Monday, May 31, 2004

I Really Enjoyed May
"Knowing others is wisdom, knowing yourself is Enlightenment." - Lao Tzu
Thanks to Party Poker, I wiped out all of my Las Vegas loses, in addition to stopping a huge losing streak that took up most of the entire month of April. I am pumped for my recent success, but also mindful of the long term haul... this May's winning ways means nothing unless I can follow it up with a better June and July.

I am back on track. Mentally, my game is solid. When you win, you feel more confident in your game, that's for sure. I've been approaching my losses and bad beats with a lot less hostility. I try to forget the horrific, ball crunching defeats as soon as they are over, which is no simple task. Bad beats and river two outers are, unfortunately, a part of the game... and I cannot control those aspects of poker. I must be able to asborb all the bad beats, while staying patient and cool, awaiting my moments to play aggressive. I have focused on the positives of my game, and tried my best efforts to avoid slipping into the deadly, dark abyss of tiltdom. I've spent many a session on Party Poker under that foggy haze of Tilt. And lucky for me, only once or twice this month did I find myself in that bad place, and logged off as soon as I was aware I was hurting my bankroll with poor decision making.

I played a lot less per session, and took hit and run wins when I could, walking away when that voice in my head told me to... and it's paid off! I settled on the $25 NL ring games as a nesting place to begin my surge. And most recently, I jumped back into the SNG games... this time with a better gameplan, and a new level... the $20 SNGs. In my first 11, I won 5 of them and finished in the money in 7.

I fared well at both Ferrari home games, which added to my bankroll rejuvination. However, I realized that overall, I could play much better too. That's what is pushing me to having a better month. I also know my time is limited, with travel plans, but I hope to keep up the rush until I hit the road in mid June.

I played in 3 Freerolls in the past week, placing 219, 799, and 145 (last night). All three had about 1400-1500 players. My brother came in 92nd last night. He played great! Those multis are a grind, but with $1000 for first place, it was worth my time and effort.

OK, I wish I could write more... but I'm under the weather and have to go. I have a shitload to write this upcoming week and I need my strength for Al Can't Hang's upcoming visit to NYC. More reflections later.

Sunday, May 30, 2004

Shrek 2 Update

The beancounters in Hollyweird are so far projecting some decent news for me. They predict that through this morning, Shrek 2 has grossed almost $75 Million, which is half way to the $151 M mark I set for Boy Genius. If Shrek 2 has a good next two days... I might beat out BG and take Week 2!

Check back to: Box Office Mojo.

Saturday, May 29, 2004

Silent in the Morning
"Great acts are made up of small deeds." - Lao Tzu
Finally a decent day of weather in the big city. The sun is shining, the birds are chirping, the Yankees are winning, and Pauly's building his bankroll back up to respectability on Party Poker... a lovely day indeed.

Well, if you don't know, Week 2 of the Boy Genius-Pauly gamblethon was kicked off when I lobbed a softball towards BG and suggested:
How much will Shrek 2's Memorial Day weekend gross be? Over or under $151 M.
And of course he took the under. Ogre vs. Disasterpiece Theatre?I'm in trouble. I should have did a better job at picking the numbers. If you get the chance go see Shrek 2! Take the girlfriend, take the kids. Take a bus load of Aimish teens. Shrek 2 will prevail, even if I have to go see it three hundred times, since movies in NYC cost as must a a round trip ticket to Bangladesh. I got lucky when Tony Randall died and won $5 last week. Speaking of which... there's a nice segue to what happened to Grubby the other day at work:
While laying out the catalog, I took a break and read Pauly's funny account of his brush with the late Tony Randall. I copied and pasted text that I was going to email him with, but instead I continued work on the catalog. Within the description of "toilet seat cover dispensers," I accidentally pasted Pauly's description of Mr. Randall so that it read (in bold): that fuckin' umbrella jerkoff for dispensing quarter-fold paper toilet seat covers.
Nice! The Tao cut and spliced while on the job. I dig it.

Quality Scribes...

Good job to the Poker Prof for his kick ass updates of the WSoP. We all know who the winner is, and if you don't check out the Poker Prof.

Cheap Thrills also had a good write up that a friend of his wrote on the final table action.

Al Can't Hang has a trip report to the Borgata in where he admits he played the best poker of his life:
With KK in LP, I raised 5xBB. $10. These raises get absolutely no respect. Saul stares at me with his one good eye, and pushes all-in. Thank you Saul, I'll be with you in a second. Because CLG calls the all-in. Eff both these guys when a K hits the flop. Saul doesn't even flinch, just reaches into his rack for 60 more. Cranky guy is about to lose his mind. He would have thrown all his chips in the air if they weren't already getting pushed to my side of the table.
Here's his sad tale about getting a set of flopped Kings cracked by runner runner:
Doyle Brunson pops up in my head. I think I have the best of it, don't be afraid to put your chips in the middle.

All-in. $650. Two things are going to happen, he's going to fold and I'm going to move up to 750. He's going to call with a hand that is dominated and I'm going to double up to 1300. I don't care if he calls or folds at this point.

After staring at me for 10 minutes, he calls. Here we go. What I'm about to describe may not be suitable for the easily offended and woman who are pregnant.
Man, oh man. Read the rest of his report.

Maudie has an excellent post about White Moments. It's a must read. Here's a bit:
A friend of mine, years ago while in graduate school, spoke of what she termed "white moments" - these are the moments which provide the greatest reward as a performing artist. They are hard to describe but unmistakable when they occur. The best way I can describe it is these are the moments when all the ingredients blend to make the perfect concoction - in theatre it's when everything - the acting, set, lights costumes and audience come together in a crystal clear moment of truth - the art is complete.
Our favorite Minnypokerblogger is on a nice rush. I won't say his name for fear of jinxing him!

