Saturday, July 30, 2005


Last night my so far short slide continued, albeit not severely thanks to a few donkeys willing to subsidize me. One tough guy with the mandatory tilted Yankees cap liked to accompany his all in raises with pithy comments like "fuck you" (he paid me off twice and kept the night from being really awful).

Hand of the night I think I had no way of avoiding--please comment if you think otherwise. 2nd UTG pokergirl (she talked like a chapter in Supersystem) with a large stack raised 15 preflop over a limper, and we had 2 callers around to me in the small blind with 9♦7♦ and about 375 behind me (prior to this hand, I loved the Persian carpet). The blinds and the UTG called, leaving a 75 pot. Flop came 2♦4♦6♦, which I incorrectly read for awhile as giving me a straight flush draw but correctly read as a flopped and vulnerable flush. I led out 50, the blinds folded and pokergirl made it 200 to go.

Pokergirl was an aggressive player who talked the talk, and at least last night was walking the walk.

I certainly contemplated A♦K♦ or A♦Q♦, but I also saw A♦K♣ or K♦K♣ as strong possibilities. Less likely but considered were sixes or even fours. If she has the flush, I know I'm screwed, but there are too many other hands to put her on and none them warrants giving a free card with the pot already that big. If I call, she's going to continue to fire and I'll be pot committed anyway, so I might as well push to make the draws pay. She had Q♦T♦ and took my stack. Tell me if you see any escape hatches from this hand--after some thinking, I still don't.

Korean ATM celebrated his birth at midnight at the club--Happy birthday bro! 31 is a big one, the last prime number until 37. He also booked a very healthy win including a sweet bluff of a shark. I'd like to think he's been listening and learning to my poker rants, because he played very solidly last night, but it's just that for once he concentrated at the table.

High note of the evening was at the beginning. Adding a 3rd player to the mix did not save Bill, even after we ended up heads up fairly shortly and he had at one point a 100 to 50 chip lead. Mr. 520 soon found himself facing the opposite ratio and, despite facing with the need to get up and attend to other pressing items, refused your truly's generous offer to rebate his buy-in. "You underestimate the non-monetary value of beating you." That value undoubtedly increased when my 97 off successful limp in flopped top pair and a gutter, and 5 minutes of thinking were not enough to get Bill to lay down middle pair with a king kicker.
See the flop...

Friday, July 29, 2005

Ego Check

It was bound to happen sooner or later.

Complete maniac at the club was in particularly aggressive all in on any two cards mode last night. I knew my top pair, queen of clubs kicker was good on a J86 all clubs board when I raised a 60 pot 35 around to maniac, who went all-in with 300 more (really, he was doing this when he hit ANY part of any board). Last two cards were 7 then 5, no clubs. Maniac flipped an 8 of clubs, bemoaning his fate, and then after the dealer had began to push the pot to me belatedly realized his other card was a 9. He had me covered. Emotionally, that's about the worst way to be sucked out insofar as I had went immediately from the relief of having my good call hold up to watching this psycho stacking my chips.

After my suckout, Scott, sitting on my left at the same table noted that he wouldn't play just against one player, even if that player was allergic to money, but would continue to play the table. I think Scott is smarter than me. I had it in for the guy and thus was in store for more punishment.

It came a few orbits later when I, with A5 spades, tried to push him off a hand with an all-in 300 reraise over the top of nutjob's 50 bet into a 75 pot A-T-3 flop (two clubs and 1 spade) and got called and busted with his Ac 8s. As he called, he said he knew his ace was smaller than mine--if this was true, he called a 300 bet to win 425 thinking he had 3 outs and a backdoor. If anything, that fact makes me think I was even stupider than the results imply (and that's pretty stupid).

I really, really wanted a piece of this guy and ended up giving him a few more hundred.

Lesson 1: control tilt or get up from the table.

Lesson 2: money won or lost to one player exactly equals money won or lost to another player.
See the flop...

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Aquarium Poker Club

I've just received the following slightly edited e-mail from one of the owners of the club that FTrain and I have referred to frequently as the "near-Chinatown" club:
"Hello Mr. 519,

I wanted to touch base about promoting the Aquarium poker games.

I am sending out an e-mail (which I have attached for you) to all of our members promoting a different game each night. Primarily, I am trying to create a solid foundation of lower stakes limit games to go along with our 1/2 no limit and our occasional bigger games.

I have thought it over and decided that I am comfortable with you discussing the club on your site, as long as the actual address is not publicly printed. Anyone wanting exact information about the club can be referred to me at"
Above is the schedule, which I've slightly censored to remove the address and phone number--e-mail the address for inquiries.
See the flop...

Sunday, July 24, 2005

The next Gus Hanson (or "You played that shit?!")

Monster post warning.

You know you're running hot when you walk out of a club booking a 500+ win and feel like it was a weak night. I will do my best to bury that attitude--I should be happy every time I cash out a redbird over my buy-in.

Hand of the night for me last night sent steam jetting out of a player named Eiki's (spelling fixed I hope from yesterday) ears, who as I mentioned drank with me the night before. Quick background, Friday night I played with nearly the same table of players so all had seen my lucky bluff suckout and my crazy boat over boat against Scott described in yesterday's post. Scott and Eiki were back, and again the table was offering no obvious fish. Not the best game by any means, but at least it was an excuse to get creative.

