times better poker players than I am, then I probably will ever be, and I respect their courage (Durr standing up to Hellmuth) and their games immensely. However, if they are to become the new faces of poker we are in trouble. The allure of the game is not about some wannabe internet geeks it's about rougish streetsmart gamblers. It's not about awkard scandi kids, it's about Sammy Farha and his unlit cigarette, Texans in Cowboy hats, Asians with loveable but rakish personalities, and egos that are bigger than life.

Dwan and his peers, when on TV, need to cut down on their desperation to be accepted. Maybe more TV appearences will do that, but I'm also afraid people will stop flocking to poker when Scotty "Win" is replaced by a home-schooled spelling bee champion. You can't train to be cool, but you can temper how "uncool" you are. Suppress it like Chris Ferguson did, kids. He should be your ultimate role model, not frickin' Archie Karas.

Ahh... But there's still hope. There will always be Moneymaker underdogs with deep runs in the massive main events and being that lucky effer who wins 500 coin flips in 7 days right? Instead of playing the smooth Sammy Farha the underdog will by matched up with Gobboboy and we'll have more reason to root for the underdog right? Probably not.

This year, Tiffany "Hot Chips" Michelle was going to be that story. Then she pissed away millions of chips in a matter of hours and finally decimated her stack with AJ (Ace frikkin' Jack?). Oh, she was the pretty face and the female hope for poker. Then she f'd up and took Ultimate Bet's money to wear their logos, despite them being run by the same guys that cheated us all at Absolute, and fully aware that now UB is currently mired in their own cheating scandal. She's covered Poker for Poker News for two years, so it's not like she wasn't properly informed

Then, in a walking embodiment of everything wrong with poker right now, she wore Ed Hardy T-shirts, Jackets, and hats, emblazoned with UB all over it. She made a bad decision and like the guys on Big Poker Sundays I think that justifies her getting some heat. So here it comes, some facts about Tiff and her game. One, she made questionable play after questionable play according to the people that watched her but lived a charm exsistence when timing was just in her favor. Two, she believes she's a great poker player. Three, she believes what she did is great for poker and for women. Four, she is already refering to herself in third person (the Poker Road interview). It takes some superstars in the NBA two or three years to do this, it took her four days. Five, she has that smarmy fake humilty where she tries to say the right things but comes off like the braggart who says, "Despite my incredible achievements and the ease at which I accomplish things I need to remember to stay humble. I'm a humble person."

Newsflash to Tiffany, umm you didn't even make a final table and you only got attention because everybody knew you couldn't play a lick and were getting run over by the cards and you had a somewhat pretty face. Had you closed the deal and maybe won the thing or got to the top three what you did could have been relevant to poker and to women (I guess) but you didn't. You didn't really do anything, so stop thinking you are some sort of female Jackie Robinson, there were plenty female players before you and there are plenty after you and they are all better players then you. Take your money put it in a bank and go back to acting. Parlay your exposure into doing Shannon Elisabeth's job while she's donking off Hollywood money to real poker professionals. Realize the only reason there is attention on you is because you are borderline hot. You are far more Anna Kournikova then Danica Patrick (and she really hasn't done that much either).

Stop kidding yourself that you should start playing big buy in events. Go back to hollywood and parlay those looks into something. If UB buys you in to 10k plus events, on top of giving you cash, so be it, freeroll them, but expect early exits every time. As soon as you made enough of a name for yourself everybody in the tournament realized who you were and that you were raising with air and they bullied you all day. The rest of the tournaments in your lifetime will go about as well as your last day. Ask Jaime Gold.

The cash you won, is split between, you, Tony G, and Lisandro, then you got to pay your taxes and apparently you astutely sold pieces of yourself to other players, so I'm guessing you are not left with all that much. Don't touch that money. Don't count on winning another cent in tournament poker.

