Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Phil Hellmuth On the Flying Trapzee

That's Phil Hellmuth being lowered on a trapzee at Studio 54. Pics from Tiffany Michelle's twitpics.


Monday, June 29, 2009

Confederations Cup--is it meaningful?

I'll post about poker later today, but this is straight soccer, so skip at your leisure...

There is some confusion about the relative importance of the US making it to the Finals of soccer's second most important international tournament. Is the Confed cup, as one of my friends put it, the "Who gives a sh** cup?" No. I wish there was an easy comparison to other sports that nonsoccer fans would get but there is none. The Playoffs and Superbowl is the only competition in the NFL. Golf has four majors. Same with tennis. While you could argue Wimbledon or the Masters is slightly bigger than the others, they each count as a Grand Slam.

The Olympics and the World Cup are events 1 and 2 in terms of global sports. In some places the Olympics is more important (here) but in most places THE sporting event is the World Cup. In fact, the world cup is so big, any tournament pales in comparison. So, perhaps college basketball provides a ready comparison because March Madness and the N.I.T., are two tournaments in one sport where the first is THE biggest deal and the second is an also-ran. I had a texting debate with a friend of mine in New York who viewed the Confederations Cup as meaningless and disparaged it as the N.I.T. The analogy only holds true in terms of scope, however, in all other respects it fails.

The N.I.T. invites the best teams that didn't make the NCAAs. The Confeds cup invites the champions of each regions (comparable to conference champs which get auto-bids to the NCAA). Europe is represented by the team that won the European Cup (Spain), South America by the team that won Copa America (Brazil), and so on. Then the host nation of the world cup is given a bid (South Africa), and the defending world cup champion (Italy) is also invited.

This narrow selection or qualifying process creates a couple of contradictions. Like the world cup, every team in the world can qualify for the confed cup, however, unlike the world cup no more than three teams can come from one region and usually only one team represents a region. Three teams would be an odd event too, as it would take separate teams from, say Europe, winning the world cup, winning the euro cup, and hosting the next world cup.

So, being so exclusive actually shuts the door on fan interest in many places in the world. Some soccer playing countries like England, Russia, Portugal etc. have never made it to the tournament and have less interest in it. Then they look at the lineup and see half the tournament being comprised of realtive minnows like the African champs (Egypt), the Oceania champs (New Zealand), Concacaf champs (the U.S.) and the Asia Champs (Iraq). So they dismiss it. In one respect it's more exclusive than the world cup, in another, it's woeful in comparison.

The World Cup will have all the top teams from Europe and South America battling each other, in the Confed Cups only their champions will be there. The World Cup has more depth, but the confed cup is a harder tournament for say an England to qualify for.

The truth of the matter, it's a big, big deal, to the champions of smaller regions, and a big deal to the biggest teams in the world that regularly qualify for it. You only need to look at the weeping of a vicitorious Brasil team to know the Confed cup means something to them. Every big team in the tournament brought their best team, and started their best players. This was no N.I.T. by any stretch of the imagination. The N.I.T. doesn't invite the top 3 teams.

The World Cup now has 32 teams. You will never find a group as tough as the one the U.S. played in, in a world cup. Italy, Brazil, the U.S., Egypt. Won't happen. Course you will never find all top 8 teams in the world in the Confederation cup, any time soon, with the elite mostly in Europe and South America.

There could be some debate about the European Cup or Copa America being bigger or more important tournaments than the confederations cup. They are certainly bigger but each are regional, not globabl (even if the world watches the Euro). Add in the fact, winning them qualifies them for the Confederations Cup, structually they are on a lower rung on the ladder.

Most Europeans or South Americans, would prefer winning the Euro or Copa America to winning the Confeds cup, I'd imagine, but it's an odd choice because it's almost impossible to win the Confed cup without winning the European or Copa America.

So, because any and everything in soccer is complicated, the U.S. incredible run in this tournament is burdened by justifying the tournament's worth. It's not the World Cup (nothing is) but it is the second biggest globabl tournament there is and is treated pretty seriously in places like Brasil, France, Argentina, Germany, Italy and Spain. Your limey friend might dismiss it as a crap tournament but you can tell him that's just because England just can't seem to qualify for it.

What the U.S. accomplished in making the finals is incredible. Being 2-0 up on Brasil in such a final is something few teams can ever brag about. Also goes to show you anything can happen in sports and sports betting. One bettor got the U.S. at astronomical odds to win the Confederations Cup, when all looked lost, and had to be irate when they lost that two goal lead.


Thursday, June 25, 2009

Rough Week

So at the beach with the in-laws, things are going swell. It's a little too hot but bearable, a nice breeze over the gulf, soft white-white sands, tropical blue oceans and everybody in great spirits.

Then my Mother-in-law has a heart attack. Things are suddenly not so good. She gets airlifted to Pensacola and luckily the cardio surgeon there had a procedure scheduled and they are already ready to go. They bump that lady out and quickly get to work. Two blockages, one 100% the other 70%.

A stint is inserted effectively for the 100% blockage (the 70% one will have to wait until things heal up), and she is in the Pcola hospital until today. Spent the last three days driving my wife back and forth to visit.

Two hours each way every day, and an expectant mother anxious about her mother, makes for a rough week. Even tougher is the sudden surprise of it all. Lady works out with a personal trainer, eats well, and just got great numbers on her cholestral. She's in great shape and it blindsided everybody.