Eiki was already a bit smoldering as I had been playing a wide range of hands very aggressively, including trying to steal a pot from him with the hammer and then showing down middle pair as the best hand after his draws failed to materialize.

The table was playing shorthanded, so I was also straddling pretty much every time as I did the hand in question with about 600 behind me. Eiki likes to raise straddles somewhat religiously, but this time, in middle position with about 450 behind, he only called it around to Scott in the small blind with about 600, who made it 24 to go. BB folded and I looked down to see a monster 47 diamonds. Something clicked and told me this was a hand for defending my straddle. I called.

I was thus somewhat distressed when Eiki came over the top to 100. Scott folded leaving me with an interesting decision. I'm being asked to call $76 for a chance to win $126, or 3 to 5 odds. I can put Eiki on a narrow range of hands I think, AA, KK, QQ or AK, probably suited. Maybe AQ. Against the pairs I'm a little worse than a 4:1 dog and against a big ace I'm a little worse than than a 3:2 dog. Pure odds and math then, it's a pretty clear lay down.

Notwithstanding the above, why would I play this hand anyway?

Stubbornness? Well, it is a trait I need to restrain.

Egomania? This is definitely not it. Okay, well, maybe a bit.

How about good poker reasons? At the risk of steaming Eiki further, I'll at least put forward a case:

Like I said, I think I can narrow down Eiki's range of hands quite well and he's going to be pretty much flying blind against me. Most flops are going to make me flush my hand like the toilet paper it was. If I get a good flop however, with pretty clear knowledge of where my opponents is standing, maybe I can make something happen. Time to try and play some no limit poker.

First move, check in the dark. Many people hate this move and I myself don't use it often. Nevertheless, I'm playing here for mystery, and most good flops for me will be draws. Can I get a free card here? If I take the flop, I'm going to need to make a very large bet to see the turn, because I think a normal check by me after the flop is going to get me a bet I can't call without a monster.

Flop comes 3d 4h Ac (I'm guessing on the suits of the 4 and A, which were irrelevant to the hand).

Not a spectacular flop since it just made most of the range of Eiki's hands better, but I did pair the board and a get a back door flush draw as well as a distant straight draw.

Eiki I think made his one serious blunder on this hand when he checked, giving me that card.

The turn came a 6d. A pretty sweet card giving me 11 nearly rock solid outs:

9 flush outs minus the Ad, which could give Eiki quad aces plus the 3 other fives--of course if he had AK or AQ diamonds, I was in serious trouble.

In addition, I had 6 dirty outs:
The Ad, plus the 2 4s and 3 7s that could boat up Eihi if was holding those rockets.

I'm 7:4 dog (a little better if he has no diamond) against all the hands I think I'm likely to be facing except for AA, against which I'm a 3:1 dog

I bet 100.

First goal of course is to get a fold here, which I very well might get if he doesn't have an ace. But a call is not death since I am very likely to be 7:4 or better and think I stand a reasonable chance of getting the rest of his chips in if I hit.

I say I am very likely to be at 7:4 because if he has AA, he'd be a pretty awful not to push here. (AA slowplaying on the flop on the other hand would have been a viable move since the only draws had been the low straight.)

Thus I think that an extra bonus here about my bet is that he'll pretty much have to tell me if 6 of my outs are dead. If he raises all in here I think I can fold here since I'm being asked to call $250 to win $475 and am either a 7:4 dog (very marginal call) or quite likely given the check on the flop, a 3:1 dog (clear fold). If he raises less than all in, I probably have to call but I'll have to assume I have only the 11 live outs, but I can't really see him doing this.

Eiki called. Later he told me that he saw from the look on my face that I was very unhappy to be called, which was true, but obviously not as unhappy as he thought. An all in reraise would have made me sad.

As it was, I was at least sure that all 17 of my outs were live. River comes a 7. I pushed and a groaning Eiki called, showing big slick.

B&M play update:

No, I really don't think I'm that good but I'm on my biggest run for the last two months in live no limit cash game play (1-2 plus some 2-5 in AC):

TotalWin: $3,734.00
Av$/Hour: $58.57

OK, so I'm a baby no limit player not quite ready to quit my day job, but it beats losing. I think it's correlation rather than causation, but its at least worth noting this is a all post-Playstation for me. For the rest of this year prior to this run, nearly all of it at Playstation, much more modest stats:

TotalWin: $378.00
Av$/Hour: $5.07

For the year online, on the other hand, in all forms of poker I'm down $794.57. I'm considering limiting my online to relaxation games rather than skill increasing, bank roll-building games. By relaxing this I mean big MTTs and various non-hold 'em games.

Last item on this monster post is that apparently calling Bill Phipps a putz on this widely read page didn't going over well with Mr. 520. Before last night's session he demanded a rematch while waiting for the big game at the club to fill (10-20 NL was fun to watch, but I saw my entire bank roll as the smallest stack on the table--line of the night a response to Bill's, "What do you say we make this a 6 max table?" answer, male-player-I-don't-know-with-genormous-stack-in-front-of-him "How about head's up honey?").

Although he was foolish enough to offer the same 60-50 overlay as last night, he did crack out the sunglasses. I kept my ranking when my T9s sucked out on his Q7 (Q same suit as my hand) with a straight on the river. He's told me no more overlays--I'm thinking maybe I should retire at 519.
See the flop...