Anyway, why is Tiffany Michelle unchecked ego bad for poker's future? She shows how the new Chris Moneymakers can go through that immediate fame in not months but mere days. Anybody remember the year after Moneymaker, some Maxim Magazine secretary went deep in a tournament and got some ESPN coverage? Yeah, it's real fuzzy isn't it. Anyway, Tiffany ask that girl where she is now. When Moneymaker did it, he retained some humility. And didn't have a 1000 people telling him how great he was and trying to each get a piece of him. Maybe that's why he won it and didn't donk out in 17th.

That guy through his ups and downs stayed true to who he was, Tiffany has already lost herself. Moneymaker didn't start proclaiming he'd dominate the world, but unlike him, now every wannabe with a ticket to the main event thinks he's some great undiscovered poker diamond in the rough. Tiffany Michelle knew she was great she just needed her chance, she's said. How can you root for people like that. They are oblivious. They are decked out in Ed Hardy gear.

I don't know what kind of person she was before hand, but I've read between the lines enough in some of the blogs by people that know her, to see that think this girl has drastically changed in a matter of days. You can almost read their anticipation of a tragic tale is about to unfold. She believes all the temporary hype and honestly thinks she's a great poker player. Even a pro like Mike Matasow thinks you are lucky if you get may be one chance to go deep in a main event (and counts his blessings for his luck to go deep so often recently) yet, Tiffany Michelle is telling Seebok and friends how to play a Main Event already. Yeah, I know how to get deep, just get your cards for seven days.

As Gene D says to me all the time, "Well, we'll just see how he handles it when the cards don't run over him," when we see a buddy get a little too full on themselves after a good run (WE ARE ALL GUILTY OF THAT). Well, Tiff how will you handle it? My prediction is in two years we'll never hear from her again in the poker world unless she's hosting a show.

So that's the future, we'll have final tables of 21 year old social invalids playing against luck box amateurs who ignore every cautionary tale before them, drenched in garish Ed Hardy shirts and wearing the logos of online sites that steal from their customers to look forward to. Yeah, it's hard to root for idiots like that. So if you can't root for the big guns or the underdogs you probably... just don't watch. That my friends is the future of poker. I'll get to the other two horses of the apocalypse when I get time.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Put a white dress on and grab your ankles...

Doesn't matter if you are the bride or the groom, you are going to get... well you know. Consumation on the wedding night won't be the first time for anyone. Might be the first time you are the alpha but that's about it. Get ready for some serious BUT fucking. And by BUT fucking, remember the only thing relevant to your life is what is said after the BUT not before it.

The wedding industry is the biggest freaking scam in the world. Want to make a lot of money, offer your service/business for a wedding. Go ahead and mark it up 500% and offer less options, because the poor effers getting married have to pay it. Let's say, you are a limo service. You might rent a mini bus for $400 for six hours with unlimited stops. BUT... If somebody is getting married, they get the wedding package, that same limo bus, suddenly is rented in two hour periods, you say it's cheaper because it's $350 (for four less hours) but go ahead and make it $100 for each additional half hour (those lunchboxes are bleeding money afterall they are getting married and they are too dumb to notice the huge deviation in prices or even look at your standard price schedule). Then, stipulate that the bus can only make two trips, one to the church and one away from it. If you want to shuttle people, that will be an additional charge for each stop.

That's typical. Now, do the same thing as a DJ, a printer, a convention center, hair and makeup etc., etc., etc., etc. Always, mark-up because it's your wedding package, reduce services (what normally were part of the standard package make an additonal cost), and smile generously while doing it.

