Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Something Completely Different

I had not played at the Blue Parrot since my birthday. There was an event last week, but I skipped last Monday's NL tournament to watch the friggin' Yankees drop Game 5 of the ALCS in extra innings. This week was supposed to be a little different. The buy in was dropped from the usual $100 to $50. The previous games at the Blue Parrot are hyper competitive and the seats are with skilled players from all walks of life. Signor Ferrari was encouraging binge drinking and loose play with an emphasis on a fun night of poker, which included explaining some strategy and different games with some of the other newbie players. Plus, it was Ladies Night at the Blue Parrot. And drunk Pauly saw lots of flops and walked away the big loser. From my first sip of Molson, I went into Gus Hansen mode. From every position I raised with any ace, two suited cards, any paint and any pair. I always defended my blinds to a raise... even with crap. I raised on the button with nothing and jammed the pots whenever I had position. I also got sucked out a few times on and lost a couple of hands in Stud on the river. I was shocked to see that I was down so much. I guess I was having a good time... losing. That's rare.
The Players:
Seat 1: Asphnxma from Riding the F Train
Seat 2: Marie
Seat 3: Signor Ferrari
Seat 4: Julie
Seat 5: Diane
Seat 6: Jon
Seat 7: Pauly
8:15pm EST... The usual limits are $2/4 for rounds of hold'em and Omaha with a $1-5 spread on Stud games. Late nights after 2am, the limits get bumped up to $3/6. Last night, the limits were dropped to $1/2 hold'em and Omaha and .25c/$3 spread for Stud. Jon was a first time participant at the Blue Parrot. His background check with Homeland Security cleared earlier in the day and got the greenlight to play from Tom Ridge and his boys. I had not played with Marie in several months. It was good to hear her lovely British accent at the table which always added a tinge of class to the otherwise lot of degenerate gamblers. Although Julie had played at the Blue Parrot before, this was my first time sitting at a table with her. Regulars Asphnxma and Diane filled the rest of the seats while the beer and red wine flowed steadily.

8:34pm EST... -22. I dropped a pot to Ferrari who river'd me with a straight. I had QJ and flopped top pair. I kept raising and Ferrari called me all the way until he caught runner-runner for his gutshot straight. You know it's going to be a long night when you lose your first hand to running gutshots.

9:03pm EST... -3. After a quick tutorial on the intricacies of Omaha for Julie, Marie called a round of Omaha hi/lo. I saw every flop with crap. Usually I play super tight in Omaha but wanted to at least see the flop for a buck and fold afterwards. I won one pot with A39T.

9:35pm EST... +20. Back to hold'em and I beat out Asphnxma's pocket 55s with ATo. I flopped top pair and he saw me all the way to a river. Normally he would have folded but since it was $1/2 hold'em we kept jamming the pot like we both had AA. By that point, everyone was a little tipsy.

9:46pm EST... Perhaps it could have been the hand of the night? All I know was that the action was capped preflop with raises and reraises. I tried to limp in with J9o. Asphnxma started off the raising fest, followed by Ferrari and Diane's reraises. I foolishly called mumbling something about "pot odds" as I swigged my Molson Golden. The flop: 4-6-4. I bailed out and again the betting was capped. The turn: 5. Ferrari finally got out and I could see from the anguish on Asphnxma's face when he flashed me his cards. He wasn't happy with his high pocket pair. A Jack ht the turn. No help for either players. Diane hit her straight on the turn with 87s while Asphnxma sighed and flipped over his AA. Ouch. Here's his take:
I knew I was beat on the turn, showed Pauly my aces and said "I'm beat", and then called to a river showdown. These would be two running themes of the night: people catching gutshots (or in Pauly's case, the runner-runner Pauly special), and me calling bets when I knew I was beat. I have a tendency to do that, especially with unknown players
9:55pm EST... +36. I hit my first and only rush of the night. During a round of hold'em I was getting plenty of marginal hands and raised everytime I entered a pot winning decent sized pots with K-10 and K9s.

10:15pm EST... +27. Julie pulled off a masterful move bluffing Ferrari out of a pot on the river when a third diamond hit. As soon as the diamond spiked on the river, I blurted out, "The lady hit her flush!" in between long swigs of my Molson... the official Canadian beer of the Tao of Poker. Julie fired out and Ferrari raised her. She played right back and went over the top of him. He quickly folded. She raked in the pot and flipped over her cards. Nothing. Not even one red card!

10:52pm EST... -35. I started bleeding worse than when Tatiana Totmianina knocked her noggin' on the ice the other night. I called three bets preflop with Q6o for fuck's sake and I was drunk, but nowhere near Al Cant Hang drunk and never should have pissed away my chips like my alter ego, that drunken Russian sailor on shore leave in Bangkok, which I thought I killed off, but alas, he resurfaced at the Blue Parrot. I slowly gave all my chips away on a collection of loose calls. During a round of Omaha hi/lo, I found the Hilton Sisters in my four cards for three consecutive times. One hand was brutal. Even with an ace flopping, I called to see the turn... and another Q hit for my set. I saw the hand all the way to the river even with a flush possibility out there and lost to Jon's AA! Set over set. Ouch. The Hiltons were killing me once again. And Julie could have won that pot if she stayed in... she had two little diamonds which was good enough to win the high end of the pot with a flush.

