Tuesday, June 28, 2005

CPOPS

I haven't played much poker over the last week. When I did, I had some success, some failure, and some really bad suckouts. I did get together with some friends for the CPO Poker Showdown (CPOPS) on Friday night. Though I would take a chip lead early, I would give it all all back and not cash.

Playing bad players shouldn't be that hard. So why is it at times? Sitting down at the table on Friday, I knew I was easily the best player. There were only 6 in, but I was only one who had any real experience and understood what levels to bet. There was other that concerned me but not too much. I could avoid him when necessary. Two others were more of the "I watch the WPT and this looks fun" mentality while another plays Badger Poker regularly and is pretty much a LAG.

I chipped up early in mid position when every limped in. I called along with them with 8 9 suited. When CP raised it up by 40 (blinds 5/10), I decided I would call mainly because the LAG behind me would certainly call if not the other limper. Well, the limper folded, I called and the LAG folded as well. I think my pot odds went right out the window there. But the flop hit me- 9 9 2. Jackpot! I checked and called the bet. The turn was meaningless. I check raised here and then bet the river. CP wasn't too happy about my set of 9s and started in on how I could call there.

With an early chip lead, I then started to bully the table where opportunities presented themselves. I was able to take down some small pots by betting in position. I also bluffed the LAG out of nice sized pot.

Unfortunately for me, when I went for the deathblow on CP, he got lucky on the wrong play. I was in the big blind, when everyone seemed to limp in ahead of me. I look down and see A Q. I count up the pot and then look at CP's stack. He has about 350 or so left. I bet out just above the pot, with the intent of forcing everyone to fold so I can take it down right there. I was also pretty confident I had the best hand. CP not only called but tossed in his last chips. Everyone folded and I tossed in the call. He didn't want to show his hand right away. That was fine with me. Board ended up being K high, but I did pair my queen. He turns over K J to double up. I was kinda pissed off but kept it in. No Hellmuthian blow up. It was a terrible call on his part. He had to realize he was behind and needed to get lucky. Pushing with it to show strength is one thing, calling with a feeble hand is another.

But the hand that would really hurt me was to come a bit later. Two players went out on some really bad play. One calling down an all in bet with a pocket pair of 5s and 4 overcards on the board, while the other didn't fill his straight or flush. I got sucked out on a horrid play. In the big blind, I had 6 7 and was able to check it. Flop came 8 9 10. Sweet! Fearing a J would be in play, I bet the pot. I get one caller. Turn is a Q. Now I feel I am beat. When the guy quickly turns to me and says check, I am 95% sure he has the J. I feel good on picking up the tell, but just am not happy about the turn. I check as well. River is an A. He bets out 200. Now I have to think. The pot has about 800 in there and I am getting 4 to 1. However, I am pretty sure I am beat. If I win, I have a commanding lead. But I am pretty damn sure he has the J, maybe even K J.

This is where I make the mistake. I should have folded. I had the read, I saw the tell, and he bet out on the river. But I called. And lost when he showed J 6. He called on a double belly buster.

Now I was pretty much crippled. Blind were up to 50/100 and I had about 300 left. I tried to some cheap flops from the blinds but didn't catch anything. I finally pushed with K 4 and made two pair but was beaten by K J again.

The only good side was walking away feeling I played better than everyone. But I wanted the cash too. Sometimes you go fishing at a pond with big fish and still never catch one.

So last night, I played a couple of the Maui Jackpot SnGs on Noble Poker. They have bumped the jackpot up to $18,500 if you win 6 straight. I won my first one last night but dumped in the 2nd. I realized why I dumped right away. I was playing too many games at once. With the SnGs, I realize I need to pay attention and be patient. I was neither in the second game.

I actually wish they would bump up the price on the Maui to 10 bucks. The morons that are playing these could pay me more when I win. I watched 5 people go all in on the first orbit, with 2 getting knocked out. Of course, the cocky guy who took the early chip lead went out in 3rd. He was terrible but lucky. Others were chasing him and playing stupid.

So I plan to stop playing ring games for a while and focusing on the Jackpot games. Tournament play is more my style to begin with and have done well in SnGs. With 18k hanging in front of me, I don't see why I don't have a good chance to take it down.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Nothing to see here

Haven't really played much poker since coming back from Vegas. Played a couple of tournaments but with little success. Most ended on bad beats, like the clown calling my 200 raise (up from 40) with Q 5 suited and proceeds to hit his flush to crack my A A.

When I get in the right mindset, I will attack the Maui Jackpot SnGs at Noble Poker. The promotion is to pay off $15,000 for anyone that can win 6 of these $5 SnGs in a row. If you come in 1st or 2nd in 6 straight, they will give you $200. I figure I should be able to at least catch the $200 so will focus on that when I get back into the online mood.

In the meantime, I will do what every other poker blogger is doing and pimp Dr. Pauly's site. The man is working hard in Vegas giving us blow by blow of all WSOP events. Go check him out.
Also, check out the Poker Prof, with his updates on everything poker in Vegas. There you can check out the amazing story unfolding about Charlie that is unfolding. Unfortunately in too many competitions they focus on the assholes. This year, poker players are stepping up, reaching out to someone that loves the game they play that has unfortunately been dealt a bad hand. Jason Spaceman is Charlie's friend who is helping him enjoy life to his fullest. We can all use a friend like Jason.