Now, let's pretend you are a grizzled wedding industry insider. You've made a career of throwing parties, and like any grizzled veteran, you are grizzled... you've been through the wars, but more importantly most of the grizzled vets are also bitter vets and as a consequence you now look at your customer/clients with borderline contempt. Like a career manager of a McDonalds, answering for the billionth time what's in a value meal (SEE THAT HUGE F'ING SIGN BEHIND ME THAT NOT ONLY HAS IT IN WRITING IT'S GOT A PICTURE FOR YOU IGNORANT DONKEYS TO GRASP IT), these folks have seen it all. They can't believe anybody still gets a conventional wedding cake. Afterall, as a wedding planner you've eaten standard wedding cake, twice a weekend for the last five years. Please advise them to not make this mistake and try something like coffee cake (mmm, when slugging a Venti Mocha Frappocino with whipped cream, caramel syrup, and 10 extra bags of sugar you like coffee cake)These dumb couples always want to do it in the same dumb way, make the same dumb mistakes and these couples always f it up.

Along, the way, like a high school teacher in the second week of their job, a wedding vet forgot why they got into the business. Once upon a time it was an idealistic journey escorting couples into the rest of their lives. Then somewhere, after working on too many other people's weddings it became a job, it became a grind, and everybody that walked through their door were no longer a future happy couple, they were just new headaches disguised in stupid bridal requests.

Dumbasses come in every day, and tell you what they want, how it's going to work, and they all have these stupid ideas. You know full well that there is an easier and BETTER way to do it. You've done thousands of these things. You try and steer these foolish rubes in the correct direction. You give out false plattitudes and smile patiently, "Yes, it's whatever you want, and that's what we are going to do.. BUT." And the "but," pretty much implies to disregard the part of "we are going to do what you want to do." In reality, we are going to do whatever is cheaper for me, easiest for me, and keeps the assembly line moving as fast as possible. Please, these stupid brides need to be saved from themselves.

The bait and switch is a popular tactic. Sign a contract, put down a hefty deposit, and that BUT starts reering it's ugly red-eye. "Oh yeah, you can get this on the menu, we'll switch that around, whatever you want" becomes, no, we can't do that, well we can BUT you have to pay through the nose. We'll take the groom's right nut as collateral for those oyster shooters. "Wait, you want a seat for everybody you've invited, well, you never said that, that's going to be extra, that's our Golden Seat Package, where you get all the seats in the first package and the rest to accommodate the party but each seat is exponentially more, and that doesn't include seats for the wedding party or the immediate family or the parents of the bride and groom--that's the diamond seat package, and if the officant of the wedding wants a seat, well, that'll be a grand more, we take major credit cards."

As I am currently, going with my bride on these grabbing ankles sessions with our favorite vendors around town, I'm amazed at how commonplace this bait and switch tactic is. They know, the girl is under the most stress of her life, amplified by the dude who is like, I can't believe I could make a years worth of car payments... or get invitations with Vellum (whatever the fuck Vellum is), so when the happy couple walks through the door they immediately reassure you everything is going to be alright, BUT with a couple of alterations, and by alterations they mean wholesale changes... that cost a little more, which means ridiculously more, and they know you are going to pay it.

They let you plan as ambigiously as possibly one year out, 6 months out, and then really get down to brass tacks at 3 months out. Why? Because you can't back out of your wedding now. You'll never find another vendor, you are on the hook for the nonrefundable deposit, and you have to do it their way, and pay their fees, because of those little BUTs they mumbled under their breath (or more accurately implied and never said, or thought they said, or didn't even thought they said and merely imagined you would assume there'd be a BUT there because everybody gets BUT fucked when planning a wedding). That's right. Three months out it's time to do everything and get ready for an AVALANCHE of buts that budget busts better than the Pentagon's pencil-pushers revisions. Suddenly, when you do the actual planning that's when all the surprise costs are dropped on you, when everything you want to do, is now just impossible, but it's alright because they've done thousands of these things, and you are in their capable hands.

Anyway, don't bother with getting married. If you want to get But-fucked, just go to prison, because at least there you don't have to pay for the privilege of getting violated.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Jeff Madsen Human Bowling at 2008 WSOP, Day 6

November Nine

The November Nine is set.