Fortunately, there was a lady on the beach with a jeep who took my mother-in-law back to the house within minutes of the chest pain. We had some baby aspirin and regular aspirin on hand and that mitigated the attack quickly. 911 was called and the ambulance was there within minutes and she was fast tracked into the local E.R. They quickly realized she needed to be helicopter-ed to Pcola and she was.

By the time we got there, driving fairly frantically through the panhandle, she was in recovery.

Anyway, they let her out a day early (today) and she is back at the beach house. She'll be trying to pack in some fun into what's left of her vacation.


Monday, June 22, 2009

Odds and Ends...

-We are going through some laptop issues this week, so www.gulfcoastpoker.net may have some sporadic updates, which sucks as our numbers keep going up and our traffic has traditionally been deepest during the WSOP. We should get squared away in the next few days.

-Just read Monkey's post and I feel for the guy. I had gotten his text early on and I was so happy that things had seemed to have turned that it was a big disappointment that it went south. Though, I had a suspicion as I didn't hear back from him. Hopefully, things will turn for him and for everybody out there in a downswing that feels more like a hole with no way out than a dip in the road. I have faith skill will win out.

-Phil Ivey is a stud. If I sat down with him on a Hold 'Em table I'd be scared enough, but on any other game you gotta think he just eviscerates most of his opponents. I remember a random moment when he played at a 10k New Orleans circuit event where I stopped and watched an orbit. I think he raised 8 or 9 out of 10 hands straight (this wasn't on the bubble or anything) and he was just scooping pots. Matasow was at the table and just getting angrier by the second because he didn't have the stack to mix it up with Ivey's theivery.

-Jeffrey Lisandro, thuggish rumors aside, is proving to be a legtimate big time poker player. Recently, he was regarded as one of the better poker players without a bracelet. Now, he's got three having won two at this years World Series. Have to consider who would be the best without a bracelet these days and if they'll go on a run like Lisandro's anytime soon.

Been playing some low stakes poker with the extended in-laws and it's interesting to watch the learning curves of young players. Some people get it and adjust and improve yet some just continue commiting the same errors time and time again. There is no adjustment, though I guess the learning curve is different for everybody. From watching these neophytes' progression, I'm starting to draw some conclusions about the game.

If anybody reading this can think back to when you started and if you didn't immediately have a knack for the game you probably don't now. I've heard good players whisper about their friends who are not quite at their level as saying they don't get "it." I'm starting to see what they mean player with beginners. I hope somebody with a skill discrepancy to mine comparable to mine to beginners, doesn't look at me and think "That guy doesn't get it and never will." That would be a bad thing, because I can see who could get "it" and who just can't. One of the guys that gets it has taken to online poker. That's a bit of a good thing. A little sharpening of his poker strategy and he'll be great.

-Mini soccer blurb, cue scroll down for 99% of readers or page change now...
So I bash the U.S. and they do just about the impossible and qualify for the semi-finals. Entering the day, their only chance was to advance as the best (or in this case the least worst) 2nd place team if one team went 3-0 and the other three teams in their group tied with a 1-2 record. To do so, they needed to win by 3 or more goals and needed Brazil to win by three goals without Italy scoring. The NFL tiebreaker complexities have a rival in fifa. Two 3-0 scorelines later and they have a semi-final date with Spain on Wednesday.

The Spainards just set a record for 15 consective wins. They are also into a, I think, a 30 odd game streak without a loss (if you are confused between the two remember you can tie a soccer game). So, it would be an almost monumental upset to advance one more game to the finals. Despite some horrible tactical decisions in my opinion by Coach Bradley in terms of personnel the team final put together a complete game against a competitive opponent. It was a surprising day and coming on the heels of me almost being at a breaking point in terms of frustration. I imagine I'll be there again Wednesday when we are on the opposite side of a 3-0 scoreline.

Will be pulling for LSU tonight in the college world series. Will be with a lot of LSU baseball fans so the games should be an enjoyable ride barring a Texas blow out (which i don't think will happen).


Friday, June 19, 2009

Donkey in this week's Donkley is me...

Feeling bullet proof, I guess from running so well in the Harrahs weekly, I squandered opportunites and pissed away chips. I made no fewer than three fairly big mistakes.

Early on I caught KK and knocked out the attorney with whom I've shared the last two final tables. He had about a half stack and shoved on me hoping my reraise was a button steal. He had 9s and my KK held. That felt good. I also got the ace/queen out of the hand that would have scooped most of the pot.

Cue mistake hand number 1:

So I promptly, get KQ in late position. Raise. Called by BB and a limper. Flop is K high. Old man in BB leads out. Loose player who limped and called my pf raise folds. I see the rock has 2k behind. I know he has AK. I hope I'm wrong and set him in. Can't just call there, because he can shove any hand later. Might as well make him think about his tournament life. But, correct play is fold because I know I'm beat and keep an extra 2500. Especially in that tournament structure. That's a lot of chips early.

I flop a set of queens. Told you I squandered an opportunity. I turn a full house and after checking every street a guy in the big blind bets, finally. I min raise. He hollywoods and shoves. He rivered a straight. He can't fathom or see my full house when I call. After it's explained he lost the hand, and he realized I limped pocket Queens preflop, I got a nice stack again.

Cue mistake hand number 2:

A guy gets knocked out after I do a table change, and I'm not paying attention getting my huge chip stack organized. I think I missed the bb and fire it in. I pull it back when I realize it's not mine, glance at QJ suited and say f it and limp. Get another limper, then a min-raise, and the two blinds fold. Sweet, that's what I get for playing QcJc can't fold here for this price. Though I get this feeling I just dug a hole and it's going to get deeper.

