New York City
I walked out of the post office in my old neighborhood and spotted Vinny the barber. He stood in front of his shop across the street and waved me over.
"Yo, Pauly!" he shouted. "Come here!"
I followed Vinny the barber into his store. His brother, Leo the barber, sat in a barber's chair and thumbed through the NY Daily News while NPR played in the background. The store did not have any customers. Business was slow, which was rare.
"We saw you on ESPN," Leo the barber mentioned. "In the background of the WSOP. Looked like you had a good seat."
"Leo is thinking about playing the WSOP next year," explained Vinny. "Think he's got a chance?"
"You're gonna spend all your tip money at a shot at the big time?" I asked.
Leo shrugged his shoulders and said, "If that Jerry Yang could win..."
He didn't have to finish the sentence. I knew what he was thinking. If Jerry Yang could win the most prestigious tournament in all of poker, then anyone could win.
"How's your relationship with God?" I joked.
"Not as good as Jerry's," said Vinny the barber.
For the next ten minutes, I discussed poker with Vinny and Leo. They both made fun of Phil Hellmuth and Vinny referred to him as "that tall crybaby who crashed the car." We briefly touched upon other subjects involving Italian-Americans like the Joe Torre and Rudy's run for President.
Vinny and Leo were born in the old country. They emigrated to the Bronx as kids and have been living the American Dream for several decades. They've owned their own hair cutting business in the neighborhood for as long as I could remember. I went to Catholic school with their kids. They're devout Catholics and couldn't believe all that praying that was flying around the final table.
"It's gambling. You can't ask God for help with gambling," Leo said.
"Well according to Jerry Yang, you can. Believing in God is the ultimate coin flip," I mentioned before I got cut off.
A couple of customers walked in and our symposium on poker, God, and the Yankees had come to a quick halt. I scheduled a haircut for the next day and said that we'd postpone our discussion until then.
What I love (and loathe) about New York City is the "bump into." You never know who you might encounter while walking down the street. Inside of the same hour, I bumped into Vinny the barber and then my uncle. He asked me where I was flying to next. I told him about the Poker News Cup in Melbourne, Australia. I mentioned that I might play in one of the lower buy-in preliminary events.
"So can I follow your progress on Poker News like I did during the WSOP?" he asked.
"Yep," I said. "Just follow the live updates."
"Is Phil Ivey going to play?" he asked.
"Probably not," I answered and then explained that Ivey skipped the WSOP Europe and how he'd rather play high stakes cash games since tournaments (especially non-bracelet tournaments) are a waste of his time.
"Well if Ivey isn't playing," he said, "then I probably won't follow the updates."
He was being serious. Phil Ivey 1, Pauly 0.
I played in three different blogger tournaments over the past week. That might be a record for the year. I never have the opportunity to play in any events anymore. I made an effort to play in MiamiDon's Big Game a few times and I won the one he hosted on Chinese New Year. Aside from a few Mookies, I've been absent from the blogger circuit. The majority of blogger tournaments cater to east coasters. I've been spending most of my time in other time zones, either on the left coast or overseas which means I miss out on the action.
The Yankees got knocked out of the playoffs, so I had a couple of free evenings last week. I played the Mookie and busted out after the first break when I was short-stacked and pushed with 7-7, only to run into K-K. I played in Kat's Friday Donkament. That was a lot of fun. I only invested $5 ($1 + $1 buy in, $2 in rebuys, and $1 for the add-on). I busted out when my 9-9 ran into Iakaris' Hilton Sisters.
On Sunday afternoon, I played in the PokerStars blogger championship while I watched the pathetic Jets/Eagles game. Over 1,300 bloggers signed up. That makes like 1,000 blogs I had never read before. I decided to play like a loose cannon. I took a hit early when my Jacks ran into a set and lost 35% of my stack. I busted out early in 1131th place when my A-K could not improve against J-J. At least I outlasted Waffles. By two spots. I lost a last longer with Change100. The good thing about donking out early was that I could concentrate on football since I had more money at stake on NFL games. Of course, I was keeping my eye on the progress of my team in the Sundays with Dr. Pauly contest over at Fantasy Sports Live.
Editor's Note: Congrats to Derek for going deep and making the money in 48th place. I was sweating his table (Bad Blood was moved there later). I also watched Shirley Rosario snag the chiplead with about 80 to go.
I cannot explain why, but I've been dabbling at the HORSE tables. I've been playing a lot of 3/6 HORSE on Full Tilt and at PokerStars. I'm a rock during O8 and although Razz rubs me the wrong way (like rubbing my testicles on a rusty cheese grater) I have been turning my biggest profit during the Razz levels. I forgot how much I enjoyed Stud. I don't play it too much online. You need to pay attention to all the cards so multi-tabling is putting you at a disadvantage.