And you gotta take a peek at all of HDouble's and Iggy's Vegas write ups. Here's some of the best of the best of HDouble:
We call Iggy's hotel room, but he's nowhere to be found, so M and I stumble hazily into a cab, steeling ourselves for the insanity we'll shortly face at the Horseshoe. The first day of the big one, and we arrive at Binion's at around 2:00 PM to battle our way through a huge crowd of observers. ESPN cameras and boom mikes hover around Hellmuth, Doyle sits calmly, and a crowd has gathered behind the window in back of Johnny Chan's seat.

I'd never thought much of the WSOP. There's just too much luck involved in winning one big tournament, and I never really understood all the hype. But sitting there, looking at the best of the best at the beginning of a 7 day shootout for all the money, I finally got it. It's the experience. Nobody in this thing really expects to win, but the rush of playing the best in the world, and just having a chance... that's what the WSOP is all about.
And a snippet of Iggy:
Long story short - we ended up at a casino called Terrible's playing craps. Damn, we had fun. The table was rocking and rolling all night as we sunk further and further into savage drunkeness. I'm not sure what did it, but we ended up tilting out the craps boss. I had some help from M, who nicknamed the guy Don Rickles, which the entire table quickly picked up on. It was too damn funny because this guy was openly rooting against us. I suspected he was just bitter about us winning because he was, in reality, the casino owner just slumming it at the craps table.
The Poker Nerd had somethings to say about the future winners of Celebrity Poker Letdown. Don't miss it:
3rd Place -- Star Jones -- Could be better than I think, but my guess is her ego, matched only by her size, gets the best of her. I bet Barbara Walters takes all the money in The View's home game...
Lastly, some Penguin Droppings from the man from New Zealand himself:
Like the Hammer, this may prove to be nothing more than an amusing piece of stupidity. Which brings me back to the question that started it all. What do I feel Sully should do with the Hammer in the BB in an unraised family pot. Well, I think he should check. But I always check my big blinds in limit poker unless there's only one other person in the pot and I think he's cheeky. In this case, it's not yet a value bet, and there are too many players to try and Vegas out of the pot.

Oh wait, the main question was "how is the hammer properly played?". I don't have a clue, I don't play properly. I mean I'm advocating calling as an aggressive play.
As always quality Penguin.

Friday, May 28, 2004

My Trouble Hands #2: AQo

Yep, I have heard plenty of people talk about AQo. Coach thinks it's one of his most difficult hands to have. Plenty of pros have called AQo overrated. I have swayed back and forth about my opinion of AQo. Personally, I have embraced AQo. It's only a trouble hand if I let myself get into a bad position with AQo. Most recently, I have been playing AQo aggressively with plenty of success on Party Poker.
Best possible flops for AQo:
Obvious: AAA or QQQ
Kick Ass: AAQ or QQA
Awesome: K-J-10, Q-Q-x
Moderate: A-Q-x
Average: A-x-x or Q-x-x

(x=cards lower than Q)

Dangerous flops include:
And any flop with 2 or more suited/connected cards.
I have problems when I catch an ace on the flop with low cards. Why? Because I almost always end up losing to a retard who called a preflop raise with A-little and they pair their kicker on the board. AQo is dangerous when you run into someone slowplaying AK, or worse you call a preflop raise with AQo only to find out at the river you were outkicked by AK.

AQo on the Button and in Late Position: The cheaper you can see a flop with AQo, the better. If you hit a flop, good for you. If you don't, bail out. If everyone limps in front of you, raise from the button to drive out the blinds and thin the field.

AQo UTG or in Early Position: Normally, just call to see what happens. If there is a sizable raise to call, it's time to bail. If everyone limps, you might have the best hand... without giving away the strength of your hand.

AQo in the Blinds: I wouldn't call a raise with AQo, unless you were certain it was a position raise or a bluff-steal. If they are a few limpers, I'll call the LB, hoping to hit a nice flop. In a smaller field AQo's odds are slightly better, but in multi-way pots with raises preflop, watch out, you're most likely up against high pairs or AK.

AQo Shorthanded: Obviously, your starting hands in a short handed game (6 and under) are a lot less rigid than at a full table. You reach a larger pool of starting hands to pick from when there are less players. In a 4 way game, a raise with AQo wouldn't be a bad idea if there are limpers and to also drive out the blinds. But all marginal hands increase in value in those situations.

AQo in an SNG: Avoid playing it in the first few levels. Once you get to a middle level, with a smaller field, AQo can be a decisive weapon. I wouldn't go all-in preflop with it in a mutli-way pot and I definitely would NOT play back at a raiser with AQo. Folding is cheaper.

AQo in Multi-table Tourneys: If you are a tight player, you'll have no problem mucking AQo everywhere except the BB and the Button. For loose-aggressive players like myself, I find it hard not limping in during an early level with AQo. Avoid this mistake. Unless you have inside information that the other players have inferior hands, it's better safe to muck the trouble hand and wait to play when you have better position and a more playable hand.

AQo... Limit vs. No-Limit: In low limit games, like $2-4 at Fowoods or on the 50c/$1 tables on Party Poker, AQo is a dangerous hand. In games where people play/limp in with any ace (except AA and AK) , you might be looking great at a showdown when there's an ace on the board, and it comes to the kicker. But beware of the fish who play A-small and then they hit two pair on the board. Nothing sucks than losing with AQ to A2, when the fish catches his low kicker on the river. In a NL ring game... without any raises in front of you... a raise in late and middle position will most likely scare off the blinds and you'll go heads up or three way against two solid hands. A smaller and thinner field is something you want when playing AQo.

Heads Up with AQo: This is a monster hand. I would have no problems going all-in one-on-one with AQo mainly because the percentages say that I have the better hand.

Coach, Izmet, Sklansky & Brunson on AQo

Here's what Coach has to say about AQo:
That's what did me in on the second hand of that WSOP satellite in February. I had AQo in middle position, facing a small raise, and I called.