Go read them. They prove there are much more important things in life than catching Pocket Rockets and winning a tournament.

Edit: Also go read Felicia. I met this highly intelligent woman briefly in Vegas. I was the only one stupid enough to bet into her after she warned me she had the best possible hand. She has gone through her own battle and still makes time to go out of her way to make someone else comfortable. I envy the other bloggers that know Felicia a lot better than I.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Grumpy old men

After winning the afternoon tournament at the Imperial Palace, I grabbed a burger, sat back and relaxed. It was around 5, I believe. I was deciding if I wanted to play in the loose ring game here or go to the center of the poker universe, the Bellagio. I had read that Linda, at Table Tango, was on vacation so I wouldn't be able to re-introduce myself again and talk with her a bit. One thing that did strike me, as you can tell from the title of the post, was the amount of grumpy old men playing not at just the Bellagio, but elsewhere. I see how easily it is for her to get her stories.

I was soon out the door walking down the strip again to the Bellagio, beer in hand. Winning at the Bellagio always makes me feel extra victorious. I don't know why that is. Same kind of players pretty much every where else, but winning there feels better. Maybe it is because you have older people who are more clueless about the game. That just might be it.

I waited about 20 minutes to get into a 4/8 game. Saw the Poker Geek playing and said hello. He was doing good. I waited just outside the room playing a nickel slot to kill time and amuse myself. Of course, just as I try to cash out (is the Bellagio the only casino that still has machines spitting out nickels?), the machine runs out of money. It is only a couple bucks so I abandon the machine to get my seat. I sit down next to an Ipod listening guy with a huge stack. It was a very interesting table. There were a couple of young guys who acted like they knew what they were doing, some older people who may have thought this was like tossing pennies, and some women who kept complaining to themselves about not getting cards.

I was somewhat amazed by the play. I shouldn't be by now, but there are some people I feel like laughing out loud at. I did get into a habit of cackling "Party Poker!" when 8 people would see a flop. I looked at the clown with the Michigan hat, a guy in his late 40s probably, who was taking down some nice size pots by playing those monster hands such as J 5 or 9 3 suited. Twice he caught runner runner for the flush. Both times he would stack his chips with a look of pride on his face like he made a masterful move. The only masterful move he made was leaving while he still had some chips left.

Same couldn't be said about two of the younger guys who had appeared to be doing well. They started chasing like Michigan hat was, but they were losing. One laughed it off while the other kept steaming and walking away. Even Ipod took some beats. He was running the table early, playing aggressive and scaring people off of pots. When the calling stations kicked in and he lost about 4 stacks of profit, he took off.

Ironically, Dmitri the dealer from the Imperial Palace took the seat next to me. He remembered me from earlier in the day. He did seem genuinely pleased that I won the tournament and thought the guy was stupid to not have chopped the winnings better. He didn't play long, but made a bit of money. All the time he did, he talked about how the players at IP do not tip. I left a good amount after the tournament so I asked what he was talking about. He says he barely makes 10 bucks a session dealing. If true, that is pathetic. He is working his way up, so I hope it works out.

I played for a while until the grumpy old man sat down. I didn't mind him at first. He played a lot of hands, grumbling every time he lost with second or third pair. I liked it when he rebought and I liked stacking his chips. But his grumbling got louder and then it infected the table. One hand did the job. He was heads up on the turn with a Canadian guy (he was bragging about being from Canada. Why? Who knows?) after he had check raised him. The Canadian made his flush on the turn and bet out. Grumpy old man called, muttering about losing again. On the river, grumpy old man was first to act. He had already gotten chips out to call and placed them out. He must have thought the Canadian was first to act. He then tried to pull back his chips when the dealer announced "bet". He was told he had to keep the bet out. He started bitching about it. The Canadian raised. As he did, the grumpy old man threw his cards and chips into the pot, complaining about how he didn't be. I didn't say anything as I thought the dealer made the correct call (from what I saw) and he looked to be in control. He was going to call the floor over but the grumpy old man crabbily told him to just deal and move on. Of course, he kept moaning about it for the next couple hands. It was done. He had infected the table.

I was basically cold decked for 3 orbits and not playing. When the Canadian guy pulled the same stunt about 10 hands later, I was out of there. When he angrily threw his cards and chips down the table after a river card he took the fun out of the game. I was up about $80 in 2 1/2 hours, but wasn't enjoying myself. I rather play elsewhere. I wasn't going to let two a-holes take my enjoyment of playing at the Bellagio away. That and I was hungry again.