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Glory of 519 and Oh What A Night

Oh yeah baby.

Waiting for a game to spread last night at the club, none other than Bill Phipps, the 519th best player in the world, or at least the 519th best player in the 2005 WSOP Main Event, offered me 60 against 50 in a heads-up freeze out. Well yours truly, obviously the new 519th best player in the world, knocked Mr. Phipps down to 520. What a putz.

Of course, I did refuse to take off my sunglasses.

Maybe I should come up with a snazzy new name like Ultraman.

Anyway, after knocking down Mr. 520, enough players trickled in to spread 6 handed and we got going.

I bought in to match the biggest stack at 300 and dinked and doinked myself down to 120. Feeling the need to get some more ammo, I rebought up to 420, particularly with some big stacks having accumulated, including for Scott, the man who scared me off of betting my TPTK last week.

Two big hands for between Scott and me pretty much defined the outcome of each of our evenings.

2nd UTG, I felt my 24 sooooted was worth a raise up to 15. Two customers, including the cutoff, a somewhat tight player and Scott on the button. Flop came A45 rainbow. My first thought was that this should be my pot. I just don't see a big ace here with the betting preflop and I think I can represent one. I checked.

Cutoff opens for 30 and Scott, who has successfully bullied this player several times, raises it up to 110. I have Scott on an overpair, big overs or maybe a small ace but I don't see him play those too often, and a quick glance at cutoff leads me to believe he ain't too convinced about his hand. It's time for the old check raise bluff.

Scott is a good player. Good players can raise tight players with moderate holdings. Good players can lay down hands. I'm all in. Yeah baby.

Scott's a bit surprised. He's talking to himself. His conversation is not encouraging to your humble narrator.

"I just can't put you on aces. You wouldn't have played them that slow."

Ruh roh.

He thinks, he counts, he calls.

Hand in the cookie jar and ready to leave stuck 540, I decide I might as well get my bluff value in table image and flip 'em over.

"He's got outs!" shouts the peanut gallery. 5 to be exact, but also giving 4 redraws as Scott flips over A5. Nothing like being a 7-2 dog with all your money in the pot. Turn comes a 3 and my wheel holds up.

Better to be lucky than good.

Later in the night, 900 behind me in the BB, Scott in the cutoff with 400 or so makes it 12 to go first in. Small blind with only about 200, calls. I look down and see those beautiful letters, AA.

Bell goes off. "You wouldn't play aces that slow." He's right, I wouldn't. Or maybe he's wrong?


36 in the pot, flop come AQ10, two spades. Check to me.

You gotta bet now, don't you?

Let's see. I'm really not a big fan of that ace. It may have killed all my action and I want a big pot. 36 is just not enough. Okay, so I'm going to slow play a set of aces with a flush draw and multiple straight draws on the board. Yes I am. But only by swearing to myself that I will lay down if a spade, K or J hits and I am facing any real bet.

Turn comes a non-spade K. This is it, the moment of truth. Can SoxLover get off his set?

SB opens with 25. Into a 36 pot, with that board. Well that's interesting.

Perhaps I don't have to lay down. $25 to draw for the monster, with one overcaller.

Let's see, assume for a moment SB has the J.

If Scott folds, I've called 25 to win 61 plus whatever SB will pay me off if I hit, up to his remaining 140. I've played with this gent a few times, and I'm thinking that probably means all of it.

If Scott raises, he's going have to raise big. And I'm probably going to have to fold. So that's 25 at risk. But he has got to have SB on the jack too, so he can most likely only do that if he has another jack.

If Scott calls, he has a draw, most likely spades, and I want him in the hand.

I call, and so does Scott.

River comes a 10. Bingo. Second nuts, and anyone who has played a set of 10s this far deserves all the chips they can get off me.

Thirty bucks I bet. It's a value bet. Or is it a teaser? Or is it a dessert topping? No, it's a floor wax.

Scott makes it 75. Ding ding ding, this is going to be fun for someone.

SB pushes his last 140 (I guess my estimate of being paid off was on).

What to do? All you can eat baby.

Sidenote: I guess I could call here for the overcall value here, but between a high probability of winning an extra 65 and a reaonable probability of winning 300, I'll always go for the 300 even with a slight probability of losing 300. Plus, I would never play aces that slowly...

Poor Scott had KK and no chance to get away.

I've been on Scott's side of a night like that, and it ain't no fun. He took it much better than I did--we even went for food and drinks afterward with his friend Eiki who sat to my right all night and for the record as a dissenting voice, thought my slowplay of aces was atrocious (he tilted more on than hand than Scott did).

Sometimes you make all the right reads, most of the right moves, and the cards slice you up anyway.
See the flop...

Friday, July 22, 2005

Narrowband life

5 days in our temporary digs--no cable modem, no DSL. I've actually gotten a "high-speed" Net Zero dial up account. Having had broadband since 2000, it's quite a shock traveling in the slow lane of the InfoBahn (that's about the last time that word was used too). Now when I click on Full Tilt and it says, found update, downloading, I say ah crap...

Surprisingly, the internet does still work at 56k however. And the fish aren't that fast anyway.