Where you really run into trouble is when it's A, X, X where each X is an undercard or even Q, X, X. It's not unlikely that someone is holding 2-pair or trips in that situation, and it can make your relatively strong looking hand your undoing. Signor Ferrari recently nailed me in his tournament when I had AQo, and although the flop came Q-J-7o, he stayed with me, and ultimately caught a straight on the river when a K fell, and he had 10-9s. Q-Q off the flop, or even A-A with a Q kicker isn't quite strong enough to justify a knock-out raise, yet is seems that's all you can do.

I think my practice is generally to call but not to raise with A-Q. I know there have been times I've raised with as low as A-10o, and sometimes it has been quite profitable. But if I'm in a serious tournament, and want to preserve my chances, I treat A-Q like a one-shot deal. If the flop hits for me, meaning, AA, QQ, K-J-10, or A-Q, then obviously I stay put and react depending on what else is there. Otherwise, even with a flush or straight draw, or a pair off the flop, I'm happy to toss it if I'm reading strong hands around me. If there's a Q or and A on the flop, and all I have is a pair with a high kicker, I don't feel so good, and may run against a big bet.
Some sound advice from Coach.

Here's what Izmet has to say about AQo:
I feel that AQ is quite robust... (if best preflop) and should definitely raise. But not to knock out. To cut idiots' implied odds. But because of the other factors you mention, like tying people to a big pot (which I agree is bad), it might be a not so clear cut decision... A case could be made for limping in early position to conceal your strength with AQ, wait for a good flop and then go for a check raise. This usually knocks out a few gamboolers. If our premise is an ace or queen on the flop is mandatory, the idea of seeing cheaply has merits.
And here's what Sklansky himself said (regarding Izmet's advice):
Once AQ gives up on winning without a pair it really doesn't want to get others out, at least up to a point. And if it was all in, it definitely should raise. On the other hand, with even semi rational opponents, that raise for value doesn't gain too much and may be overshadowed by the fact that keeping the pot smaller not only avoids drawouts by players less willing to accept lesser pot odds, but makes it more likely that you can get a raise in later to shorten the field. Again these concepts do not apply against total live ones... on the other hand, even in games like that, using these ideas will certainly make you a winning player.
And from the bible and Mr. Brunson himself about calling a preflop raise with AQo:
The reason you have to be careful with (AQo) is because... you might be up against a hand where you'd be almost dead... so, if you got AQo, AJo, A-10o... and you're up against AA, KK, AK... you've got a terrible hand.

It's extremely hard to win a big pot with those hands (offsuited) when you've called a raise. They're definitely trouble hands. You're much more likely to lose a big pot with them than you are to win a big pot with them.
That's it for now. Stay tuned for my next trouble hand: JJ.

Check out: My Trouble Hand #1: KJo
Looking for Phish Tickets

I am looking for Phish tickets to the Brooklyn Show... Friday June 18. I am also looking for any tickets at Great Woods in Boston for the August shows. I have friends coming from Texas and Japan that need extras! Shoot me an email if you know if any leads. Thanks.

Thursday, May 27, 2004

Balls to the Wall
"Mastering others is strength. Mastering yourself is true power." - Lao Tzu
I hit the tables on Party Poker the last two days with some highlights. I won two $20 SNGs (played 3 for a net profit of $134). Al Can't Hang witnessed one of my feats... which squashed his theory that he's a jinx when sweating us fellow bloggers. It's always cool to get support, especially when I'm playing well and catching cards and hitting flops! I played with Tilted Litt for a while on the $25 NL ring tables. He took down a nice pot when he flopped a set.

Quads... Twice?

One session at the NL ring tables, I took a big hit early and fought back to get even. I hit quads, when I caught runner runner to take down a tiny pot. Then I went on tilt when my 99 lost to QJs and my AQ lost to KTs. Two beats in less than two minutes. Whooosh. I hit the SNGs, and bubbled out in 4th. The only highlight was when I was shortstacked and went all in with A8. The flop: A88. Nice. The turn: 8. The river: A. I won... for my second Quads of the session.

The next SNG was one of those instances when I got all the good cards. First hand AKs UTG and I limped. I went all-in against 10-10 when he pushed it all-in on the button. Yep, on the first hand and doubled up. I was off and running. I KOd the first three guys and built up a hige chip lead. I bad beat'd one dude when my A-10s took down AKs. By the time it was three-way I held a 5 to 1 chip lead on both guys. They couldn't handle me with a big stack. Pauly the Maniac was too tough for them and I quickly won my second $20 SNG in less than two days. I haven't played too many of those. I know Signor Ferrari has been kicking ass in the $50 SNGs and he suggested I step up... which I might do if I have a decent run in the next week. Gotta build up that bankroll after my cashout last week.

Did Somebody Say, "Freeroll?"

Party Poker has a promotion involving raked hands... be in the top 140 each day and get cash. I didn't realize that they also had a Freeroll $5000 tourney last night at 8:30pm EST for people who played 150 raked hands that previous day.

With over 1500 participants, I signed up for the Freeroll, mainly because WPT was a repeat (NBC aired that episode prior to the Super Bowl)... and the Yankees game was in the middle of a rain delay. Heck, it was free and first place paid $1000. Top 50 places paid. I was relaxed and didn't care too much. I normally take stellar notes when I play, but I slacked off... probably because I assumed I would get knocked out early.

In Level 2, I almost folded K2s when I misread a flop: A-K-2 and caugth my mistake in time. I won a decent sized pot and had T1535. Then I got switched to a new table. The table chipleader was bullying everyone with over T5500, while everyone had less than T1000, except me. I found AA in the LB. He was in LP and pushed out a T500 bet, I came over the top all-in and he called with Nicky & Paris! I doubled up and had almsot T3000.

In Level 3, an orbit later... AA again! I riased 3x the BB in EP. This time, Tiltboy decided to go all-in on the button with 77. It was no contest, and I took his entire stack with pocket aces... twice. I had T5795 and looking good. By the first break... I lost one pot but still looked strong with T4750. The average stack was T1850 and 911 remained.

In Level 5, Nicky & Paris hooked me up again against A7s.

In Level 6, AA again and picking up blinds with some button raises. I have T7070 with 413 players left. I have twice as much as the avg. stack. I was 5th or 6th overall. Time to start paying attention!