I have been playing PLO to get my action junkie fix. I sat at a few 2/4 PLO tables and always had three rebuys ready just in case I found myself in an old fashioned gun fight. Nothing special to report there.
I had an interesting snafu occur on Full Tilt at a 1/2 PLO table. I was dealt Ah-Ac-Ts-9h in early position and I bet the pot. A very loose player in late position called. Heads up. The flop was Ad-8h-7d. I flopped top set with an open-ended straight draw, minus some outs because of the diamond draw out there. Sadly, I didn't have any diamonds. I bet the pot for about $20. He called. The turn was the Jd. I turned a straight but the same card made a possible flush. I bet 2/3 of the pot or $45 to find out where I was. He raised the pot to over $165.
I thought and thought and thought. I had some outs to make a full house. If any of the cards on the board paired, I'd be ahead with a boat or possibly quad aces. I was pretty sure I was behind and decided to gamble. I put him on a baby flush... the only thing that had me beat. I was ahead if he held any other set. Maybe he turned a set of Jacks? Or perhaps we both had the same made hand and he turned a straight with 10-9? In Omaha, your opponent could have just about anything. At least I was drawing to the nuts. I said fuck it and hit the call button and my hand was instantly folded.
What. The. Fuck?
The time expired and my delayed action caught up in a glitch. The site didn't register my call. I just threw up my hands in the air. In the end, that glitch might have saved me a few bucks. Then again, I might have felted the fucker.
Oh well, just one of those odd quirks that can only happen playing online poker. Online Poker Gods 1, Pauly 0.
Sometimes in life, you just gotta say fuck it and throw all logic out the window. I took a shot at the 50/100 limit hold'em tables. I never ventured past the 30/60 demarcation line. My bankroll could not handle the swings at anything past that. Plus I'm concerned about collusion. If players were to cheat online... those would be the limits to target.
There were two European pros at the table that I knew, so I sat down. Basically, those two were heads up in a lot of pots against each other while everyone else folded and watched those two slug it out. I only played a couple of orbits and broke even. I wish I could write something special about my experiences at the highest online stakes I played. It was anti-climatic although I was pumped up when I sat down. It had been a very long time since I felt like every hand mattered. In the end, the action was nothing too exciting. I raised with As-Js from the cut off and got two callers (both pros). I missed the flop but they both checked to me. I fired out at the pot and they folded. And that was the only hand of utter significance to report.
I have been grinding away at the 15/30 and 10/20 tables. I haven't been doing too hot at 30/60 and decided to lay off that level for a bit while I concentrated on 10/20 and 15/30 since that's been the level where I've been making the most money. Bread and butter. Grinding it out at the tables is very boring. ABC poker. I have become a bot. A bot, am I.
I played a couple of bad 15/30 sessions over the past week. Sure, I had some big hands cracked and I missed a lot of big draws, but I played too many hands out of position. I tried to outplay my opponents instead of waiting to get my money in at a better time. My weekly 15/30 losses should be bigger (I lost two monsterpottens with set over set), but I got lucky one time and backdoored a straight when I missed a nut flush draw. That pot made up for all the horrible decisions I made during that session. I bailed myself out with one lucky river card.
Last night at the 10/20 tables, some nit called me a fish when I rivered him to scoop the pot. I didn't say anything in the chat. Silence. If you ignore the nimrods in the chat box, then it drives them more crazy. If you respond, you're only falling into their hands by giving them the attention that they desperately crave so much. I kept my mouth shut and let him waste his energy typing away gibberish. I couldn't even tell you what else he wrote since I stopped paying attention to his verbal abuse and focused on playing my other tables. If I did write anything in the chat, I would have told him that he misplayed his hand on two instances and succumbed to fancy play syndrome (FPS).
Dear Nimrod,I made a note on the player and will seek him out next time I'm online. I want players like that at my table - people who completely refuse to take responsibility for their actions will often overlook their weaknesses/mistakes and chalk up the end result as a error on their opponents' part and not their own. Instead of blaming themselves, they are blaming others. That's a losing formula for him and an opportunity for me to pick up some loose change.
You let me catch up in the hand and I got there on the river. Tough shit. Suck it up. If your head still hurts, buy a fuckin' helmut. Then shove a tampon up your ass to stop the bleeding. And if you're still steaming, then go hate-fuck a hooker while screaming your mother's first name.
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