Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

--The Good. Sweated a lot of Gulf Coasters over ESPN2 and the internets in the main event the last couple of weeks.

--The Bad. Ben Mintz, David Diaz, Claudia Crawford, Shannon Shorr, Fred Berger, TK Miles (and more), all went out before the November Nine.

--The Ugly. Ryan Lenaghan and Sam Barnhart got to within a table away. Got to be heartbreaking, though six figure paydays have to ease the pain a little bit.

--The Good. Min cashed and chopped the Donkley recently.

--The Very Good. The chop was seven ways when we had over 90 people last saturday.

--The Bad. Prior to the chop had these finishes, 16th, 13th, 11th, and 10th. Yuck.

--The Ugly. One of those days compounded the loss with a bad day at the cash tables.

--The Good. Harrahs is adding a Tuesday night tournament starting August 5th.

--The Bad. It's a rebuy.

--The Ugly. If they are doing it to increase cash games on an off night why create a format where everybody will pour their money into rebuys instead of into 1-2 or 2-5 games?

--The Good. Probably going to get a new computer.

--The Bad. Because the motherboard of my old one is fried.

--The Ugly. I've been using my wife's glorified calculator since then and don't have any of the software I need to update the site, or do a slew of other things, I do on a daily basis.

--The Uglier. Will have to acquire all that software all over again. If the hard drive is lost, I lose most everything.

--The Good. Selling two cars.

--The Bad. Now, our neighbors won't confuse us for moderately priced cars of the early 80s collectors.

--The Ugly. Have to deal with car dealerships, and buyers.

--The Good. After a week of tantrums a few weeks ago, our son seems to be back to his normal cheerful self.

--The Bad. Terrible twos are looming and so is the addition of a baby sister.

--The Ugly. He's already jealous of the items that are for the baby and not for him. Uh-oh.

--The Good. The yearbook, much delayed and much anticipated, is back on the table.

--The Bad. Putting together 64 pages of glossy content that folks will want to advertise in and be in. Will be a lot of work, but I'm confident we'll be really happy with the finished product.

--The Ugly. Black Friday.

--The Good. Shannon Shorr, Bella Donkey, Poker Monkey, Kai Landry and Sofa King all have put up WSOP blogs in the last week or so.

--The Really Good. Those blogs. All worth the read.

--The Good. Finally found a place to make us some patches.

--The Really Good. Will probably bundle them with the Yearbook. We will presale and might include T-Shirts too. Going to lean on the readers a little bit to make this happen.

--The Bad. Patches are expensive.

--The Ugly. Like way more expensive than you'd think. Anybody know where we can get a deal let us know.

--The Good. USA women's making the World Cup Finals.

--The Bad. Everybody's new female athlete sex symbol, Hope Solo's skin on close-ups.

--The Ugly. That remark above.

--The Good. Japan winning. No offense to our women but that is one game I don't mind dropping. I said before and during the game it felt like Japan was on a bit of a Saints do it for New Orleans run. When all we could do is hit the post or crossbar on many of our shots it felt like it was going to be Japan's day. Bend but don't break.

--The Bad. American media and sportsfans. When we pull off a great upset (Miracle on Ice etc) it's a bunch of college kids rallying together for a common cause and playing above themselves one day. When we get beat by teams demonstrating that kind of spirit, we never give enough credit. On some days, other teams are just better and want it more. That final was far and away the best our ladies played all World Cup. We lost on penalties. Great job ladies. If you were "chokers" you wouldn't have beaten Brazil in the same format.

--The Ugly. The weird "the ladies are getting a pass because they are ladies." It's just a transparent way to pile on without piling on. The media called 'em out for choking and then get to call 'em out for choking again by saying everybody's handling them with kid's gloves and nobody is calling 'em out for choking... what? As Hope Solo responded on ESPN, "umm, no we are hearing the criticism, people think we choked."

--The Good. Ben Lamb.

--The Bad. Phil Hellmuth questioning Lamb in many regards (suddenly the Poker Brat has morphed into a passive aggressive Brat?) even as Lamb manages the Main Event minefield Hellmuth couldn't.

--The Ugly. Ben's scowl at other players.

--The Good. Phil Collins.

--The Bad. Phil Collins.

--The Ugly. Phil Collins', the singer, silence about the run Phil Collins, the poker player, is making.