I've been playing a lot of 3-6 razz on FT, plus 2-4 Triple Draw on UltimateBet, each with considerable success. First rule of low-limit low games seems to be: they will pay you off no matter how tightly you play. Playing at these stakes, I've actually paced over 10BB an hour this week.

At the same time, my performance in S&G 50s and 100s has deteroriated. I'm not sure yet how much this is variance and how much this is a drop off in my play, but for the last three weeks or so, I'm definitely down in these whereas I was way up before.

I've also had a run of 4th and 5th place finishes, which I find far more frustrating than 9th place bust outs. Last night was particularly annoying as I went out in 5th and did not enjoy the commentary:

5 handed 100-200 blinds, AJs UTG, 3000 behind me, raised to 600. Folded around to the big blind with 4000 behind him, who calls. Flop came A23 rainbow. BB raised to 500, I reraised to 1500, he went all in. I figured I might have run into a set or a bigger ace, but with a genormous pot and more than 2/3s of my chips already in there, I felt pot committed and called. Imagine my surprise when he showed up 45o, leaving me a 30-1 dog.

Ok, shit happens, but did he have to say "that will teach you to raise my blind."


The guy actually thought it was a great play. Pre-flop, against my actual hand he was a 13-7 dog, and against any overpair he would have been a 4-1 dog. Steaming, I tapped the glass hard (I know, I know). He was ready for my attack.

"I could have gotten away from it easy if I missed."

Duh. Of course you could have since your hand SUCKED. Obviously, flopping the nuts with an ace on board is highly plus EV, but sheesh, you're going to miss most of the time for 10% of your stack and worse yet, what you do when you flop middle or bottom pair? Am I missing something here?

At least the Sox have perked up, reducing the volume of Roosterspam I've been receiving.
See the flop...

Friday, July 15, 2005

Sox and SoxLover Rebound

One of my favorite pictures of all time. I probably wouldn't have posted it, but the Rooster has been peppering me all day with e-mails about last night's game.

Ah, but my boys pasted one on the Evil Empire tonight. At one point I was thinking the Yanks were simply letting runners on to tire them out for the rest of the series.

Well Sox and SoxLover bounced back today.

I was feeling rather depressed about the way I played those trip nines last night, but after reading FTrain's comment, I actually perked up. I played a hand quite badly, but I think learned from it so maybe in the long run the $200 I lost above what I should have is really plus EV.

Anyway, I have a bunch of moving to do this weekend as Mrs. SoxLover, two cats and I are relocating while we have our place renovated for the next few months. So I figured I better get my play in while I could; even e-mail access is going to be sporadic until I get my temporary DSL kit at the new place in two weeks.

I ran very hot at just the right time as there were some real donkeys at the club tonight. Third hand in the game had just started short-handed when I flopped was JJ8 with 300 behind and I held QJo. Donkey bet 20 into a 21 pot and I raised him to 60. He called and another 75 on a K that fell on the turn and an all-in bet on the river rag, showing 10-8 cause he "really thought I was bluffing". This genius move got Alex's--an owner of the club--attention and we had the lines in the water as the fish immediately rebought. Unfortunately for Alex, he sucked on him and Alex tilted a bit, which was fortunate for me as I started a run of good pairs (TT twice and JJ once in about 20 hands still 5 handed) and Alex kept paying me off. Before I knew it, I had moved my 300 buy in to 1300.

The table filled up with some new faces and a couple of old ones, including Scott, an aggressive young Asian player who is solid and can both make moves and lay down hands. I got into some confrontations and came out mostly ahead as my stack continued to grow, hitting an apogee of about 1750 after 3 hours of play. Scott survived a few run ins with me, making a very good lay down which gave me 200 but could have cost him far more.

Scott, however, was successful against other players and at one point built up a stack roughly equal to my 1600. Third biggest stack at that table at that time was about 700, so my thinking was that as long as he and I avoided mixing it up, we were in good shape.

On the button I looked down at AK diamonds. Scott had limped UTG and it had folded around to me. I bet 15 and the small blind, who pretty much was calling all of my preflop bets, called. Scott made it 40 to go. Normally, I suspect a very high pair here but I was thinking that Scott put me on a button raise since it had folded around, so I made it 100 to let him know I was serious, frankly expecting a fold. If he reraised again, I was done. SB folded and Scott called. Crap what now?

Flop came 3 hearts jack high. I think we were both nervous given the stack sizes. Scott checked and I bet another 100, again to see what Scott had. He called, which put me in I'm check folding mode. But on the turn came an Ace of clubs. Scott checked to me. Now what to do?

I made a mistake here by checking through. At this point I have Scott on 99 or TT, maybe QQ. I'm thinking that if any card but a heart falls, he'll make another good bet, but probably won't go all-in with anything short of a very high flush so I see this as a value check. River came a fourth heart and Scott checked again. I was not going to bet here as the only hands that could call me had me destroyed. Imagine my shock when he flipped over ducks, including a deuce of hearts to take down the 415 pot? Thoughts on how else I might have played this hand at any or all stages are welcome.

Well, I was getting chipped down and was back down to just under 1300 when a push came. Seemed like as good a time as any to get up. Funny how winning just under a G didn't feel that good since I was up so much more, but I guess I'm very happy to have last night's buy-in back plus another one. Serious volatility for me so far this month at the club, but pretty decent over all for the last 4 sessions:

01Jul05, 3.5 hours, -380
09Jul05, 5 hours, 890
14Jul05, 2.25 hours, -507 (I actually won 7 in a hour at a 10-20L game I sat down at until they got the NL spread--a very good result for me at 10-20L make no mistake)
15Jul05, 4.5 hours, 990
See the flop...