Flop comes 10c8c4x. Nice. Looks like I'm stuck to this pot. I throw out a blocking bet (1500). Call, call. Turn is a K. I throw out same bet. Call. Raise to 5k. I call. Other dude folds. River bricks. I check, he checks behind with KQ. If I shove, I might get him off. Still, why play QJ under the gun as a limp.

Now, I'm short, get nothing but wide numeric gaps (9-2,8-3,7-2), a little later UTG with barely a little more than three times the big blind, I decide I'm shoving if I get any paint. I look at a 9 than a 10 o/s. I've taken my time before looking and notice a lot of players that have peeked are given hand tells they are going to play this pot. Couple of tight guys are loading up. Am I going to be isolated by an overpair? For some reason, I fold. I is stupid.

A big pot starts and nobody is isolated. I would have had the chance to quadruple up. Flop is 887. Turn is the old six ball. JJ beats AK after shedding two players and BB who went all in preflop just mucks. Fun. Would have been right back in the game. 109 is an almost perfect hand for my situation, what was I waiting for? I don't know... maybe for my brain to come back into my head after momentarily leaving it, I guess.

I get bounced calling a raise, blind, in the BB. Had 65.

Alex and I traded 10%. I had decided I was playing cash anyway if I didn't final table it, but since he was still alive I had motivation to wait around and hopefully collect. Sure enough at 10 handed Alex says he doesn't want to chop, coming in as the big stack after knocking out two people with pocket 7s and turning quads. They give him second place money and I get almost a freeroll. We bet the soccer game, his choice, and he picked South African over New Zealand (who I wanted to take as they were the home team) but as he knew nothing about soccer I gave him the choice. He won and got to keep a little more cash. Sports betting is fun. Even when you lose.

BTW, some quick soccer thoughts. It's cool how Bafana Bafana (the nickname for the S.A. national team) is uniting South Africa in advance of the World Cup. Meanwhile the U.S. team looked like a ground squirrel and Brazil the cat playing with it's prey in a long slow death dance before it killed it. It was almost like when the felt like it, they'd bash us across the skull with a timely goal.

The national team looked completely outclassed. Next years, world cup, which to me in the 1990s with the promise of our youth teams was one I circled thinking we'd finally compete, is now looking like another embarassment for us on the international stage. I still hold out some hope, but it is striking how much international players progress from the ages 17-21 and our kids almost regress.

The best American player, the striker soccer fans have long dreamed of scored twice in the U.S. Italy game. Only problem the 21 year old who grew up his entire life in New Jersey, and after the game called America home and he was delighted for all his family in Jersey to see him score twice, played for Italy. We still got a year to go, though we'll never have Giuseppe Rossi play for us... but our chances look bleak.

Okay, sorry for the soccer interlude back to the pokering...

Then I played cash. Made a big laydown with KK on a 7 high board. Kind of got lucky because of the action. Preflop I raised. Button called, SB called. Post flop SB (wild and loose) checked, I bet, rock on the button called, small blind raised it up. He could be doing this with A7 but I just know I'm beat by somebody. I fold letting my corner see my laydown. Funny thing is good player on my left says "You took that long to fold that hand?" and at the same time the guy having a rough day on my right says "How can you fold that!" Rock on button shoves, SB calls. Set of 7s vs. AA. Guy on my right goes "Wow, what a laydown."

I just got lucky on that hand, the small blind disguised his AA well but cost himself his stack because if he pumps me back preflop 7s aren't in there and I don't fold to his flop shove or we get it all in preflop cause his range is galactic. Why a guy like that would think it's a good move for him to disguises bullets with a call is beyond me. His mere playing style disguises bullets.

I run pretty good on the cash tables that day. But made a big mistake when I rivered second nuts in a huge three way pot (I was ahead the whole time). One guy is already all-in, this wild Asian I think only has 150 left, I decide he's pot stuck I'll just shove. He tanks and finally folds. I can't believe it. AK is toast and Asian fist pumps when he sees my AJ full house. I then notice he's got a column of greens behind his reds and actually had me covered, no idea he was that deep.

I check he might shove, his style, or if I throw out a value bet, he at least calls but might come over the top. So mad, I cost myself hundreds on the hand. Kind of like the tournament, you only get so many days like that. Same is true of cash, you HAVE to exploit those opportunities when you get them.

Little later get a timely phone call to go home. It's nice to run good. Despite having a mistake filled afternoon, turned a profit, but what might have been...


Thursday, June 18, 2009

Rant and Randomness

Just tidying up here, this is an old post but I'm organizing the blog a bit, or at least starting too. So I separated it from the poker portion of a previous post. Will probably create a rants category, and maybe my top posts. We'll see.

...And now for something completely different, my wife looks like she is ready to explode with our baby. I'm so tired of the same conversations that we inevitably have with every person behind a counter. It's not the obligatory niceties like "When are you due?" "Is it a boy or girl" all that I can handle.

It's two aspects that are tiresome the first question is "Are you ready?" Which is totally a trap question, you say a tentaive "Yes, we hope so" as a prospective first time parent, and you've stepped into a spring loaded trap that has chunks of bear hair in it. The parents of young children will smile like Michael Jordan would if I challenged him to a game of one on one basketball and say "Oh, no you are not, you have no idea... you think you are ready, but you have no idea."