Friday, July 08, 2011

Macy Gray plays Poker, Richie Rich plays Poker,

Alright... let's get to some poker action. More on Mexico some other time.

Here's today's talking points. In journalism, I learned you should lead with the biggest most important bits first and leaving the boring details for the end. Unfortunately for you guys, I do the opposite today. Things are upside down in this post so feel free to skim around:

*Playing poker with singer Macy Gray
*"You'll never be as rich as me!"
*$3 costs me ~$600 to $700

**I had the chance to play one of the Donkleys at Harrahs last week. I traded ten per cent of myself to YardDog, we busted 11th and 13th. I got short and shoved from the sb with A10 suited unopened. I got a call from 8 4 or something or other. He hit a straight. Standard, except for the length of time it took for him to call. He was a monster stack and I had no fold equity.

Not too many things I would have done differently besides maybe bet AA on the river instead of checking behind after I got two biggish calls from my opponent. River was three to a flush and three to a straight maybe?

I also got involved in a biggish hand where I laid down pocket Jacks. I raised preflop and a solid regular called from the big blind after a guy called from the sb who was a bit of target so to speak. I had been raising the solid player's bb a lot but that had more to do with what I was dealt than picking on her... in fact, I prefer other spots as she loves to lead out all the time, and always seems to have it when she does it against me.

Flop came King high with two spades. They checked to me. I should have c-bet, but I felt like the sb because of recent history was looking to check raise. I gave it a free card and decided because of position I'd bet regardless. It came a rag. Check-check I bet. Sb insta-mucked (nice read huh). BB called.

River was brick-ish but put three to a flush, she went all in.

I stewed forever. I didn't give her credit for a king because she loves to lead and with two to a flush she checked twice? Unlikely.

When she shoved she had this weird hitch, where she started then stopped. I couldn't figure out if she was slowing herself down to not appear as strong when she just made her hand or she was authentically tentative. The other possibility was the flush scared her.
I folded and my cards were exposed and I think a couple of people thought I was foolish to tank so long.

She later confided, who knows if truthfully, that she had two pair. Which made a lot of sense. She could have flopped that and expected me to bet. Still think she would have protected herself from the draw but maybe not. Or she could have hit gin on the river and merely called me with something like second pair on the turn (which jacks beat).

**In the cash game I sat down and YardDog joined me. Then Macy Gray sat down. Half the table was there for Essence Festival (she was main performer Friday night) and I could tell who she was didn't really register. As soon as I heard her talk to the chip runner I knew it was her. I played with her years ago when she was in town for Celebrity Poker or maybe another Essence Festival.

On this day, in the short time I played with her she seemed pretty good. She was definitely trying to keep a low presence. It dawned on a couple of people who she was and she was quietly gracious. She also didn't say anything when the table were slamming the character's of the other Essence Festival performers.

I enjoyed it when after a big hand she got YardDog to fold and she exposed her hand and he refused to tell her his. She showed top set (queens) and came over the top of his check raise post flop. Finally, after she badgered him a bit he told her he'd tell her for an autograph. She ignored the remark, I think trying to stay low key.

**A kind of regular sat down and immediately started jawing in his fun way. I usually like sitting with him as he enlivens the table. I also seem to run pretty good against him. In one hand, we got to the flop heads up, I think I was raising with garbage again and he called me. I bet he called. I had top pair but it was like a seven. The turn came and I led and he folded showing me AK. I had made two pair with the brick. I said, "You sure you didn't want to catch on the river," in a friendly way with the intention of showing my garbage to get calls later.

This guy's always friendly with me and a joker at the table, but out of nowhere he just responds with "You know what you'll never be as rich as me."

As fast as lightning I said, "That depends, how long are you planning on playing tonight sir."

**Later I was getting the come home phone call from my wife, and I had a small profit on the day so was just waiting out the dealer basically. I had 6-5 offsuit in early position and decided to limp. This tight Asian kid told me had actually made it 5. For some reason I decided he had straddled, and was bored and going to jam a multi-way pot with a big bet (just flashed through my head). Yeah, I r stupid, so I insta pull back my chips and fold. Almost everybody else plays for 5. And ps I don't think it was a staddle but rather a raise to $5.
Flop comes 874. Of course it does.

Lady in middle position bets. Macy Gray right after her reraises. I'm trying to pull my cards out of the muck without security seeing me (okay, that thought went through my mind but I wasn't actually doing it). Asian kid folds. Rest of the table folded.