As you may or may not remember the final table will be played in November. These are the luckboxes who will play for immortality, and will have to stew until then.

• DENNIS PHILLIPS, 53, St. Louis, Missouri, 26,295,000• IVAN DEMIDOV, 27, Moscow, Russia, 24,400,000• SCOTT MONTGOMERY, 26, Perth, Ontario, Canada, 19,690,000• PETER EASTGATE, 22, Odense, Denmark, 18,375,000• YLON SCHWARTZ, 38, Brooklyn, New York, 12,525,000 • DARUS SUHARTO, 39, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, 12,520,000• DAVID RHEEM, 28, Los Angeles, California, 10,230,000• CRAIG MARQUIS, 23, Arlington, Texas, 10,210,000• KELLY KIM, 31, Whittier, California, 2,620,000

Kelly Kim nursed his short-stacked for a couple of hours to get there. Peter Eastgate is a Scandi, Ivan Demidov a Ruskie, and Craig Marquis our "gulf coast" horse.

Some observations...
-Joe Bishop when it was eleven handed had a friend buy his table a celebratory bottle of Dom Perignon. I guess the writing was clearly on the wall, he was headed to November. Yes, you know how the moosch works... he went out 11th, two away from a HUGE payday.

-Of course he won a few hundred thousand and the difference between Ninth and Eleventh can't be that much in prize money, but the scuttlebut around the industry is these Nine are going to be drenched in advertising come November. They are at the center of bidding wars that have already started and will simmer the next few months. Harrahs and ESPN are going to make these guys stars and they are click-clicking-click up the roller coaster right now.

-One guy, a Romanian, refused to talk to the representatives of the online poker sites unless they had 500k. Course that guy, like Joe Bishop didn't make it to the nine. Nor did sweetheart Tiffany Michele, or Brandon Cantu (both who threw around their big stacks like it was monopoly money--but doing so almost got them to the final table), or Phil Hellmuth, or Mike the Mouth or really anybody you may have heard of.

-The joke on Poker Road radio was that Chino Rheem (a marginal pro, maybe) will barely be able to pay off all his debts if he wins the Main Event. Must have convinced a lot of people he could play to get that deep in the hole but... wow. I thought I knew people that were stuck but that's stuck... Having to win the main event to break even? I'm sure that's an exaggeration, but maybe not when you factor in, he probably had backers help him get into the event, so most of that prize money probably isn't headed his way. And it makes sense what little is his, could be tabbed to pay off old loans. Ouch.

-Now, the first step for the November Nine is merely to stay alive. What happens if one of these guys, say Dennis Phillips, has a heart attack (besides his family likely suing Harrahs for moving it back) what happens to his chips? Or worse, say it's like a car accident or a death that has the slightest bit of suspicion--what's that going to do for poker? Suddenly, the Russian dude is the only one left standing, do they just give him first place?

You don't think these guys are going suddenly start looking over their shoulders. You don't think they are going to get a whole new type of harrasing phone call? Supposedly, Jaime Gold had to hire body guards when he was using chips as a seat during the main event because it was a cinch he was going to be in the final two or three and likely win. Or maybe he was just being Jaime Gold. Still, that was just paranoia that started overnight (justified or not). These guys got three months to deal with this. The dude who came in 10th might be the luckiest guy of the bunch. No strings with his prize money.

-These guys haven't won anything yet, though everyone else has already been paid. I wonder if Harrahs pays out everybody what 9th place would win. To give them something to tide them over (ignoring the pandering agents seeking a logo placement). If not, how many guys are going to leverage themselves straight into debt before the final table even starts? Seems like Chino may be a candidate. Apparently, there are some denegerates (shocker, I know) that are in this batch of relative unknowns that will be forever remembered as the First November Nine.