In Level 8, my 99 were cracked by J10s and lost a little bit. Then it got ugly when a guy slowplayed KK against my AQs. I went all-in with a flush draw and lost, KOd in 219th place (out of 1452)!!! I was pretty pissed since I felt I was in the top 25 at the time and I was feeling great. Ugh. Fuckin' freeroll! I told my brother that he could play for me in tonight's freeroll. If he doesn't have to work late, he's going to do it.

Fear and Iggy in Las Vegas...

Yep, read all about the infamous trip. HDouble has some interesting things to say about meeting Iggy for the first time. And he confirms that me theory was wrong... Iggy is not a sober house wife from Ohio! He's really a guy. Felicia mentions the historic meeting on her blog as well.

In other news... Ugarte is trying his skills at stand up comedy here in NYC. Visit his blog for specific details of when he'll be performing. I will try my best to make one of his two upcoming gigs. And yeah... he's funny for sure.

Welcome back to Sean from Anistropy! He has a great post about... fish.

Yep, the WSoP is in full swing. I haven't been ignoring it at all. I just haven't had the time to blog anything about the epic event. 2200+ entries? $5 Million to the winner? Check out kick ass reports from the Poker Prof who's embedded in Las Vegas. Also, take a peek at his project: 35th WSOP Main Event Database. It's an amazing search tool. Good job, Poker Prof! There are 43 players left. Man, next year, I have to be in the mix.

All In Magazine

Congrats to HDouble for his first published article in the inaugural issue of All In Magazine. He brought some kick ass publicity for us poker bloggers, which is something that will help our entire community. Good job to HDouble and Iggy for getting the ball rolling. And I'm flattered and humbled that the Tao of Poker was mentioned in his article. Thanks again, HDouble.

I have been approached from Ravi at All In to write something in a future issue. I haven't figured out what will be my topic. But rest assured, it will be an opportunity for me to showcase my writing skills. If only I could play poker as well as I wrote! Thanks to Ravi for the opportunity to contribute and for shedding light on our communtiy.

It's Not Really Poker... It's More Like O'Douls

And lastly... tonight is the first episode of the new season of Celebrity Poker Letdown. Yes, I coined that phrase, and I want fuckin' credit. Otherwise, I will send a stedy flow of post-modern thugs (a.k.a. lawyers in dark suits who haven't been fed in three days) to your place and wreck havoc. My only hope is that the popularity of Celebrity Poker Letdown will lead more fish to the frying pan. More to come for sure.

Phish No More

Thanks to everyone who sent me emails about one of my favorite bands breaking up. It's true. Phish is breaking up after this summer tour. I will be attending 11 of their last 13 concerts. I wrote a rambling post to the Tao of Pauly called: Phish: The End of an Era. Here's a bit:
Part of me feels that "appreciate what you have in your life before it's gone" vibe. I had an amazing run with Phish and at least I won't be bitching about seeing any more subpar shows. It's weird, because I really felt that Phish turned the corner and started playing some of their best stuff since the Japan shows. I know nothing compared to 1998 and the Year of the Funk, when Phish threw down some of their best shit history. I'll put 1998 Phish up against any other band... at any time in their careers and they will give anyone a run. (With the exception of The Grateful Dead in 1977... when in my opinion, they achieved musical perfection.)
Yeah, I'm bummed, but I understand why they are breaking up. At least I got to see them 139 times, including 6 shows in Japan in 2000.

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Coach's Corner: The 6.5 Hour Grind

Yes, Coach is back with another exciting installment. If you are a first time reader... Coach is a regular player at the Blue Parrot... at Signor Ferrari's Monday night home games. This time, he recaps his amazing second place finish in a grueling multi-table NL tourney. I've played in my share of 1,000+ people multis, and they are insane. You have to be patient and you have to catch cards. And in the end, you're mental exhausted. The worst feeling is outlasting a field of a thousand players, and only getting your entry fee back after getting river'd by a two outer. It's happened to me a few times.

Congrats to Coach on his run!! So, let's hear what he has to say:
I can't say I've ever been luckier in a tournament. I've certainly played better, but sometimes you need a healthy dose of each to win big. Placing second in a huge multiplayer tournament was certainly worth the eye-strain and long time in front of the computer screen.

This was a 1,246 person $2 buy-in NLH tournament on Pokerstars. I can't pinpoint an exact time where I shot up in the standings and felt like I was going to be in the money (99 places paid), but I do know that the river was VERY kind.

Two or three times I went all-in as an underdog -- maybe A-8s for my opponnent and K-7s for me. Amazingly, I caught just the right card on the river each and every time. I beat A-8s with K-7s when I got runner, runner to catch an inside straight to the 8, beating two pair, A-8 that my all-in opponent had.

I only had KK once, and it wasn't a pretty result, despite a big raise right out of the chute. The board was 5-5-A, and although I made a big bet to bluff an A, three out of four people folded. The last called. A 9 on the turn and another big bet from me did not scare my opponent out. We both checked on the river (a J), and he showed A7o. Very gutsy calling a big raise with that -- but it worked.

10-10 was not much better. I soft played them, and was rewarded with an A-10-3 rainbow flop. I made a big bet, and got called. The turn was an 8 (still no flush), and I got called again. Probably should have tried all-in, but good thing I didn't -- the river was a K, which gave another very gutsy called a Broadway straight -- he was holding QJo.

Unlike KK and 10-10, QQ and AA were much kinder to me. There were three or four times late in the game where I had one of these hands, and someone bet into me before the flop. Since I was towards the low end of the stacks, I followed the obvious strategy -- raise all in and cross your fingers. QQ held up three times and really boosted my lead.

I folded a lot of good hands to keep me from going out early. I tossed AKo and 99 (twice) on hands where I would have gotten crushed. The "spider sense" I picked up from my comic book reading days was in full force.

