Thursday, November 20, 2003

Providence & Foxwoods... a Sunday Roadtrip

I woke up a late and drove from the Upper West Side of Manhattan to Providence, Rhode Island for Jodd's bris. He's the newborn son of my buddy Senor. I had never been to a bris before (I was raised Catholic). It was strange. You can read all about it on my regular blog.

Back to poker... Foxwoods was buzzing. Sunday night was the off-day of the big tournament: The World Poker Finals. It started on Thursday and the final table was slated for Monday night (last night... and Phil Helmuth lost to an unklnown, who pocketed $1 Million in prize money). Anyway, I suspected that some big players might be in the poker room. As soon I sat down at a $2-4 Hold'em table (there was no wait), the players there were all talking about Chris Moneymaker... the 2003 WSoP champion ($2.5 Million winner). He sat just two table away, playing Pot Limit Hold'em. One of the young ladies at my table kept saying, "He's so small! He looked so big on TV!" Just like everyone else, we all saw Moneymaker on ESPN's extensive coverage of the 2003 World Series of Poker (which was played in May, but aired all summer on ESPN & ESPN2).

One of the last times I played at Foxwoods, everyone was buzzing because Ben Affleck played Pot Limit and was giving free money away to players who didn't have enough cash for the buy-in, just so he could get a high stakes game. I did not have enough cash to sit in with Moneymaker. If I did, I probably would have lost it all, but I would have walked away with a great story: "I got to play with a champion..."

Anyway, how did I play? Not so good. I dropped $190 in 8 hours. I was up $100 in the first hour and it was all downhill from there. Why? As always, I played too many hands and on a couple big pots I lost on a few bad beats (all three on the friggin' river).

But I had some good hands. In the first ten minutes after I sat down, I found myself on the button. I decided that I would aggressive play my position all night, and weakly play my blinds. Anyway, I found a 10-9 off suit on the button... definitely playable. Of course, the flop comes out 10-10-9. Holy shit... I flopped a fucking full house!! There were 5 other people in on the hand. No one raised and I smooth-called. I didn't want to raise to knock people out, nor to give away my hand. On the turn, two people stayed in and I raised to $8. They both called and on the river I raised to $8. I got re-raised and one guy dropped. I re-raised the guy and he called. I turned over my full house 10s over 9s and his straight was not good enough to win. A young woman nearby said, "I can't believe you didn't jump out of your seat after the flop!" She was watching me the entire time and I carefully diguised my hand. I tried to play it cool and it worked. It was one of the best plays I ever made in low limit in the short time I'd been playing in a casinos, and unfortunately, it was my only good play all night.

A few hands later, I flopped a flush. And I found myself up $100. After that I caught a run of bad cards, and I ran into heads-up pots with people on rushes. I lost every A-K I was dealt all night. I lost Q-Q and J-J to people who pulled a small & medium flushes on the river.

Later in the night I saw Oklahoma Johnny... he's a legend in the poker world. He started the Senior Tour and was hosting the Senior's tourney at Foxwoods. He sat down with a young woman (whom I thought was his granddaughter... but it was his daughter). He was her coach and he didn't play. She wore a fuzzy hat and explained that she "was from Las Vegas and was not used to the cold weather in Connecticut." I sensed that she was prepping to hustle us, so I avoided going heads up with her in any hand. I read some of Oklahoma Johhny's book (which I didn't tell her, nor him). I knew that he preached that you should muck your first fifty hands when you sit down at a game... even if you get a good hand. His theory is that you get used to your surroundings, and get to see what type of players you are playing against. After an hour, and looking at his daughter's stack, I realized that she was doing exactly what he wrote about. She didn't play too many hands. Perhaps I should have listened to what he wrote about in his book.

I got beat badly on pocket Kings and that cost me over $40. I kept raising everytime I bet and the kid next to me kept calling. I knew he was on a draw. He eneded up catching a full house on the river. And yes, I was wicked pissed. I took Brad Singer's advice... "if you lose on an extremely bad beat, get up and walk away." It was 4am and I played for over eight hours. I watched some of Moneymaker's game before I ate a slice of cheesecake. I left Foxwoods around 4:30am and drove back into the city to return the rental car.

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