Friday, December 31, 2004

Project SnG, Getting back on the horse

I jumped back into the fire last night at Pokerroom. After some very crappy play the night before, I figured I couldn't play much worse. My play at the NateDog encouraged me as well. Plus, it didn't hurt to get inspired by watching the rerun of the World Poker Tour.

So after I worked out, I turned on the pc and logged in. I took my time before jumping into a game. I didn't want to be distracted so I read my email and checked some other things out. I knew patience is the key. Wait for cards, play lesser hands when appropriate. I see others play way too many hands, and then play too few hands in these games all the time. The first game started well. I was patient getting paid off ok. I was able to slow play a flush for a nice payoff. I stayed back and watched some really stupid decisions. Like when one guy called an all in bet for 90% of his chips with just a gutshot straight draw. It hit. The loser cussed him out asking how he could call that bet. I wondered the same thing. Later, this guy would do the same thing on a flush draw, when he had bottom pair and hit runner runner for the flush to beat the flopped set of aces. Amazing. The stupid play was paying off.

I was cruising along until I hit my own suckout. With A K in mid position and one caller (blinds 50/100) I raised it up to 200. There was two callers. Flop came 9 9 J. The first limper bet out 300. I called. Turn was a K. He bet 500. I raised him all in since I had him covered. I was confident he did not have a 9, and was hoping he had a J. He called and showed K 10. Huh? You called with two pair and an ok kicker? How do you even call the preflop bet? Of course, the 10 hits the river. What crap! I ended going out in 4th after being blinded down.

I decided to play one more before heading out for a couple of beers. The second table was a bit tighter than the first. Oh sure, people would limp in to see a flop but only 1 or 2 would call a raise and hardly any showdowns were occurring. Second hand I caught pocket rockets and filled my set on the flop. I checked to see if I could get paid. No luck so I bet the turn card and he folded. I hung around the starting stack point for the next 20 minutes. Wasn't catching many cards. But when I did I would get paid albeit just a small pot.

I liked how tight the table got when we were down to 5 people. I started taking shots and stealing blinds. It worked pretty well. Of course I was caught once but I used it to my advantage. Because I was on the short end, I started pushing anything all in. A K got me a called bet and then a fold. A Q suited got me the blinds. Even K 4 was worth some free chips. One guy even called me an a-hole after that. Did I care? Of course not, I wasn't the small stack anymore. I always find it amazing how tight people like to get when you hit 5 people and there are some low stack sizes that rather even. They like to play the waiting game and fall into the money. Me, I like to get aggressive. Especially against the stacks as even as mine. I will bet out on them just about every time whether I have it or not. I will also slow play the bigger stacks in order to get paid and power my way into the money.

Then of course, it doesn't hurt to just catch the right card. Still with 5 left, I am on the button with 3 3. It has been folded to me. I limp, the small blind completes and we see a flop. J 6 8. The blinds check to me. I like the free card so I check as well. Turn is a 3. Bingo! Small blind bets the minimum. Big blind calls. I move all in. Small calls but big folds. Small shows 6 3 for 2 pair. My trips hold up and I more than double through. I went from bottom stack to second on that one hand. Two hands later I catch 9 9 UTG and raise it up. Big blind pushes all in. I have him covered by 2400 so I am not too worried. That is until I see K K. Ugh! But the 9 hits the turn and I take him out. The other small stack is knocked away and we are in the money.

I bounce the next guy when he pushes all in pre flop. I have Q J and call his 1500 bet. He shows K 4. A queen on the flop takes him out. At this point, I have a huge lead over second. I am going to move him on just about any two cards. Except for J 2. I fold that one. 10 9 suited is worth the raise. He folds. Now he pushes and I have Q 3. Call. He shows 6 7 off. No help and my Q high wins the tourney for me. Great to win one again.

My original stake is now at $115. 4 tables, 1 third, 1 first. I may break my rule today. After work I may play a multi though I have not reached the goal of up 25. But after looking at the payouts, it may not be worth it. The SnG pays better. Who knows I may jump to a $10 multi instead.

Thursday, December 30, 2004

Back to the NateDog casino...Even Steven

It seemed like a Seinfeld episode. No matter what I did, I ended up even. I was out to make some money but that just didn't materialize. It isn't bad, but it isn't good. What it is, is frustrating. But it was a good time. What they need are bounties. Then I would have cleaned up.

The NateDog casino is this smoky little skanky "cardroom" hidden in Tosa. The proprieter apparently has no idea what a Rug Doctor is or what Mr. Clean does for a living. But the beer flows and the women...well, there aren't any women unless you count the porn that is constantly played on the tvs. There is a window open for some reason and the room is freezing. A foul stench is coming from the other room which makes you gag anytime someone moves. This place was terrible.

It was a different crowd for me. I had only played with a handful of the guys assembled and there was one that was suppose to be the shark. Curly was there wearing a Funky Pirate hat. Go ahead and insert joke here. Any words like butt, ass, rump, etc. can be inserted before pirate. Last night, I think they were. Phish, a guy who was hard to put on a hand at times, until I finally paid attention to what he was truly doing, who was wearing a Phish tour shirt. Brownshirt who was a rather loose player. Literski, a former co-worker who can be pretty damn tight. NateDog, the host. First Hand French, a co-worker. His brother, the shark from Detroit. I was told he was the one to be aware of. The favorite going in.

I wore my "NUTS" shirt that I had received from my bro for Christmas. Couple that with the Badger Poker hat and my card protector and I was the quintessential poker nerd. The guys were digging the shirt early on, especially when I started busting people out. And that didn't take long.

First hand, I am under the gun with A K. Good start. I raise it up 30 and get two callers. Flop comes A K x, rainbow. Sweet flop. I bet it out, I believe 50. First Hand French quickly calls, I believe it was Brownshirt that folded. Turn is a rag. I bet it out again, this time 100. He calls again. Hmm... River is nothing of note and I push all in. If he had trips I am sure he would have raised on the turn or at some point. He calls and asks if I have a set. No, just top two pair. That is good enough to beat his A Q and I double up on the very first hand. First Hand French is banished to the basement to play Halo.

Next hand, I catch K K in the big blind. Wow! Big switch from playing online just a couple hours ago. I raise it up 50 from there and catch a caller, the Funky Pirate. Flop comes A J x. The one card I don't want to see flies on out. I bet it to see if he has it. I kept it small just in case and went with 40. He calls. I check the turn as does he. The only chance I have now is to bet the river. A blank hits and I put out 30. I know FP won't re-raise unless he had a monster. He just calls and shows the A. I feel I got away with little damage there.

NateDog is playing Halo soon when he dumps some chips to Brownshirt and then tilts his remainder away. I take out Literski on a nice slow play. I am in the big blind with A 4, the A being a diamond. Flop comes with 2 3 J, all diamonds. Not bad, a nut flush draw and straight draw. Literski checks as do I. Turn is the K of diamonds. Cha Ching! Literski thinks for a while. I watch him stare at his chips. A good sign. He bets out 50. I think for a bit and call. River is a 5 of clubs. He thinks again and bets out 100 (I believe). I think to myself as well, wondering if I can knock him out right away. I ask how much he has left and go for the push. He calls. Cha Ching. When I announce I have the nuts, the Funky Pirate, Brownshirt and Phish go crazy. Literski is gone as the boys start saying that my Nuts shirt must have been flashing and to watch out for him.

We play some 5 handed for a while. Brownshirt and Funky Pirate are on the small stacks. FP doesn't last long and goes out. At one point here, someone figures out the stack sizes and apparently I am on the small stack now. I know why too. Shark had been bullying me. Every time I just tried to call the small blind to see a flop, he would raise it up. A good play on his part as I had some crappy hands that I was hoping to catch some cards on. Stupid on my part as J 2, J 6, J 3 ain't going to catch crap!

The Halo boys downstairs are getting restless. Our game is going on 2 hours and apparently they are getting tired of the game. They keep yelling upstairs for us to raise the blinds. Each time Phish tells them to SHOOT SOMEONE! or SHUT UP!

The four of us go back and forth for a while. Phish and Brownshirt seem to battle it out more. Chips are floating back and forth between them. I am stealing some blinds here and there. I just about knocked Phish out when I raised it up with Q J on a tight table. He thought for a while, even asking Brownshirt for help (which I didn't like but this is a friendly game and BS wasn't telling him what to do or at least not quite). He went over the top on me for only something like 30 more so I called to see his K 3. Huh? Q hit the flop but the K came on the turn for him to double up. Brownshirt finally gets busted out and I am at least getting my money back. Though I am behind here, I still have a chance. I start to catch some cards and push. With blinds at 40/80, and my stack around 300 (as oppose to theirs at 500-600 or so) I have little choice. I finally busted out with A 8 diamonds. Shark pushed me all in and I called it, feeling he had only a middle pair. He did. 7 7. My A hits the flop. River is a rag. Turn is a 7. Finito! I had him covered but with only 90 left I go all in blind and the Shark kills me with A J. Then they chop what was left. Hey, they could have done that with 3 left and evener stacks!!!

We draw cards for the seating assignments in the next game. Though he does call a raise, miraculously, First Hand French does not go out on the first hand in the second game! I believe he lasted more like 10. Phish went out early as did Brownshirt. Funky Pirate was playing some good cards, catching a straight and making them pay. NateDog was chipping up quite well himself.

I dropped a bad beat on Funky Pirate that stacked me up well. I believe I was in the big blind with A 6 hearts and checked it to see a flop. Flop came 9 8 3, rainbow. I bet 50 out. NateDog and Shark folded. Funky Pirate thought a bit and called. Turn was K of hearts. Two hearts on the board now. But I wasn't thinking that. FP checked and I pushed. I was intent on selling my bluff. He quickly called and turned over K J. I cried "Shit!". The river was a heart. It took a second for me to realize I hit runner runner for the flush. Sweet!

I was able to take out First Hand French. I knocked him out again when I raised blind from the button an extra 75. He pushed all in. It would be 75 more to me to call. I called since I had the stack and could easily handle it. He turned up Q Q and I K 10. K came on the flop and a 10 on the river.

I knocked Literski out soon after that. Can't quite recall how but we were down to 4 when Shark started to make his move. His first pot was against me. I had checked from the BB with J 8 off. Flop came Q 8 7. Funky Pirate checked. I checked. Shark thought and then checked. Turn was a 9. FP checked and as did I. Shark bet half of his stack, 100. FP folded. I began to study him and came to the conclusion he did not have a Q. The 8 may be good. So raised him all in for his last 100. He called and showed the straight with J 10. Shit. The one guy I did not want to see with chips was now back in the game. A couple of hands later he moved up again with a set of jacks at NateDogs expense.

Funky Pirate went out when he didn't catch his draw. I was back to getting my original $20 back once again. I was in 2nd with a nice lead over third. But luck would go against me. In the big blind, I raised it up 100 with A 10 clubs. Shark called. Flop came A 10 x, two hearts. I bet 100. He raised me 200. I pushed all in. He could only be on a draw or maybe have an A. He turned over 2 hearts. Not even two strong cards if I recall. J of hearts comes on the turn and I am done. They chop right there and I am Even Steven. Four and a half hours of play and I have nothing to show for it. That kinda sucked. It would have totally sucked it I didn't have a good time. But that is poker for you.