The real kingmaker hand, though was AA at the final table. I held it in the BB, when I was treated to an all in raise in front of me. Now that would be good enough, except that there were 6 of us left at the time, and he and I were in 3rd and 4th place respectively. He had maybe 10,000 less. I called his raise, with everyone else heading for the hills. He showed QJs, and despite the Q that appeared on the flop, my AA held up and made me chip leader.

From there, things got ugly. No good cards to play with, and lots of bluffing, kept me alive and let others make big mistakes. I was momentary chip leader when we were down to head-to-head (1.1 million to 0.7 million), but the cards just turned south. He beat AKs with KK, and then I was doomed.

Ultimately, after a lot of dodging and parrying, I went all in with Q4s, only to see A5s come from him. No help for either of us, and I had to settle for second.

6.5 hours of online play can really take a lot out of you. But it feels good to be at that final table. The payout was almost $400, and a free entry in a "winners" tournament this coming weekend.

Stay tuned!
Nice job, Coach!! Looking forward to how you'll fare this weekend. I would have loved to have watched. Coach rarely bluffs (we'll I 've never seen him bluff, when he bets you know he has the cards!) so that would have been fun to watch. Keep up the nice run.

Here's the last two installment of Coach's Corner: SNG Lessons Learned and Nice Guys Finish Last.
More Poker in the Weeds!

My brother has completed his Vegas Trip report with a post about Day 5 to his blog: Poker in the Weeds. It includes an excellent write up of his attempt at a WSoP satellite at Binion's, in addition to meeting Scotty Nguyen. Here's what Derek had to say:
I played real tight. My first goal was to watch everyone play hands. I did not want to get knocked out first. I noticed quickly which players were the loose new comers and which players were the seasoned tourney players. The tourney newcomers were limping in in EP. You need to raise or fold in EP during no limit tourneys. These guys were seat 2, 6, and of course 9 (the Meatloaf looking guy in shorts). These fools had all their limps either raised out by LP bettors or they called and lost with crappy hands like J-2 offsuit. They all got bounced very quickly. I think I got the right table! The seasoned tourney players were not as good as they would lead you to believe. All they know is position raising. Position is critical but I picked up quick on their tells. I knew when they had something and I knew when they were just bluffing and position raising because there were only a few callers before them. Most fell for it everytime.
And wait, there's more. Here's what he said about meeting Scotty Nguyen:
I never get excited when I see famous people. Riding the subways in NYC gives me the opportunity to see some famous athletes and actors, as well as others. I never get excited or ask for an autograph because who cares. They are regular people. I don't need to inflate their egos more than it already is, right? Fuck them. So iIusually ignore them and say, "Hi!" at best. But that's it. Nothing else. Paul and I walked over to the poker room and saw every poker pro you could think of. I've seen them on TV but in person was unbelieveable. I was in awe for once. Doyle Brunson was there, so was Scotty Nguyen, Jen Harmon, Jesus, Phil Ivey, Phil Hellmuth, Devilfish, Mel Judah, TJ Cloutier, Phil Laak (aka the Unabomber), Hoyt Corkins, Sam Grizzle, Ron Rose, Lederer, Gus Hanson, Meng the Master, Clonie Gowan, Dan Harrington, and everyone else you've seen or heard of (I know I'm leaving out a ton of people). Hollywood notables were Gabe Kaplan, Ben Affleck, and James Woods. There were others but they are not worth mentioning. I was truly excited. I was waiting for Vince Van Patten to fall down drunk somewhere, anywhere, as long as shana was nearby but no luck. Not even a Mike Sexton sighting. I guess they're just getting loaded somewhere waiting for the final table.

The highlight of the WPT event was getting to meet Scotty Nguyen. He was playing in the actual poker room because the tourney was over flowing so they had to use real game tables. I was leaning over the wall looking into the room and sitting a foot away from me was Scotty Nguyen. Someone asked him for a picture while he was playing a hand. He politely said one minute and folded his hand. He got up and looked at me and I said, "What's up Scotty?"

He gave me a hi five and said, "What's up guy?!"

He had a huge smile and then shook my hand and said, "How's it going big man!?"

I said, "Great! How bout you?"

"Awesome, baby!" he said and then he went over to the tourists and took a photo with them. How crappy is this? I lug my digital camcorder all the way out to Vgas and I leave it in my room. I could have close up footage of the pros and a Scotty Nguyen conversation. I blew it.
Check out his poker blog! More to come.

Monday, May 24, 2004

Running with Al Can't Hang
"The Edge... there is no honest way to explain it because the only people who really know where it is are the ones who have gone over." - Hunter S. Thompson
I've never been to Pamplona. I never even been to Spain. The Sun Also Rises is one of my favorite novels, and was one of the reasons why I wanted to be a novelist. In Hemingway's epic novel, he enthusiastically wrote about the ever dangerous, thrill and heart-pounding excitement of the Running of the Bulls at the Festival of San Fermin. I always wanted to go, mainly because of the "go see for yourself" mentality that fuels my efforts as a writer. I never got there, but this weekend, I was close.

I treated this trip like one of those embedded war reporters in Iraq, hanging out with an unit of battle tested marines itching for conflict in Al-Taniyah. I realized that my run to Philly could have been my last trip away from home. I left easy to find envelopes with just-in-case-I-don't-make-it letters addressed to special people in my life, using tear jerking expressions like, "You're the best brother a guy could ask for..." or even "You know, Sunshine, that you're the woman I loved the most..." Yeah, I knew I might not come back in one piece and wanted to cover all the bases. Al Can't Hang and his posse were professional drinkers, and I dropped out of the drinkers circuit many, many years before. It was going to be tough just to keep up with a guy who's blood type is 180 Proof, but I was ready for the challenge... More
Editor's Note: I decided to break up my report into two parts. The introduction and first part appears on the Tao of Pauly. Part II, the poker write up appears on the Tao of Poker. Please visit the other site for both exciting parts!
Part II: Lewey the Loose Cannon