Not Quite Ready for Prime Time

Why would you play a hand this way?

Small blind with 95o, 250 behind. Limp into a pot with 7 others. So far so good.

Flop comes 99A.

Check, watch the table check around to the cuttoff, a very aggressive player who has shown the ability to bet with nothing and who has 400 behind, bets 30.

Button folds.

Raise to 60.

Folds around to player on cutoff's right, who, with 600 behind, raises to 160. After 2 and half hours of play toghether, this player has shown clear signs of aggression but also has not made a visible mistake. In other words, he seems to be good.

What does another good player do?

Clearly not what I did, which is go all in.

Because you are an idiot.

I mean, I knew he very likely has the case nine, and the odds are clearly poor of my kicker being ahead. I guess my thinking, such as it was, was that I was going to be getting all in here anyway, I might as well get an ace to put all the money in the pot. Good analysis Mr. Sklansky. Q9 held up, and of course I know he would have folded an Ace to my reraise.

This is what happens when you are having a card dead night and then you forget the simple truth: "they'll give you cash for those chips". I could have got up with 200 left, instead of a bagel.

Walking out the door I told the floor, with whom I'm on a first name basis, that I had just busted out playing a hand like an idiot. Not actually really comforting at all, but dead on: "look at it as a learning experience". Indeed.

Lession 1: bet out flopped trips with weak kickers into 8 way pots, you need to find out who else might have the case card. Lession 2, and I have known I need to learn this for some time: take some time before raising all in. Make sure it can lead to a good outcome. Lession 3, and I sometimes know this: be willing to lay down when you know you are beat, even on a bad night.

I also had the joy of watching Schilling melt down with several Yankee fans, always known for their gentle class.
See the flop...

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Donkeys Suck You Out at the 200+15 too!

500K guaranteed, top 270 pay.

Blinds were up to 800 with 50 antes, my stack was just under 9k, average stack at 13k, very loose agg with 28k who raised 2nd UTG basically every time (I know I was in the BB each time he did it) stealing round after round, did his thing with a 2400 opener. I look down and see AJo and decided it was about as good as any time to make a stand and popped him all in (I was heading for the bubble otherwise). He waited about 30 seconds and called me. With 34. Soooooted. Yes, that's right, he called 1/4 of his remaining stack with 34 soooooooooooooted. Did I tell you I was playing 15% of hands? And here was the board in order:

Flop: 5c Qh 8h
Turn: Ad
River: Th

Guess what suit his cards were?

Out 486th of 2922.
See the flop...

Running Hot at the Club

Since my old club shut down, I've been adapting to my new club. The place is in many, many ways a massive improvement from Playstation. The decor is an unbelievable step up: hardwood floors, exposed brick walls, brand new tables, plasma TVs. The service is a quantum leap better, partially because they are hungry for players but also because they have been selective with staff. There are definitely familiar faces in this crew, but pretty much the cream of the crop--dealers are friendly and more importantly, super efficient. The floor (when he irons his shirt), is a classy guy (who reads this page). The owners are great and personable and about as interested in keeping players happy as I've seen. The bouncer is, well, he is extremely effective--and damn good looking (in case he also reads this page).

The only things that had been missing has been heavy action and a big night for yours truly.

Heavy action I am still waiting for, as the biggest night so far they've had was four tables running a few Thursdays ago, and that included one table of bloggers plus friends that has been written up before. Other than that it has been one or two tables, even on Saturday nights. This simply cannot last as the club is just too good relative to other clubs not to win out.

Last night, however, addressed the second of the club's critical deficiencies. My cards warmed up a bit, not so much big pairs (though I had cowboys a few times) as nice flops and turns. Also, I'm thinking I just plain play better on Saturdays as opposed to my standard Friday nights. Not coming from work, I am less stressed and more rested. I loosen up a bit an feel than I am more attuned the the texture of flops and what others' bets mean.

Of course it also helps when the following happens: 8 way action, 600 behind me with 2 limpers to 4th position, a newly arrived older gentleman who I am informed by the player on my right is a very solid, aggressive player--I think perhaps a pro. Solid, with about 425 behind him, raises it up to 10, for that table a large sweetener rather than a fold-em bet. Looking down at the cards next to my dealer button, I see 65, each of hearts. Nice hand to play if I think I'm going get the rest of the table to call, and I think I'm going to get the rest of the table to call. I play and they oblige, including the blinds.

Flop comes Q 4 7 rainbow, one heart. Action checks around to Solid, who makes it 25. Now this is an interesting bet. With 60 in the pot, this is a little small for a continuation bet. Moreover, I am assuming this is not a weak player. I think he liked the flop and wants action. Well, the up and down was pretty good for me, better than two hearts as it's harder to see and less likely to be 2nd best if it fills up (and, when coupled with the backdoor, it's about as likely to hit as a pure flush draw). I note that this illustrates the dark side of the sweetener from Solid's perspective--the range of hands I can have calling from the button here is pretty wide.

I call and to my short-term chagrin end up heads up with Solid. Said chagrin disappears when turn comes a 3 in the fourth suit, giving me ye olde nuts.