-The November Nine... terrible alliterative name that clumsily falls off the tongue. It's no "final four." It's seems like the victims of a massacre. The Dismembered November Nine. Played near halloween. 666 people win cash, the top nine, in selling their souls to the devil (as monkey calls harrahs), get dismembered in November. Well, I guess from that perspective it's a little catchy. Everybody loves a good horror movie. To continue with the conspiracy theories, November Nine is what? 11 9? Reverse of 911. Add 9 to 11 and divide by 3 (because why not? I mean it's going to get us to an answer we want some any arbitray reason will work, because that's how conspiracy theories are formed, so ummm... three months in between July and November, so three...) and you get... 666. Duhn-Duhn-DuHHHHN.

-In a few months, we get back -to-back huge events. An Election and a WSOP final table. Let's see how the hype machine matches up... because these guys pasts are going to be disseminated just like a candidates, and likely there are some much bigger skeletons in their closets. Hell, in the Jaime Gold year, Richard Lee would have been outed as a bookmaker long before the FBI raid if the press were able to dig in his past for three months. It's inevitably we'll see a "shocking" story about one of these guys any day now.

Shocking, Skeletons, 666, Dismembered November Nine, yeah that's poker after it's been sanitized for the masses. I can't wait until somebody takes what I wrote seriously, because if I can come up with that stuff mostly in jest, I'm sure somebody will go nuts about it. Maybe the Harrahs hype machine is already on it.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Got Lucky last night

Took down a 22 person tournament in Houma. Have to get lucky to win these things. I played badly in a number of spots, mangling pocket Aces once, making a bad call three handed with A5 running into the hand I thought my opponent had preflop AK and of course hitting my 5. I got short and ended up with AA in the blind and Frank woke up to an AK and got a very timely double up.

Started out on a very strong table,11 handed. I was not happy to see Gene D there or Davey, Ruttley, and a couple others. Gene D, organizes and runs these things, and it's a huge disadvantage. He spends so much time after the game has started figuring out the money that he's away from the table too much. We don't get enough chips that you can afford to miss that many hands, I feel like when he's fully ready to play he's coming back to a shortish stack and forced to make moves. We all owe him and Dinger a thankyou for the tournament. In fact, I forgot to ask Dinger how much his baby sitter was going to cost him for the last two hours as I feel I should contribute. So Robert, email me.

Anyway, a big early and again lucky hand for me early, was when Gene returned to the table and was early to act. He fired out a raise of 500, blinds were 1oo, 200 and I think a 25 ante--(I might be mistaken on the numbers or the level). Folded around to me. I look down at J10. I know Gene's got a legitimate hand raising from early position. Problem is, I got a feeling a loose player to my left is going to call. Almost 3 to 1 on my money. I decide, I'll call and bail if I don't smash the flop. Other player does call.

Flop comes out JJx. Yeah, I smashed it. Gene moves all in. I deliberate for a long time hoping to induce the player after me to get involved for a biggish pot if he's got a marginal hand. I call... he folds. I win the hand over Gene.

I went up and down the rest of the night playing primarily big hands but got away with some steals with absolute nothing 32 etc during dry runs of cards because of what I'd shown. I adjusted my strategy a little bit, from playing there in the past. There are some guys that will pay off big raises early on. So when I had big hands, I popped the pots a lot bigger than I normally do, hoping to get the good players out and getting some weaker hands in.

Gene's cousin is a solid player. Early on I got KK, it was a limpfest with a couple of loose guys, to me in the SB. I way overbet for 700 (I think 25-5o were the blinds). All folded. I showed the cowboys. Same thing happened next hand I look at AK suited. I figure I'll make the same bet and hope a hand like A10, AJ, or A9 thinks I must be making a move. Gene's cousin comes over the top with AJ and hits his J.