Bagmans words of wisdom- Hey, I started this "feature" in the Badger Poker posts and see no reason why to drop it. This exchange had me laughing pretty good. The Funky Pirate was going back and forth with Literski. These guys do this every time they play I guess. Well, at one point the Funky Pirate mentions that there are hookers in the basement and when you bust out you can well...bust it out. Literski kinda sighed. FP came back with a "well I know you are a religous man.." Literski quickly came back with "You don't think the Lord can't see you?" Funky Pirate shot back with a "Not in NateDog's laundry room!" Yes, the one place in the universe that the Almighty cannot see what is going on, His only blindspot is a laundry room in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin.

P.S. The NateDog casino is not the scummy place I described it as. It is a fine house that is owned by a renegade card player and whose wife makes sure there are enough candles burning to make the home smell like vanilla or cinnamon.

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Project SnG...Pissin it away

Nothing great to report today. Played two tables tonight with no real action.

First table I was cold decked. Only hand I saw in 25 minutes was A A. Screwed it up bad when I limped with 10 9. Flop came J 10 9. I bet it out roughly pot size and was immediately raised. That should have screamed to me that he had K Q. That was my first thought. I called though. The river was no help and I checked. So did he. Was he drawing to the straight with only a K? River was a rag. The aggressive side of me went for it and pushed. It was over when he showed the flopped straight. What the hell am I doing?

Second table was a bit better. I moved up nicely with a straight. However, I pissed it away with K Q. Flop came Q 6 4. It was bet to me. I raised by accident. Turn was a K. It is checked and I bet it out for 200. It is called. River is a rag. This time he goes all in. I am thinking A K. Nope. He has pocket 6s. I am way down now. Two hands later I get funky with 9 10 and push all in on the flop that comes 9 high. He has K K and I am done. Some real stupid playing tonight. Time to turn the pc off and walk away.

No way. Instead I am heading to a home game. Who said I was smart?

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

First game, first screw up

I was looking forward to playing again. I completed some errands before loggin on. I did a quick check at the games SnGs that were ready to go. I saw that there wasn't anyone waiting on the $10 so I had time. I quickly checked to see if a friend was on. Didn't see him so I went back to the game and took a seat. Game started and right away, I let out a groan. I had entered into a limit game. UGH!
Not that limit is bad. Just in the SnGs, I prefer no limit. Games go much quicker. Plus, you can protect your hands much easier. For example, I get A A second hand of the game. I raise it up and get 5 callers. Flop come A 9 3, two spades. Great. With it being limit, someone will stay in if they have the flush draw. Sure enough, two callers. Turn is another spade. I am sunk when someone bets out now. Great. Set of aces down the drain. I would later see pocket rockets taken out by a set of 4s.
Not too worry though. Next hand I get 10 10. I raise it up and see 4 callers. Maybe I can get my money back. Flop comes Q Q 4. I am on the cutoff and it gets checked to me. I bet it again. Only a total fool would check raise a set of queens in a low limit game. I get 3 callers. Turn is a rag. I bet it again and just one caller in front of me. Hmmm. River is a rag as well. He checks as do I. He shows A 6. WTF? He thought I was bluffing? On tilt? But this is the kind of suckout that I am being cautious about.

Fold the next bunch of hands until I get 10 10 in the big blind. We are going to the next floor again. Oh shit. Flop comes 10 7 5, all spades. I bet out to see where I stand. Uh oh. One raise. Crap! A re-raise. Another set gone bad? I look at it and call, praying for the board to pair up. Turn is a Q hearts. I check. Check. Re-raise bets it. I call hoping to see the board pair up. Plus, the pot is a good size. River is the J of spades. I am ready to fold. I check. Check. Re-raise checks as well??? I take down the pot with the trip 10s. Re-raise only had trip 7s! Suddenly I am chip leader. Sweet!

That is until the next hand. Someone hits their gutshot straight on the river and takes down a huge pot. I get some chips when my A 10 pushes a pot. If the clown hadn't check raised on the flop, we would have had a guy trapped in the middle and gotten a bigger haul. Two hands later I get A J. I just limp with it. Flop comes with 2 hearts, A high. One guy who is pretty maniacal check raises. Stupid play. Especially when he then checks the turn and river. He filled his flush on the river and didn't get paid.

Two hands later, I get A J again. I limp on in. But someone raises it. Ok, I call the two bet. Flop comes 5 5 Q. The check raiser checks (surprise!). So does the original raiser. Hmm. Turn is another 5. Interesting. Check raiser bets! Ok, he has nothing so I call. So does the original raiser. River is an A. I bet out and the original raiser raises. Huh? Check raiser folds. I just call. He shows A 6 off. That was worth a raise?

A couple hands later, some guy slow plays his pocket aces and wins a tiny pot. Again, this is why I don't play a limit tourney. The play is stupid. The guy missed out on 2 bets and could have lost the pot. I just watched the check raiser bet again with A high. That is one to follow. I like how he bets when he has nothing.

A number of hand later, after watching someone try to check raise the nuts, I get J J under the gun. 4 people see a flop of Q A 7, two diamonds. Crap. I bet to see where I stand. Everyone calls. Turn is a A. River a Q. On the turn, one person is all in. The check raiser had called with Q 6 off??? He hit the Q on the river for the boat, beating the other guys pocket kings. Why the guy didn't re-raise preflop is a mystery.

I get to see a hand for free next. A 6 hearts in the big blind. Flop comes 2 4 6 , two hearts. I bet it out and get raised. Interesting. Turn is a 4. I bet and get re-raised by the check raiser. River is a Q and I just call his bet. He had 7 9 off and was trying to hit the gut shot. HA! Next hand I limp with K 9 suited from the small blind. Flop comes J 9 3. It checks around. Turn is a a 3. My 9 could be good so I bet. Just one caller. River is a 6. I check and take down a small pot. But I think I sent a guy on tilt because he starts raising every street of the next hand and goes broke. That or he thought his K 5 diamonds was that strong, especially after having bottom pair on the flop.

Check raiser is next to go out. I get the honors too. He was in the cutoff and raised. I called from the small blind with A 5 off. Flop came J J 5. I bet it out. He raised. Awesome! We cap it. I bet it out again and force him all in. Sure enough, he has K 10. Thanks for playing idiot.

Stupid play on my part next. Called a raise from the big blind with K 8 off. Flop comes K J 10. I bet out top pair. One caller then a raise. I call but the first caller raises now! I get trapped in a four bet. Turn is a 9. Now I know I am sunk. I end up dumping two more bets to the straight. Next hand I do it again when the guy slow plays his straight. But this time I wasn't betting out.

We are down to 5 now. I smack the low stack into a tilt mode with a blind defense of Q 7. Flop comes Q 8 5. I bet the flop and turn. He raised on the turn. Thanks. Your pair of 5s got no help. I am sitting second and have a spot to cruise a bit. Straight forward play can win this. Then we hit a 5 minute break. This is why I don't like limit SnGs. There is a break at the hour mark. I don't need a break. Hell, this shouldn't last this long.

But anyway, there are 5 people left. I am third with 2974. First has 5205, second 3796, third at 2450 and last at 575. The short stacks are getting crazy. With blinds of 100-200, there is little room to wait. It seems that no one is ever patient in the early rounds, or they try to play fancy instead of building a pot.

After what seems like an eternity, the game resumes and I post the big blind. Nice, J 2 off. I see a free flop of J Q 7 but fold to a bet. The bettor then folds to the raise. In the small blind I try to get fancy with A 5. Flop is all small 6 4 3. I bet to take it down but get called. River pairs up the board and the guy playing K 6 wins with 2 pair.

Blinds come around fast with 5 players. I notice that the tiny stack is scared to play. And the guy ahead of me is hoping I fall out as well. I make a stand with A 9 and am back up to 1600. Though well below the big stacks, I am in a place to make the money. But I am not catching any cards. I get lucky in the big blind with 9 8 and flop the set of 8s, but that is it. They fold some blinds to me and I call to see flop from the small blind but I am not getting a chance at the tight table. And the little guy keeps surviving. Even when I get two pair on the river, I can't do anything because of the 4 diamonds on the board. I play the waiting game because the tiny stack has less than an orbit to go. But give me hand! I want to play, not wait!

Fucking great! The guy has $50 left and the small blind folds. So I push with A 10 and double up. I have double up a couple of times at the cost of the player on my left. The tiny stack finally goes out when his pair is good enough. I will make money now. But I want second, not third. I tend to get too aggressive when in the money. I fold J 4 hearts from the big blind when the small blind raises. I think I should have re-raised back as he suddenly had less than I did. That may have been the best move as I went out 3 hands later from the big blind with 7 8 off. I had a straight on the turn, but he hit his flush on the river. Damn. But I made $9. Can't mind a profit, especially when I was in a limit tourney that I didn't want to be in the first place. Nine for an hour and a half isn't worth it.

Project SnG

This week I will be launching Project Sng. That is Project Sit n Go for the layman. A friend of mine, Frito Lay of Badger Poker fame, has been doing pretty well playing the SnGs at I had played online there for a while in the past and had down pretty well myself. I built up a small bankroll that I would later blow trying to be a bonus whore. Kids at home: Leave the bonus whoring up to the professionals.

Yesterday I deposited $100 into the account with the intent of playing a minimum of 9 of the $10 tables. The payouts for the top 3 are $50, $30, & $20. The goal is to not only build up the bankroll playing the SnGs (no ring games are to be allowed), but if/when the roll gets over$125, to then enter a multi table tourney for the bigger cash. If the roll gets over $150, then we step up to the $10 multis. Yes, the multi table entry fees are not huge, but baby steps must be taken. The only time money will be taken out of the account will be for an entry into a blogger tourney.

Hopefully, I will be able to show actual hands as well. I have seen others do it but I am not sure how they did it (I believe it is just cutting and pasting but it can't be that simple, can it?). I also intend to play roughly each night, at least 2 tables per night, but with New Years right around the corner, expect that to be choppy.

It should be interesting to see how this plays out. Not only with any winnings, but the fact that online players are usually even worse than Badger Poker players. Some of the wacky plays I see online kill me. Other literally kill me (like having my A A cracked by the numbskull who calls the 5xs BB bet preflop with 2 2 and makes their set).

Look for the first report later tonight.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Vegas...Day 4, Getting the last bit of play in before leaving

Historically, the last day in Vegas has been a nightmare for me. If I am up, I usually give it back. If I am down, I dig the hole a little deeper. I figured I was in the groove playing the ring games so I was confident that the last day wasn't going to kill me. Especially with the Mirage right across the street.

