Friday, August 28, 2009

Crapped on the Head and Kicked in the teeth part 2

I walk to the car, try to metaphorically wipe the bird crap off my shoulders and contemplate how my bankroll got severely lightened on the day. I recall the fun hands where I got hurt, such as the one when I raised preflop and got a few callers. Flop was 882. I fire out an almost pot size bet and I get a caller. Turn is another 2. I make the same bet and get a call. River is 6 or so. I check, he checks. I show 99. Dealer is about to hand me the pot as he shows 7-2.
He points to the deuce for her benefit and the turned full house. At first I think he's doing it for me rubbing it in a bit. My frustration is evident and I fire him a look, then I realize who is dealing, and see that she still almost swept me the pot. She of the 8 deals per 30 minutes and two mistakes per down. You know who she is. The dealer you are suprised to see every time you play there thinking she'd be fired.

Still, I wanted to be angry at the dude as even though he wasn't showing me up he was destroying me up. He owned me all day.

Let's examine the ways he owned me. He started with a river bet squeeze on me, a bet that just screamed bluff. It was for most of my chips, but man I wanted to call so bad with top pair king kicker. He had just made a huge overshove and turned over the nuts a hand before. This time, I knew he didn't have it, was playing off the previous shove and the bet was so, so fishy. There was a draw heavy board he was leading into and nothing got there.

Unfortunately, the guy behind me was loading up his chips to call. I studied the bluffer and couldn't pull the trigger. I eye the other guy and relunctantly fold. The other guy, then, folded ARGH! top pair queen kicker face up, and the bettor showed pure air. TRUST YOUR READS--BILL! This ain't gambling.

Still, I picked up what I thought was a tell. Just this odd look I got when I put him through the wringer, this glance of weakness so to speak, just a spark of fear.

That look would come back to bite me.

Later with an overpair, I bet out to protect it on a draw heavy board. He called quick and said "No big cards." Right there, hand should be over for me. He's putting me on high cards and wants me to hit. Normally, I tread softly. A weird straight is out there but that's the only thing I can put him on after that comment... it's a weak is really strong remark, it's almost like he wasn't afraid of an overset.

The turn is a brick, he checks. I've dumbly decided I'll fire once more to hopefully induce a check from him on the river that I can check behind and hope I'm wrong. Nope, he min-raises. Okay.... major warning number two. Min-raise is so often the nuts, I sometimes check-min-raise bluff with air against players I know can read it as high strength. Against donkeys it's just a way to reel them in. As I was the donk yesterday, I stew and know I'm going to lay down but I'm saving a little face and I can't stop looking at my overpair like somehow it can improve.
Then, complete credit to this guy who basically owned me all session, he gave me a similar furtive glance, almost the look he gave as when he was bluffing. I re-evaluate, was it the same or was it wishful thinking. Basically because I was the statue and he was the pigeon I was looking for a reason to call, and he gave me one. Was he check-min-raising bluff?

With my stack size, I decided to push because I'd have to get it in on the river. He instacalled with the flopped three gapper straight. Yeah, 7-2 and a three gapper calling down raises to the tightest guy at the table. And a great bluff. Well played sir, you owned me. In his defence he had a ton of chips and he was hitting. Can fault him for paying to see a few cards, especially against a guy he was owning.
As this is mostly a blog of me bitching one final hardship hand. A guy I respect a lot as a player, let's call him, Lee Mac, sat down, on my left again, just like my last losing session at Harrahs, and we both flop trip 5s. There is another guy in the hand, and again I'm short stacked. I shove after some bets on the flop, the action is heavy on the turn as both Lee and the other guy are deep. I know Lee and he's got to have a boat here. I'm about to head to the ATM. The River is a 3.
Lee fires out 150 (?), yeah my trips can't be good, and the guy calls.
Lee says "I have a boat." Then he turns over 5... 3 (arrgh). Other guy said he didn't have much and mucked. At least on that hand I didn't have much to lose. And I think, I could be wrong, but I think Lee was building the side pot because he might have conceded a bigger 5 to me, and wanted to milk the other guy. At least that's what I would have done. I didn't tell Lee about his suckout, but maybe I'll email him a link to this blog.

Oh well, kicked in the teeth, target practice for low flying birds, and just a bad, bad day. Sorry, for any of you reading this whining, as I just used it to vent. For those, interested in some real poker strategy, go check out Reid's blog, deep thought available over there.

Anyway, as I get to my car, after my day of getting owned has finally ended. Fresh off the kid chasing a gutterball for no reason (see previous post). One final bad beat. Since I had to drop off the kid and the wife before playing, I notice, I'm driving home in a... minivan.

It's hard to be cool in a minivan.

... And yeah, I know it's even harder to be cool linking to an Oak Ridge Boys song.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Crapped on the Head and Kicked in the teeth part 1.

There's an older gentleman I've played with a few times and every time at one point he's said his favorite catchphrase, "Some days you are the pigeon and some days you are the statue." Yes, quite undeniably true when it comes to poker. I finally had a bad wednesday. I don't have room to complain as I've been running so good there. However, I will complain. In the past on Wednesday I'll make mistakes and still profit, this day was just the opposite, I got punished for my mistakes and even worse for my opponents mistakes too. Yes, I was covered in pasty white bird excrement.

I'm going to jump around my day long sojourn at Harrahs and probably break up this post a little bit. At noon or so, I see Monkey and Keith arrive from Biloxi. They showed up late for the tournament by an hour. I have plenty of time to chat with them as I've not even made the break. Yes, I've busted early from the tournament.
Let's get to the donkley real quick. I donk off a chunk of my stack with a silly river bluff, against a very good player who essentially gave me a courtesy check. Even as I fired it I could visualize Clark Griswold clapping his hands saying "This is crazy, this is crazy, this is crazy" in the cold pool that was my brain.