Some more of my bad hands. Final table, maybe 7 or 8 handed I got A9 suited in the big blind. Rick leads out one off the button. I think my hand may be in the lead here but just call. Flop comes 753. He continuation bets. I still think my hand is good here. Then I ponder the chip stacks. I don't know what kind of hand he can lay down. I ask him if he can beat a pair. He says a pair of what. My gut says he's unpaired too. I say a pair of nines, and he makes the doubting face like what the f are you thinking about with a pair of 9s, but doesn't look entirely scared. I throw out A7? A6? And then I get away from the hand. If he had two overs A10 or higher he might be compelled to call chip stack wise and have me crushed. If he had A6 he might be compelled to call and draw out on me.

I decide worse case scenarios I'm crushed, best case I have to sweat it out without even a pair. Maybe I can pick a better spot. He later told me he had A6. Probably should have went with my read that I was ahead. Later three handed, I got K5 in the BB. Three to flop, King high. Bingo. Check, I bet out. My opponent goes over the top all in. I stew. I lay down my hand and he shows me second pair. Couldn't really believe I laid down top pair three handed... but I thought I could find a better spot ultimately. Still, I ignored my gut that told me he was making some sort of move. He had second pair and didn't buy I had the king.

I got KK maybe three times and AA twice. Told you I was getting lucky. Though, on most of them I just got blinds or limpers. Once I mangled the AA and rivered the nut flush. I had a pretty solid read on this particular opponent... so maybe I wasn't as clumsy as I felt at the time. I felt liked he nail the flop, so I checked it down until I value bet the river. Davey asked me what I was doing there and he's probably right I should have maybe bet a little earlier. Also, on the river I think I could have got him all in and taken his bounty had I shoved. He didn't show but I really think he might have flopped two pair. Course, him "nailing the flop" might have been hitting top pair.

Because I had a good read on this guy and I was on his left, we played a lot of pots. Several times when he missed I bet into him with air so he was getting frustrated. I hit a monster later on and shove for all my chips and he makes what everybody thinks was a bad call, but it was just about that time that he had to make a stand. Unluckily for him that was when I had a hand.

I thought several players performed better than I did last night. I just got the right cards at the right time and the right amount of luck in key places. You can't focus on results as a metric of play, so just like when I'm losing and playing well, I have to focus that I played well, but also I can't be too proud of making a number of mistakes when I win.

Thanks again, Robert, let me know about that babysitting money, and thanks GeneD for a good evening of fun.

Monday, July 07, 2008

The French

This is a little off topic, but since a Euro, and maybe a frenchie might win the WSOP this year, and um... you know... the globalization of the game all that, and all the people traveling to Vegas from far-flung places, I thought I'd loosely tie in this article I read...

It says, according to a French website, that the French are regarded as some of the most obnoxious tourists. Even in their own country they find them obnoxious. I didn't know that. Not that, I should be surprised, because when I've traveled, the French are by far the most obnoxious hosts. So why wouldn't the travel poorly too. Actually, that's not entirely accurate. Pariseans, and larger city folk, are obnoxious. People in rural France are not quite so bad.

Still, in this HATE-AMERICA era, it's surprising that our most vocal critics, the French (whose national pasttime is criticism), are less liked abroad then we are. Another thing the French do well is organize bodies to govern (actually bureau-crate) things they are not particualrily good at or had nothing to do with creating. FIFA... FIBA (they are trying to tell the NBA what to do now)... the Olympics, and any day now, we'll have an international poker body created by the French to regulate one of our American past-times, poker.

So, next time you see a loud, boisterous, obnoxious American making an ass of himself on a WSOP telecast and a stoic European taking the beat with aplomb. That our donkey (or ass) just laid on his donkey ass--remember at least we still tip well (something the French, according to the article do poorly too). And if that stoic European is French, he deserved it. Maybe if they tipped a little better the poker karma would work a little better in their favor.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Word has it that Phil Hellmuth...

Will be arriving today in a tank. You'll remember last year he showed up in racecar gear, he was supposed to be in a racecar but crashed it the day before. He also had 10 "babes" on either arm. Guess all the models were taken up by the expo because even in the land of showgirls several of them barely qualified as babes. Today he's supposed to be dressed like Patton and they are supposed to be wearing camos.