On my last day in Vegas, I would experience the same damn thing at the Imperial Palace. I was playing 2/4 (why I hadn't gone to the Mirage to play 6/12 is beyond me and a regret) when a cranky sort sat down next to me in a totally Party Poker table. Any suited or connector was played no matter what. And they would see it to the river if they caught any piece of it. Well, this cranky guy sits down next to me and played about 5 hands before he got up and disappeared. He was gone for about a half hour. When he came back, he lost a couple of pots and then requested a seat change. Now he is over in the 2 seat. I felt like telling him to pay more attention to the poker game instead of the baseball lines. Once he got to the 2 seat, he dropped some more money, rebought and asked for a deck change. The dealer called for a set up but no one was coming. At this time the waitress comes by. He orders half cranberry, half orange juice, no ice in a full glass. Ok. A couple of hands go by and still no deck change. He crankily asks again. Dealer calls for a setup. Nothing happens and the dealer continues to deal. The waitress comes back with what appears to be just orange juice. He corrects her on what he ordered. She apologizes and says she will take it back and return with what he wanted. He insists on taking what looked like orange juice and gave her a buck. She goes off to get the correct drink for him. He takes a sip and sits there for a while. He crankily asks for a deck change again. Dealer calls for a set up.

Now the cranky guy gets up, all pissed off. He goes to the room manager and begins to speak to him. I wonder why he is complaining. I even say that changing the decks will not make him a better player. The dealer laughs. I toss him a buck asking to keep the same deck. The crank finally comes back and starts to bitch at the table to anyone who would listen about how he has health issues and the waitress gave him a vodka laden drink and he could have died if he drank it because of his meds and blah, blah, blah. The crank is doing his best to suck any good vibe off the table. He then bitches about how he tipped her a dollar and didn't get his tip back. I started laughing out loud on that one. I just couldn't contain myself after hearing that comment.

I would leave soon when the couple two spot down started hitting flushes like crazy. I do not understand why some miserable people must insist on bringing everyone down. They need to realize they lose their money, not the dealers, the waitresses or any casino personnel. Their stupid play puts chips from their stack to my stack. Don't kill the game with your whining. Let everyone have some fun and stay home.

Monday, June 13, 2005

As I walked out of Mandalay Bay, I had one thing on my mind- food. I was hungry and really in the mood for a burger. I walked through the little mall that connect MB with the Luxor. I had thoughts of possibly stopping into the Burger Bar for a burger and some beer. As I approached, it looked like there was some kind of line waiting to get in. Lunch rush? I walked by and looked in to see it rather packed. Thus, I kept going.

Once I got outside in the warm sun, I thought about how I had just played. Not great but good enough to make the money. Walking down the street always gives me time to think about what I am doing and how to be better at whatever it is I am doing. I now was contemplating skipping the Imperial Palace 1pm tourney in favor of lunch. I just about stopped at the Fatburger but something kept me walking. I think it was something Dr. Pauly had said to me on either the first or second night.

The Imperial Palace game is soft.

This stuck in my mind. I had watched a bit of the play the night before and he was totally right. So I felt compelled to at least check this tournament out. When I got to Ballys, I was committed to it. I may be able to get back to the IP and still grab a burger at the Burger Palace- their glorified Burger King. I was up in the poker room at 12:55. Signed up to find out they barely had 20 people. Some had called and we were informed we would start a couple of minutes late, and he may add people within the first 10 minutes. We even redrew for a new table, but he changed his mind soon thereafter. Looked like about 25 people each ponied up $55 to start with a rebuy option for $25. I am not a fan of rebuys, but don’t necessarily mind the one time rebuy/addon.

I sat at the table and pulled out Easycure’s capper chip that I had collected as his bounty. It worked well already, so let’s see if there is still some luck in it. Our table started with 8 players. Of them, only one would stick out. Headphones, the black guy listening to his tunes, while bobbing his head and playing poker. He was across the table in the 8 seat. The Vet was rather coarse and three to my left. He was all business. The guy on my right wasn’t going to matter. Neither would Lions hat. I mean, he is wearing a Detroit Lions hat. Need I say more? That and he asked about whether he was better off rebuying right away or waiting (he opted for right away). The only other two that merit mention is the aggressive guy in seat 9 and the guy with the huge sunglasses in seat 10. Sunglasses was funny. You have seen the type. Sits downs, gets his chips placed just where he feels he needs them. Puts on the sunglasses and 5 minutes before we start, he is all business. Not a good player but all business.

The strangest part of the tournament happens before we even begin. Some drunk at the one of the other tables starts to cause a problem. Soon the TD would be over for the first of many visits. The guy was arguing two points, one everyone heard right away, and the other I would find out later. The first one he was bitching about was the rebuy ticket. He wanted to be able to use that to bet. He felt he could raise someone all in, throw the ticket and $25 down to immediately buy the 1000 in chips and use it in that pot. Of course, he claims it is a rule and can be done and he is right, blah, blah, blah. The second one that I found out later was a valid point. You do not need to keep the rebuy ticket on the table at the Imperial. He wanted all players to show whether they had rebought or not. I thought that was a valid point. But the TD didn’t. This guy is driving everyone at the table nuts once the TD thinks he has settled the issue. But it is far from done. If he wanted to do this to get action, it worked as people worked hard to knock him out to no avail. All the time others are trying to get moved from his table or not having to move to that table. Simply put, he was totally annoying and the TD should have booted him.