11:01pm EST... -60. I was the big blind with Q6s. Marie raised preflop, Diane reraised and I cold called. The flop: Q-10-Q. I checked my trips, Marie bet, Diane raised, and I reraised, Marie called, Diane reraised to cap, and I called. The turn was an Ace and the betting was capped again. I thought out loud, "Which one of the ladies has the AJ?" The river was a K and I knew I was cooked. I checked, Marie checked, Diane bet and we both called. Marie showed AK and Diane took down the pot with J-10. Again she caught running cards to catch a straight. It was time for my first rebuy. I guess I can't complain, I always want players raising into me with two pair when I have trips.

11:54pm EST... Lots of action preflop. In a $1/2 game with lots of raising, it was not uncommon to see $12-15 in the pot preflop. I knew Julie had a monster hand. Her tell was pretty obvious and I won't be publishing it here. Do your own homework. Earlier in the night I asked her if she had QQ and sure enough she did. The flop: J-3-6. Again the betting was capped on the flop. The turn was another rag and Asphnxma flashed me his cards... AJ... and folded. He knew he didn't have the best hand. It was heads up with Ferrari and Julie. The river: A. Ferrari hit his pair with ATo. Julie showed her KK and fell victim to another Ferrari beat on the river. Of course if Asphnxma stayed in, he would have hit his two pair! The one time he played tight, it cost him the pot!

12:10am EST... -98. Jon and Marie left. Earlier, Julie made a general observation that she could out drink anyone at the table. We all gave her a hard time. Ferrari laughed pretty loud and said, "You can't out drink me, and I know for a fact Pauly could drink me under the table." Asphnxma gave me a look like, "You survived a weekend with Al Cant Hang!" If only I could put that on my resume... just after International Bond Trader and before Screenwriter. I'm willing to take on any prop bet and quickly took Julie up on her offer.

12:13am EST... Ferrari went heads up with Julie in another pot. He had KJ and flopped top two pair. Julie had a flush draw and chased to the river. She scooped up another pot from Ferrari. I had to rebuy a second time when I tossed $40 Julie's way and she gave me some of her chips.

12:40am EST... -110. Julie and Asphnxma went heads up. Julie had a flush draw again and with a crappy flop and even a worse turn, I was starting to wonder if anyone had anything. The river was a 2 and Asphnxma fired out. Julie called with nothing and Asphnxma showed The Hammer! His pair of twos was good enough to win.

1:15am EST... -121. Ugly got hideous real fast. It could have been worse. I only played one hand of Anaconda and didn't lose a lot of money. Stud was killing me. By fifth street I had 5-5/A-6-A. Ferrari ended up catching a full house on the river with Js over 6s. Ouch.

1:35am EST... The Real Hand of the Night?
Ferrari: KK
Julie: AA
Diane: QQ
Pauly JJ... w/ J of hearts!
Asphnxma: 86o.
The flop: Ah-Kh-Qh. I blurted out, "Looks like a Party Poker flop!" Diane was shortstacked and she was all in so we had to set up a side pot. The betting was capped on the flop just like it was preflop. I was the only one who didn't hit the set, but I chased anyway.

The turn: As. Julie flashed her tell once again and I looked over at Diane and I picked up a new tell that she gave off when it was apparent that she hit a full house. The betting was capped.

The river: 10h. I looked up at Julie. "Do you have Big Slick?" She smiled and raised Ferrari's opening bet. I reraised, Ferrari capped it and we all showed our cards. I beat out Julie's four aces with a Royal Flush!

Too bad we rigged the deck.

Let's flashback ten minutes earlier. The ladies stepped outside for a smoke break. I decided to get Ferrari and Asphnxma to playa little joke on them. Let me put out this disclaimer... I am not a cheater and as proprietor, Signor Ferrari will not tolerate cheating at his place. What we did was out of pure fun... not for monetary gain. We were careful to make sure everyone got their money back after the hand was over. We were drunk, silly, and having a good time. OK, so let's get back to my story. We set up a cold deck. Asphnxma raced to make sure we got monster hands with one of the ladies nailing four aces only to lose on the river to a Royal Flush. Julie was a great sport about it and in the process I picked up a tell on Diane that I never knew existed before. When it was over I asked the table, "Was this a blogworth hand?" Definitely.

By the way, in the future, you might wanna cut any deck twice that Asphnxma shuffles.

My notes ended shortly after that hand. We played for a little while longer but when our night of drollery was complete, I was down $123. How was that possible for a small stakes game? I went swimming with the sharks at Foxwoods last week and only dropped $185. Bad beats, loose calls, and sad running suckouts did me in. All that didn't matter because I had a good time. In the last year I have been playing serious poker and sometimes the intense stress levels have taken away the fun aspect of the game. It feels good to sit down at a table and throw all that Sklansky out of a 19 story building and just sit down, drink, tell awful jokes, and have fun. After a losing month, I needed a night of social poker to help get my head back on track. A jovial night concluded with the four of us nearly getting run over by a taxi on 8th Avenue when we all tried to cross the street with a red light! Engrossed in deep conversation about the night's game, we ignored all rules of pedestrian traffic.
The Finally Tally:
Ferrari +96
Diane +71
Marie +32
Julie +25
Jon -18
Asphnxma -33
Pauly -123
A good turnout for Ladies Night at the Blue Parrot... since the ladies walked away up over $130 and the two poker bloggers were down $150+!

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