In the past me and this guy usually give each other wide berth and play small pots when we do tangle because we both know the other usually has the goods. So with two kings on board, and my busted draw, I bet into his check. "This is crazy..." and cue Beverly D'Angelo's shrill scream that was his call. So, my stack was below starting as I see a steady diet of 9-2 for 30 mintues.

Later, I look at Kings in the big blind, and after the frustration of the day so far, my elation was that (to use another bad movie analogy) of the scene of the kids tearing up their books with the song "School's out for summer..." from Dazed and Confused. It's my first big hand, and I'm looking to double up.

An early position raiser fires out a 3x bet. Here's the thing. He's played exactly one hand... the entire tournament... this one... and we are in the third level. Grrrrrrrrr-eeeaat. Ben Affleck just showed up with the paddle, and I'm Hertzfelder.

Then, a good player having a terrible day, shoves for just under half my stack. What? So much for tip-toeing through the hand. There was an old Atari game, I can't remember the title (maybe half of them), where if you turn the wrong way or made the wrong decision, you are basically more than f'd, and can't win or get out, you are trapped, and have to figure out a way to die so you can restart the level. Like jumping into an alligator's mouth.
I had that feeling at this point.

I ponder and determine I have to reshove, hope the first guy has like AK or AQ or an underpair and not even worry about trying to outplay him after the flop. I've noticed when somebody has aces even if they are a mute they quickly say the words "I call." Weaker hands just count up the chips and put them in. So one assertive "I call" later and I basically start my walk of shame.

Back to talking to Monkey and Keith. I half talk them into staying. I say half-talk because no way there were turning around and driving back to Biloxi. As I'm talking, I notice Harrahs just started a new 1-2 game and I put my phone down saving my spot and give the chip runner some hundreds. A couple minutes later, this dude comes over to us and asks if we are playing. I'm like yeah, I got a spot. "We can't start unless you are over here," he says.
"Oh, the chip runner must be back," I think, "I don't want to hold anybody up," and I walk over. Monkey follows suit. Then we get there and nobody has any chips. One thing I hate in life is the HURRY UP AND WAIT. If you are going to bitch about something, and imply I'm holding things up, when I get there it better be ready to go.
As a kid, I would pack the quickest for any trip our family would take. It took me about 5 minutes to get my shit together, yet my dad would bitch at me all night and all morning about getting ready. Sure enough, when I'd reach the breaking point, I'd pack. And then wait for an hour and half for everybody else. That started my hatred of Hurry Up and Wait, and for the people, those people with some sort of anxiety disorder, that rushes you for no reason.
No wonder I play poker for a living. The Hurry Up and Wait, is one of the only things people in middle management in corporate America can do competently and it actually makes them feel like they have a purpose in their desk jockey lives. To say I don't respond well to those kinds of bosses is putting it lightly.
I get to the table, after cutting short our conversation and do nothing. The chips aren't back and the game isn't ready to kick off. I immediately decide the kid is a target. Then I see he's bought in short. Okay, I forgive him, because I'm not going to double him up all day.
Monkey came over despite him loathing the cash game. Which is so odd to me (the loathing not the playing). I think he'd be a better cash game player, maybe, than he is tournament player with his style. My feeling is most of the time he doesn't treat it with the same seriousness. In a tournament, the guy is focused on the game and his banter is a sporadic tool, in a cash game the poker is just running parallel to the banter. It's hard not to have fun and be social in a cash game, but with his playing style, I think he could kill cash games, especially 1-2 and 2-5 if he approached them with same attitude as does in tournaments. Though, as well as he does in tournaments I guess he doesn't have too not like he needs to relearn how to play poker to play cash.

In short order, we both get aces (on separate hands) and it's folded to our bets preflop. Which I think happened all of two times that day... the two times we held aces. After they fold to mine, he tells me I play too tight. Everybody folded to my bet like rats fleeing a sinking ship. He's right. Although, in these cash game I find usually these same players will make bad, bad calls later despite my appearence of tightness. It's like their eyes can only see the two cards they are playing and they chose to ignore the image of the guy doing the betting. Usually to my benefit--but as I later find out--not today.

We make a side bet on how long this kid who came in late will last til he has to rebuy. Monkey, I owe you. You put the over/under at 4:10, I took the over. I saw him peel off his second buy-in at 4:06. Monkey, wasn't there to see it as he had to take care of some business, pre-existing Monkey business of sorts :). I felt a bit dirty doing that bet but it was fun. Probably even more fun to do in a tournament behind a mountain of chips with short stacks all around you.

The table was odd and I'll let Monkey's next blog provide the commentary for that.

Anyway, there must have been some kharmic justice floating through the air as that kid we betted on, finished me off at the end of the day. After getting up early and then running through a couple of rebuys, I kept running into worse hands that ignored my bets and became better hands.

The kid we bet on was the icing on the cake, or the final boot to the molars, so to speak.

I got QQ on the button. A guy straddles, just about everybody calls. I make it 40. Folded to the kid, who monkey and I bet on, now into his second buy-in and he calls. He's not really played many hands so far, and "seems" to be a solid player.
Flop is J79 two hearts. He checks, and I put the rest of my chips in, I think I got enough to do some protection. He doesn't really think about it and calls. The Ace peels off on the turn and I know I'm beat. I start to get up and I see him shake his head a bit. Alright... maybe not AJ... maybe he had KJ... maybe my day is turning around. Then a 10 on the river. He shows... Q8. Cue....