I watched at how tight the table was except for the aggressive guy in seat 9 who was going to play a lot of hands and Headphones who wanted to establish himself as the leader. He would do so by making huge bets. Blinds start at 25/50 and we have a total of 1300 in chips. He would bump up his pre-flop raises to 15xs and then 26x the BB. He bullied the limpers early and collected some chips. The two times he showed his cards, he had K 10 off and J J. Right away I have my targets set on him.

I don’t do too much early. I win a couple small pots by betting out the flop. I do win a nice sized pot by taking a bit of risk. Knowing that the aggressive guy and sunglasses were playing any face or ace, I took shot at a pot that they both limped into. With A J off, I raised the bet the size of the pot, hoping to capture the blinds and their limp bets. I wasn’t too happy when they both called. By raising, I had put in 40% of my chips, not a great move. The flop came all rags. I pushed. I knew the only chance was to get them to fold, but that there also was a chance I did have the best hand. The aggressive guy folded, but sunglasses called. Shit! But then he turned over A 2. WTF? He said it was the best hand he had seen over the last 30 minutes. His stupidity is my gain. I have a comfortable amount of chips. Comfortable enough to tangle with Headphones should the situation arise. The rest of the table is playing low limit hold em, calling with any ace, suited or connectors.

That situation came soon. In early position, I raise the bet to 800 (blinds are 100/200) after UTG limped. The Vet called me and it went around to Headphones. He did the usual thing. Looked at his cards, then his chips, bobbing his head. Inside I am screaming for him to push, trying the same bullying move that has worked for him so far. He looks like he is ready to put chips out but tosses his cards. Damn! What really sucks is that I know if he pushes, the Vet calls as well. We see a flop that comes K high. I pushed. Yes, I totally screwed up that hand. I should have bet half the pot, but I was mad that Headphones didn’t get involved. I show the aces and tell Headphones to jump in the pool next time.

Play goes on. The other table is still going nuts because of the drunk guy. The TD keeps going back to the table having to talk with him. Man is this guy annoying. Before I know it, the TD says we are on break. I look around to see if the need to use the addon is necessary. From what I see, I am probably in 4th place or so with 4200. Not bad. I know Headphones rebought at the beginning so his lead on me is only about 2000 or so. No one else is close so I decide to disregard the rebuy. I then get moved to the loudmouth drunk’s table. Great. Headphones is place on my immediate left. Not good either. To my right is Chaw, the guy with the wad of chew in his cheek. He is short stacked. A friend of Lion’s Hat is two to my right, sitting next to the drunk idiot. The Vet is put to the right of the drunk and a loose player is next to him. We start the table with 8 players, as we have about 16 left. I played only one hand over the next 15 minutes. From the big blind, I see a free flop with 6 7. Flop comes 5 8 2. Open ended. The drunk guy had limped in early and bet 400. SB folded and I called hoping to fill out my straight. The turn is a 7. The drunk pushes and I fold. It is about now that the drunk starts up again, this time with the Vet. The Vet yells for the TD to come over, saying the drunk used inappropriate language (he claimed that the drunk, upon hearing he served in Vietnam, wished the Vet had died there). The Vet said either he gets booted or he wants his buy in back. TD calms the drunk down once again and tells him not another word or he is gone. That lasted all of 10 more minutes. He couldn’t keep quiet and was booted, even though he had a pile of chips in front of him. He and Headphones were running the table. They had knocked Chaw and Lion’s Hat’s friend out already. Soon Headphones would take out the Vet, who was still pissed. When they booted the drunk, they stopped play to consolidate to the final table.

I am sitting at about 2500 when we start. I know I need chips as Headphones is ahead comfortably. Some chick goes in where the Vet was. Pistons jersey sits down to my right. The rest of the table would soon be gone. Many were short stacks who didn’t know what the hell the were doing. One hand would take out 3 players. I was in late position. UTG had pushed for something like 1500. The next guy called. The chick folded. The next clown called as well. Pistons jersey folds. I look down at Q 10 hearts. I am tempted to re-raise all in. I need chips and think this may be my spot. I had stolen some blinds just before the consolidation and was back around 3500. I thought and decided with Headphones on my left, I can wait for a better hand. I toss them away. Headphones looks at everyone and calls it. All in.

Now the dominoes fall. The first limper thinks for a couple seconds and calls. The other limper immediately calls. Headphones flips over A A. He is up against A 5, A J, and J J. There is only one card that really beats him, unless a slew of 5s hit the board. Board comes 9 7 2. Perfect flop. Turn is a Q. A 5 is eliminated as was A J. Only the case J wins. River is a K. Just like that 3 players are gone. We are at 6 and the top 5 get paid. Next hand, Headphones does it again. Takes out 2 more short stacks when he has A A. Dmitri the dealer laughs when Headphones tells him that is the second time he has dealt him back to back rockets. He also tells everyone we should be thanking him for getting us into the money.

Headphones is very confident. He should be. He had probably 3x the chips as Pistons jersey, who is in second. The chick is the small stack after posting the blinds, and I have maybe half of what Pistons has. I get the chick’s chips by moving all in on her blind. Not too tough with A K. It easily defeats her A 7. So I have a bit more to work with. With just the 3 of us now, Headphones has a commanding lead. I am closer to Pistons now though.