You gotta love the guy. His sense of self-promotion is better than just about anybody else out there. Johnny Chan always grabs some TV time behind the final table, usually peddling his water and energy drinks with his branded stretch T-shirts, so I'm sure he'll come up with something this year to have him in the ear of one of the guys that's gone deep, but that's about it for self-aggrandizers. And still, Hellmuth is just a little bit better at it than Chan.

Hellmuth has mastered the walkby conversation that gets him face-time on ESPN. He did it to Raymer, he's done it on just about every type of poker show, and Youtube is rife with clips of him going postal for 5 minutes because he knows it's 5 more minutes of TV time. I think when I qualify for my first main event, I might hire my own marching band, get some bouncers to carry me on an Egyptian style throne into the Rio. An absolute nobody, but I bet I get some TV time.

I belive Seebok, Madsen and Gavin Smith last year had something along those lines tied into their prop bets. Evy Ngyuen had a guy dressed up in a toga fanning her this year until Jack Eiffel told the guy to beat it. Don't know how he even got in under the ropes. Hard to miss a guy in a toga with a five foot palm frond sneaking by you.

Well, today I'm hoping to sweat the monkey. I might be putting the updates here or on his blog if we get them. Nice to have somebody to cheer for. If you guys know any other Gulf Coasters we should be tracking give us a heads up. And happy belated 4th people.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Old rules to live by...

I've gone back to some rules of my cash game that I used to have. I used to have a far better ROI then I have recently live. I need more discipline, plain and simple...

Rules I used to live by and will do so again:

1. Limit my buy-ins per sitting. Instead of being prepared to go deeper and deeper into the pocket (UNLESS the table is especially JUICY), I'm back to my limits. Just about everything I've read or heard on the subject says that if you feel you have an opportunity to make money or an edge on the table you should play. It's one long poker game and you want your next hand to be played on a table with an edge. Doesn't matter if the next hand is tomorrow or today. However, I've definitely had bigger losses chasing lost money. Probably I go on a slight tilt at some point after digging in my wallet. Don't know why, but I don't play as well. Bad beats seem to come in batches too.

2. Be prepared to table jump more frequently. If I'm at a table with 6 rocks, get the f up after 1 rotation. Doesn't matter if I've just won a big pot or not. Leave to where the going is good.

3. Going back to my minimum profit. If I cross a certain line, I'm leaving for home with that amount of money. I used to be a stickler about this. Sure I'll continue to play, but I have a stop-loss point. Won't make it obvious by the way I'm stacking me chips but let's say I'm up 4 buy-ins. Maybe I'll make myself depart if I dip below 3.5 or 3. Usually I use a sliding scale which as I'm winning gets higher and higher. I find it helps me when consider big calls with borderline hands. Getting away from that, sometimes I've recently made marginal calls because my I got the stack to spare.

4. On my last buy-in, there is another stop loss point. On a 1-2 table it's $30. If I get below $30 I pick up and take my chips with me. I put them in a jar (like the tilt jar I recommended) and wait until they build up a buy-in. Then use that as a freeroll of sorts one night.

5. Not adopting a hit and run philosophy, but if the table is tight, or competent and money is hard to be had, not being afraid to get up and leave after a double up. Sure, survey the tables for looser money but if I don't see it, don't be afraid to head home.

The last few months, I've been willing to put too much money into the games and not just wait until the next time. Probably been playing tired, a little frustrated, and not at the level I'd be with a night of rest and a return the next day. Point is the game is always there. You can wait until the next day or night.

This past weekend I played and lost a buy-in, an under 30 chip freeroll (see rule 4), so it wasn't that bad, but doubling up+ early, I flopped top set of Queens, there was a bet, I called, and some kid came over the top all in. First bettor stewed forever and folded. I called and the kid turned over KQ 0/s. Nice.