... more to come. Probably with less multi-media

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

10 Books That Screwed Up the World

So while I was in the hospital, for those five days, I killed time by reading a book. No Internet connection will do that. I walked around Barnes and Noble the day before we went in and looked for something thin, but also something challenging. Build the brain a little bit. As I'm a life nit, a hardcover for under $8 helped to.

Unfortunately, this blog post is the result of the thinking I did after reading the book. This blog will be verbose and wordy, dance around politics and big issues, and probably have nothing to do with the reason you read this blog. So feel free to skip entirely or partially, or if you feel like thinking please read and I encourage you to challenge me. These are rough thoughts, which I'm fleshing out through the blog and not ironclad concusions, so I welcome the opportunity to sharpen them or discard them. However, because of the roughness of them they may appear haphazard or scattershot, so if you do decide to read bare with me.

I found "10 Books That Screwed Up the World, And 5 Others That Didn't Help" by Benjamin Wiker, the cover reminds us he earned a PhD. That suggests he is smarter than those that don't have those three letters after their names. And from reading the book, I do attest he's brighter than most. Some of the books he covered, include, The Prince (Machiavelli), The Manifesto of the Communist Party (Marx), Mein Kampf (Hitler), and Sexual Behavior in the Human Male (Kinsey). So some are obviously evil, and others not so. I recommend you read this, while the author's own bias and agenda is veiled but always there, he brings up many points that are food for thought. I'd imagine I'd disagree with the guy more than not, but his perspective is valid.

It's hard not to look at the ideas these books advocate, some of which are gaining popularity again, and applying the world climates where those ideas became actions to world and America today. I am somewhat apolitical. Mostly, because I hate our two party system and see it always being a choice between the lesser of two evils with very little separation in execution, despite the rhetoric that surrounds every four year choice. Though, I definitely agree more with one side than the other for most issues.

Will I'm no conspiracy theorist, and it's clear with each changing of the Presidential guard, there are real differences between the two parties, I'm not naive enough to think each election is "The most important election of our lifetime (or ever, or of our generation, or since World War II)"* because no matter who is in charge the bureaucracy stalls true change and stasis is far more likely that not. Case in point, despite what the pundits at Fox news would have you believe, our country is not markedly different this year than it was last year (as a result of who governs us not based on exterior forces like the economy in free fall).

I don't know how much anybody's daily life would be different with McCain at the helm rather than Obama. You can point to the degrees of spending done in the wake of the economic crisis (guess what republicans would be spending too look at Bush's eight years), and the fact the distribution of the spending bills will be earmarked going to democratic Congressional battle grounds. Although, those are largely the same battlegrounds republicans would be fighting over and they'd be sending money to the same areas to buy votes it'd just have a different "from" card on the package.

And the converse is true, despite what NBC told everybody the same was true one year into Bush's first term and one year away from Clinton (again, from the perspective of interior change not exterior factors).

This latest election despite all the claims we'd be engage in a war or suffering at the hands of terrorists within six months, we haven't. As for the war, I ask with who? Such a baseless threat until a world power can overcome our natural defences called the Atlantic and Pacific, or is dumb enough to ignore assured mutual destruction. The President's alleged apparent weakness has no bearing on fomenting attacks nor much bearing on the apparatus that is our military and our intelligence constructs that protect us from such attacks. Regardless of his middle name the people that hate us still hate us, they don't want to kill us any less or more than they did when a different guy was in charge.

You get a pacifist that starts taking apart the Marines and the CIA, or pulling us out of South Korea, Afghanistan, Germany, and other areas we have to man and have a presence in, then I'll buy those arguments. I don't see that guy getting elected, to those of you that think he's already there let's save that debate for another time. Then there are people that talk about an impending civil war. I say, show me a domestic force organized enough to pull this off, and I'll start to worry. Riots maybe, domestic terrorism yeah it's coming again, but Civil war, not in my lifetime.

So we are safe, even if the economy's bottom falls out, we'll manage. Even if climate change comes to fruition. Last I checked the Great Depression running concurrent to the dust bowl didn't turn us into Nazi Germany, and despite all the blustering by one side there are mechanisms in our government that simply won't allow that to happen. Not, that I fully trust our government.

On the one hand I say all that (I told you I as going to ramble), but here's an interesting idea. Let's say, you were a conspiracy theorist, which I've already alleged that I'm not, but hypothetically you were. And you viewed government as some of the authors who wrote the dangerous books did, as being a tool to maintain stability keeping the rich rich and maintaining status quo what would be the best system to instill this?

Quite frankly, you'd want the masses to think they have a hand in change, they can till the soil and actively bloodlessly revolt any time governance fails them. Saves you the ruling party from getting killed in a bloody revolt. Which is handy. You stay rich and powerful and alive. Still, you'd have to give up power. Or would you? The easiest way to maintain power would be to give the masses two candidates, say, every four years. Each candidate spitting bloody murder at the other, each creates a massive division between the followers of either choice, meanwhile the truth of the matter the candidates are separated only by shades of gray. Either side is a victory for you.

It's like with small children. Don't ask them open ended questions. Give them two options either one you are happy for them to choose. Either choice you win. To (needlessly) tie this into poker, situations arrive when bet-sizing is critical. You can, with the correct bet, steer your opponent to make bad decisions. In some instances, you can force a beaten hand to shove or call by the size of your bet, making those outcomes appear to be better choices than folding but each is a decision you win from. I'm not saying this is the state of American politics or there is somebody pulling puppet strings, but I am saying that things aren't too far removed from this. As with bet-sizing, sometimes the choices you are given don't actually benefit you and represent a manipulaiton and prodding toward two bad results.