Well, since everybody has said that, in truth, I'm ready to expect sleepless nights, some misery, and the unexpected... meaning I know we'll be overwhelmed. That doesn't satisfy. "You think you know, but you have no idea." It's not like we are going to get waterboarded, which I imagine feels a little bit like drowing, so even torture I have idea about, we suddenly have another roommate we can't kick out, that doesn't pay rent, doesn't clean up after himself, needs diapers, and will destroy everything. Yeah, I get that. We'll also experience un-imagined and unknown happiness, my worldview will change, it'll be a bit like the first time I heard Nirvanna and the day Kurt Cobain died wrapped up in one (totally joking).

So now when I reach that question, I simply answer "No, we aren't ready." Course, that doesn't work out so well. We get the same smile and another almost as bad retort "Well, you better get ready." It's a catch 22, or just like any discussion I have with my wife when her hormones go to 11. Sometimes there is no right answer.

Next thing I tire of, because I'm an grumpy old man even though I'm not even halfway through my 30s is, is everybody says "What did you want," and there is this caveat you have to say before you can answer the question. It's similar to the bit Jerry Seinfeld created when he'd reference gays and then said "not that there's anything wrong with that." You mention gays and don't say it, people look at you like you are a homophobe.

In relations to babies you are supposed to say "well, we want a healthy baby first". It goes further because social convention follows the person nods knowingly and then says "of course, but it being healthy and all, did you have a preference?"

Can we just eliminate this whole portion of conversation. Everybody wants a healthy baby. And nobody's going to throw an infant out, well I'm not, if it's not the right type of sex. So it's pointless. However, I've learned if you don't go through this insipidness, and just say "I wanted a boy she wanted a girl." You'll get a disaproving look and the questioner will say, "Of course you want A HEALTHY BABY FIRST RIGHT?" Look, that's implied. Don't give me a sanctimonious tone.

For a while, after seinfeld, nobody could mention gays without saying "Not that there is anything wrong with that." Even long after that line stopped being funny, it was a like "Look I'm not a hater." So, I was always tempted to say, just to make fun of the tired line, "Not that there is anything right about that." I didn't because people would start thinking I wasn't joking even if I was just tired of feeling obligated to announce I don't bash them as a pasttime. For the record I like gays. Not that there is anything wrong with that.

Anyway, I now have this evil voice in that back of my head that wants to say something similar in answer to the baby question, because I like to shock people and the opposite is such a needless piece of rethoric. However, that clearly would not be funny. I feel for everybody that's had a baby with health issues, and I know a few friends dealing with it, and I pray for them and I pray our baby doesn't have any issues.

Besides, if I said something sarcastic at that point of the conversation, I think my wife would punch my kidneys out through the smallest orifice on my body if I did. Still, it's so asinine, somebody asks you where'd you rather go on vacation you don't say "Well, I just hope my plane lands safely." It's implied.

No, I'm dick enough without saying it. I already get in enough trouble when I say, "I'd be excited if we knew who the father is." Course I said that to a lady in a shoe store once who tut-tutted us with grandmotherly understanding and said, "My daughter went through that." Other variations, "I just hope he's not Samoan" or "we are very excited... you know the conception was of the immaculate variety... at least that's what my wife says" and stroke my wife's hair, smiling.

My wife is a good sport, though she's had to reel me in when I get a little out of ine using her pregnancy as comedy (even if I'm the audience) cause we'll walk in the drug store, and she looks like she has a medicine ball sticking out of her and I'll (JOKINGLY) say loud enough for everybody to hear, "You want me to get you a fifth of vodka and two cartons of your cigarettes? Right". Apparently, as she's told me, people have called human services for less, so I'm toning down that brand of humor. I've also stopped saying, "Let's get you a girdle," "Next time you do your pushups you are going to have to go all the way down" but I haven't stop saying stone faced "what do you mean when she's due? She's not pregnant."

Other randomness...

Terminator: Salvation is a prety decent movie. Not sure why it hasn't done better at the box office. About to watch the Hangover, which may be so overhyped with expectations I may enjoy it less. That happened with Something About Mary, everybody told me it was hilarious and then I saw most of the funniest bits in commercials or reviews I was let down.

UPDATE: The Hangover was funny. Not quite Old School funny but funny. On first viewing I tried to catch as many of the jokes that seem to hit you on repeated veiwings of these types of films. The bit where the guy is carrying the baby talking about Steve Gutenberg and Ted Dansen in the background was funny. Could tell only half the audience caught it.

There were many other sublte instances of humor at play two. Course the obvious was so funny you almost didn't have time to digest everything put before you. That's the making of a great comedy. You can digest it a few times and catch different beats. We'll see if it has the staying power of Old School.

Been playing a lot of online poker and have been impressed with, or maybe I should say envious of, the new interface over at bwin. The rest of the world that gets to play poker online with that slick bit of computer engineering are fortunate. Lots of upgrades to play online poker in their package.


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

phil ivey

More Ivey...


Rounders Part II

COSTA RICA ONLINE GAMBLING FLICK TO STAR LEONARDO DiCAPRIO. The guys who wrote Rounders are turning their sights to the online... sites. Expect veiled references to the Absolute(ly Cheating You) Poker Scandal. We can see the pitch now, Blow meets Magic the Gathering meets the Firm meets Shade meets bad sequel of your choice that's not technically a sequel but we all know it is... ie Charles in Charge. Speaking of sequels why not just get Matt Damon and Ed Norton and make it an honest to goodness sequel.

Here's our sequel: Worm worms his way into a online site's strip mall in Costa Rica's offices, where he coincidentally is hiding out after trying to tap into hole camara feeds. He is about to get roughed up but promises access to Mike McD. The execs are Spencer Pratt lookalike (odd flesh color beards not required) frat boys that started an internet poker site by teaming up with old hustler named Huss Ramilton played by John Goodman.