At roughly 10, I entered the poker room looking to play 6/12. There was one game going and they had a list of about 6 people waiting. I was told they would open a table soon and it shouldn't be that long. Yeah right! I waited an hour as they took their sweet time opening the damn table. Seems they did not want to lose the list for the current table. After the hour I was finally called for the existing table. That wasn't bad as I had the chance to watch it for a bit to gauge how everyone was playing. What I should have done was hop in a 3/6 game to kill time as well. Instead I hung around, read Poker Player magazine and shot the shit with one of the dealers.

A dealer had been sent to open up the NL game. He was sitting there waiting as the supervisor called names off. No one was showing up. At the same time, they were opening an Omaha game in the corner. The dealer was telling me what a crappy game that was. Not the game itself but the people at the table. The same old bunch of farts day after day. He was pointing them out. How the two crusty looking guys never bet unless they have a hand. And if you suck out on them, they will bitch and moan. He showed me one guy who takes his chips home with him. I watched as he pulled them out of a knapsack. He talked about how the codgers make a big deal out of a kill pot. There are rarely kill pots as no one is going to play one hand after another. I pointed out the one young guy in the group and asked if he had no clue what he was getting into. The dealer just laughed and said the kid wouldn't last long and would leave because of boredom. He then told me about the tourney they had at the Mirage for the WPT event a couple of months back. As he was, some people finally showed up at his table to start the NL game. Another thing I noticed was they were trying to open a couple of other tables but no one was showing up. Well, if you opened the 6/12 table earlier....

I finally get the call just after 11. I sit down and size up what I have seen already. I am in seat 1. The 9 & 10 seats are two black gentlemen, one is an oversized puffy ski jacket and another in an blue shirt. They are both playing tighter than tight. There is a wrinkly old lady next to them who is playing loose. The 7 seat kept changing a bit. There was another older lady in the 6 seat who had these huge glasses on. Next to her was brown shirt from Birmingham, a young somewhat tight player. Over one more was Mercedes, a guy who had his Mercedes key on the table. Over one was knit cap with a pair of sunlasses, a younger player who wasn't bad. Next was Michigan, a loooooooose player who couldn't quite understand why he won only once in a while. Finally, the 2 seat was a big guy from Nevada who would come into Vegas from roughly an hour away to play poker now and then.

The table overall was playing on the tight side. I had seen only 1 player leave during my wait and no one seemed to be very short stacked to be leaving soon. I won a couple of small pots early playing face cards from the blinds. I would flop top pair and bet it just to see everyone fold. That was how this table would go. If it folded around to the blinds, it would be chopped. If someone had raised, there was a good chance it would be folded preflop and the blinds were the raisors. I was willing to chop but if someone raised my blind, I was going to defend it. I also knew enough to stay out of a hand if the brothers were playing. It was rare they were in a hand. Even rarer for them to call a raise preflop even if they had tried to limp.

Not many exciting pots early on. It was a miracle if the pot got over $50. I was enjoying watching Michigan's chips come out of the racks and get distributed around the table. Same for the Wrinkly lady. Knit cap and Birmingham took some bad beats. A newer guy had plunked in to the 7 seat and hit them both hard when his AJ sucked out the river on them. I myself loosened up my play to take advantage of the tight table. Whereas I might call with A 10, I was now raising with it. I did this a couple of times and hit top pair on the flop. Of course, my flop bet would cause everyone to fold.

I used it to my advantage. If the table is tight I will run it. I have already shown down some good hands and I realized I had some table cred. It worked when I would bet second pair out and people would fold. My favorite was from the guy who had sucked out with the A J. I bluffed a flush on the turn (I had high pair with the draw). He stared at me and mucked saying I probably had it. Nice.

I did have a tough beat though. Birmingham raised in mid position to 12. There were 4 players to see a flop. I called to see the flop in the big blind with 4 6. Flop came 4 5 5. Two pair, not bad. Let me see who might have the 5. I bet. Michigan calls as does Birmingham. Hmm. Turn is a 4. I now have the full house. Does someone have the 5? I bet again. Michigan calls, but Birmingham folds. I don't think he has the 5 or he would have raised. River is a 7. I like that card as it may give someone the straight. I bet and Michigan raises. I just call because I don't have the nuts. He turns over K 5 suited. He called a raise preflop with K 5 suited and wonders why he doesn't win often? Birmingham mentioned he folded Q Q.

At about this time, the big guy on my left had left and a middle aged guy sat down. I pulled off a brilliant play against him with me knowing it until I did it. I was in the big blind again with A 5. UTG he raised to 12. There was only one other player in so I called. Flop came A 4 8. Not the best of flops as I would have preferred two pair because of my kicker. I checked and he bet again. The other guy folded. Did he have an A as well? Hmmm.... Turn is a 3. A bit better as now I have top pair and a straight draw. He bets again. I take a drink of my beer (slight side story, I had started drinking when I had sat down. There was a garbage can right behind me that the waitresses kept dumping my empties into. I didn't notice this right away but did when I left and saw 7 in there. Me, drink that much?) and go into the tank. I am feeling good with the suds sloshing around in me. I take my hands and cover my face and let out a big sigh. I truly don't know what to do. I feel he has an ace but I am outkicked. But I do have the straight draw. It is only 12 to call. What to do, what to do? Then it hits me. I grab my chips and raise! This seemed like the best decision. Why fold if I can hit the straight? My aces may be good still. Calling wasn't an option. By raising, I know if he re-raises, I am in trouble. He just called. Now I know he won't bet if he doens' t have an A because I will raise him back. River is a rag. I check and he shows pocket 10s. I take down one of the bigger pots that the table has had since I put my butt in the chair.

A hillbilly sits down in the 9 seat when puffy jacket left. He was interesting as he was looking for action. He would raise with any two face or an ace. At first he didn't show down too many hands, but when he did, he was exposed. I was able to trap him on one play. I had 10 J and just limped. I called his raise when it came around. Flop came K 9 8. I checked so he could continue to bet. Turn was a 7. I now have my straight made. I checked again, something I rarely do in limit. He bet it out and I called. On the river came a Q. Uh oh. Now I could lose to an A. I checked as did he. He showed two pair, K &Qs. My straight was good afterall. I wish I had raised on the river still.

I even had fun talking with the same dealers. On the hand I played from the blinds on the hillbilly and won I declared "I call that a bargain, the best I ever had". She looks at me and says "Isn't that a song?". Yep, name the artist. She guessed but I had to give it to her. Using my clever wit I asked if she was sure she didn't know WHO it was. When she left she joked that now she would have that song stuck in her head. Could be worse music in your head than the Who.

Before I knew it, it was 3:00. I had to go get my bags and head for the airport. I cashed in up $119. Broke the last day curse! It was sad too. I know I could have stayed and made more at that table. But I had to leave. Curse the real world!!!

Vegas...Day 3, Quick Tournament Tilt leads to nice cash at Bellagio

I was on a small mission on Thursday. I wanted to check out some of the new card rooms on the Strip as well as play in a tournament. So when I left Harrahs that morning, I head due south to check out the Imperial Palace, Ballys, and Aladdin.

First stop was the Imperial Palace. I had heard that they had generous comps for poker players. Supposedly you were catching $3 an hour just for playing poker. These comps could be used anywhere in the joint. I had also seen they had some tourneys as well according to various websites. It was roughly 10:30 when I walked into IP. It was around 11 when I left. I couldn't find the damn poker room. I was walking all over the place, up the escalator, down and around to the back. I even went up an elevator into the hotel! I thought that this better be worth it if I do finally find the room. After walking around, I read some of the signs (of which NONE directed you in the direction of the poker room) and headed up a different bank of escalators towards the sport book. Alas, I did find the poker room up on the third floor by the small keno area. There wasn't a sould in the place. All this searching for nothing. If there was a game going, I would have hopped in to kill some time. Instead I walked down one long set of stairs. As I did I thought about when the last time someone actually went down these stairs as that carpet was in some pristine condition.

So I continued on to Ballys. I like Ballys. It is the one place I will screw around and play slots and video poker. I checked out the poker "room" there. Not a room per se as it is a roped off area by a main bar. They had one game going at the time so I piddled around playing slots. Walked out with a nice profit and headed on over to the Aladdin.

The Aladdin has two daily tournaments at 9 and 1. At about 12:15 I plunked my $40 down for the 1pm battle (1500 to start with a $20 rebuy for 1000 more). The Aladdin poker room is smack dab in the middle of the casion. It used to be a dollar slot room. It was a pain to find at first, but after walking in circles I did. I killed some time playing Crazy 4 Poker and video poker. I should have continued to play those games as I absolutely stunk up that poker room. I got a feel for how things would be on the first hand. I was dealt J J about 3 off the blinds. UTG limps in as does the second guy. I raise it up to 120 to get people out. Everyone folds, including the blinds. First limper folds but the second calls. Flop comes Q high. He checks. I bet out 150 and he calls. Turn is a rag. We both check. I bet the river to drive him out. He calls and turns over Q 2 suited. Q 2 suited??? WTF? He called a big bet preflop with that crap! I knew this was going to suck. I get A K a couple of hands later and pay off some knucklhead who caught his set of deuces on the turn. I continue to watch hand after hand these 3 guys call preflop with crap and hit flops left and right. At first I am licking my chops waiting to get a hand to play. But everytime I do, the flop doesn't help me or catches them royally. I finally blow out of it when my Q Q gets busted by a flush on the turn. I knew the idiot had it but I didn't want to play anymore. I was beyond tilt. The crappy play by these guys was getting to me.

But wait, this is a rebuy tournament. I rebuy another 1000 and quickly piss it away when a couple guys call 500 preflop bets and I have A J. I moved all in looking to either make a killing or be killed. Needless to say, I was walking out of the place a couple of minutes later having just played the worst tournament in a long time. The blinds hadn't even done a full round and I was bounced. I did get a Howard Ledered DVD out of it though. They handed out HL's DVD on Tells to everyone who played in the tourney. That was nice but now I had to carry this thing with me as I walked around.

It was about 1:35 when I left the Aladdin. I walked across the street and into the Bellagio to get a look at what was happening in the WPT tourney and see what kind of wait there was. The 4/8 game can be wild there and since it looked to be about 15 minutes, I signed up. I meandered around the edge of the WPT area wathching a bit of play. I saw that Daniel Negreanu, Phil Hellmuth and Howard Lederer were among the bigger names left. It was just when I popped a twenty into a video poker machine that I got the call. I went in and bought in for $200. I was going to be seated outside by the tournament but someone else took that seat. So they sent me back into the room and I pulled up in the 3 seat. There were a couple of old farts at the table, the usual regulars who plays like rocks except for one guy who liked to play a lot of hands. Big Manny was on my right. Apparently he is a dealer at the Bellagio. Two spots to my left was a guy who was telling stories about hookers. A lady who liked the action and wanted to mix it up was at the far end. On my left was a young guy and two spots on my right was another younger dude who were decent players. They were willing to lay down hands and spent a good amount of time reading players.