Solid comes out with a 75 dollar bet. Alright, what does he have? AK? It fit the pattern until the turn bet, but at that point he's got to know he's not pushing me off a queen, a card he has to think it likely I have at this point, so I don't think so. AQ? Much more likely, if he had been playing it like a drawing hand. AA, KK or QQ? Dangerously small pre-flop bet for those hands, but I was operating under the assumption that he was a tricky player so I couldn't put him off them. JJ or TT? Consistent with the pre-flop and the flop bets, but he would have to have been unsually persistent to push that at this point. How about KQ suited or off? That fits the pattern quite well. So that leaves me with likely hands of AA-QQ, AQ or KQ. I suppose Q-rag suited for two pair is a possible hand here as well. (74 suited? This way lies madness.)

All of those hands except QQ and Q-paired would have been drawing dead at this point, but also would have been quite difficult to fold, and of course all of them were behind. I wasn't about to give him a cheap river, so I raised it up to 175 straight. He thought, and he called.

River was a 4, not a card I wanted to see as it paired the board. My nuts were mortal once again, as QQ or Q4 (or 74!) would have had me killed. He checked to me and here's my reasoning in putting him all in. QQ is really unlikely given his small preflop bet, if he was playing Q-rag, Q4 is really a stretch and at some point I have to place some faith it the justice of the universe, plus why in the hell would he not bet these hands here rather than risk me checking back? If he's playing AQ, KQ, AA, or KK, he thinks that the 4 may have just counterfeited my flopped two pair. He may not like it, but if I go all in, he has a call of 215 to win a a pot of 460, and I think he has to do it with any of those hands. If I make a smaller bet, he's only going to pop me with QQ or Q4, and I'll have to call those anyway so I might as well get the chips in now.

He called, I flipped, he mucked, I stacked.
See the flop...

Friday, July 08, 2005

Satellite Fun

Taking the day off following leaving drinks for a colleague who will be sorely, sorely missed, I played through a bit of a hangover in the $3 rebuy satellite today for the Sunday 500K Guaranteed at 4:30. Crazy rebuy crack all-ins and suckouts as I actually spent $27 on rebuys and the add on. It ended up being worth it as by the skin of my teeth I played through 370 players (including an impressive chunk of dead money) to win one one of 19 seats. If anyone would be willing to sweat me on Sunday, I'd appreciate it.

Today was the first time I made it so far in a tourney with one prize level for the top spots. Trying to figure out exactly when to let up and slide into a seat rather than contesting pots is a tricky wrinkle.

I was about 12th in the chip lead with 2x the average with 45 players left, too soon I warranted to let up. Things got rather hairy when my slick got sucked out after being all in preflop against KJs, leaving me hovering between 18th and 22nd place with 27 players left. I was in serious danger of bubbling as all the short stacks but mine kept doubling up. Finally, with the blinds at 4k-8k (shortly to go to 8k-12k) and my stack down to 27k with 4 other short stacks bigger than mine, I found A8s in the small blind with only the limped UTG calling. I figured I was not folding anyone out, but I had the odds to call (1:5.5 with the antes) was likely to bubble out if I didn't get take a shot. The flop hit nicely enough with TPTK and I went all in, getting the UTG to call me with a lower pair and a sweetly dominated ace. It held up nicely:

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That was enough as all that I had to do from there was wait for the last bust outs and in I was. I probably was about 17th of the 19 winners, but no extra glory as we all came in first:

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See the flop...

ESPN Original Entertainment’s 2004 World Series of Poker

In case you haven't heard about it:


NEW YORK (June 28, 2005) -- The poker phenomenon is still raging and so is its highest stakes game, No-Limit Texas Hold’Em. To the delight of poker fans nationwide, ESPN Original Entertainment and DVD Marketing Inc. have compiled the complete 2004 World Series of Poker’s Main Event, a six-day shoot-out between the crème de la crème of the poker world and wildcard amateurs to capture the multi-million dollar cash prize, onto an ultimate must-have three-disc DVD set.

The DVD set, packed with bonus features and more than 11 hours of poker action, will be available for online purchase as of today at and with a suggested retail price of $19.95. Availability in retail outlets will follow.

“Our fans will really enjoy the 2004 WSOP DVD collection because we’ve loaded it with four hours of bonus content,” said Victoria Stevens, vice president, ESPN. “It’s great for people who enjoy poker and dream of someday making it to the final table at the game’s biggest stage.”

A record-breaking 2,576 players, more than triple the number from last year, came to Las Vegas for the 2004 World Series of Poker. Once again, it was a virtual unknown in the poker world that would beat the poker masters and garner the top prize. Greg “Fossilman” Raymer, a patent attorney from Connecticut, parlayed a $160 online entry fee into $5 million in winnings and the coveted WSOP title.

This DVD set contains ESPN Original Entertainment’s final 10 programs from the telecast of the 2004 World Series of Poker, which earned a 1.7 rating for more than 1.5 million viewing households. Hosted by ESPN commentators and poker aficionados, Lon McEachern and Norman Chad, the DVD is presented in fullscreen (1.33:1) digital video without commercial interruption, and includes revealing interviews of star players, basic rules of No-Limit Texas Hold’Em and four hours of bonus features. Chapter points set at the key rounds allow the viewer to jump directly to the action putting them in control of every frame of video as ESPN captures the emotion, strategy and luck in route to crowning the champion of the World Series of Poker.