I was sitting next to the super nice Summerall from Houma. We were chatting and he got a little short-stacked and said he was having one of those nights. We get involved in a five-handed hand where I flop a pair of aces (suited weak ace on the button). Checked around after the board brought two diamonds. I didn't think I was in first. Turn brought another diamond and Summerall bet it (but small). I call. Everybody folds.

River is a 4th diamond. And Summerall checks, scared. I know if I bet it he'd fold. So, why didn't I bet it, (you can't play poker if you are compassionate), and I was compassionate, since it was a smallish pot, I decided we'd see which of our weak aces was better. I also thought he might have a weak two pair as the turn was successive to a card on the flop if he was playing suited connectors. He flopped two pair with the Ace (!) and confessed that fourth diamond had him in foldo state of mind had I bet. Odd, can't believe he didn't protect it a little bit after the flop. So, compassion costs me chips.

Later I get KK in MP. I fire out a bet, guy in the SB min-raises me. Shit! He's got aces. Feel it in the cockles. Just read an article waiting for a table there is only a 3.8% chance somebody holds aces when you hold kings. Hello 3.8%. Action returns to me and I consider a reraise. I'm watching him watch me fondle the chips. I'm getting a read of strength. Big strength. Wow. I'm right he does have f'ing aces.

Okay, let's flat call and hope to hit a king. Flop comes Ace high. This is the part in the narrative where I'm supposed to say, I saved all this money by not pushing on him preflop. Where I pulled the ripcord and get out. He checks. I check (can't fold to no bet). Turn is a brick. He fires out a tiny bet. Argh! I look at his stack and it's not going to cost me too much if we end up getting it in. As Reid says it's F8CK or WALK time, but I don't.

Caution wins the day. He's either got me or he doesn't. I'll hope to call another small bet on the river.

All the while, I got a voice going on inside my head. It's saying, you got a huge read of strength on him preflop. You feel he's sitting on a high pocket pair. Feels like he's got way more than AK. Then an Ace hits. Which makes it less likely he's got pocket rockets. Now, could he have AK and you misread it? People here overplay queens, jacks, and 10s. (We also overplay Kings--note to self). Does he think his second pair is good?

River, predictably, the rest of his chips go in, which is only 1/3rd of the pot. I stew for a long time. Funny thing about this hand is typically, if an Ace hits I'm ready to discard fairly quickly my Kings or Queens. It's like a ripcord or get out of jail card. But in this instance, I felt so strongly that he had a high pocket pair the Ace was actually a bad card for me. He'd have to have a set or he's got queens (as kings is equally unlikely). His stacks and the sizes of his bets were also trappy. I review the hands in my head. I have to be right just slightly more than 1 times out of 4. The hands I have to consider is a suited AK (which some players think is the nuts), AA or QQ. Ultimately, I call because AA is less likely than QQ. Course, him betting twice into an Ace high flop says quite a bit about the strength of his hand. Especially after he saw I was considering repopping him preflop.

Classic case of overanalyzing a hand. I went from hoping to hit me set preflop and sniffing out his aces to doubling up the guy. I even got a reprieve from the governor with an Ace on the flop and still, let him nickel and dime me to the end. Yes, he had AA.

Ultimately, the right answer to that hand is to bet the flop. Probe and see where I'm at. If he really has queens, and my secondary conclusion is right, I take it down there. If he has something else, like the Aces, I proceed to cf. He might get overexcited and push with top set. He probably also checks the turn to me. Thanks to Durbin who helped me come to this conclusion which seems fairly obvious all along. Reid's F8CK or Walk moment was on the flop.

So, I'm tilting. Not because kings ran into aces but because I put him on that and could have saved myself (I think) an additonal $60. Summerall, sums up exactly what I was thinking as I was punishing myself inside for, "I fold kings any time I see an Ace hit the flop." Thanks.

Alright, more bad play from me later.