I would double through on Headphones by getting lucky. I pushed on the button with 9 8 diamonds, hoping to just steal the blinds. Headphones called with K 5. Flop came 9 8 2, all spades. He didn’t have a spade so I was sitting pretty. Next Headphones would dump a lot of chips on a failed bluff to Pistons jersey. That along with some folds and his lead was suddenly gone. I folded a lot as the table was suddenly tight. Even when the Jackhammer came along, I folded it though I was soooooo tempted. I really did want the Hammer but it wouldn’t come along.

Soon Pistons jersey took out Headphones, but not after I got some chips back. We were going heads up and I was down from my approximation about 3-1. This is when I started talking about a deal. First place paid $730, second just $365. Now, I wasn’t looking to chop it here, but to try and make it a better deal for both of us. To bring first down to around $600 and bring second to $495. That is where I started with the hopes of getting just more money for second than what was posted. Right away Pistons said no. Fine. The second hand in, I take down a nice sized pot. I call him down with Q 7 suited. I hit the 7 on the flop that came K high. He kept making small bets at the pot. I had noticed he only bet when he was trying to buy the pot. This had me feeling like my 7s were good even though there were a K and 10 on the board at the river. Considering he bet 400, 400 and then 300, I felt it was good and called it down. His lead is now just less than 2 to 1. I offer to start negotiating a deal again. He wants no part of it. He even says “If you have the stones to call with that, I will play.” Hmm . . . you just got read and outplayed, and you want to go on. Fine with me. No more negotiations. I also found out he played on Party Poker. Thus, I started to mix my game up, raising with good and bad cards. Raising his limps. Continuation bets on flops that didn’t come close, making turn bets with bottom pair. I knew he would only call if he had a hand, or a draw. The turn bet was the deciding factor as it made my decision on what to do on the river, if needed. The Party Poker comment cemented the deal on how to play him

Needless to say, I took the chip lead by playing this way. His only move was to push all in here and there. I played tough but gave the lead back up by just a few hundred. I then started re-raising his bets by going all in with any A. I wasn’t too surprised when he folded. One time he bumped it up to 4k (blinds were 1-2k). I pushed with A 6 and he quickly folded. This happened 3 times. Each time he folded. That would get me the lead back, and I wouldn’t relinquish it. By now, some of the other players were railbirding. I did catch one break. I had to piss like race horse and got the TD to give us a quick 5 minute break. Pistons jersey didn’t have to agree but I am surely glad he did. I ran into a railbird in the restroom at this point. He was telling me how he and a couple others wanted me to win. They say Pistons jersey fucked up by not taking a deal. He said Pistons jersey wasn’t good and sucked out to get that far.

When we got back to playing, it took only 3 more hands to decide it. In the BB, I look down to see J 10 and decide to see the flop for free. Flop comes 9 8 4, rainbow. Pistons jersey makes the Party Poker move and pushes all in. Knowing he bets with nothing, I take my time. I count my outs. I figure I have 14 outs, at least 12 that are clean. I call. He shows Q 6. Q 6!!!! Party Poker!!! The Q hit the turn and it is over. I won first! The railbirds there high five me, congratulating me.

Winning tourneys online is fun. Winning live ones are more exhilarating. Finally I would get to eat too! I probably drank 8 beers while playing so it was definitely time to get some food. That and I had to call Dr. Pauly to thank him for the tip on the Imperial Palace. I also give some credit to Easycure. The capper chip brought me some good luck.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Tournament Monday- the morning session at Mandalay Bay

I will be gone for the weekend. I did get part of Monday done to quench any thirst out there. More to come on Sunday or Monday.

I woke up Monday with a sense of purpose. I had a good idea of what I wanted to accomplish today. I wanted to play tournaments. I had a good idea of which I would hit but wasn’t quite sure whether I would get to all of them. On the way out of the Imperial Palace I stopped up to confirm they did have a Monday afternoon game. Sure enough, they did. Now it was off to the Mandalay Bay for the 10 am game. As I grabbed my cash and card capper, I looked at the bounty chips I had collected off of Easycure at the blogger tournament. Something told me to take the M on with me. So I did.

I walked down the strip, feeling the warm breeze around me. Having left the IP at 9, I knew I would have enough time to get down there. There was a slight chance it would be sold out but I didn’t care that much. As it would turn out, there would be 5 spots available when I got there around 9:40. To kill some time I would bum around the nickel slots to amuse me and get the silliness out of my mind. Turned a whole $5 profit killing time so maybe that was an omen.

I took the 3 seat at the Hearts table. To my right was an amiable old guy who apparently is a regular. Tighter than a snare drum in his play but amiable. To my left was a chubby East Coast guy. Same to his left. A quiet black capped bearded guy was in the 6 seat. Another EC in the 7 seat. An old crusty old guy in the 8 seat. The chip flinging, disco looking guy in the 9 seat and a dude who looked like he was going to crap his pants on any tough hand in seat 10.