I started just beyond the button and posted when given the option. I was there to play poker, not watch. 4 people limp in when it comes around to Big Manny who raises it. I look down and see 3 5 hearts. Seeing the pot was already building up and figuring no one is going to fold, I call for another bet to see a flop. Flop comes 6 4 K. Nice. It checks around to Big Manny who bets. I call as does 2 others. Turn is a 2, filling my straight. It checks to Big Manny who bets. I raise it up to 16. The others fold and Big Manny calls. River is a rag. I bet it, catch the call and take down a huge pot. Sweet start! A couple of hands later, I have 3 3 and call a raise from the big blind. Flop fills my set and I take down another good pot. I was up $150 rather quickly when they moved our table to make room for their daily tournament. They sent us out to the last table by the WPT event. Though the velvet ropes separated us from the real action, the proximity to these guys and watching them walk around kind of pumped up my game. We would be playing on a WPT table. That was cool. It was also strange that during the table change, we lost 2 players. But the loose old guy was still there as were the young dudes who were helping pump up the action. Unfortunately, Mr Know-it-all took one of the spots. This guy claimed he was busted out on the first day of the tournament. Yeah right! This guy wasn't any good. For example, the first hand he played, he caught runner runner for a flush. He showed his K 6 to beat out the Picture Lady and her two pair. She was pissed that he not only caught the flush, but he had absolutely no reason being in the hand after the flop. And the stuff that came out of his mouth was amazing. There was one hand where he folded his small pair, with a 10 high on the board. One of the young guys had bet out on every street and his hole J J won it. This guy says very loudly that he had him on jacks. Huh? There are 4 different over pairs he could have but somehow, you put him on jacks? I knew he had the overpair, but why do you guess the lowest of them? The table was laughing at that comment. At least Mr Know-it-all bled some chips into the game.

I had stacks of chips in front of me forming a nice pyramid. At this point, I was trying to win enough to cap off the top of the pyramid. Things were going good. I was hitting flops pretty damn well. My 9 9 turned into a straight when the flop came 8 6 5. The 7 hit on the turn and I started raising it to bust K K. I limped in with an A 10 that paid on the turn when 10 5 2 flopped and a rag hit the turn. Guy on my left even called my hand prompting me to show it to him. The lucky 3s came around to me and paid off hugely. I limped in. Flop came 4 4 K. Someone bet it out and I just called with 2 others. Turn was a 3. Sweet. Bettor came out again. I raised it this time and had both callers as well. River was a rag and my full house beat out two pair on two callers. My pyramid was nearing completion. It also didn't hurt that I had a stack of red building on the side.

Then I lost all focus. As the WPT event was going on, and they were shuffling players and cameras around, she walked up and sat down at a table just beyond the ropes. For the next 20 minutes, I don't have a clue on what happened at our table. I sat there staring (I don't think I was drooling) at Shana Hiatt. Oh my God is she hot. TV does not do her justice! I must have looked like a love sick puppy. I then started talking with Big Manny who told me he was done in Aruba with the tour and said she looks even better in her bikini. Of course I had to tell him to watch his tongue. He cannot talk about my future wife like that! He roared with laughter at that comment. That was a line I continued to use if anyone mentioned her name.

Needless to say my game was pretty shot then. I won some other hands, but nothing really noteworthy. Some of the bleeders left the game. Big Manny was gone. The Picture Lady had left as did Mr. Know-it-all. Floorman took over on the far end. I ran into him with A K. He had limped in and called my raise. Flop came J high but with two diamonds. I bet it out and he raised. I called to see the turn. Turn was a diamond. I checked, he bet and I folded. Wasn't about to mess with any flush. I tried limping in with some aces from there but nothing else was hitting. Worse of all, Shana had gone and left me alone. And my pyramid was beginning to crumble. It was time to rack up and get some dinner.

I had to gather 4 racks to gather all of the chips. I walked back into the poker room and was stopped at the podium as they wanted to know what table I came from. I also had runners coming up to me to buy racks off of me. Yep, the big winner was being recognized!!! All in all, my take from the Bellagio was $283. Pretty good for 4 hours at a 4/8 table.

So I went back to the room to drop off the DVD and to get something to eat. I kicked around Harrahs playing blackjack for a bit (there are some people that simply should not be playing blackjack!) before going across to the Mirage. I checked the list for 6/12 and saw there were a dozen names on it. So I decided to take it easy and play 3/6. I bought in for just a hundred and sat down. Right away I noticed some weird things going on. This Chineses lady was playing every hand and showing down nothing or folding on the river chasing whatever she came close to. There were 3 Georgia Tech buddies who were pretty tight and folded a lot but were always giving shit to each other when they lost a hand. The young dude on my right was pretty damn tight as well. But worst of all was the continual suckouts that were happening. No one was folding until the river. And then someone was hitting the miracle card. Amazing. Disgusting. This was some bad poker.

I had the Chinese Lady suckout on me. I had raised it up with K K. Two people including her had called. Flop came J high with two clubs. I bet it again and only the Chinese lady called. Turn was a club. She checked and I bet again. She called. Now I am not sure she hit her flush on the turn. I was rather confident she hadn't. I groaned when the river came another club and now she bet out. I gave the crying call and saw her show Q 9 off. WTF?!?! She sucked out the flush with absolutely nothing. I got a couple more beers in me after that bad beat.

A couple of hands later I get heads up with this crotchedly Greek guy. I limp in with J 10. Flop comes J 8 4, rainbow. I bet it out and he calls. Turn is a 2. I bet and he calls. River is a K. I bet and he calls showing K Q. I say to him in a disgusted tone "You stayed with nothing?". "It was two over cards". Screw you! Yeah, the bets aren't big but that is some stupid poker to be playing. This kept going on. I was more shocked when I won a pot. And those were few and far between. I didn't play long here, maybe an hour or so. This table just sucked. There was little action and worst yet, was the total asshole at the other table.

I call him the Cookie Monster. I wanted to tell him to shut the hell up. This guy was loud and obnoxious and annoying people at tables around him. Every time he won a pot, he would yell "Shift the cookies!". When he wasn't yelling, he was badgering another guy (I hope this was his buddy) to tip the dealer. Don't know if the guy was stiffing the dealer after every pot he drug or not, but this guy was riding him to tip the dealer. "Give him 2 bucks!" "Tip him for losing!". It kept going on and on. I was so tempted to whip the Lite bottle at him but decided that I
1)was too young to be banned from a poker room,
2) didn't want to waste good beer and
3) didn't want to be someone's bitch in the pokey for the night.

So I left and went back to playing blackjack. Overall I sandwiched the day pretty well. Two bad sessions with one meaty one in the middle. From the poker perspective, this looked to be a profitable trip. Now if only I could stay away from the craps and Pai Gow tables.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Vegas...Day 2, A Mirage in the desert

A good part of Day 2 was spent playing poker. Pai Gow poker. I spent 6 hours at TI filling my stomach with Makers Mark and ginger ale. Try it. Smooth. I highly recommend it.

It wasn't until 7pm that I made my way over to the Mirage. I had played some in the past here and I had forgotten how much I like the poker room. The level of play is better here than some other places. There are the usual clowns playing the 3/6 game, but the 6/12 game is much better. That is what I opted for on Wednesday night.

There was about a 15 minutes wait before I took the 4 seat at table 12. On my right was the bank. I bought in for $300 and had taken only red chips ($5). When I sat down, the bank on my right offered to exchange some for blue ($1). I tossed him 4 red and he gave me a stack of blue. There was a local on my left who wasn't bad but talked too long about having to piss all night if he drank any more water. A guy with a bad perm was down the way. A quite guy wearing sunglasses was playing rather tight. There was the aggressive grandpa wearing a sweater. He was noticeable as his wife was playing at a table right behind him. I couldn't help but wonder how much the boob job had cost him. There was no way those were real. And then there was the grumpy guy. This old coot that the regulars knew and didn't like. He was like clockwork. Played really tight and always complaining.

In fact the whole table played rather tight. I stepped into the big blind and played right away. On the second hand, I had 9 9 in the small blind and raised it up. Pisser in the big blind called as did one other. Flop came K J 6. I bet out to show strength and see where I stood. They all called. Hmm. A 9 came on the turn. I bet out again and only the pisser called. River was a rag. I bet again and this time he raised. I just called and he showed the Q 10 for the straight. Ugh!

Next hand, I limp in with K 10. I hit top pair when a K hits the flop. I bet out and the piss guy calls again. I bet again on the turn and river. He calls each time showing K Q. Down over a hundred in just 15 minutes. Not a good start. I would fold a lot of hands for a while.

But I fought my way back. I caught a pair of cowboys and got paid off by two people that missed their straights. Next hand I catch A Q and raise it up. I keep firing away to take down an OK pot on the turn when the last one folded.

Unfortunately, some of the locals were beginning to leave. These were the guys who were playing too loose or tight and were predictable. I was able to get a good portion of my chips back because of the way they played. So now we had some new guys coming in. One young guy took the pissers spot. I then broke poker etiquette on him. I limped from late position with A 9 suited and hit my set on the river. Flop came K 9 4 two of my suit. He bet out and I called. Turn was meaningless. He bet and I called again. I hit the last 9 on the river. He bet and I raised. He called and asked me to show the 9. I showed the A. He didn't like that and mentioned how I shouldn't slow roll him. He was right. It wasn't a crap move on my part. I even apologized as it was uncalled for. You should never slow roll someone. They soon broke out table up as others left and we were down to 5. That sucked as some younger guys were now playing and there was some action at the table. While I waited to get moved, I talked to the guy that I had slow rolled. He was from New York and was telling me about some of the underground card rooms they have there. I asked if they were legal or not and he explained that they pretty much were. Don't know for sure but I had no reason to doubt him.

After a couple of minutes they moved me to a new table. I sat down in the 4 seat there as well. Table was flowing pretty good. When I sat down, the guy on my right looked familiar. I was trying to place where I had seen him before. I started talking with the Canadian two spots to my right when the guy in the middle joined in. He mentioned he was from Utah. That is when it hit me. I had played at the Mirage with this guy just over a year ago. I remember some guy from Utah kicking my ass on every hand I played against him. No matter what I had, he always had something just better. He was my arch enemy that night. I am certain this was the same guy. He was pretty toasted. I should know because I was a couple sheets to the wind myself. The table was also on the tight side. Hardly anyone raising and a lot of folding before the flop. I didn't play many hands here. I took down some small pots with bets on the flop. I do recall one interesting hand. I had something like 6 4 in the small blind. 5 players saw a flop that came down with rags. It checked around. Turn was a 4. It checked around again. River was a 9. Once again, it check around to Utah. He was going to buy the pot from the button. I started talking to him, saying he didn't want to ruin the fun. Why bet now? He decided to check and showed A high. My pair of 4s took down the pot. I was laughing as I scooped about 25 bucks. If he had bet, I would have folded. Not much happened from here. I left around 1 in the morning after I had a couple more beers. I was happy to cash out with a modest $40 profit. Not bad after a brutal start.

Stay tuned for Day 3 and how I titled early in a tournament but then hit it nicely at the Bellagio.

