Thursday, April 30, 2009

Placemat Superpanchos, Pig Profiteers, Iron Man IX, and PLO Malaise

By Pauly
Hollyweird, CA

There's a company in Argentina that makes paper placemats. They were in at least two different eateries that I visited in Mar del Plata. Although the colors varied, the designs were similar. See the above picture to get a better grasp of the placemat. There will be a quiz shortly.

Five of us sat down at a restaurant during the dinner break. Our choices were limited because the dinner break was before 7pm and Argentinians did not eat dinner until 8pm or even later. We sat down in one joint across the street from the hotel. Otis was in a gambling mood from the get go. Although the menus were in Spanish, we pretty much knew what we were ordering.

However, there was one unknown item on the menu. A Superpancho. It came con queso or sin queso (that translates into with cheese or without cheese). Otis never bothered to ask the surly waiter what the contents the Superpancho. He wanted to be surprised and ordered a Superpancho... con queso.

All I knew was that whatever Otis ordered, it was gonna be definitely lathered in cheese. We wondered if it was some massive steak sandwich... or some sort of Argentinian version of a club sandwich.

Fifteen minutes later, the waiter returned with our dishes. To Otis surprise, the waiter plopped down a plate. Finally, the Superpancho was unveiled.

Talk about a bust. It was just a foot long hot dog. With a slice of barely melted cheese resting on top of the most overhyped hot dog I had ever seen.

Otis whiffed on the Superpancho, but he had a chance to win some money playing Placemat Roulette. Look at the above picture. There were ten or so different images. I would write down one image in my notebook. Then I gave everyone a chance to guess my pick. The odds started out at 8-1 and I allowed them to bet anywhere from 1 peso to 100 pesos. After the first person missed their guess, the odds dropped to 7-1, and then to 6-1 and if it got that far, down to 5-1.

I obviously had the edge as the house, but Change100, Joe, Otis and MeanGene wanted to play. They craved action. On the first run, I picked a Highball glass. Everyone whiffed and I collected 40 pesos. I pretty much won almost every time except once... when Otis nearly busted the bank when he miraculously picked correctly. I had to pay him off at 7-1 odds.

Here's a video montage of my travels in Argentina.

* * * * *

Over the weekend, I did my homework and researched four different pharmaceutical companies that stood to profit from the Swine Flu. I targeted BioCryst Pharmaceuticals, Roche, GlaxoSmithKline, and Quidel. I jumped out of bed extremely on Monday morning because I was on the West Coast and didn't want to miss the opening bell. The rush returned. That feeling I forgot. The adrenaline. Mounting as the time slowly approached.

Within a few hours, I was mentally exhausted as I sat on the edge of my seat with every uptick and gobbled up every ounce of news from Mexico City about the swine flu. There was so much chatter that I had no idea what to believe.

My picks fared well. I was essentially done with my day trading session by 1pm and booked a small profit. I returned to re-writing Lost Vegas and returned to my retirement from the grind of investing.

Alas, I was one of those scumbag Swine Flu profiteers. But hey, if Al Gore can pick up some quick cash on the Swine Flu, why can't I?

* * * * *

I achieved Iron Man on Full Tilt for 9 consecutive months. I can probably get to ten in a row before I stop playing in June because of the WSOP. Too bad. After a rough start to 2009, I bounced back the last two months and have been booking frequent winning sessions for the first time in months.

My buddy Johnnie Walker told me that you can use your Iron Man medals to buy a free Iron Man month, so I might do that for June which will buy me some time in July.

Iron Man was never something I actively sought to achieve. It just happened because I have been playing a lot of cash games over the previous six months in order to supplement my income and cover those staggering six digit losses that my portfolio took in the stock market. If I had a decade straight of winning years at the cash game tables (considering my modest limits)... I might have a shot at wiping out those loses by 2019.

Anyway, the bottom line is this... I'm having more fun playing poker so I'm putting in more time at the tables.

* * * * *

I played in the Mookie and made one bad move on the last hand before the break. I tried to steal a pot because most of the time, no one wants to get involved in a big hand on the cusp of a break. Sometimes they gotta piss, or smoke, or make a phone call and they'll pass on a hand. I hoped to take advantage of that situation... alas, to no avail. I was crippled and busted out on the first hand after the break in a dismal 59th place.

Anyway, Mookie published my champion's profile from last week's interesting finish. Check it out.

* * * * *

Even though I curtailed my time at the PLO tables, I managed a couple of innocuous sessions at the PLO tables on PokerStars. During one session, I lost most of my stack on a horrendous runner-runner straight. I know that those things happen, especially in PLO, but this one particularly stung.

I held A-A-10-9 double suited. Three players limped. I potted. One of the players from the blinds re-potted. Everyone folded to me and I shoved. He quickly called with A-A-9-6 rainbow. Yep, his 9-6 played and he won the pot with a nine-high straight. Ooommmmph.

Stacked by a donk from Dusseldorf. Thank you, RiverStars.

Original content written and provided by Pauly from Tao of Poker at All rights reserved. RSS feeds are for non-commercial use only.

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