The game started off on tense note when the dealer told the crusty old guy to turn off the cell phone. He angrily snapped back he would but continued to talk. The poker room at the Mandalay Bay is part of the sports book so it is illegal to have the phone on. The dealer was just doing his job. When the dealer (Elmer had to be pushing 70 minimum) told him a second time, he snapped the phone shut and crabbed about it for the next 2 minutes, well after Elmer told him. This guy was going to be a joy to play with.

I started using my heavy coin capper but felt the need to make a switch early in the game. I pulled out Easycure chip and began to use that instead. Anything to bring some luck my way. Hopefully it would work.

The game was set for limit the first hour, with blinds going up every 15 minutes, then no limit the second hour. I have read about the structure online so I knew the basic strategy was to survive the first hour, only playing top hands and then get bold in the no limit portion. I did just that. I raised it up with K K a couple hands in but got only the blinds. I noticed this was the trend. Very tight to any raises but some loose play going on by the raisers. I looked to take advantage of that. For instance, I noticed 3 guys who raised with any two face cards or any A x suited. Interesting to say the least. I took down some small pots until the Hiltons showed up. With J high on the board, I kept betting out and was called down by two. Guy showed his A J proudly but kinda whimpered when he saw my two chicks. Disco guy was pretty aggressive, stacking up nicely. The old guy to my right played only the blinds until he was blinded out at the end of the first hour. He would comment on how he folded a lot of small pairs along the way. Didn’t even try to limp along on them. I was happy when the old crusty guy busted out. He was nothing more than a cranky calling station anyway.

Basically, there really was no skill at this table beside myself (gotta feed my own ego) Disco Stu at the other end. Black cap and the Crapper looked more scared than anything. The East Coast looking guys thought they were tough by raising with A rag and would get knocked out with the better kicker each time. Right around the hour mark, we lost a number of players from our table. Most busted out while Disco Stu was moved.

Over from the clubs table came 3 guys, none with a big stack. They could barely post the big blind. The one clown who had some chips cracked about how he has never played tournament poker before he played the other night. Funny how he then mentioned he played the Mirage and another place. Actually with the way he played, it showed. He thought he was big stuff for betting out the K high flop and then showed his 6 9 off for the bluff. Little did he know he was setting himself up by showing he was pretty stupid about how he played. Especially when he had a chance to knock a player out. In the last hand of limit, he posted the small blind and had just a couple of chips left. Stupid guy raised from the big blind and the small blind just called, even though it only left him just a single 25 chip behind. Flop came A high. The small blind tossed in his last chip. Stupid guy proceeded to fold. I looked at him dumbfounded. How could he not call? He was getting like 12 to 1 on the call. Even worse, he showed A Q. When the small blind showed A K, he then crows about what a great play he had made. At this point, I couldn’t contain myself. I started laughing at him, telling him he just made one of the worst plays ever. Even though he was behind- and didn’t know it- getting those kind of pot odds is a dream and you could never fold it. Hell, Vince Van Patten and Mike Sexton would have heart attacks at that fold. Every single pro player alive- and dead- would howl at such a bad play. Even Norman Chad would be right to criticize that move. But he was clueless. He would also be out on the next hand.

Once the small guys were done, we got moved to the final table. Started with only 9 here as the other table saw two guys knocked out. I was in the middle here. Disco Stu had a big stack as did one other guy on the far end. I was in the 7 seat next to a cute Asian girl. I had enough to post some blinds and to steal some back but was more interested in talking her up. That is until I noticed her boyfriend watching from the side. The cutie on my left was pretty tight too. She folded a number of hands that had her agonized. Some of which would have taken down a nice pot for her. I was hoping to take advantage of the tightness. The guys on the other end were the opposite- very loose. My strategy was to get to the final 5 and get paid. Shouldn’t be too hard I figure. I folded a number of hands and then tried to make a move with A 6. It had folded to me in the small blind. I pushed hoping to take it down there. The Asian cutie thought and then called. She showed 9 9 which would hold up. I was now down to 300 and on the brink. Thankfully, some players got knocked out. The bosomy lady in the 10 seat had a stack as big as her breasts shrink up on her. She would be gone on the bubble.

I took my final 300 and caught A A in the big blind. I was able to triple up against the two callers. I then stole some blinds to get myself into a spot to make a move. Then the ladies came to visit again. Loose guy in early position pushed all in. I knew he had nothing. My plan though was to try to keep Disco Stu, the big stack, in the game. I raised it up just a bit more. Asian girl folded but Disco Stu pushed. Now, he had made many moves with A J earlier and it was working for him. I wouldn’t be surprised if he was doing it again. The other small stack folded and I quickly called. The Hiltons would be up against the loose guy’s J 10 and Disco Stu’s A K. Sadly, the ladies went shopping on me. The K on the flop was enough to put me out in 4th place. I got $70 for my efforts. Not shabby. The other small stack went out on the very next hand leaving Disco Stu heads up with the Asian cutie. He tried to cut a deal with her, which was quite good, but she wanted to play. I didn’t care anymore and left to get some food. I also wanted to get back up the strip for the Imperial Palace tourney.