They'll include a shot of them shooting a goose that lays a golden egg when they decide to steal from their own customers despite making millions of dollars a day. Worm coming up with the idea is likely.

McD, now a name multiple bracelet winner (again, not an anonymous one), against his better judgment decides to wear Worm's company's patch to bail out his friend one more time when Huss Ramilton applies the screws. Then chaos ensues as the scandal breaks and McD, the new face of the site, and Worm the dimwitted idea guy become the fall guys. With his bankroll completely virtual and his name disgraced Mike McD loses everything overnight as all the sites block him from withdrawing funds.

In a race against time, McD must win enough to fund the trip to Costa Rica to clear his name, the bribery money for local officials and a bracelet he promised to a handicapped kid (played by Daniel Negreanu in a touching cameo) that is the only person that still believes in him.

With the aid of messageboard buddies (okay, the handicapped kid ain't they only one) they follow the Oreo cookie crumb thread on the internet (which is on computers these days) to do so. Some angry Russians led by Teddy KGB who had already hacked the site and cheating on it but weren't dumb enough to be superusers with outlier obviousness arrive at Costa Rica at the same time. Mike McD busts Huss Ramilton AND clears Worm's name with the Ruskies. The new owners of the site? Teddy KGB and his entourage. And that's your movie. Come on... it's better than Lucky You, okay... it's better than Ishtar.


Sunday, June 14, 2009

Chopping Debacle in the Donkley--Update

Poker at the Bottom...

Decided to make this into two posts. One was a rant, the other was about poker. So let's just get straight to the pokering... in this one.

I continue to run well at the Harrahs Wednesday weekly tournament. DaRock once again dealt me great, peeling off a three outer on the river when my A9 got called by A10 and he got me out of a couple other jams. He used to cooler me, now he's just raking me pots. I made some big bluffs that weren't called for some big pots. Right before the final table I got crippled when my opponent hit her three outer to stay alive and double through me.

Coming back from a break to start the FT, nine out of ten players are there and everybody agrees to chop. Nobody was more than an all in call or two from being short and the blinds were fairly big. If I were one or two of the big stacks I would have waited to crush my short stack, the girl (who sucked out on me) and one other player before I'd even discuss it. However, they were willing to chop, so I figured getting an even chop as the short stack was a win for me.

I made a mental note to return the favor with those big stacks should the situation ever get reversed (fair is fair). Oddly, as I'm doing this, the guy next to me (who barely had more chips than me) said I better chop it next time. I'm campaigning pretty loudly about the blinds and encouraging the even chop, but why would he say that to me specifically. I think he was at a final table when I refused a chop and he got bounced. I told him honestly, if I came into a final table with a huge chip stack I'm not chopping. I wasn't saying it loud enough for the chipleaders to hear, but they shouldn't have chopped at that point.

Everything is going great right? Well, I said 9 out of 10 agreed, the little girl who rivered me to make the final table comes back and flatly says she's not chopping (maybe she should review the rules of chopping). I'm flabbergasted looking at her stack. She barely has more than me. They figure out the button (me--sweet). She's utg. I tell her she won't have anything left when she goes through the blinds. She shrugs, despite her dire situation I guess she thinks she's better than the randomness of the shovefest that is about to ensue.

What happens, she shoves UTG and it's folded around to an attorney who made the final table with me the week before. He ponders forever and then calls. He's got pocket 3s. He laughs and I know he's decided to take a flip because of the opportunity to get rid of her. He thinks she loses we chop and go home. He loses he's probably looking at the min cash for 10th, but it's worth the risk.

His threes hold. Now the chop goes up about $100 a head. Almost third place money. Suddenly, a lady with probably second or third chips says she's not chopping. The attorney is going "WTF?" Only reason he took that risk was to end it and go home.

She's not chopping. I see her eyeing my chips and I mentally strike her off the return the favor list. I also give her credit for making the right decision (lol). Soon, the guy next to me battles the attorney and gets booted with a min cash, and we all make another $100. Lady declines the chop again. She eyes my chips again. I make another mental note this time wielding a mental Sharpie, as I give her mental picture a moustache, a top hat and a hairy mole, too.

When the big blind hits me she raises more than my stack. I look down at a suited KoJack. I throw it in and hope she has what she does... middling Ace. Flop a jack river a superflouos king and now I got some breathing room. She's dejected. We play another hand, and now the new short-short stack will be all in on the blind.

He and the lady, I think, know each other or at least got friendly on that day. She's says she's willing to chop. I almost want to decline and wait a hand, but I'm still one of the shorties and why be greedy. Pretty decent score.

Right now sweating GeneD at a final table on poker stars I think there were over a 1000 entrants. Been real impressed with the thin calls he's been making. In the zone, no doubt. Also his level of agression has been notable. 5 handed.

Gene was the chip leader since about three tables to this point. One guy has him barely clipped. Two short stacks won't go away.

Alright, back to be a railbird.

UPDATE: Gene came in second. He played great all night and there were only one or two hands that I made notes about that I'd want to discuss with him. AND I'm not saying he played them wrong more that he played them differently then I would. Probably would benefit us both to discuss the differences in strategy. Definitley can't argue with the result. He really impressed me, taking some hits and bouncing back. Especially four-handed he went from chipleader to short stack all the way to chipleader heads-up. Great job Gene.