The unprecedented four hours of bonus features include:

* Top-10 moments from the 2004 tournament
* A Greg Raymer commentary
* A Greg Raymer All Access
* Greg Raymer’s Bio
* A Stu Unger feature
* Beyond the Felt: Poker Talk segment
* Coverage of the $1,000 Buy-In No-Limit Texas Hold’Em
* Coverage of the $2,000 Buy-In Pot Limit Omaha
* Tournament of Champions feature
* Coverage of the Kansas City Lowball event, exclusive only to the DVD
Review copies and interviews with Greg Raymer are available upon request.
Distributor: DVD Marketing Inc., 1-888-383-1200,
See the flop...

Monday, July 04, 2005

Weekend update

Friday I planned to meet the Korean ATM at the club, his first visit to the new locale. Getting out of work early (at around 4:00) because of the market close, I had run up to check out a club in mid-town that had advertised to FTrain that it was starting to spread afternoon games. I had never been there so I was going to have to talk myself in, but nobody answered the buzzer so either the advertised games were not on or they are especially paranoid.

I did run into an insurance defense lawyer in the stairwell who was also looking to get into the same club. I did him a service (or maybe not), taking him down to my new regular club, which just about the time we got there was ready to spread a game for us and 3 others that were waiting with the floor lending his services as a prop while jumping up and down to iron his shirt on another table.

In my biggest mistake of the evening, I sat down immediately to the right of my new friend. I had correctly read from our conversation down on the subway that he was not a particularly experienced player. I was right, as he pretty much called every bet I made, which normally would be a good thing but really was not working for me as he was laying odds for the table to call around.

He once called my 20 bet on cowboys into an unraised pot (too small, I know, but I did want at least one caller!) and got me 3 callers for the ace that inevitably flopped (and not for him). He would also pop me from time to time often with players after him ready to give him action and he with a mediocre hand that lost. He of course went on to lose all his money but unfortunately it was flowing to the left and not to me.

My (least) favorite hand of this mode was Korean ATM's first big hand after he made it past Ivan the Terrible. In typical fashion, my albatross limped UTG with God knows what, and 3 other callers including ATM in the small blind around to me in the big blind with slick. Trying to find the magic number that would take the pot or thin the field, I raised to 25. Albatross without much hestiation of course called. 35? 50? How much into a 10 pot did I have to overbet? The third player thought for a moment and also called, compelling the 4th and ATM to call as well. All of a sudden I have AK with a 5-way 130 pot with no information other than the fact the it was unlikely anyone other than me had a premium hand. Not death walking, but nevertheless a bit frustrating in comparison with what I was trying to accomplish.

Flop hit 977 rainbow. ATM checked to me and I frankly did not have the heart for a continuation bet. I was pretty sure there was at least one small pair out there, I knew Albatross was more likely than not to call me with all but the largest of bets (leading to a compelled call by the hypothetical pair), and with the board already showing a pair, I didn't think it prudent to make that move. Just as well as it turned out.

Albatross checked, 3rd player bet 25 which was called around to me. I folded and Albatross, a man of consistency if nothing else, called.

Turn came a 6, Albatross checked and bettor checked, as did the man on ATM's right. ATM went all in for 200 more. Wow! Something was up. Indeed it was as it folded around (including Albatross) to the man on ATM's right, who immediately called. ATM had flopped trips with 87, but was drawing dead to the man on his right, who had flopped a 97 boat. Not sure there was much escape from that hand.

Bad night for each us (I was stuck almost 400). The weekend has been better, not so much in poker but in good parties. I did make a bit of a comeback in a sit and go, but still under combined B&M and online. Trying my luck as I write this in a 5 rebuy on stars.
See the flop...

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Boat with an Ace Kicker and SoxLover was a Tilting Jagweed

Roller coaster night out with the boys at the Near-Chinatown club. The Rooster invited some friends and any available bloggers to a private, low limit (3-6) rotation. FTrain brought along Ugarte and I brought along a guy FTrain and I met in AC last month at the same table FTrain bounced his hammer--at the time much to FTrain's chagrin as he laid down a monster bad beat on him. Continuing with a theme that leads me to name him F-Nemesis, he even passed me two redbirds to be obnoxious to F-Train, not knowing that he was paying a rain drop to fall down.

We started out with Omaha 8, which really wasn't fair since at least half the table was unclear on the rules. At one point the table really stalled in a hand between the Rooster and one of his friends who it turns out is a colleague of mine (well, in a general sense, as he and I work at a very large place). I was not in the action, which played down to the river with a 5, T, 5, 3, 5 board. The two turned over their hands, which were first read as a split pot with each player holding a T, then the Rooster's pot since it was noted he also held an Ace. In the line of the night, someone to remain nameless declared in all seriousness that fives full of tens with an ace kicker won. Finally, the dealer pushed the pot to my colleague when it was realized that he also held pocket sixes for a genuine boat.