The Mirage was my pile of chips

Sunday started out rather uneventfully. Ate in the Teahouse at the IP. Had the buffet in the cafĂ© mainly because of the omelet station being empty. The sausages were cold though and the guy wasn’t there to cut me a hunk of the beef they were carving so I left not quite as happy as I wanted to.

I intended to play some poker today but didn’t quite know when. I started the day by walking up to Wynn to check it out. Looked like a bit of a wait to play 4/8 so I played some blackjack instead. From there I walked down to TI to play some Pai Gow poker but found each of their tables full. That sucked. That is one of my favorite places to play but it wasn’t to be on this day.

So I headed over to the Mirage to play 6/12. I love the game here. Enough loose players to feed on and make some money. I had to wait a bit before they got a new table running so I sat in a 3/6 game. I find these to be a joke as everyone seems to call and suck out in the end. I played on the tight side for a bit. Won a nice pot with A K. I raised it up and had 5 callers. Flop came K K J. Normally I would just fire away at this pot. I never slow play in limit, but the correct action bounced into my little brain just before I threw the chips-keep the others in the pot! I checked hoping someone would make a bet. It check around. Turn was a J. Nice card. Not only does it give me the full house, it probably is the nuts. I bet it out. I get excited when the next guy puts chips out and then announces raise. My heart is beginning to pound now as I think of the big pot I will be taking in. However, the dealer now says the raise won’t stand. He says it is a string bet. WHAT?!?! I disagree and am about to say something when I realize it would give me away. I didn’t agree with the ruling at all. He placed the chips in front of him; he didn’t push them out. He announced what he was doing, though after he placed the chips. My huge pot was gone as the others folded. No chance to raise here. River was a rag. I bet it again. This time I noticed my hands were shaking. Shit! This happens to me once in a while, usually when the first pot I win that day happens to be huge. My first reaction is to look around to see if anyone noticed. Doesn’t appear they did. Sadly, the other guy just calls and shows his set of jacks. They push the pot my way but the Poker Yips are in full swing. I try to stack the chips with both hands but that isn’t working. The right hand is a tad steadier so I use just that one.

I can’t help but wonder why this happens. It doesn’t happen every time I play, just usually when I haven’t eaten anything. I find it embarrassing mostly. But now I look to use it to my advantage when it occurs and is noticed. To help myself out, I have also started to get bets ready at all times so as to not shake as much. When I would play on Monday and Tuesday, I wouldn’t have this problem at all. Strange.

Soon after winning that pot, I would go to a new must move 6/12 game. Interesting group. A very aggressive Asian guy, a milder Thai guy who dealt there. A New Englander who didn’t like the aggressive play of the Asian. And two old guys. A couple of hands after we started, they moved 3 guys to the main table leaving us 6 handed. I didn’t mind that much. The Asian was still there and I knew I could get some chips off of him. Which I did. But soon I would be moved to the main game as well.

This table wasn’t that tough. There were only a couple players that concerned me. The old Chinese lady with the huge stacks of reds played very little and only bet when she had something. The guy with the S.O.D shirt seemed solid, and the guy with the Godsmack shirt, who was the best player at the table. It also didn’t hurt that every time he had a pocket pair, he flopped a set. The rest of the cast was a number of players coming and going, feeding the game money. The New Englander was there too and soon the aggressive Asian would come in.

I would have done very well here if I hadn’t run into Godsmack twice. Both times I had A K and flopped top pair. Each time he held a flopped set . Brutal. Other times I limped or raised and took down small pots or saw a flop that missed me. Before I knew it, my buy in had dwindled down. I won a good pot with A Q and gave it all away when I overplayed A K. Overplayed? More like played it like an idiot pissing away my last $48 to a flop set of 7s.

During this game, a rather obnoxious guy came into the game. He was like a lot of the others that had cycled through. They would sit down, play every hand, go through a buy in or two and leave bitching and moaning about the cards. This guy was different as he was not only losing, but was being schooled by Godsmack. He started saying very sarcastically how poker was “a game of skill, not luck”. Every time he made this snide comment he was talking to Godsmack. What he didn’t realize was he was predictable. He played every hand, always betting if it checked to him whether he had a hand or not. Godsmack picked up on it, I did, as did S.O.D. I was happy to see him rebuy but I never got that good of a hand to play against him with. Only took down small pots.

Though I lost this time around, the 6/12 game at the Mirage is still juicy. There is nothing stopping me from doing it again, yips or not.

Just as I was fishing up, Easycure came up to me. If I wasn’t starving, I would have hopped into the 3/6 game he and his buddy were playing. I am sure we could have set that table on tilt. Instead my belly called and I had to answer. Little did I know that his bounty would bring some nice luck on Monday.

Yes that is my face at the final table you are watching on ESPN

That is, if ESPN was smart enough to be covering the premier tournament in Vegas that weekend. I found myself at the final table at the WPBT Aladdin Casino Classic. How did I get there? Good question. I think it was the beer.

When I got to the Aladdin I saw something right away that told me this was going to be a special event. I walked in and ran into a little person. Right away I looked to see if the shirt read "Bonus Code Iggy". I felt like picking the little guy up and carrying him to the poker room. I said to him "Hammer!" but he gave me a look like if I said anything else to him he would lay a size 5 in my ass. When he yelled out to a co-worker I realized it wasn't the Igmeister afterall. Then again, it could be an elaborate disguise...