Monday, June 08, 2009

Online Play, Deep-itis for GCPers, Misclicks and Backne

First off thanks to monkey for the kudos in his blog and in my comments about my writing a few posts ago. That post was a long one, and I'm glad he stuck around for the payoff.

I know he's being dealing with that painful Deep-itis. It's going deep in every tournament and running into K10 at every corner, or losing a race or getting card dead at the worst time. Seems like a lot of us have that. SPR at the circuit event,... Gene D... Reid... GCPers getting deep and not getting the breaks. You want to find a donkey, just wait til a critical time, and he'll reveal himself by making a bonehead play and then get lucky against one of us.

I went on a streak once where I'd get my money in every time with an overpair and they'd always hit a set. Every freakin' time. Always on the bubble or in mincash territory. So frustrating, I know Monkey's pain. I'm still gunshy when I'm 4 to 1 because of that terrible summer. I still think longrun I'm owed some of my hands holding. I'm about 50/50 it feels like. Not as bad as Monkey's streak vs. K10 that's just sicko.

Speaking of donkey kicks to the gnads. Watched Gene in a PStars tournament this weekend and I felt like I did when I broke my ribs playing club soccer on my older brother's team against kids that were 5 years older than me when I as a kid. Me barely on the cusp of sprouting armpit hair (aka helpless lady tied to railroad tracks) the titan (aka freight train) barreling down and over me like I was the paper high-school football players run through at Homecoming. I'll never forget the sight, as I fell flattened, and dazed, listening to my brittle bones snap, punching into my lungs, I see dude running away, and notice in that moment of pain the dude's 'roid backne looking like braille graffiti popping out from the nape of his neck. Who knew the Ultimate Warrior played club soccer?

So, yeah, that was a painful and that's kind of what I felt like when I saw the hand take place. I'm sure Gene will blog about his hand as he was cruising ang looking at a decent payday, then he misclicked called, an idiot's all in shove preflop with both of them top 10 stacks (already in the money). Idiot held aces. Nice to double up with them because of a misclick. Maybe I'll start shoving with them sitting well over a 100 bbs and hope for a misclick. Read Negreanu misclicked in an FTOPs or WCOOP too, so Gene hold your head up--even the best misclick. Laptops are terrible for that. I wonder if the sites have given any thought to failsafes for misclicks, I'd be fine with having to double click any all-in call if that's an option.

Watching Gene, and trying to get the backne image out of my head (sorry for putting it yours, but some things just stay with you until you get them out) I decided to play Stars' shootout freeroll for a main event seat as I did other things, I won the first two tables and then lost three or four handed to come up just short of being in the battle for a Main Event package. Man are there some terrible players in those freerolls. I'm thinking about playing a lot more on Stars if that's the state of the site.

Our friend Mitch has set up a weekly tournament on Tilt that I took down on Friday night (tiny field for the first one). We were both hoping Alex T would play. Mitch, because Alex knocked him out of the Donkley, and me because of the chop decision :) . Gene D also got sent to the rails by Alex in the Donkley and was looking for Alex to play. Hopefully, we'll have more faces this week. Email me if you want in. I think it's a $22 buy-in.

We might start doing a weekly GCP.Net internet poker tournament at the suggestion of one of our readers. Let me know if there is interest in that too.


The Latest Donkley Report

The Harrahs weekly or the Donkley as I'm dubbing it went pretty well despite being card dead. Finished 6th and in the money. My friend Alex T, finished 5th. He was the only guy refusing the chop. Cost me some money. Next time he better win the thing (or go out before me and definitely not one after me). They chopped as soon as he was eliminated.

Funny a set of 9s was crucial for GulfCoastPoker.NET Bloggers: Gene, SPR, and me. Alex T, hit one against Gene's TPTK, SPR got all his chips into the middle with Aces, against flopped top set of 9s, and my big early pot to get me deep in the tournament was a set of 9s vs. Q9 (two pair) in a battle of the blinds. I've seen SPR just get battered with cooler situations and his premium pocket pairs in the Donkley. He lost the absolute minimum with Kings when an Ace hit the board, then got sent home when 9s caught on him and his aces. In weeks past, I've seen him get a ton of big hands and have to ditch them--correctly.

In a weird set of circumstances, my timing was just lucky as hell. I might have been card dead but I was still running good. Nobody had anything when I c-bet or stole. I got no cards all day and fired out with hands like 10-2, and other crap hands I'd pick out every orbit or two. Usually, would get a caller or two preflop, it'd go check, check, I'd lead and fold, fold. Sometimes it's better not to have big hands. Can't say I wasn't lucky or bitch about being card dead, it's incredibly lucky to not run into hands in so many situations.

I was cruising just robbing people, on one dealer down, I won with 4-2 four straight times. I dragged a pot with it betting with air on the river because all draws missed and the guy looked like he was chasing. That dealer takes the mucked cards and shows himself as he adds them to the pile (I was in the 10 and got some free informtaion with his collection technique). So, I know I got an audience. I got 4-2 two hands later and won again. The dealer paused when he saw my hand raking up the cards, so I decided I'd play 4-2 like AK every time I got it until I lost with it. He dealt it to me twice more. Funny thing is, i thought I hit with it and blindside my opponents but I missed every time and fired like I hit and scoop all the pots.

See, how can I not call that running good?