Monday, December 20, 2004

Vegas...Day 1, Lots of crappy play

It was nice to get back to Vegas. You can play poker just about anywhere, but playing in Vegas is the best. The energy of the city surges through you body as you make the bet and take down a pot. Plus, you have so many choices now as to where to play, and for what limits. You can wait for an hour or hop right onto a table. If things are going good, walk out of one casino and check out the competition at the next. It is great.

So I started out by heading to the Bellagio. Part of me wanted to play but the biggest reason to go was to see out the hoopla about the World Poker Tour Five Diamonds Event. It was something to see. All these extra tables outside the poker room, chips being tosses about by the pros as people 3 and 4 deep watch all the action. It was a geek out moment as you saw the guys you watch on TV just casually walking about. This is their place so it makes sense. I found it funny how people were trying to watch the action from just beyond the ropes. Stranger was the table that just had Chris Ferguson, was the one that had the most people. Especially when one table over was Phil Ivey, Doyle Brunson, and Andy Bloch. Daniel Negreanu was one table over from them and was chatting with Brunson in between some hands. I watched this for a bit before leaving. There was a huge list for the 4/8 game so I decided to head over to Monte Carlo.

They started a new 4/8 game at Monte Carlo just as I arrived. I like this poker room as the play is usually good, but they also have the bonus payouts for good hands (quads, straight flushes and royals). But I had forgotten one thing that I didn't like. The half blinds. Instead of blinds being 2/4, they are only 1/2, thus inviting more players into a pot. Add that to the bonus hands and people will play any connected, any suited and of course, any connected suiters. It is a cheap price to call so why not, especially if you might hit a bonus hand.

There were some really loose players at this table too. There were the two Middle Eastern guys to my left, the fat lady to my right. The old regular two spots to the right. An old guy who was going to play every hand no matter what. A lady who wouldn't shut up about getting a no limit game going and the old guy's wife. I was the youngest person at the table. I noticed the loose play right away and couldn't wait to get a hand. It took a long time for me to finally get to play a good starting hand. I had tried to limp on a couple of hands and play my blinds but nothing good was coming my way until I went on a bit of a rush. Was dealt 9 9. I raised it up to build the pot because I knew at least 6 people would see the flop. Sure enough, they all limp on in. I flopped the set and easily took down a good sized pot. Next hand, I get a pair of deuces that became a set on the flop. This time, I wasn't paid off as they all folded on the river. The kill button was slid my way and I raised it up with A Q clubs. This time, they all folded around. Did I suddenly have a rep at this table?

There was one big hand that turned quite interesting for me. In mid position, I was dealt 9 9, both black cards. Of course, 7 people see the flop, K Q J, all spades. Now I am going to the gutshot straight, flush and straight flush. The old guy bets out. Everyone folded around to me. With a ton of outs, I call. Turn is the 10 of spades. I now have hit my straight flush. Old guy bets out. However, I am screwed. This guy has played any A ever since the table started. Does he have the ace of spades? I just call. In hindsight, I should have raised for information, but I only called figuring he had the A. River is a blank. He bets out and I call it down. He has an A, but it is diamonds. My straight flush held up. But because I only had one of the cards in the hole, there is no bonus payout. Oh well. I still think it sucked that I get a straight flush but couldn't really capitalize on it. I should have bet it on the turn to see where I stood. Hell, it was only another 8 bucks.

I only played one major hand after that. Limped with K Q. Flop came K Q 3. Two players paid off my two pair. Funny part was the look of total disbelief as I kept betting out and they called. It was like I had a royal flush with the way they reacted.

The play at the table was pretty wild in the pots I wasn't involved in. As I said before, people were playing a lot of crappy hands in attempts to get bonuses and well, because they were stupid. There were a couple of suckouts, like when the fat lady next to me filled her flush on the river and showed K 2 suited. I saw that coming from a mile away. The old guy who was playing any ace hit a couple of times when he had nothing until an A hit the river. As loose as this game was, I had gone cold and was getting tired of it.

It was now about 4:30. I had been playing there for roughly an hour when I decided to head down to Mandalay Bay to see if I could get in the 6pm tournaement. I walked on down and got one of the last 3 seats. Had some dinner before the game got going.

They start with only 30 players for the Mandalay tourneys. You get 500 in chips and the blinds go up every 20 minutes. They are designed to be done within 2 hours or so. It was an interesting group of people playing. A couple of young guys who looked like they never played in a casino, much less have been playing poker for very long were spread out amongst the tables. The two at my table were playing extremely tight. To my left was some dude in a jogging suit wearing sunglasses. Next over was Southern Miss. He was watching the college playing North Texas as we played cards. Every 10 minutes he reminded us that was his team. Both of these guys were rather tight. There was one guy who was out in 10 minutes that just plained sucked. The Kentuckey guy on the far end seemed to be rather stupid and he would overbet the pot with any pair. There was the dirty guy on my right that kept flashing his cards. Funny. He would get the first card and peel it up to take a peek. But then he would pick it up off the table and get a look at the whole card, like the other half may be something else. Then he would do the same thing with the second card. I was given a full view each and every time. Way I see it, if he is going to show me the cards, I will let him. And finally, there was the worst player ever from the country of Mexico (he was speaking Spanish with another guy later on). He was terrible, calling bets with nothing. Calling bets with absolutely nothing. Again and again. Of course, he got lucky on a number of these hands, hitting miracle cards on the river and knocked a couple of guys out.

I took down a small pot early from Worst Player in Mexico when I saw a flop from the big blind with Q J. Flop came Q high. I bet it out on each street just to see WPM show A high. Huh? He did this a couple of times. On one hand, he pissed So Miss off when he busted A K with a set of deuces on the river. He called So Miss all in bet with bottom pair and pulled it out. Unbelievable. Didn't matter because So Miss wasn't that good anyway.

The dirty guy kept showing me his hands. There was only one hand I didn't see. The first card he got was a K. The second card he took a peek at and quickly slammed the first card down on it. Right away I knew he had cowboys. Early position raised and he went over the top and all in. He got called by QQ and doubled up. Right away he starts folding hands left and right, saying he is going to sit on his lead, that he doesn't need to play for a while. He threw away some playable hands too. I didn't catch many hands after that. I was moved to a new table when we were down to about 24.

At the new table, the chick on my right had a huge stack. Apparently she was knocking people out left and right. Otherwise, the stacks at this table were all rather small. I would make a nice move just a couple of hands in. They consolidated us to 2 tables. One of the young tight players was shifted to the button. I was under the gun and raised up to 150 (blinds were 25 50) with black A A. Everyone folded around to the young guy who went all in. The blinds folded and I quickly called. His 7 7 received no help and I knocked him out. Next hand, I get red A A. I raise it up to 150 and get just So Miss to call. Flop came K high but with two hearts. I push to make it an expensive draw. He thinks and folds. He had a flush draw with bottom pair. I am sitting comfortable now at around 1700. Meanwhile, the chick to my left is slaughtering everyone. She takes out So Miss- who happens to be her husband and taught he tournament strategy over lunch. She takes out sweatsuit next. Then she finally obiterates the Worst Player from Mexico. By now, the majority of the table is playing scared. I recognize this and start to steal blinds. I am able to do this with any A or two face cards with some success, taking the blinds at least once per round. The slick haired guy on my right is also playing scared folding his small blind to me every so often. When he does call, I bet the flop to take the pot uncontested. I keep doing this until I run into the a flop with the chick. I raise preflop with a ragged A and she calls. I bet the flop, J high, and she calls. Uh oh. I check the turn and now she bets. I run. That didn't work, but I only give a few chips up.

The slick haired guy takes a big blow when he loses a sizable pot to the old guy next to him who keeps going all in on the small blind. His A K loses to 4 4. Next hand, he goes all in with his remaining 900. I have 1300 at this point and look down to see 9 9. This hand has served me well today so I think about it. I think he may be on tilt as he kinda sang "all in" when he pushed. I call. He shows A A. Oops! Wow, what a bad call. There was only about 12 people left. With 5 getting paid, I should have avoided a confrontation. Instead I go from being mid stacked to short stacked.

They soon got us to the final table. Blinds are now 100/200 with a 25 ante. I am in trouble and need to make a move. When the big blind comes around, I go all in blind. With only a 50 call, the guy who limped calls and show 8 9. A 4 hits the flop and I double up. But the ante begin to bleed me. No cards are coming I go out with 6 9 in the big blind. Big lick does nothing and I was done in 9th. That sucked. I played pretty good I thought but made one big mistake.

It didn't help to go over to Luxor and drop a couple hundred on a cold craps table. Having done that, I get a beer and head back up the strip to Harrahs where I was staying. Out of curiousity I check out there newly opened poker room. It is spacious but there are only 3 games going. There are openings on the 4/8 and the NL game. I decide to try playing no limit. I buy in for $100 (max buy in is $120). I sit down to a full table. There are a couple of big stacks, with about $200 or so but otherwise they are around $100. I get K Q on a early hand and limp on in. Flop comes K 10 4. I bet the pot and get re-raised up to $50 by a guy who looks like he just left his trailer park. Pot is only like 10 bucks and this guy raises a huge amount. Without having a real read on him, I call. Turn is a rag. I check. He checks. River is a rag. Checks around and I see he missed his straight. Interesting. Mental note is made on trailer park. Trailer park does this a couple of more times. Then the Pitt Panther next to him starts doing the same. He limped in on one hand. I have A K diamonds and raise it to 10. Pitt raises it up to 40. Huh? I call to see a flop. Flop totally misses me. He acts first and goes all in. I have no choice but to fold. I would have liked to have seen what he had but the price was too high.

There were some nice guys at the table. The older guy on my left was from England and was telling me about the card rooms in Amsterdam. How they are pretty good and he does well there. You just need to know which ones to go to. Some are rather shady. He hit quads in a hand and said he had two pair, nine and nines with an ace kicker. He had been waiting to use that line. Next to him was a guy who was bouncing around from hotel to hotel and supposedly had a flight leaving just before 1 am. He was drinking Cherry Cokes with two cherryies. On my right was a guy from Chicago who was playing tighter than tight but claimed he wasn't getting any cards. On the other side of the dealer was a dude who looked like he either got in a hell of a fight and had taken the bad end of it, or was a drag queen with a night off. Something about him looked weird, very weird. But he seemed to be a nice guy. Or is that girl?
Two young kids were in the middle. One had a Baskin Robbins poker chip. He said he was dying to play A 3 because of the chip. Cherry Coke says he needs to play it just to he could shout "Baskin Robbins!!!" and slam the cards down on the table! We all get a good laugh from that one.

The play at the table is rather choppy. Trailer park and Pitt are bullying the table. Every time trailer park played a hand, he would make a bet of 2 to 3 times the pot, forcing people out. I was praying for a hand to take him on with. It never came. He was taken out by Cherry Coke about a half hour later. Cherry Coke pushed all in preflop because trailer was leaving. TP called the bet with his $160. Turned over J J to Cherry Coke's A K. A hit the flop and it was done. Trailer was busted out.