My starting table was interesting to say the least. I will probably leave people out only because I don't have complete notes. Organizer CJ was in seat 1. That I know. I was in seat 9. Empty seat at 10 with chips bleeding out. Maudi was over by Poker Nerd. Reader Matt was in the middle. One of the Aprils was on my right. And Mrs. Human Head was on the other side of the table as well.

I started the game the only way I knew. By getting another beer. I play some of my best poker while drinking (where have I seen that term before?). So when the poker room manager asked if we needed anything else, I asked for another beer. Reader Matt immediately asked for a BLT. The PR Mgr said he would take care of it and it was on. No, not the game, but the BLT action. Me and Reader Matt had comments going back and forth about his BLT. I mentioned I had to keep an eye on him in case he tried to raise with just a tomato slice. When his chip count got low and he pushed, it was noted that is was an infamous BLT bet. What out for the trap. Even at a break he went and asked the manager if his BLT was coming or not. It set the tone for a fun table, at least between us. Other than the BLT action (which for the record, he never did get even though he went to the cafe and wanted to buy one which for some reason they wouldn't make because it wasn't on the menu. Guess it confused them) there wasn't much else going on of note.

Poker Nerd was the first one to go out, earning himself the dreaded Gigli prize. That was my biggest concern about the tournament- not to go out first and be called Gigli until the next tournament. But he did go out in style trying to lay down the hammer. Sometimes the planets align against you and the hammer doesn't hold up. Sad time when it happens to you.

But the tournament went on and people started to fall out a bit more after Gigli was determined. Me? I just played good hands, laid down a hammer myself, but played tight until the first break. I was up at the time by a bit to 1400. But when we came back from the break, the blinds were either 100/200 or 200/400, I am not quite sure. It didn't matter much because it made the tournament a crapshoot. There would be pushes all over the place. I was one of them. Got 7 7 and pushed on a raise. I was happy when he folded. A hand or two later I pulled the same move on the same player (I apologize for not knowing who he is) with A 6. I was quite happy to see him fold again. What it did was chip me up nicely where I didn't have to push anymore. One of the more interesting thing was when Whiskeytown showed up to play in seat 10. He played one hand, A Q, and was done. He did have a cool shirt though. It read "Creed Sucks". Well said. When he pushed in, I started to sing "Arms Wide Open" to have some fun with it. Thankfully, I do not like Creed either and could only think of one song.

I would soon be moved to a new table with Easycure, Spaceman, Bill Rini, Felicia, the Rooster and Bob Respert. Having some chips made it a bit easier to get by. I was able to lay down the Jackhammer ( J 4 off). I collected a bounty on Easycure when I called from the big blind with 9 5 suited. It was a small amount to call and a chance to eliminate someone. Thus I felt I had to make the call. I believe Easycure had A K or at least an A. But a lucky 5 on the river would bring the pot my way. Luck smiled on me. I collected some nice collector chips off of EC for his bounty, a bounty that would bring me luck on Monday (see Easycure, there is a reason to give you some credit).

But I would give too many chips back on one bad play. With 3 3 in early position, I raised it up. Spaceman re-raised all in. The rest folded. I looked at him and felt I truly had the best hand. Not by much but the best hand. I called 2100 more to see his K Q. The K high flop was all he needed. Soon I would try to lay the Hammer down but Bill Rini had a real hand it held up. I would soon be moved once again to a new table. There I got some chips back when the Hiltons took out A J.

Before I knew it we were on break again as we headed to the final table, 9 handed. I was surprised that I made it this far. I felt I had played some good poker but the last couple hands were brutal and knocked me down from a good position. At the final table we redrew for the button. Unfortunately I would post the blinds right away. Then I would go card dead. Not a playable hand would come my way. I went out when the blind called my big blind (I was all in by posting) and Q 7 was beat by J 6. Out in 7th but won $202 and got a nice Full Tilt hat and shirt. Sweet.

Overall I was happy with my play. Didn't like going out like I did. Problem with getting crap in the end is that you can use position to steal but I never even had that opportunity. Congrats again to Bill on his victory and CJ for second place.

Next to come...A crappy session at the Mirage with the yips
Tournament Monday
and fishing at the Imperial- what a waste of time.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Back from Vegas

Many things to say. Many great people met. Many great finishes.

Off the top, I must thank Dr. Pauly and Easycure. I give them a bit of credit for my tournament success while in Vegas.

Stories to follow when I have time. This real job thing is killing me!

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Vegas bound

As I have said before, I plan to play in Event #2 of the WSOP. I called today to find out how many are signed up and whether I could register tomorrow morning. The lady said they have not closed it yet or decided to cap it. She then told me how many were in. I thanked her and the lady said "Sure thing honey". Ok. Only 1031 have registered as of 11 am, Vegas time. I may go over and play a satellite to warm up and get used to live play again. Unless a shitload sign up in the next 24 hours, I am definitely going to be flinging chips.

Life is full of experiences. You just need to live them.