As I said, I'm not a conspiracy theorist, so I doubt this is calculated by some sort of secret cabal but rather the evolution of politics, special interest groups, and the uber-wealthy getting entrenched into our country has created this byproduct of sorts. Still, you ever question why donors contribute to both parties? No? You should.

The by-product of the powerful wanting to maintain their position is our two party system which for all the partisan bluster rarely differs in actual policy that makes a real difference to any of us. You ever notice that in any presidential race the dividing issues are of the hypothetical. Be warned voters, if elected the republicans will do this, the democrats will do that, yet when push comes to shove none of the terrible destinations ever arrives. It's all a question of degrees, some changes occur, sure, but most don't, and it's never as apocalyptic as advertised.

If this is the state of things how does that harm us? That's the thing. I'm not sure it does all that much. "We The People" still under the illusion of having power actually garner some benefits, for one, we have these illusory bloodless coups. Less of us die trying to install a new boss who turns out to be the old boss--which is often the end results of countries that have bloody coups. Or worse, the new boss is worse than the old boss. We don't have Hitlers or Lenins rise to power. No one person or one party every forgets the plot and tries to seize too much control as the system simply doesn't allow it.

So, we have domestic security and we don't have to worry about own government being too heavy handed with us. Why? Our illusion of power (as We the People) is less an illusion, but more an implied unused one, that could be used if anybody ever got out of line, but is never used because the system prevents this. So it's illusory, but if push came to shove it's not, but push will never come to shove so it's illusory. That's complicated huh?

What are the harms? Our best interests as a people are never at the forefront of our leaders minds. Even a guy who based his campaign on Hope and Change, has done little changing and mostly is still serving a plate of hope and little else (like all past presidents). Healthcare has old people foaming at the mouth worried they are going to be euthanized, when in reality there will be little difference for them as individuals. I haven't decided how I feel about Healthcare change, but I know the real issues aren't the talking points either side exaggerates (the bottoms of slippery slopes we aren't going to get to) but more subtle and actually at times more troublesome. Also, I can help but think we are rabidly debating what will likely be a couple of choices very similar to one another and not focusing on creating third, fourth or fifth options that might be better for everybody--except for the few in power. An example of bet-sizing or steering, by groups that donate generously to both sides.

Course, we the masses being stupid, can't get organized to fight over the subtleties of such a bill, so we get force fed a diet of embellishments and issues to rally behind that we can understand: like Death Panels or the vague nefarious implications of government having all of our medical record. What we miss is the rest of the stuff in those bills neither side is talking about.

Wow, this is so circuitous, let's get back to the book despite promoting it's own agenda by employing some of the tactics it attacks other authors for doing, it has opened my eyes a little bit. Well meaning intelligent people can often times be presented ideas that through catchphrases, soundbites, and superficial understanding, take a group, nation, or people on a path with a destination they'd never dream they'd get to, but it was there all along. In effect, slippery slopes can be realized. Darwin leads to eugenics. Atheist based Utilitarianism, Marxism and Communism leads to Lenin and Stalin and the butchering of millions for alleged the benefit of those same millions. I appear to be contradicting myself, well I am a little bit.

What I'm say history is repeated with slippery slopes, that folks like me say are unrealistic destinations (like death panels and euthanizing, eugenics), but sometimes they do come. Often times, they come under the guise of being beneficial but are not in application. Powerful ideas can be subterfuges even to the people that concoct them.

Wiker comes at these books many of us have studied as undergrads from a perspective completely different than the texts were taught to us. Atheism is attacked and identified as the principal evil underlying these books that wrecked havoc on the world and are responsible for 100s of millions of people dying. He doesn't ask you to be religious (outwardly but that is an underlying theme he's pushing) but he does show you life for all when religion acts as a check and balance to meglomaniacs. Even more so, liberalism unchecked is identified as ideas that promise hope for the lower and underclass, yet when left to run rampant only harm the people it suggests it will help.

I certainly came away from reading it with altered outlook on platforms of progress, the dangerous power of rationality amok, and the ills of unfettered, unchecked movements.

Conclusion is multi-faceted: yes, I'm apolitical, feel safe and secure as an American and a world citizen, but it would be a dangerous, dangerous thing if every one were like me. And just as dangerous if either side of our two party system got too powerful. As much as I minimize the shades of gray, there is a lot that can be done by a President and the danger of an idea.

So old people foment at the mouth all you want about getting euthanized. Activists despise the other party as much as you do. Ignore the shades of gray and see black and white. That stewardship of the democratic process even in the face of an illusory Republic, gives the implied threat of the power of the people and prevents us from becoming post Bolshevik Russia or Nazi Germany. Just don't ever think you are ever going to get real, positive change from either party.

We'll get back to our regularly scheduled programming later today.

*Excuse me, I am naive enough to think that, and apologize for the pretentiousness of suggesting otherwise. I've bought into that in the past and a little bit this last go round, but again, I never see the application rival the hype, and hope to no longer buy that thought.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Thanks For the Well WIshes

So we had the baby. He's healthy and so far docile--though I've read not to be fooled by newborns early demeanor sometimes it takes a little for them to find their voice and energy. So far so good.

It was a c-section which explains my absence from the world wide web. My wife will remain in the hospital (which has no internet service) until Saturday. It's amazing how little a person can do when the have stitches across their mid-section. The hospital staff has been great but it's almost impossible for me to get away. Poor wife is getting poked and prodded literally every hour throughout the night so basically hasn't gotten any rest at all. Me on the in-room sleeper gets a little more, but not much.

Thank you all for the good tidings and well wishes. We are already learning what everybody is talking about when they suggested we wouldn't get any sleep due to the baby's feedings. The little guy is either sleeping or eating. Which is good. Not much crying, which is better.