My chip total kept floating between 50 and 100. I wasn't catching many cards and wasn't able to pull down any real pots. New cranky guy came into my left and ended my game. I limped with Q 10 from the small blind. Flop came Q 9 8. I bet out a pot sized bet and he called. Turn was another 8. I bet out 20 and he raised me another 20. I re-raised back for only 6 more. He showed 8 4 and won with his set of 8s. I wasn't having much fun at this time and knew I should have left before this. I just wanted to get back above my buy in but that sure didn't happen.

Stay tuned for day 2. Getting drunk playing Pai Gow and then deciding to hit the Mirage.

Saturday, December 18, 2004

Vegas Baby!!!

Just spent 4 glorious days in Vegas. It is always sad to leave that jewel in the desert, but alas, it must be done. Played at Monte Carlo, Mandalay Bay, Bellagio, Harrahs, the Mirage and Aladdin. It was a profitable poker trip. But with the cash lost at the blackjack, Pai Gow, and craps tables, it was an overall profit. But I believe I made up for it with all the beer and Makers Mark that ended up in my belly. Look for the tale to unfold over the next couple days, as I give you a day by day blow of what happened. How one bad call sunk me in a tournament, a ring game where I was up over $125 in the first 5 hands, a no limit ring game I shouldn't have been in, a tourney that ticked me off knocking me out in 20 minutes against some real knuckleheads, and the pissant game I played with the most annoying fuck at the next table.

Friday, December 10, 2004

Badger Poker...Fade to Black

They jammed us into Stenys on Thursday night. Supposedly there were 120 of us starting. Maybe I could go out on top for what might be my last Badger Poker event. I caught a table with a couple of familiar faces. Tigers hat on my right, just where I want him. To my left was Harley dude. Meek Packer fan was there. Also the weasely looking guy who liked to grab mucked cards was on the far side. A grumpy, man hating Jeanine Garafalo look-a-like was next to the weasel. Schlitz hat was in the middle. A greasy hair guy was two to my left. Some new guy who doesn't understand being pot committed was on the other side along with some other dude.

Seeing that this was my last event for the year (if I even make the finals, I don't think I can attend), I was really tempted to go all in on the first hand- BLIND. I thought it could make a good story as I push all in, and have someone ask if I even looked at my cards. There is a strong chance that everyone would fold anyways. But the flip side is I didn't want to be known as the dumbass who went all in and showed J 3 off. In hindsight, it was probably one of the strongest moves I could have. I caught shit for cards all night. I am not kidding. My 4 best starting hands were 6,6 (didn't play as someone moved all in in front of me), 5 5 (which I raised and had to fold to a re-raise after the flop came with overcards), K Q suited (which no one called the preflop raise) and K 10 off (which spiked me a straight on the river). That was it. Yeah, there was an A 9 or A 7 in there but they weren't playable.

Play was slow to start as well, plus was very strange. After about 15 minutes, the raises got more aggressive and people were calling. The new dude dumped a lot of chips out to the lesbianish Garafalo. He raised pre flop 3000. Blinds are only 100/200 and he jacked it up to 3200. Weirder still, he got 2 callers. Flop came with 2 spades. He bet out another 3000. Only Garafalo called. Turn was a spade. Garafalo bet out 2000. He thought about it and folded. He only had about 2400 left. There was over 14000 in that pot. How do you not call? You are pot committed, let alone you fucked up by not pushing on the flop. Garafalo then showed 10 4 of spades. She called a bet of 3000 with 10 4 suited????? WTF???

The blinds went by once and had played only them. I think I got 4 2 off a dozen times last night. My only good play of the first hour was catched A 2 in the big blind. There were 4 limpers in at 400. Flop came A 7 7. I bet out the pot to see who else had an ace. Only the new dude called. Turn was an A. Figuring he had the last A, I pushed all in. He mucked. So I tossed the 2 out on the board. His response was to laugh and call me a bastard. Nice.

I played one other hand just after the break. With about 12000 in chips, I tried to raise it with 5 5 but Schlitz called me. He checked on the flop so I bet it out. He re-raised me so I felt I had to fold. He could have been just on a flush draw, but with 3 overcards, it wasn't worth finding out.

They broke the table up and I was sent to a table where some rasta looking dude had a huge stack going. I was familiar with half the players here. With only 8000 or so chips left, I knew I had to double up soon. And with the prime selection of hands I was getting, and the blinds coming right into me, I knew I would get much time. In the big blind, I took the free flop with Q 6. Flop came J 10 6. I pushed just hoping the small blind hadn't caught any piece of it. He folded but showed K 6. Whew! I would push again about 10 hands later. With K 10 and in late position, the rasta dude limped as did I and the blinds. Flop came Q J 5. With the open end draw and an overcard, I decided now was as good a time as any to make a move. I pushed. Only rasta called. He showed Q 9. Turn was a rag, but the river a 9 for the straight. I doubled up to 12800.

But blinds were now 2000/4000 and I had little room to work. Blinds came around and bled me. Then I tried to limp in with K J and got no part of the flop. When blinds came around again, I had to push 7 8 off. Guy flopped a set of deuces and I was done. Finished somewhere in the 30s.

That is how I will go out. The fun that was there in the first season and beginning of the second seems to be gone. Too many new players that really have no clue what they are doing. They take too much time, sitting around talking too much. The rooms are too smokey. And there are some guys that take this way too seriously. It is a free tournament. People are getting pissed off about bad beats. They are acting like the little crying babies on TV. Get some class. I do give credit to Jason and Wes. They do a good job listening to the players, trying to make things better. Great job guys. Maybe I will be back some day. Maybe next year. Who knows.

Bagman's words of wisdom- There were a couple of good ones yesterday, including one by Bagman himself. He went out early (to AK Slowplay, I believe). He was mad because someone at his table went on a rush and won 4 hands in a row. The player was raising pre-flop every time and not necessarily with the best hand. Bagman was pissed that his A K got beat by 10 10 when the guy hit the set on the flop. HA!
Garafalo (man did I hate looking at that frumpy face for an hour) had a good one where she grabbed the wrong card that was dealt. She took the guy's card to her left instead of passing it along. I was the dealer and asked if she looked at it. She said yes. I told her it wasn't her card and she had to give it back because it was now a misdeal. She didn't want to give it back. It took two other people 30 seconds to explain to her she couldn't keep the card (K clubs). Not shocking for someone who was playing any two suited card no matter what the bet.
And finally there was the bitch of the night. At my last table, a lady was coming in on a table change. She was sitting down right in front of the blinds, thus making her big blind on the next hand. She commented that she will wait for the blinds to pass before she plays. She will go to the bathroom and be right back. I corrected her and told her she would be big blind next hand. She argued that no, she will wait. No, you can't wait. So she huffed and left the table, searching for a spot to sit where she wouldn't be hit by the blinds. What a bitch! I don't know why she bothered and she was short stacked to begin with and would probably finish somewhere in the 20s and not get anything. I probably should have let her sit down, go to the bathroom, and posted the blind for her. That would have been fun to see her come back, see that she posted and have a fit.

No wonder I may not play here again.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Badger Poker...Just like Party Poker- Bad players suckout

It was one of those nights. My game wasn't too good. My attention span was small. And the cards coming my way stunk. At first, I was determined to ride it out, hit a good spot, and double up. But when an ignoramus is getting lucky, the window of opportunity closes. That is what it felt like at the HAND on Tuesday. The table had little action to begin with. And it wasn't like there wasn't some action players, or idiots, starting at this table. Dots was on my left (he brought a big box of Dots to the table; about the size you get at the movies), a good player that I would try to avoid or go against with killer cards. To my left was the Badger Rock, old man I have seen a couple times that plays only the big cards. Internet girl and her hubby were at the table. A mouthbreather (I don't think he ever closed his mouth while at the table). Broncos fan must have been a virgin as he was very hesitant at times and his hands were shaking. A guy who looked like Jason Lee, the actor who has been in the Kevin Smith movies, was two spots to my right. Son of Cheater was drinking like they stopped making beer. Addidas jogging suit was on the far end to round out the table.

As mentioned, there was very little action to get the table going. A couple of hands in, I raised it up 1000 from the big blind and had everyone fold to my A J. I figured someone would go for the ride but no one did. Over the next 20 minutes, I would do nothing but fold. My attention span wasn't too bad at this time as I kept an eye on Addidas and Mouth breather. Broncos fan was a bad player. I already knew Son of Cheater was terrible. Jason Lee look-a-like though was collecting some chips with some aggressive play. I watched as the Mouth breather sucked out a good pot on Broncos fan. He stayed calling bets just to catch his K on the river for top pair? He would do the same to the Badger Rock. Problem was, they were not betting enough to keep him from calling. So when I got into it with him, I was going to make him pay. I limped in with A 8 diamonds. 5 players saw a flop come A 9 7, two clubs. I bet out 800, about half the pot. Only the mouth breather called. Hmmm. Turn was a blank. I now bet out 2000. He called. Ok, he is drawing for the flush. River was an A of spades. I bet 3k and he folded. I took down a good pot there. At the end of the first break, I was sitting with 12k. Not much, but an improvement.

The second session wasn't kind to me, but mostly because I was getting bored and aggressive. We had lost Internet Girl. Son of Cheater was short stacked and playing stupidly, of course. With about 4100 left, he went all in blind and won the pot when he spiked a 4 on the river for a pair. He was playing bad hands and sucking out on the river to win. Meanwhile, me and Dots are watching this and laughing at what is happening. Dots takes down a good pot when he pushes all in with his favorite hand J 10. He gets two callers for roughly 4k. He showed it to me before the flop came down- K Q 8. Turn is an A, river a blank. Before anyone shows their cards, I start pushing the pot to him as soon as he through the cards down because he had the nuts, and they surely had nothing. He liked that move.

I took on Addidas in a poor manner. I raised it up 1000 from mid position with K 10 suited. Flop came with rags. Addidas bet it out. I raised to 2500 to see where I might be. Didn't really like it when he called. Turn was an A. He now bet 3000. I mucked.

Didn't do too much until the end. The action at the table picked up a bit but cards weren't coming my way. With 4100 left, I looked down to see A J off. Blinds were going up to 1000/2000 after the break so I was going to be in trouble. I pushed all in from UTG+1. A new guy quickly called. Son of Cheater went over the top with 12500. Huh? Dots, who had just called the blinds, called as well. I thought I was in big trouble at that point. I pushed, there is one caller, one re-raise and a caller of the re-raise. Someone had to have a big pair.


The first caller had Q 9 suited. Son of Cheater had K J off. Dots had J J. How do you go over the top with K J? It is debatable whether he should even call, with 4 people behind his yet to act. But, if I am complaining about this, you know what is going to happen.

Flop comes 6 8 7, two clubs. Turn is the A of clubs. Suddenly, I am in the lead with a chance to quad up. River is the 8 of clubs giving the worst player at the table the runner runner flush. UGH!

I hate it when bad players get rewarded for bad play. A comment was even made that the table was playing like Party Poker a couple hands prior to this. No wonder this numbskull called.