Course, with three tables left Alex and I talked on break and he told me in advance he wasn't going to be open to a chop. Changed my strategy a bit. I took a chance to get some chips that I didn't need to. It was a bad play that had BB mocking it at the other end of the table, saying "Yeah, he's a "pro"." I had A rag in the Big Blind, action folded to SB. He puts in a weird bet (by the way I'm going to do a separate post on his holding soon, so I may somewhat repeat this story). It screamed he didn't want a call. Normally, that bet screams out exactly what the player has, and I saw people make that terrible bet and then show their hole cards all day like they did something right and not wrong, but in the blinds I didn't feel it--I got the timidity right but not the strength of the hand.

Anyway, I ask him what he's got left, I know he's capable of laying down a hand. He shows me the other half of his stack, the first half is in the pot. I think about it for a while. Why so much? He doesn't want a call. For some reason, the obvious didn't hit me in that situation, I thought more ante/blind steal with at best say KJ. I got to get chips, I got him covered, and I can handle it if I lose the pot. With that stupid range, I like the play.

Thought about doing a stop and go, but realize he's in the SB and that would require him to check, he's probably shipping it on the flop before I get the chance to. Is there any fold equity. On some of his steals, maybe yes (for him), though he should call regardless.

I say F it and shove. He insta calls with... you guessed it Jacks... two red ones.

He flops a set. For some reason I think I'm four to a flush on the turn and hit my suckout on the river. I apologize to the guy. He thinks the same too. I'm waiting for the dealer to ship me the pot and I see the guy squinting and doing a double take. She tells me what I owe.

I look at the board and that black jack is a spade and not a club. Embarrassing. Weird my opponent misread it the same way I did. Somebody says "Nice try!"

Despite taking a little bigger risk than normal, it's a bad play. Given the history of my opponent, JJ made a ton of sense. Just didn't see it in the moment. He didn't want a call, as he confessed, so my read was right, but he didn't want a call because like everybody he hates jacks, not sure I agree with that poker strategy.

Later I get whittled down and on the bubble Darrell delivers a huge 9 when my A9 is all in vs. A10 on the river. He also gives me a big pot with another suck out. I shouldn't doubt the man. He used to deal me coolers in the Donkly but not recently... he is my favorite dealer. Final table was nondescript. I couldn't get anything going and the blinds jumped big and caught up to everybody. Don't remember the knock out hand.

The Jacks post is coming soon.


Saturday, June 06, 2009

Mercier Speaks

Jason Mercier's interview just before he won his bracelet.


Friday, June 05, 2009

Phil Ivey Before Winning his Sixth Bracelet and more importantly a slew of Prop Bets

Gotta tip your hat to No Home Jerome. This was taken just before the final table he went into with a short stack. Go to

SORRY, LOOKS LIKE POKER ROAD MAY HAVE PULLED IT. To enjoy this video and others go to:


Tuesday, June 02, 2009


Watch Doyle Brunson vs Amarillo Slim Scooter Race at the 2009 WSOP on RawVegas.tv


Monday, June 01, 2009

Enjoying Awkward Situations...

Let me give you the lay of the land of my last cash game session. I have a pretty young Asian girl on my right. She's borderline flirting but in a nonthreatening way it seems. She clearly sees my wedding ring and is not making an effort to hide hers. So, I don't think she's going to go too far. She's terrible at poker but keeps asking me for my opinion.

Normally, the last thing I want to do is educate an opponent on poker strategy, especially one that is good for the game, but I could tell she wasn't long for it and she was genuinely nice and playing for enjoyment. I gave her a tip or two and confirmed that yes in fact she did misplay her pocket jacks, and her AK, and her straight. Yes, she should bet when she made a hand and check when she didn't unless she was bluffing. I was being polite.

To her right, and the reason I chose my seat, is a guy that is nursing one of those hangovers he didn't wake up and discover it just kind of took hold after his buzz from the night before tailed off. He had that glossy, glassy look to his eyes, and the vapors of grey goose and redbull were coming in hot from his breath. He also had over two gs in chips in front of him.

There were a couple of regulars at the table. They had the same obvious intentions as me. I want to get into hands with this guy and let him double me up time and time again. Course he's battling. With each fold his swollen head would drop to his forearms draped over the table.

I'm stunned he's playing rock tight. There are a couple of numskulls who came in together. They are eyeing the drunkard with a glint in their eye. I decide if I don't win his money, I want them to, because they are easier targets than the old regulars. Nobody's afraid of playing a pot with hungover boy, except the young Asian girl, and none of us can snap him off.

He's clearly coming off a great evening and we all are fresh eyed and want to bust him. I see him jerking his head to the side as he'd catch himself from falling asleep. Looked like he was driving through Kansas at 3 am.

I decide I'm going to punish his passive play. He's clearly protecting his stack so I'm gonna antagonize him and try to get him to put his stack into play. Every time he enters a pot, I pop it. He folds and I have to re-adjust to whoever is riding sidecar. Yet, my constant raising of him induces no frustration, it's almost like he's thankful he can fold and go back to being hungover.

Then I ask him if he'd like a pillow. Maybe I can needle him into playing.

Unfortunately, he smiles. "Man, I've been up for like 48 hours. I've been on a nonstop rush." Okay, change of tact. Back to being the nice guy. Actually, I prefer that. "Get a coffee," I advise and try to keep him talking. Despite my best efforts to befriend the hungover target he comes slightly to his senses and leaves shortly thereafter. No dining on the whale.

I scan the table and notice most of the money left with him. Fun. The regulars are equally not amused.

The Asian girl, brutally misplays pocket Jacks again. Flop brings an A and K. Action goes check, she bets, her opponent calls. Check, bet, call. Check, bet, raise all in--she calls. He has AK.