I saw a lot of the blogs have been updated and I hope to steal some time to get the front page of GCP to reflect that. I know Gene has been on a multi-state tour for work, so to speak, so that explains the lack of content from both of us.

Anyway, now, I got to pick up some personal items and get back to the hospital. Thanks again everybody. I might even burden ya'll with a picture of the little one next time I post. It's been a good week despite the day long labor which suddenly turned into a c-section. Journey wasn't easy but the destination so far has been worth it.

However, I do want to give Jackson an opportunity to plug a new online site he's founded. "Gulf Coast Baby Poker.NET. Play with the newborns. Just a few days ago they literally breathed like fish." Okay, not really. How about a real plug then... It's only a matter of time before the kid get some lessons at poker school. With Daddy's long sabbatical I may have to join him there.

By the way, what comes first flashcards or cards?

Monday, August 17, 2009

So 3/4 in my hand no pair on the turn...

How did I win that pot calling all in for all my chips. And why make that call?

Let's backtrack a little to a little earlier in the poker tournament. A couple of hands earlier in the poker tournament a good player to my left gets it in with a middle pair (66 maybe). He gets called by a dude with an open ended straight draw and two overs. He bricks. The dealer is shipping the pot to the 66 dude after both players show their hands. The dealer is mucking the loser's hand quickly and me and the kid next to me both stop him. Unlike online poker tournaments dealers make mistakes which shipping the pots, though I guess depending on the sites I could have said like an online poker tournament the dealers make mistakes.

The board was doubled paired on the river, both pairs higher than the 66s. The high card in the other players hand gave him the pot.

The guy glared at us. Not his day. I hate to interject when I'm not in a hand, but both players showed their cards and the dealer made a mistake. I'm not sure of etiquette in this situation because I've heard both sides. For example, I heard at the WSOP one year Negreanu, in a little bit of an angle shoot, in a similar situation raked a pot like it was his when his opponent thought he lost--but hadn't, and nobody said anything. Negreanu kept it. That might have been in the Main Event of the Moneymaker year. Course, I read that a while ago and I don't recall the source so it might not have happened or might not have been Negreanu. Though I'm sure that has happened and others haven't said anything.

In a cash game, perhaps there is more reason for keeping my mouth shut. Still, as AT&T later said the cards speak for themselves. The very next hand the poor guy got counterfeited on the river when his flopped two pair watched the board go runner-runner to give his opponent who flopped nothing but top pair the hand. It must have felt like he had sat down to play poker tournament online.

Later I'm in the bb and because of multiple calls of a small preflop raise, I'm priced in to call. I'm holding 34 suited. The guy who we denied a pot to was the raiser. The flop gave me an open ended draw. He bet too little and I called. The turn was a brick. I checked. He put me all in. I just felt like he was on air. Perhaps, I should have shoved the flop (a mistake I duplicated in the cash game later and was reprimanded by another player for not doing).

My bad play ended up being a lucky one. I got a read of weakness and frustration on the guy. I considered how much of my stack was in the pot, and I decide if I'm right and he's on air (with no pair), I got six more outs to go with the 8 of the open ended. With what the pot was laying me I had to call. Plus, folding would have put my in a situation where I couldn't possible win as much as was in that pot anytime soon.

He's pissed that I called. The dealer puts down the river before we turn over our cards.

He says you got me. I see the river is a 3. I say, "I got a pair of threes." I turn over 34 and the table is afflutter. The kid next to me says, "You have got some balls."

I think the dude wanted to kill me twice. I felt bad. He showed his overcards in frustration. Obviously, he was on air, but little did he know he was killing me in the hand. Yeah, I misplayed that hand.

Later in the cash game, I got into a hand in a multi-way pot. The dude in last position fired out a bet he didn't want called. The flush draw missed. Unfortunately, my open ended draw and over cards missed. The guy was giving me a serious tell that he had diddly (not telling what it was though). I go through the hands he could hold and I can't call with K high, because he's got A high. I tell him he's got Ace high but I can't beat it and fold.

He shows his hand to his tablemate. "Ace high, no pair, busted flush draw!"

I say, "I knew it" whistfully.

That's when the older man says, "If you knew it you should have raised him."

Yeah. He's right. That's a big ol' hole in my game. The guy put free money on the table. I knew it, but didn't think to fire back.

I saw AT&T make the same mistake when he put a guy on second pair, and called just to see it. Well, he could have raised. So could I. I'm working on that leak for my next foray to the felt. As the baby is almost here it will probably be a play poker tournament online. Maybe the power poker club.

See ya there.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

The Donkley Update

Played the Harrahs Donkley and finished 16th just out of the money. Traded 10% with AT&T as Ray calls him, so need for the moniker I gave him All Day Alex, and really wanted to pull at least a cash as the last two times we've traded equity he's given me a rebate on my entry fee. Plus, he doesn't like to chop so with him I always have a chance at getting more than my buy-in back.

Anyway, I didn't get it done.

I got short and battled and battled and shove the first open pot when blinds were eating everybody up. There was a kid who happened to be in the big blind when I shoved with almost a third of the chips in play. His run seemed to be like Darvin Moon's (the guy pictured with almost all the chips at the Main Event). To meet Davin go here. AA, KK, QQ, flopping a set to best an overpair, 1010, no matter what he held it either held or hit. The board paired he had a card that matched it. I don't think he was even aware of how good he was running, as usual people were bitching about the deck slapping him in the face, but it usually does that to somebody, all you can do is hope it's you the next time.