Lady pops Macy Gray again. Macy shoves, she calls. There is two to a flush out there driving the action.
Lady has a set of sevens. Macy has two pair 8-4. Neither had a flush draw (which didn't come anyway) and neither improved. I left five minutes later regretting not putting in $5 for what would have been a monster pot and what would have appeared to be a giant hit and run by me.

Friday, July 01, 2011

Long time, No blog...

Back when I was a "promoter" over a decade ago in Washington DC, I'd start off emails to invite girls to a party or an event with "we never talk," at times it would be weeks between email conversations and much like this blog it would be solely my fault. Sometimes, the "we never talk" would absolve me from weeks of missed or unreturned phone calls. So, I say to you "We never talk."

This last couple of weeks for me have been a bit like the first time you successfully surfed, you kind of see the wave you want coming, then suddenly the wave is upon you, it takes you, it's a rush all happening at once, and then you are spat out. After the ride you've traveled much farther than you thought you had.

So, has been true for me. For those of you who are facebook friends you've seen some snapshots of me in exotic locales, but no explanation of why I was there. So, I've decided to come clean. I'm a much better online poker player than I've represented and under various handles I've kept private to myself, I've killed it. Only problem was online poker just got hit by Black Friday and suddenly so did my bottom line. What to do? Well, move.

Yes. About two weeks ago, I had a conversation with a friend of my brother, a man that owns condos in various corners of the world. We talked about the state of online poker and how fortunate I was that I mostly played on stars. He said to me, why let the government dictate to you when and where you can play poker. He does business when and where he choses. If the law is heavy handed in one country he'll work somewhere else. If I valued online poker as a profession I needed the same attitude and commitment. And, he stressed, even if I thought online poker was coming back to the states in a year, why not move and keep playing until then. Who takes a year long unpaid vacation.

So, having been to Mexico twice in college, and it being close to my wife's family, I did some research about Mexican citizenship and working as a foreign national. No surprise my brother's friend clued me in to a great place to live on the Beach in Cancun (one that has already withstood hurricanes and a condo he was looking to unload) and I quickly booked a flight to Mexico.

In short order, after a few whirlwind tours, and scouting of the locale, I've reach the conclusion, I'm moving to Cancun.

I've often represented on this blog that I play live tournaments for money and online ones just to stay fresh. Quite the opposite is actually the truth. I get bored playing online as often as I do, and I actually play live tournaments just to break the monotony. I play low stakes live because after a day the inactivity is so tilt inducing I often slip up out of boredom. I must confess I've had at least two accounts, one a I represented as GCPWildBill at the lower stakes MTTS, and others that play nosebleed cashgames.

I've never told even my friends about my poker "greatness" simply because I don't want to deal with constant requests to back people or to consider new business ventures. I've taken the Sam Walton approach to life. Be rich but live humbly. But now, as it stands, as I'm leaving town, and I'm shutting up shop, it's almost a relief to come clean. Fear not GCP is in good hands as I'm letting Gene D take over all of GCP and moving south. Though, he is considering selling the site to DonkDown, an overture we've refused countless times in the past.

I'm headed to Cancun, with one live casino that has two electronic poker board tables, and a sweet room with a beachfront view (yeah, that's the view), with mulitple screens of legal online poker, and a rocket internet access. I'll see ya'll in paradise, or if you ever get online poker back on the Internet.

Just kidding.

I'm not big on April 1st/April Fools jokes as they are too obvious, I guess I prefer July 1st jokes. Truth is almost every part of this post after "we never talk" was mostly b.s. just like it used to be in those emails to get girls to come to our bar crawls, parties or events. Though, there was more than just a few facts in that fiction.

Obviously, I did go to Cancun, but as a writer for a travel type magazine and the offer came up mere days before I went. The wave analogy was at least true. Before I knew it I had the offer, agreed to it, was on the flight, and suddenly I was in Mexico exploring the Yucatan peninsula, and just as soon I was back home.

It was a lot of fun and a great opportunity which may lead to others. So I haven't moved to Mexioc... yet. But now, I'm back on the site, and the updates will come faster and more furious as the WSOP winds down. And, my next blog post will include the reality of my trip.

Don't hate me because I lied to you. It was just a joke. You know like when I said that shirt doesn't make you look fat, but your man boobs sure do.