The game was set and we gathered around Lewey's bright red poker table. Mrs. Can't Hang was the favorite going in... after her victory the night before. I finally met Landow (who played in the WBT 3) and we were set. It was cool meeting Landow because he told me that I was a great writer. It's more humbling that you think to hear that from strangers, and I never know how to properly react to that ultimate compliment. But it's a glorious feeling too to see that sometimes, my words are recognized.
The Players:
Seat 1: Al Can't Hang
Seat 2: Lewey
Seat 3: Mrs. Can't Hang
Seat 4: Big Mike
Seat 5: Landow
Seat 6: Pauly
The game was pot limit Texas hold'em. That's it. $40 buy-in with rebuys. Blinds are 25c and 50c. I was warned by Al Can't Hang that the game wasn't going to be pretty, but he was pulling for me to take down Lewey, someone who had been inflicting a series of bad beats with questionable starting hands. They dubbed the 4-6o... The Lewey, in honor of one of his winning hands. Yeah, it was the type of game where five people routinely saw the flop for $1 each, with several callers to the river. Let me set the scene, I folded 9-9 once when A-K-10 hit the board, and I mucked a winner after a pot-sized bet from Lewey. The turn and river was: 5 and 6. I folded the winner. Big Pike paired his J-6o on the river and Lewey had his monster pair of fives on the flop with 8-5o. One of those nights... when I consistently made the wrong calls and folded hands I should have had more confidence with. Only Mrs. Can't Hang played tight with Lewey seeing every flop. Al Can't Hang tried to bully my blinds. Everytime he was UTG, he raised! Of course that had been my advice to him during many a nights on Party Poker.

8:45pm EST... I won a pot heads-up with Mrs. Can't Hang. She raised pre-flop and I called with 8-9o. I flopped a 8, middle pair on the board and checked to Mrs. Hang who bet $3. I called all the way to the river with nothing more than a pair of 8s, hoping to catch something else, because I thought Mrs. Hang has A-high card. And you know what? She had A-Q. Mrs. Can't Hang plays good cards, that's why I got lucky with that pot and excellent flop with low cards. She was the early chip leader taking down a hug pot that Lewey tried to bluff-steal.

9:20pm EST... +68 after I went heads up with Landow. He had Qd-Jd and flopped two diamonds and a flush draw... Kh-Kd-7d. I had K-5 and was betting strong. Landow was debating whether or not to chase the flush, and when it didn't hit, I took it down.

9:30pm EST... In my notes, I wrote: I Hate Lewey. I'm the big blind. Al Can't Hang opens up for a $1 UTG and everyone called. When it got to me, I bet $6 or roughly the pot. Al Can't called and of course so did Lewey. I knew I was in trouble. My K-K was not going to hold up. The flop: 2-2-3. I bet out almost the size of the pot. Al Can't Hang folded and Lewey called and pushed the rest of his stack in after the turn, which was a blank. I turned over my KK and he of course had 2-3o. D'oh!! I was warned. And slowly went on tilt after that bad beat. It sucked. It hurt. Alas, I really don't hate Lewey, he's a great guy. I comically wrote those words on my notes, to remind me of the hand.

10:30pm EST... -20 with Big Mike and Mrs. Can't Hang building up sizable chip leads.

11:07pm EST... +42 after I bluffed at a pot with Ah-7h. I had an inside straight flush draw after the turn and went all-in which scared everyone off. Al Can't hang also folded a straight flush draw.

11:32pm EST... heads up with Al Can't Hang. He raised my blinds UTG again and I called with Q2o. I was pissed that he kept doing that! The flop: Q-9-8. I checked, he bet, and I reraised. He went over the top all-in and I had him covered and called. He had Q-5!! He caught a 5 on the turn to seal his two pair. Ouch. Down $27.

12:05am EST... Mrs. Can't Hang headed for the couch for a nap and Landow got busted and called it a night. He played fairly conservative but saw several of his better hands cracked by rags. I lost my entire buy-in after I tried to steal a pot with 5-5 when there was just middle rags on the board. In true fashion, Big Mike had been killing me on the river all night. He caught a 10 on the river and his J-10 won the pot. I got busted. Time for a rebuy.

12:34am EST... Biggest hand of the night with Lewey and Big Mike. Board: 2-6-K-K-8. Big Mike had 6-3 and thought Lewey was bluffing, but actually held K-7. It was a big pot and Big Mike lost a lot of his big chip lead.

1:13am EST... last hand of the night involved Al Can't Hang (A-Js) heads up with Lewey (8-8). Al Can't Hang went allin after he flopped a Jack. Lewey folded but after some rabbit hunting, we saw that he would have caught his set on the river.
The Final Tally:
Al Can't Hang +60
Lewey +50
Mrs. Can't Hang +40
Landow -40
Big Mike -50
Pauly -60
All in all, a fun night. Some last minute thoughts... Al Can't Hang had a drink in his hand the entire time, with the exception of the four innings of baseball we watched. I had a kick ass time. Wish I played a little more looser earlier. I might have covered my half my losses. Next time... next time.

Sure, I never had been to Spain before to run with the bulls... but I went to Philly and drank with Al Can't Hang... and I came home with my liver and kidneys in tact. It was an honor to meet a true legend. Very people live up to their reputation... and Al Can't Hang is one of the rare breeds that I can say was the real deal. TO think, it was just a Sunday afternoon. I wondered what these guys drink on a Friday night? That's my next mission...
Trying to Hang with Al Can't Hang

I'm back. Just a quick tease before I get a chance to write up my visit to Philly for a day of fun, drinking, and poker... with Al Can't Hang, his lovely wife, and his poker-playin, partin' like rockstars posse. Oh, I almost forgot about the now infamous game at Lewey's where my KK were indeed cracked by 23o in a game of pot limit hold'em. In a rambling post this morning, Al Can't Hang quickly summarized his weekend. Alas, I caught his crew on the tail end of their weekend long bender. Here's some of my favorite bits:
In the last 24 hours, I met Pauly, watched a Phillies game, ate more sushi than one man should ever eat, and introduced him to the loosest, weirdest poker session. And drinking the entire time...