Now, why would I shove an unopened pot against him. Because like Moon's is reputed to have done, he only played premium hands. Anything but he relase his big blind. So, when it was folded to me I determined to shove any two cards. I believe it was K8. He called I had one over as he got 1010.

It was a weird tournament as usual. Early on, I got almost a full double up, when a guy kept pricing me in on a draw. I raised with A10 suited preflop. He called. Flop brought two of my suit, a gutshot and all undercards. Today I checked it rather then bet it. He thinned the field to just me.

I turned my 10. I check. He bet again. I called.

On the river, before I could check, he fired out all 90% of our stacks out of turn. I went over the top and he folded (?!?!?!). I said nothing about the out of turn move and raked a huge pot. I watched AT&T get a similar gift and thought Wednesday would be our day.

Not to be as I started to spew and my c-bets met nothing but resistance. One of those days where I started with good hands but didn't finish with the best hand. Of note was when I shoved with KK in the middle of the tournament over a raise preflop. I got called by AQsooted and my opponent promptly flopped two of his suit. I turned a set... which did nothing for me. Odd. I rivered quads (seeing a lot of quads recently after seeing few of them for months). Weird, to be in a hand where you make quads but still were in jeopardy of losing with one card to come. That hand kept me around.

Next time I'll take about calling all in with no pair, and just 34 o/s in my hand on the turn, for my tournament life and winning. If that's not some deep level poker strategy I don't know what is. Told you it was another odd day at Harrahs.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Cash at the Beau

So, I followed up my run in the Beau nightly that Gene D chopped with a little cash session. Typically, I go deep in Beau tournaments with a no cash or min cash and then run second best into best for a couple of hours in cash. So, it's a frustrating trip. I'm a tourist there and I guess I play like one.

For some reason I was reading 2+2 the night before and saw a thread were some preteens were asking if any name pros remember playing Tom Dwan before he was issuing Durrrrr Challenges. And one guy, who I believe is a very successful online poker pro in his own right says yeah, he remembers Dwan. He was getting familar with his poker tracking software and comparing his numbers to other players he thought were pretty good at the level he was playing at. Then he looked at Dwan and the guy said he couldn't believe Dwan played 44% of his hands. He wasn't coming in with limps either.

I determined I was going to play one buy-in and just play wide open and channel Tom Dwan (who needs no lessons on how to play poker). Fresh off of watching some Poker After Dark episode where he ran over the table I was going to aggressively play the hell of any two card. I haven't had much success doing this at Harrahs.

So... I sit down and do just that. Turns out I have the perfect table for this strategy. These guys are limping and folding to my raises. I know at some point they'll stand up to me. They do. Then I whiff flops like I'm a five year old in the batting box with Roger Clemens and C-bet regardless. They fold.

This continues and I know at some point they'll fight back. They do. I whiff flop and whiff turn and c-bet and c-bet. They fold the turns. I still haven't really hit a hand. In retrospect, I was also running good, because my opponents obviously weren't even hitting top pair.

So I double my buy-in pretty quickly and am enjoying the game immensely. Three old guys who I'm really keying on are all to my right and finally one guy checks to me, I c-bet and he shoves for about 4 hundo. Pot was about 45. I giggle to myself and muck right where I want them.

If only I can catch some hands. I do and a short stack snaps me off with 7-3 offsuit. He flopped quads and my jj didn't go runner-runner. By the way he raised and called my reraise preflop. Weird.

So, then I go back to Dwan and rebuild my stack.

At one point, besides a ton of reds, I had three stacks (of 30) whites in the 1-2 game. I was taking pot after pot after pot. Usually with nothing. A new dealer sits down and asks if she can color me up. I tell her no, because it's a reminder I can only win small pots.

Finally, they break a table and about four friends from Georgia come over and they ain't letting anybody steam roll them. I have to adjust but barely. They watch me enough to see that I'm a maniac and I have to be on air a lot. Please give me a big hand. AA

Sweet. I raise from late position as per usual. One of those kids min-re-raises me. I fire it up to about 90. He calls. He knows where I'm at. I know he's on Kings or Queens. He checks in the dark. Queen ball hits the flop. I see him do a double take.

Did he just hit that. I think he did. I check behind. Turn is Q. Ugh, what an ugly card. I look at his stack, if he's got quads I'm giving him another 180 or so. Sweet. He bets. Then, I decide he's got Kings and maybe thinks I have AK. Kings would be there huh? Jacks too right? So, I raise. He calls with some Hollywooding. River we get it in and he shows his quad queens.

I replay the hand later with Gene and he says the kid had to have a Queen. Sometimes poker is obvious, yet I chose to ignore it. I watched a kid talk through his hand and basically ignore the most obvious hand the other guy would have. Sometimes it is what it appears to be, nothing more. A big bet is a big hand. A quick call is a draw. Kid had four queens. Why rule out pocket queens just because two are on the board. He gave away the strength of his hand multiple ways. Process and procede with care and minimize my losses.

So, now I have to rebuild. I double up through one of the other georgia kids when I raise on the button with K5 of diamonds after a slew of straddled limps. Kid in the small blind calls. I flop a five and two diamonds. I bet. I turn a flush and a royal flush draw. I bet, he raises, I call. I shove on the river. He stews for a while and calls me with a straight.

Hated to pick up when I left. Need to try this aggro style again. It's a ton of fun. Course, it's always fun when your opponents aren't calling.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Wednesday is an All Day Affair...

*Congrats to Gene D, Southpaw Rounder, and All Day Alex T, who all cashed in a Wednesday tournament. I busted out of both, narrowly missing the final table at the Beau (as is my standard there), and playing too fast at the Harrahs Donkley. It turned out is was a good day for almost everybody, as Goondingy and I both had some winning sessions on the cash tables, too.