Bagman's words of wisdom- Internet Girl's Hubby provided the stupid debate of the night. At one point, he couldn't distinguish the difference between a bet and a raise, insisting it was either the same thing, or the amount was incorrect. One time, with blinds 300/600, Bronco fan bet 1000 on the flop. First player checked, he bet 1000, and the button acted. IGH started to insist he had to bet 1200. No, he didn't. His bet was fine. It was the initial act after the flop. His minimum was 600 to bet, he bet 1000. No problem. But IGH argued and called the boss over. He then misrepresents what happened by calling it a raise. No bet was made, thus it cannot be a raise. Funny part was that he went on tilt here, started putting all his chips in like a crybaby, and went home because he couldn't admit he was wrong. If you don't know the rules, don't play the game.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Badger Poker...ADD

Attention Deficit Disorder.

That is what I had. Maybe I should I have stayed home to watch the Cowboys game. That was more fruitful than playing cards. It wasn’t that it was a tough table. It wasn’t that I wasn’t getting my fair share of starting hands. It was paying attention. You cannot play good poker if you are not paying attention to the many things happening at the table.

The starting table was different this time around. I only knew a couple of the players. Frito Lay was on my left. A meek guy was two over. Towel man was two to my right. A timid girl on my immediate right. Bullfrog was in the middle of the table. Guy wore glasses, was rather heavy set and looked like a bullfrog. A tight old man was on the far end by Blue. Happy hour (guy claims he was very drunk and looked like he just got out of work) and a guy with a thick neck round out the table.

The table was rather tight to begin with. Towel guy must have noticed because he tried to take over the table quickly. Towel guy can be tricky. He will raise with any two cards when he has some chips. And he isn’t afraid to keep firing away. I knew I could trap him in the right situation. If I found myself in a hand with him, I was going to play aggressively. First hand I played was with the timid girl. She had called UTG when I raised it up to 800 with A J suited. Flop came J high and I fired a pot size bet to take it down. I would play a couple more hands with just her in them. I would fire with nothing knowing that she was easily driven away. Likewise, when she raised preflop, you knew she was holding a monster.

I took down a couple of pots during the first round but never built much of a lead. Frito Lay lived up to his name pushing chips out with recless abandon. Blue played rather aggressively. The tight old man hardly played at all. Worse part was everyone’s willingness to try and slow play big cards. This is beginning to piss me off. At one point I raised the pot up with A J. Two callers, Towel guy and Happy Hour. Flop came 8 J K. They both checked. I found myself with a tough decision. I knew someone had the K. I felt that someone was slowplaying this hand, setting the trap. I was about to check but decided to fire out 2500. Sure enough, Happy Hour pushes all in. I mumbled about someone slowplaying their kings. Happy Hour showed pocket jacks. I tangled with Towel guy one other time. I defended my blind (A 5) against his button raise. Flop came K 5 6. I bet it out to try and take control. He raised back. Turn was another 6. I placed his on a pocket pair better than the fives I held and folded to his bet. Towel guy tried to slow play his aces on one hand against Happy Hour. He checked (stupid move) from the big blind to see a flop of 3 5 6. Happy hour went all in and showed K 6. A 6 hit on the turn to give him the set and crack the aces.

I only won two more pots after that. I raised with K J and bet the pot on the flop with a pair of jacks to take down 4 bets. Next hand I played off the button with 7 4 clubs to see a flop with 4 players. Flop came 5 6 9 with the 5&6 being clubs. I bet the pot again and took it down.

But the game was now on and I was having a hard time paying attention to the poker game. There must have been a couple of times where I held up the game because I was watching football. Now I was trying to decide whether I wanted to play cards or watch football. Blinds were going up and I was basically treading water. So when I saw A Q I knew I would push. Plus, the guy to my right was hesitating. He originally was going to call, then decided to raise to 4000. I pushed my 8100 in. Problem was the guy on my left went over the top of me. It folded around and the original raisor folded. My A Q was up against A K. Not good. Flop came K J 9. Now I could only get runner runner queens or a 10. Needless to say I wasn't getting any help and was watching the football game.

I should have stayed home and watched the Cowboys. They ended up winning a wild one. Wish I could have said the same thing for me.

Bagman's words of wisdom- I haven't seen the Bagman in a long time. But their is still enough stupid comments being made. One from last night wasn't that bad but still was stupid. Someone pushed all in and was called by Happy Hour. HH had K K and the other player had Q Q. The Qs said it was a coin flip. No, not even close. The kings are going to win this hand 81% of the time, hardly a coin flip.

Friday, December 03, 2004

Online poker is rigged!

Nothing to write about today as I was at a company party last night. The Hold Em tourney there was atrocious and not even worthy of a write up. I came in second and forgot my prize at the bar. Oh well.

Instead you must see this. Too funny!
Online poker is rigged!

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Badger Poker...Runner Runner

The snow came down on the last day of November. The downtown area was packed and parking limited as every headed down to play poker at the HAND. Ok, maybe they were really going to the Bucks game and had no clue about Badger Poker but it may be just a matter of time. I started the night at BW3s, eating wings for only 35 cents. I discovered the Blue Moon may be the perfect beer to compliment wings. At the very least it was the fuel to get me going in poker.

The table started with some of the usual cast of characters. Granny was to my left. To her left was tweed jacket, an aggressive guy I had encountered a couple of times before. To my right was T and a wide eyed dude next to him. Frito Lay and Doo rag started there as well. Kool from Kool and the Gang was to Frito's right. He had the 70s big hat on which was cool. A guy who just looked like he was scared all the time was on the far end. And finally the really drunk guy who showed his cards all the time was there but he was sober. He was cool because at first he thought no one at this table knew he was that drunk guy. But then I recognized him and he took a good ribbing. He didn't last long but he was cool while he was there.

Having had some good beer in my belly, I was loose and ready to go. Starting in the small blind, I let the first hand go on the flop. Two hands later, after noticing that no one was really playing, I decided to see how tight this table might be. When it folded around to me on the button, I raised it to 800 with 8 6 off. They both folded. Funny part was the big blind talking about stealing his 200 blind. That was not going to be the first time I did this. I looked forward to taking advantage of this table. With Granny on my left I knew I could push her. Now it appeared I could push tweed jacket as well. A couple of hands later, I get K J and raise it up. They all fold. Once in the big blind, 4 players saw the flop. After they checked around to the river, I bet the pot to take it down uncontested with J high. That is how tight this table was playing. I chipped up quite nicely in comparison to the rest of the table. T on my right was taking the wide eyed dude's chips and I was avoiding any real confrontation with him. The scared guy had collected some chips as well. The rest weren't really playing much.

Through out the second session I continued to use my chips well. Getting in pots with some good cards and betting on the weak players. Only major problem was that I wasn't getting any real progress compared to other tables. Whereas 15000 might be good at my table, that couldn't be good compared to other stacks. But I worked it as best as I could. Part of the reason I was able to do well was that I avoided showdowns. I don't think I had to show my cards too many times. I even had some good laydowns. One time, Frito Lay moved all in from his big blind on 4 limpers. I was one of the limpers, with A 9 off. I was tempted to call. I was sure he didn't have A A or K K. He had made only one move in the first session. I put him on Q Q, maybe J J or 10 10. I folded as did the rest. Once every had mucked, I told him his Q Q was good. He then showed them. I like my read.

They moved some new players to the table. One tough player I had lost to at Gametime, moved in. I dumped some chips to him playing 10 10 when a flop came A K 10, forcing me to fold on his re-raise. One annoying dude sat down and started yapping away. Thankfully I took him out only a number of hands in. I caught pocket rockets in late position. The Yapper had limped in. I raised it to 5000. The blinds folded and he called. Flop came K high. With a pot of over 10k, I was going to bet another 5000. Having just over 10k left, going all in seemed even better. I moved it in and he said something like "You don't have it". He called quickly with K J. No jack and he was done. I couldn't believe he came in and called pre flop with K J at a new table. He probably thought he hit the jackpot on the flop too.

With a number of short stacks now at the table, I quickly scanned to see who had chips and how many. The crapshoot was about to begin as slowly each one started to go all in. The Asian down at the end moved in with his last 5000. It folded to the small blind, T, on my right. He called. I looked down in the big blind and saw the Hilton Sisters. I called as well as my prior experiences with T gave me the impression that he possibly had A K. Flop came J 10 10, two diamonds. He checked as did I. Turn was a 6. I felt I had the better hand at this point and bet 5000. He quickly raised all in. Interesting. Feeling I had the better had still, I called. He barely had me covered as he turned over J 6. He hadn't planned on me calling and got lucky hitting his two pair. Mine were higher though. Until the 6 hit the river giving him the full house. Just like that I was done. Runner runner sent me home. To say that sucked is a total understatement. There was just less than 30 left and I would have been in a good spot with over 40k in chips. Even worse was the Asian guy turned over J 10 for a higher boat. He had 3 cards he could hit to beat me and caught one of them. Ugh!

I left the HAND slightly disappointed, but still feeling good. Over the last 3 days I have played some good poker. Yeah, it sucks to have two bad beats knock you out but you can only hope to get your money in with the best hand. On each of the bad beats I did just that. Next time, I will be the one drawing out to a win.

Bagman's words of wisdom- Today's words of wisdom come from the yapping guy. One of the stupider things he said when he sat down was about parking. He inferred he parked illegally somewhere and didn't care if he got a parking ticket. To him it made no difference if he paid the city or paid someone to park in a lot. Fifteen dollars didn't matter. Ok numbnuts. What are you going to do when they tow your car? He said they wouldn't tow his car. I asked why wouldn't they? You park illegally and they will tow the car and it costs you more to retrieve it. Of course, his clever response was that they could go ahead and tow the car. He doesn't care. What a dipshit!

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Badger Poker...Playing the small crowd

Monday night football knocked out most of the crowd on Monday. It was off to the Bay View Bowl to play some cards on Monday, with only 42 people starting. With the Packers playing, we lost roughly 30 people. It would make for a fun crowd that was playing, and a lot less smoke.

Going through the second season, there are fewer and fewer new faces around. The starting tables are filled with people I have played against before. This night wasn't any different as Tigers hat sat to my left once again (this would make 4 consecutive nights of starting against him) and his wife were there. AK Slowplay, PBR, the Black Widow, and Grape Soda were there. The whiny guy's brother was there. He is a funny loud guy when he is winning. Quite quiet when he is not. Tighter than tight was there. This older guy didn't play a single hand that wasn't a blind for like 2 hours. The last at the table was Leather Face. First impression I had of him was how Kramer looks after he started smoking on Seinfeld. His face looked dark and rough like a catchers mitt. Too many Marlboros for him. And after we had gotten started, Wes added GI Joe to our table. This guy looked like the old GI Joe doll. No, not the action figure, I am talking the doll that had the short fuzzy hair and beard. All this guy needed was dog tags. This first table was quite fun as people were cracking jokes and having a good time.