We met up with Pauly Sunday morning at Citizen's Bank Park for some drinking and baseball. First thing Pauly sees when we gets there, a buck-ass naked old black lady standing in the middle of the street. I guess she didn't like the 90 degree heat on an early May morning.
Yeah, I saw the brand new ballpark in Philadelphia. Very cool. I was impressed. They have a cool bar inside the stadium, and you can drink there without going to the game and buying a ticket. Of course, Al Can't Hang knew the bartenders. Here's more from Al:
We hit McFadden's in the stadium and started drinking and telling stories. The wifey and BigMike were throwing their new found money around and we quickly reached the point where the bartender was buying us drinks.

Once the game started, we figured it would be a good time to go watch the game. BigMike made it two entire innings before heading for cooler climates and a non-beer beverage. Pauly, myself, and the wife made it to the 5th inning before the heat, booze, and 24 hours without eating made everything a little fuzzy. We grabbed a hotdog and hit the bar for more shots. What's else was there to do?
Did somebody say... sushi?
Somewhere along the line, we decided to hit the sushi bar before playing poker. I'm still re-thinking that decision. Over-heated, half in the bag, working on being fully in the bag. Why not throw a couple pounds of raw fish on top.
No trip to Atlantic City, but... we did play at Lewey's place with all of Al's cronies... and used Lewey's new table. It was bright red.
Now Pauly can give witness to the reason I'm not that good. Playing in this game is more like playing video poker. Any two cards have a shot. And it's a good chance Lewey will bet them. I'll give Pauly the opportunity to explain the pain. His KK got cracked by 23o in a brutal manner. The wifey and myself finished up for the evening. Pauly finished down and I'm not sure how everyone else faired.
Ah yes... it was ugly, but a lot of fun. A detailed report to follow. But yeah, I had a kick ass time. Some good folks down in that neck of the woods!

Saturday, May 22, 2004

A Day of Rest
"The fool who persists in his folly will become wise." - William Blake
The Tao of Poker will be on a one day hiatus. I'm taking a day off from blogging on Sunday. I'll be back on Monday with a write up of a poker sojourn with Al Can't Hang, and later this week, I promise you I will post something about my second trouble hand: AQo.

Q. What happened this week? Why weren't you on Party Poker?

Since last Sunday, I only played online a couple of times. On Sunday, it was Pacific Poker for WBT 3. I played a a couple of hours on Wednesday, with a poor showing at best. Just now, I played for an hour and played pretty bad. This wasn't my week.

Life also took first priority the last several days. Indeed, I've been super busy working on three short stories which drained me, plus writing on some other things and updating new templates on my other sites, that left little time for poker. Senor came into town with for the weekend with his wife and son, which was great, because I haven't seen Senor since my last trip to Foxwoods. I also had to figure some things out with my summer. Haley is going to LA for two weeks, then moving to Santa Fe for the remainder of the summer, where she's going to be doing a play. I tried to see if I could move out there for while, but logistically, I can't swing it, with work and a small time frame to write some new projects. I already made plans to travel around the country and follow both The Dead and Phish, including a huge festival in Vermont. But I'm looking into going out to New Mexico for a little bit, maybe a couple of weekends or maybe for a week or two. How far is Santa Fe from Las Vegas?

Q. I need a Pauly fix. What should I do instead of reading the Tao of Poker?

My brother posted a new entry to his blog: Poker in the Weeds. Check out my multitude of other sites. My main blog, the Tao of Pauly is the original Tao and should not be overlooked. I posted an adorable story about my first babysitting assignment. Don't miss the May edition of 11 Questions.

I also finally published a new issue of my literary blogzine Truckin'. Yes, the epic May issue issue features six new stories, and three of them are from yours truly; another Miami story, another Vegas story, and another Subway story. Al Can't Hang joined the roster with his first of many Stories from the Bar, and we find out the history behind his nickname. All the way from New Zealand, Richard Bulkeley is back with another excellent read. And Tom Love shared a shivering tale. So sit back, relax, and enjoy. Thanks for coming back, McG

1. While She Cries by Tenzin McGrupp
I tilted my head, partly out of sympathy and partly out of curiosity. I had not seen anyone cry on the subway in a few months... More

2. Stories from the Bar: Origins by Al Can't Hang
The first thing I remember coming out of the coma was the image of my parents looking down at me... More

3. Strange Design by Tenzin McGrupp
Only in Vegas can I wander around drunk, stoned, hopped up on pills, and tripping... and still be the most sober person in the room... More

4. Big Thumb Wisdom by Richard Bulkeley
The a sudden screech from the fax machine silences our incessant mumbling that maybe the slopes had received snow. The hostel manager rips the fax from the machine and reads from it like a medieval herald proclaiming a death sentence... More

5. Bowling for Jailbait by Tenzin McGrupp
The teenaged hussies, dressed like medium priced hookers, teased us every time they'd bend over to pick up their flouresent pink bowling balls... More

6. Rising Avove It by Tom Love
A queue of runaways and druggies stood ready to take their rightful place at the edge of the entrance ramp, to be next in line for a ride. I took my turn, and was soon at the right spot. Almost immediately a sunshine yellow Beetle pulled up with two California blonde cuties... More

Make sure you find out how Al Can't Hang got his nickname... and another solid story from the Poker Penguin.

Be back soon. See ya.
More Poker in the Weeds

My brother posted Day 4 write up of his trip to Las Vegas to his blog, Poker in the Weeds. Here's a bit:
I was getting bad beat after bad beat all day long. Even some Brett hull look-a-like beat me like a dog. What made losing to this guy more painful was that he was too lazy or just too cool to stack his chips. He just left them in a pile in front of him. "Why did I even get up in the morning?" was my thought. I was beginning to doubt my play and my mental game was starting to suffer.
As always, another fine blog from my brother. Check it out.

Friday, May 21, 2004

Pauly in AC Sunday?