Reid and I played next to each other and we saw some crazy things. Reid made a great call on a guy who was tilting after I rivered quads on him. The guy played it big with a bit of a scary board and all guy had was a gutterdraw to go with his pocket threes to Reid's overpair when Reid made the right read and called. River brought the straight and sent Reid home. Afterwards, another player disparaged Reid's play a bit saying he shouldn't have called because of the board. I corrected him and told him Reid made a good call. He corrected me and said the board stipulated a fold. I corrected him that Reid's read that his opponent was tilting and he he had him dead to 6 outs stipulated a call. "Not with that board!" Okay, sir. Mental note, next time you check a textured board I'm betting you off your hand.

Lots of verbal jabs at the table, whining and bitching. Earlier, I flopped a boat with with K10 and a board of KK10. I could tell my lady hit her hand and I knew she had a King. I tried to get all of her chips, over 10k at that point, and after some reraising we got it in on the flop. She showed KQ and pointed to her Queen when I showed K10. Reid said he folded a Queen (and maybe a 10 too?). Turn brought either the case 10 or one of two. At least it wasn't a Queen, I told myself after the brick river and chopped pot.

I was pretty much done with the hand and I was moving on focusing on it not being a Queen--being postive but... Then the lady counted out her chips and expected me to pay her off. She said full house. She wouldn't let it drop. It was explained to her we chopped the pot. For at least 5 to 10 more hands she kept complaining about it and didn't get that she didn't win the hand. She kept asking what I had, when I saw her stare at my K10 and then point to her queen triumphantly on the flop. Then when she-quasi got it I say quasi because she looked rather disgusted at me as though I was the one of who sucked out on her.

A gentleman who is a sports editor in Mobile, laughed, "It's bad enough you got sucked out on, but you have to listen to this." Btw, he will be doing an article on poker in an upcoming paper so hopefully he'll give a shout out to the site as well as to the local poker community.

He had a point, her grousing did grow tiresome. I let her mumble in frustration more and nodded knowingly like indeed I was the one who got lucky on her.

There was another guy, who I sucked out on who wouldn't let a hand we played drop either. That was the guy who bluffed on Reid and sucked out. We both flopped a set (A87) I had sevens he had 8s. The turn was an A. He kept "slyly" value betting me. I thought he had an A and now I was worried, about getting sucked out on, so I hoped for the river to not be a face (his preflop raise was 2.5x and I thought a middle tier hand AJ, A10 maybe AQ or some pocket pair). If he did so with sooted A8 I decided I was going to give him all my chips. Didn't have to worry as the river brought another 7. He bet and I shoved on him.

He bitched about the river card and folded his 8s face up. Damn. My bet was perfect for an Ax hand. Terrible for the hand he held. To his credit, despite his whining that we had to endure until they broke the table, he made a good fold. If I played back at him at all on the earlier streets when I was killed, ironically I would have sucked out to win the pot and all his chips. He later bragged/bitched to his friend about folding a full house on a paired board. Um no sir, it was a double paired board. We both though each other had an Ace.

I got moved and I watched All Day Alex make a good call for all his chips with AK on a King high board. The girl was on a stone cold steal with Q10. Turn Queen, river 10. Runner-runner. Bit of a blood bath for the friends of GCP after what happend to Reid. When I got seated next to Gene with two tables left, I expected him to endure an terrible beat at any moment.

With SouthPaw and All Day both final tabling the Harrahs Donkley, I was stunned to only see two of the six players we knew still standing. I got bounced when the blinds caught up to us and I flipped with AK vs. Smokey's QQ. Gene got AA and KK on back to back hands and also stole just enough to stay ahead of the structure. Well played.

With Smokey on my right, he bet big any unopened pot. Yet, again, I watched my stack dwindle as I lost any first in juice, and never got a hand that I wanted to three bet with. Thought Smokey with his big ass bets was priced into any call. I need to work on that aspect of my game of how to manufacture chips when I have an agressive but tight player beating me into the pot in those critical spots.

As I chilled out for a bit, I sweated Gene and watched/scouted some of the 1-2 and 2-5 games. Now, I was the annnoying guy standing on the rail, that I hate when I'm playing that could see half the people's hole cards and follow the action. Course I didn't know anybody on the table. Then I watched some omaha poker as I know I'm going to have to learn the game in today's poker world to stay relevant. Must play more online omaha. Must.

It's so annoying when friends of players stand directly across from them and behind you. Now, I doubt most or rather almost any of them are cheating or exchanging signals but it makes me uncomfortable. If the guy sees I have a monster what's to keep him from shaking his head to his buddy.

Anyway, I was standing behind Gene and saw him in a three way pot vs. Smokey and a guy they busted. Gene had a bit of a cooler hand when his Queens ran into Smokey's AA. This is where I was so impressed with Geno, because in the past I've seen him take those hands really hard but he just moved on like a pro, rebuilt his stack and outlasted almost everyone. Great job Gene, you are really playing well right now.

Alright, will have some cash game stories to tell later too and will get back to Duce McCallister and the now guilty Dollar Bill Jefferson tales.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Views on news from the web

*Michael Crabtree, the possible San Francisco 49er, wants to be valued based not on his draft spot, but on his true talent. He is threatening to hold out. His measuring stick is fantasy drafts that had him higher rated than the receiver Al Davis took one spot before him, and paid too much for (Heyward-Bey). So instead of getting the number two receiver's salary he should be paid like the first receiver drafted.