I managed to earn a reasonable nut in the rotation, which was a good thing because even though I was up from a pre-game session I played at the main 1-2NL before the boys showed up (more below), I definitely went off the track when our private game switched to 1-2NL with a 300 max. I went on heavy tilt in my own Helmuthian moment when my slick aced up, ran into a smaller ace who refused to recognize he was beat and held on to runner runner flush me after calling my all in raise at the turn. I really should not have gotten quite that mad--on the one hand, each call he made was not a huge mistake (the turn call all in was a 200 to win 330 with what turned out to be 3-1 odds against hitting, and that's only if you assume I was not bluffing) and on the other hand and more importantly, although it was no limit for real money, it was a friendly game. For the web to see, I apologize to the Rooster's friend for acting like a jackass.

Ironically, if it hadn't been a friendly game, I'm sure I would held my emotions at least somewhat more in check. In any case, I found my own punishment in a tilt rage when I paid FTrain's Hiltons an additional 200. Without sending that 200 to Brooklyn, I would have been up pretty good for the night. As it was, I won my car fare home (and that's even after going halvesies with F-Nemesis).

The most interesting play, at least from a poker perspective, came in the pre-session with some club regulars and F-Nemesis. Very big cards and cracking all around as the guy on my right managed in about 10 hands to show pocket A's, Q's, K's as well as having quad 9's and lost about 300 in the process (he did take 20 of mine with his Q's though). I then went on a mini-rush of cards where I got A's twice and K's once in one orbit. I think but will never know for sure that first A's got cracked when my 50 flop bet on a Queen high board with two hearts only scared out 1 of the 3 pre-flop callers of my (too weak it seems) 15 UTG bet and the turn came a heart, leading me to meekly check, see a 50 bet and a 350 all-in reraise. I was really frustrated and even for a moment tried to justify a steam call since I had the heart ace, but I think I made the right lay down as one of them surely had me beat and I was only being offered 560 for a 300 call. The all-in raiser claimed afterward that my aces would have been good. Not sure if I believe him but I'd do the same thing again with the initial bettor acting after me.

My kings won a moderate pot that with another 15 (again too small bet for that table) getting 3 callers and a large flop raise with no ace up.

Aces again, this time in the small blind, led me to raise 30 (I figured the table "knew" by now that a 15 bet from meant AA or KK, so 30 had to be QQ or worse since it couldn't mean anything higher). This time I got one of the early limpers to call me, a strong player whom I had played with a few times before and seems to have made the club his haunt. He called me on my flop bet but folded on the turn and I showed him my aces again. I think he marked me to take down at that point.

A few hands later I got 99 in the cutoff and limped and about 415 behind. The strong player, who had me covered, was in the big blind and raised it up to 15 with 5 in. It folded around to me and, to find out where I was, I raised him up to 50. Before calling, I got poker player interrogation routine 101:

"You have aces again?"

"No, I don't have aces."

"You have kings?"

"Keep asking, maybe I'll tell you what I have."

He then proceeded to smooth call, which caused me to think he (a) had a very good pair, (b) had a big ace and wanted to see a flop rather than risk a coin flip or worse by popping me right there or (c) was setting me up for a move. Given my folding of the first aces in recent memory and our confrontation with my second aces a few hands before, I gave a little, but not too much, extra weighting to (c).

Flop came a reasonably good 567 rainbow, giving me an overpair and a gut shot. He checked and I tested (a) versus (b) with a 50 bet. He called me. Now I think I was in trouble. We were clearly in (a) or (c), (c) could possibly have become (a) with that board, and I didn't have quite the hand to contest the point if challenged. Turn was a 9, which was 99% good news. With trips I now beat any category (a) hand he had, but there was a greater chance (c) had turned into a monster. I bet 50 and he called me again. At that point, I was really not liking the situation but I was no longer able to lay it down come what may.

Well what may was another 7 on the river, giving me the overfull, the 2nd nut and a warm fuzzy feeling. If he had hit quads, more power to him, but otherwise, it was easy money and I just wanted some more.

I bet 100, which began the real drama. I mean it was epic.

Long pause, then he restarted the interrogation:

"You have it?"


"Are you bluffing?"

"There's one way to find out."

Stare stare. Stare back, look away, note the Orioles-Indians game up on the plasma. Hem haw hem haw. Finally another player called a clock. Stare stare.

"I know you're bluffing."


I put it at 70% that he had nothing and was just looking for a read on me for future hands, but sheesh it took awhile. I wonder if I played it wrongly.

Thinking at the time: he probably has a high pair, 100 is the most I can extort out of him.

Rehashing: If he laid down a high pair to 100, it was a great lay down. Perhaps he would have called 50. If he had nothing, he's laying down, or maybe, just maybe, making a move on me. With 100 in, if he pops me all in and I'm holding, say 10s or Js, my decision to call is 165 to win 675, no way I can fold there. With 50, I'm calling 215 to win 625, maybe I can fold, but really probably still not.

What if I had checked him? If he had a high pair, he either checks me back with the same result as what happened, or he takes a value bet stab, and has a really tough decision when I raise him all-in, I think he would not have done that. If he had garbage, he either mucks or moves all in, this time leaving me to call 265 to win 575. He maybe, maybe tries this but I think it's unlikely.

After running it through, although immediately after the fact I thought I had bet too much, I now think I bet the right amount. If he laid down a high pair to 100 that he would have called 50, I lost 50. More likely, he laid down nothing as he would have for 50. I do wonder if I could have induced a bet with a simple check, but I guess I'll just have to keep on wondering...
See the flop...