She says something unintelligible to me and gathers her stuff. She walks off saying, "How can he have Ace King?"

You'd never tell he had a hand the way he called you down and check raised you on the river.

Within, minutes she's back telling me she needs to use my cell phone so she can borrow some money, I think a heavy hint was steered my way because she kind of threw "borrow money" out there and let it linger. She looked like a good investment (sarcasm). It sat there a little longer after I gave her my phone and she made no effort to call anybody. If we were married it'd be like when the wife says "We need to take out the trash," and stares at me until we (or I) did it.

I let it sit there so more.

I reminded myself, she wasn't my wife.

She added, she needed to borrow the money from "somebody" (the mouse in her pocket?)because she's too good to stop playing, and gave a big smile. I almost up the percentage of me loaning her money from NEVER, EVER to a cold day in hell... but then I realize she wasn't trying to be funny, so I won't have to sweat any cold fronts.

I play the next hand, limp and fold to a raise, and she's kind of still just standing there not calling anybody. The "borrow money" hanging over my head. I nod at her, and keep nodding. I'm reveling in the awkward moment a little bit.

I had a friend in college who went on a road trip to another school. He met a random girl, they got along pretty well and then he stayed the night in her room. I'm sure they played Monopoly or something banal. Or not. The next morning she's up and about and he groggily sits up on the side of her bed. There's a knock and next thing my friend knows, a random dude walks in. The girl introduces him to my friend as her boyfriend. The guy sits on the other bed directly across from my friend. The girl excuses herself for "a minute" and leaves.

My friend and the boyfriend are just staring at each other. After a couple of jarringly brutal minutes, my friend just embraced the awkwardness of the situation and just stared at the guy kind of nodding. He decides he's not going to do or say anything. Just nod, politely. The boyfriend can't bring himself to ask the obvious question and the girl doesn't return. Finally, the boyfriend gets up and leaves the room. Victory.

I decide to pursue a similar tact with the Asian girl. She's basically asked me for a loan without asking, and I haven't said no, I've just ignored the obvious.

Finally, out of nowhere, the dude to my left, who I paid no attention to whatsoever, nudges me and raises his eyebrows and says "Buddddddy" in a whisper, alerting me that he had a pulse, he swallowed a dead nutria and he sported a Rollie Fingers type stash. "You going to give her the loan?" Eyebrows up again, the mustache in some sort of freakish facial foilage harmony follows suit. Three hairy caterpillers moving at once. "What you going to get in return?" Then he starts giggling like a 13 year old school girl.

For some reason, I'll never understand that type of guy. When I was younger I had a flight attendent hit on me while she was working and she kept feeding me little bottles of alcohol that I didn't ask for, and after each little conversation with her the passenger next to me would get all giddy with the potential the evening had in store for me. Once she let it known she was staying the night at our destination without me asking. He became unbearable. Throughout the flight, she'd sit down next to me and the guy would hold his magazine up and turn the pages but stare directly at us as we made vapid small talk.

I didn't know which was more annoying my situation or the dude. I'd never gotten hit on by a stewardess when I was single and yes, that's something any single young man would like to happen, might even fantasize would happen, and of course, at the time of this flight... I was in a relationship. It's like sitting at a Thanksgiving dinner with your mouth wired shut. In life as in poker timing is a bitch.

Just as painful was the passenger poking me with his elbows and telling me he'd never seen anything like it. I'd get a play by play after every little smile and flirtation or exchange when she'd walk away to fluff pillows or upright chairs. He was giddy. I remember he said "You have to do it... for me." Which to me is a classic headscratcher. One, what obligation do I owe him besides the sharing a foxhole type experience of flying Delta on a domestic flight together. And two, what was he going to get out of it? Why did I have to do it... for him.

Flash forward a decade, deja vu, now I got another eager egger on-er, but this time instead of a flight attendent promising a scandalous layover with her eyes, I got a broke and terrible poker player on the other side of me asking for money and not offering anything. But the man of many caterpillars reads a lot more into it.

Finally, "the boyfriend leaves the room." The girl admits defeat, but the awkwardness is not quite over. She pulls out her Iphone from her purse and then kind of looks at my phone. Oh, that's right, I can read her face, why'd she have to borrow my phone if she has one. She's as flummoxed as when she pissed away her stack with pocket jacks. She has that same Wile E. Coyote just stepped off a cliff look. Wide eyed she looks back and forth between the two phones. Then she sees me watching with the most naive look I can put on my face and then I tilt my head like a curious dog (like I was just beginning to put together her mistake). Now, I'm the one asking the question without asking it. More delightful awkwardness.

She doesn't know what to say. Then, mustachio boy saves her. "You looking up the numbers on your phone and going to call on his? What you missing your sim-card or something?" Bastard gives her an out.

She smiles gleefully, she says that's exactly what she was doing.

She follows though on the pretense, using the phonebook on the Iphone and calling on mine. "Think she's going to tell her husband she's going to have a long day," nudge, nudge, wink, wink. "You still gotta shot." This guy was annoying when Jack and Larry had to deal with him serving drinks at the Regal Begal 20 years ago, even worse on this day. She has two brief conversations, where she explains she needs some money. She winks at me. She clearly says, "Of course I'll win it. You know how good a poker player I am." Okay, I'll meet you at the "theater" and then the rendezvous for the other was at "Masquerade." She gave me back my phone and left.

Three lessons I learned from this session, apparently, anyone can get a backer (or two), I might look like a sucker, and maybe I should change the title of my blog.