GI Joe would also set the pace. He joined us after the second hand. On his second hand, he caught A A and slow played them taking in a decent pot. Within a hand or two, Funny loud guy does the same thing. Slow plays the aces. So what do I do with the next hand? Act like I have aces. I bet out with K J from UTG, raising it 500. I announce that I don't slow play my aces. There seems to be 5 callers. Anyway, the flop comes 9 10 x, rainbow. I bet out 1500. Leatherface calls. Turn is a Q. Having made my straight, I bet out 2500. He calls quickly. River is an A. Having the nuts, I push. There is a good pot there and even if he doesn't call, I take down some chips. He called, though never showed and I double up.

Next hand I avoid a trap. From the big blind, it comes around to me with 3 callers, including Leatherface who is all in for his last 1000. I raised it to 2000 with Q Q. Tigers hat's wife re-raises me. Ouch. I know she has me beat here. But with the raise of only 1700 more, I call to see the flop. It comes A high. I check and fold as soon as she bets. I know she has slow played A A like everyone else has. Sure, enough, she shows the rockets and knocks Leatherface out.

Two hands later I would get my chips back from her though. From mid position I limped in with A 10 clubs. Flop came with 2 clubs, Q high. I bet out 2000 and only Tiger's wife calls. Turn is a club. I check. She comes out firing 2 more. I take my time and give the reluctant call. River is a rag. With the nuts I push. She folds. I believe I made a mistake here. I should have bet out 2500 or so. I could have looked her down and tried to make it look like I was buying the pot. My bet was too big for her. That I should have know. Anyways, I do win a nice amount still and am sitting pretty at the first break.

The second session wouldn't be as kind to me. I gave some chips to Tiger's hat's wife on one pot when she re-raised me again. I limped in and didn't hit the flop on a couple. Then I got involved with AK Slowplay on a hand that that about put me on tilt. I limped in with Q J diamonds. Flop came Q 2 2. I bet out 3000 on the flop. He thought about it and called. Turn was a rag. I bet 4000. He thought about it and pushed all in. Nice bet. I thought about it. My gut was that he was bluffing at it. I was pretty sure my 2 pair was good. I counted out the 7900 it would cost me to call. It would leave me with my original 10k. I thought about what he could have. My two pair, J kicker seemed good. I couldn't see how he would have a two. I was concerned about A Q or K Q. I decided to fold. He then showed A K. Damn, I knew I had him. It was a good bet, one that I had considered making myself but of course didn't. From there, I would win a couple of small pot but never really accumulating many more chips. When they broke us down to 2 tables, I believe I still was hovering around 24k.

The new table had the same faces. The Marine was there with a good stack in front of him. Frito Lay looked to be giving chips to everyone. There was a bald guy who somewhat reminded me of the bass player from Anthrax and his friend to his left with the Badger hat on. Flannel man was on my right. There was a guy who kept buying cans of Lite just so he could get extra chips. GI Joe and Tigers hat were moved there as well. Not much happened for me there. Flannel man went out soon. He re-raised the Marine all in from the blind with A 8 suited. Marine had A Q and it held up. Stupid play. I knew he didn't have anything.

I believe I made only one move here, raising one pot to 15k with Q Q. It bought me the blinds so that wasn't bad. Otherwise, I wasn't catching cards. What a bad time to get cold decked. I may have stolen one more set of blinds but hat was it. They got us to the final table and I was blinded out. Went in blind with my last 20k just to lose to a flopped straight. Thus, my night ended in 6th place. Not bad, but with such a good start, it could have been better.

Bagmans words or wisdom- From AK Slowplay, who may have been a little drunk when he started as he was pretty smiley all night. Perception is key. That became his mantra. I came back though with "Deception is victory". Not bad for making stuff up on the spot.

Monday, November 29, 2004

Bad beat on the bubble

With no football games of interest on the tube, I took a little trip to a hall to play some poker. A friend of a friend had thrown together a small game with a $70 buy in. There were bounties being paid out as well to the tune of $10 with a special mystery bounty at $30. The structure of the tournament wasn't too bad either. You were given a start of 1200 chips. Blinds were starting at 5/10 and moving up every 40 minutes. Thus you would get plenty of time to wait for some cards. And I would need to wait.

There were a few familiar faces there. Tigers hat, his wife and T from Badger Poker fame were in play. There was another guy I had seen play before as well. I drew a table with Tigers hat and T. With only 23 people signed up, we were starting with just 7 players. And what a bunch they were. I had Tigers hat on my left. On my right was Shades. I noticed how the shades came down only when he had a big hand. Otherwise they stayed on top of his head. There was Any Pair, an older guy who was staying in with any pair, no matter how many over cards are on the board. Holey Shirt had an Earnhardt (not quite sure and I didn't need to check it out too closely) shirt on with a hole on his right shoulder. 3 neck was across from me. This guy was big. Big enough that he had 3 rolls of fat for a neck.

I usually don't know what to expect at these events. With a lot of new faces, I like to take it easy at first, but play aggressive with great cards. Problem today was that I wasn't going to get any good cards. I limped in on a couple of pots, played the blinds but nothing was coming my way. I didn't win a hand in the first hour and a half. Not one pot came my way. And when it did, it wasn't that big. That totally sucked because there was some loose play going on. Holey shirt would play any ace or face. Any pair was playing, well, any pair and taking it to the river. 3 neck was rather tight but would bet when he caught the hand, but otherwise had little clue on effective betting (which was good as he allowed me to draw out to many a hand when I had limped). Shades was predictable too. He was one of the few guys who would raise preflop. There was one big pot when Tigers hat raised it to 50 preflop. 3 guys called. On the flop, he bet out 200. They all called. He didn't like that. I thought it didn't make sense. He checked the turn and Holey shirt now bet out 200 which got 2 callers. Tiger hat folded pocket 10s. That was a good move as there was a J and K out on the board. There was another big bet on the river. Holey shirt won the hand with a pair of jacks. Any pair called all of that down with a pair of nines, while 3 neck folded on the river. This was typical of many a hand. Guys calling down with just a pair or maybe A high.

As mentioned already, it was an hour and a half into the game that I won a hand. I limped in with K J. Flop came J high and I bet about 1 1/2 times the pot. Everyone folded and I finally stacked some chips. But that was not a sign of things to come. One of the table was short so they moved me because I was the short stack. Though we could have gone down to 2 tables, he kept 3 going with 6 to 7 players per table. Because I was always short stacked, I was the one who kept moving. I went to a new table and played 3 hands before I was moved again. I was put at a table with Tigers hat, Holey Shirt, Dog man (guy looked like Pedro Martinez but smelled like he wrestled his dog. Also looked like it as there was a lot of dog hair on his shirt), Fubu, and Any Pair. I was down to roughly 800 in chips. Blinds were sitting at 50/100. I tried to limp in with any connectors or suiters but Dog man kept raising it up. He had two buddies behind him that had already busted out. Every time he raised me, it was 3 in a row, I started to complain, hoping that he would show me his cards or give me some info. It worked as I was starting to see what he was raising on. He raised on good hands so I was avoiding some danger. Any pair would get knocked out and we would down to 5. Blinds went up again and with just 525 left and in the big blind, I had to push all in. Fubu, a terrible player, had called. I pushed all in blind. This is a favorite move of mine. I also got them to play the board without me showing the cards. Fubu had called on a pair of 3s. Flop came with an A and K. When all was said and done, I turned over A 2 and had doubled up. Fubu had somehow gotten himself a big stack of chips. I don't know how as he pretty much sucked. I got a read on him early and he was showing people his cards as well. I knew that he was going to raise the pot by only the big blind if he had an A or a small pair. He would raise it more with a big pair. Time and time again he did this.

Having double up, I decided to try and get on a roll. In the small blind, I saw A 8. Dogman is on my left and has about 3 times the amount of my chips. I push all in. His buddies go nuts and he thinks about it. He claims he wants to call but he can't. Turns out he had only a J 3 suited. Now I need to make things count. Two hands later I look down and see 2 red aces staring at me. I push all in. 3 pushes in 4 hands. This is great for table image as they now think a small stack is pushing on anything. Dog man quickly calls. Tiger hat folds. Fubu thinks. This guy isn't very bright to begin with. Case in point is the two-yes two- barbed wire tattoos on his arm. What a dork! He folds as down Holey shirt. Dogman shows Q Q. No help and I double up again to over 2000. Next hand, Dogman goes all in for his last 1000. It folds around to me. I see A Q and call. He has 7 7. A queen comes on the flop and I knock him out. Best yet, I collect the last $10 bounty. Suddenly I have about 3500 in chips which looks to be above average. Before I know it, we are down to 8 players and they set us up for the final table.

The top 6 get paid. I notice that I am probably in 3rd place, maybe 2nd at this point. Fubu looks to be the chip leader. Tigers hat and his wife are on the low end with a quiet guy and T in between. I get the button and deal. A couple hands in, Tigers hat's wife goes out. I had limped in with Q J suited. Holey shirt was in as well. We both checked the flop when it came with rags. Turn was a K and he bet. I didn't like that. Apparently this guy doesn't understand tournament play as the right move in to check it down. That way there are two hands that could possibly knock the all in player out. A Q hit the river and he knocked her out with 2 pair. Next hand, I try to steal blinds from UTG. The table is playing very tight at this point as no one wants to go out on the bubble. I see 6 6 and raise it to 1200 (blinds are now 200/400). Big blind calls. Flop comes A K 2. He checks and I bet 1000. He immediately calls me and flips over his cards. A K. I do not catch a 6 and he doubles up.

On the next hand, I would go out on the bubble. This pissed me off because I am sure I made the right play. You decide. I am in the big blind. Fubu makes his usual raise to 800. It folds to me. I see A K offsuit. I have about 3500 or so. I am not sure what my chip total is but I know Fubu has more. I go all in hoping to take it down right there. I am confident he went in on a ragged ace. He asks me to count out what I have. I start to and he decides he will call. He shows A 7 off. WTF? He called with that? Very bad call. Flop comes 3 5 6. Shit! Right then I knew I was in trouble. The feeling was rising through my bones. I told the dealer not to turn the 4. Turn is a 2. River is the 4 of diamonds. This idiot hits his 3 outer and I am done. I was shocked but then again, I wasn't. It was one of those things I could see coming when the flop hit. I got in with the best hand, made a good read on this clown and received a bad beat. I don't know if I should have played it any differently. If I had just called pre flop, I would have bet the flop with the 2 high overcards. I am pretty sure he would not have folded. The only thing I could see was calling to see a flop and then folding just so I could survive into the money. But the aggressive play was the right move in my opinion. Maybe next time I don't have a moron calling that bet.

Funny thing was that this clown was now in a commanding position. But he would go out in 5th! He gave all his chips away to Tigers hat. I don't know how he messed it up, but then again, he is a very bad player. Don't know who won exactly. I was starving.

Me and B, who had won over $300 in side games, went to Hooters where I collected on my last longer bet. At least I got something out of it. $10 bounty and some wings is a good collection on the day.