Basically, Crabtrees argument is Davis is in his dotage and everybody else knew Crabtree was the best pick. Interesting negotiating tactic. Imagine if that were applied to poker. Phil Hellmuth would argue every tournament should be awarded to him because of all the donkey plays he had to endure.

Would we use consensus to determine winners then? Is groupthink really the metric we'd want to use to determine value? True, in evaluating yourself, it's important not to be results orientated, but this is taking it a step too far. The worst player can win a poker tournament, and the best player can be first one out. Still, you take the beat and you play the next one. Crabtree took a bad beat. Now, he should "settle" for his multi-million dollar contract and move on. Maybe Davis didn't take him because of just this kind of mindset.

*Read about the Urban Mole today. Essentially, the mole is one of many systems being looked at for transporting packages around big systems. Utilizing existing infrastructures devices like this would ship packages around underground at a blistering pace throughout a metropolis. I think I remember this types of tubes on the Jetsons. You see the less sophisticated version at a drive thru at a bank. At one point Eisenhower was going to use that kind of pneumatic technology for the same purpose. Now, we could use robots at 100 or maybe even 1000 times the speed.

It's kind of cool and kind of not. If there was easy access to the system terrorists could "ship" a bomb in moments into whatever building they wanted. If the packaging has to be screened it loses some of its convience. The advantages of a system like the mole or this one, cuts down on all the delivery traffic that swamp a cities streets. However, moving robots through closed off corridors in a way the internet traffics parcels of light underground has to have size limitations or failsafes that aren't easily constructed from the get go.

It's a cool idea, but like many of improvements that would instantly make life better, the hurdles for implementation may be too tall to overcome.

Futurists, perhaps in another boom economy, should rethink about how we build cities. In ancient Egypt one Pharoah, just decided to travel down the Nile to a naturally well fortifided corner and build a shining city. Every new technology was applied building from scratch. That's urban planning at it's easiest. Much of America was at one time, built with a blank canvas, and our ability to grow in that space is a huge factor in our country rising to a superpower.

If a Katrina times 5 were to hit New Orleans, and basically wipe out the city and all the vital resources it supplies to the country, imagine the innovation and thought that could be utilized to build a new city a little further inland. Instead of having to adapt old faulty infrastructure we'd be building everything state of the art. Most people I know that gutted their house installed basically a new electric system and rewired everything and upgraded. Imagine being able to do that to a city. For most of the ideas, like the Urban Mole that look good on paper, it's too hard to reverse engineer to bring to fruition in an existing city.

*Poker on a mac? Why is it so hard to play poker on a mac? I'm a pc, I'm a mac. If PCs are uncool and macs can't run many poker sites, does that make poker uncool? I get that we've jumped the shark, that the mystique of cowboy hatted tough guys is now getting replaced by internet geeks that used to play chess and Magic the Gathering at their comic book shop, but really Apple hipsters can't play poker online? What nonsense is that. At least you can somewhere.

*Ravens, crows and rooks are smart. I've read that crows can utilize up to three tools to accomplish a task. And rooks prove Aesop's fable is true in this video. What's the difference between a rook, a raven, and a crow? I don't know. However, there is a poker moral here, even dumb birds can learn, so stop educating your opponents. You are far better off letting them think your good play was a bad play.

*Hallidron Collider is having as many problems as NASA of late. The smartest people in the world are working on this and can't even get the thing online. Course, the sooner they do it the sooner we get sucked into a black hole.

Sorry for going off on a scientific tangent or two but I do that from time to time.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Poker Update

Just going to cover some poker topics before I go back into peeling back the skin of my tortured self ie finish off the Duce story, tell he Dollar Bill Jefferson tale and let spill some more weird items from my pysche.

-The WPT was just purchased for $9 million. You can win that at the WSOP Main Event. That's almost a joke. You'd think there would be more value in the brand name then just $9 million. Technically, there is. Gaymnia purchased part of the WPT with the selling parties still owning a good chunk of it, and actually using the $9 million to fund non-poker related projects. WPT... World Poker Tour... needs funding for non poker related projects. Right... World POKER Tour... raising capital for NONpoker events. Anybody else scratching their head about this?

Word is a lot of Gaymnia's efforts will be in capitalizing on the WPT brand for creating (or recreating) an online poker site. Just as the WSOP has been moving in that direction. Kind of the inverse of when bwin was interesting in the site. They wanted to use the WPT tournaments, allegedly, to build their "bwin - play poker online" brand. Incidentally, their poker blog has some details about the upcoming APT Macau event. Seats still available.

For a while I thought the

-The November Nine is one again, a marketing let-down. What happened to the months of build up? We got the golden boy Phil Ivey in the final nine and I've seen absolutely zero mainstream interest. Saw this compared to Tiger Woods on the back nine of a major... we'll see about that. Phil isn't exactly the type to search out publicity and the further away he gets from the WSOP probably the less inclined he is to get up from whatever table game he's at at the moment.

BTW, Andy Bloch has to pay Phil Ivey 2 million if Ivey wins it all. I know Phil Gordon is on the hook too, albeit for a lesser amount. This guy could make a living just on making prop bets on himself. Wonder when he'll make an online prop bet similar to the durrrr challenge just to challenge himself and then bankrupt the online players as he seems to be doing to the live players.

-Might steal away to the coast midweek. Hope to get some hands in and maybe some tournaments. Don't know if I'll start the magical mystery tour with entry into the donkley or not. What am I saying of course I will.

-Thinking about trying my hand at powerpokerclub. Wish they had an internet feed in the delivery room. Online poker, the birth of my child, and probably divorce papers all on one day.

-Oh yeah, we are getting together an order of sweatshirts and stuff for the Gulf Coast Poker Championship. If you are interested fire me an email and I'll get some stuff made.