Possibly. I'm heading down to Philly on Sunday (my buddy is driving down for the day and I have a free ride) to meet the East Coast's most famous poker blogger... Al Can't Hang! Kicking around the idea of a Phillies game, followed by a local home game or a run to Atlantic City and the Borgata. It's in the early stages... so who knows! But the thought of meeting Mrs. Cant Hang and Monkeyboy is a thrill in itself!!

Lock your doors. Seal your medicine cabinets. Hide your daughters. I'm coming to Philly!

Thursday, May 20, 2004

Quality Scribes

I'm impressed. Some great writing the past week out there in bloggerdom. Felicia has an excellent post on her Razz adventures at Binion's. Here's a bit:
I won the tournament with basically no effort whatsoever. Just one of those lucky days. I was catching very, very well. I just couldn't miss. I barely ever paired or bricked up. I just caught, then caught some more. Yes, some of it had to do with starting with only premium hands, then pushing them hard. Some of it had to do with my super-aggression versus the lack of aggression that most of the participants showed. I did play a good game, but I got very lucky, as well!

Here I had prepared to play up to three satellites, and then not even beat myself up if I didn't win one. Yet in less than two hours, I had won my Razz seat, and had nothing more to do!!
Alas, it's another thougt provoking post from Hank. Check out: A Year in the Making written by HDouble. Impressive. Here's the best:
For me, poker's biggest appeal is its ability to wipe the condensation from the mirror, forcing you to behold your true image. You struggle with your successes and your failures, and only a cold, hard stare will tell you if you're a winner, a loser, or a winner who needs to clean up a little bit. I'm looking a lot better than I did on day one, but I know I have a lot of cleaning up to do in the next year.
And of course, Boy Genius wrote a dandy that I would love to publish in an upcoming issue of my literary blogzine. It's called: Anna and the King Queen Suited. Here's a bit:
If the question hadn't come from a six year old with moon pie eyes and no concept that the mountain of chips in front of me at the moment meant more in the context of the game than the piddling little stacks of the others hunched over the coffee table playing Hold Em, I might have been prone to give the question the ol' roll-my-eyes-and-audibly-sigh treatment.
Adorable, a story even your grandma would say was adorable. I'd like to perhaps shoot that as a short film. Could be interesting.

The Poker Penguin never fails to amuse me. Here's the latest droppings from Sir Penguin himself:
All of a sudden, there's a hot naked woman on the TV! Now this is not a normal happening on NZ television. We get a lot of poorly disguised titilation "reality" shows - Paradise Island, Temptation hotel, survivor, the simple life, big brother (for some reason all Australian women, if you lock them in a house seem determined to prance around in bikinis and talk about sex. But actual nudity? Sometimes on arty films, but even seeing topless women is rare. Now, I do have a point, and it's not just that the Internet is far better than TV for seeing naked people.
And lastly, Iggy is not just the Blogfather, but he's a pretty astute writer:
Confidence - that's what I'm talking about. And it's something I could only prove to myself, it didn't matter how many players whose play I respected who kept telling me I was better than I thought. It truly didn't matter. I had deaf ears. I'm a cynic and a skeptic and the last thing I ever wanted to be was one of those players who thought they were a damn good poker player, but truly weren't. That was unacceptable and consequently made me very suspicious of my poker skills.
Best of luck in Vegas!!

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

More Poker in the Weeds

My brother, Derek, posted Day 3 of his Las Vegas trip report to his poker blog, Poker in the Weeds. Here's a bit:
Two cheap cologne wearing Guidos smugly say, "Stop with the raising and re-raising guys, we all know you both have an A so let's just end it and chop it up already!" I had been playing with Vince and several of the same locals and hard core tourists since I arrived. Vince was a nice guy who I talked a little poker with over the last few days and he knew his shit. I always saw him buy in for $60 and walk out with 4 racks of $1 chips. He was good. I knew he had 4 of a kind. He was in the blind. What a bunch of stupid Guidos. It's 2004! No wonder they had no money left after their 2nd rebuys. I mention that maybe someone has four 3's. They said, "No way."

I said, "You wanna bet?"

They declined and I was right. Vince looks over at my side of the table and winks. He flips over pocket 3's.

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

The Game with the Floppy Thing in the Middle: Another Monday Night at the Blue Parrot
"The next dealer picked a game that I think was called "take Dawn's money." I'm not sure what the rules were, but we each got four cards and then there was a flop and some other stuff happened and then, they took my money." - Dawn
It was one of those Monday nights at Signor Ferrari's. I was hoping to continue my hot streak (after posting a $200+ win the week before) and end my weekend losing streak. Alas, I walked in hoping to kick some ass, and when it was over, I was shocked how much money I won. Why? Because I did not have a good hand all night. OK, that's not true. I had some decent hands and some not so good hands. But like Cool hand Luke once said, "Sometimes nothing's a good hand."
The Players:
Seat 1: Asphnixma from Riding the F Train
Seat 2: Sugata
Seat 3: Christian
Seat 4: Ferrari
Seat 5: Rick Blaine
Seat 6: Joel
Seat 7: Coach
Seat 8: Ugarte
Seat 9: Dawn
Seat 10: Pauly
Sugata made his return after missing the last few months of games. Christian came late, and actually filled Dawn's seat midway through the session. With four different blogs being represented, the game got a lot of bloggage today.

7:35pm EST... And here's a bit of what a newcomer, Dawn, said about playing with us boys for the first time:
Last night was the big game. We played at Signor Ferrari's apartment (Ugarte and Pauley) were also in attendance. I knew I was in trouble when one player referred to another, as "one of the poker bloggers."

Hmmm...maybe I shouldn't be playing my third game of poker in a room full of men who blog about poker.

Once everyone was seated around the table, we were each dealt one card face up.

"What're these for?" Dawn casually asks.

"It's dealer's choice. High card picks."

"What does dealer's choice mean?" Dawn nervously asks.

"Dealer picks the game."

"Umm...we're not playing poker?"

Considering in my life I had only ever played 5 card stud where jokers and twos were wild and Texas hold 'em (which I learned by watching celebrities play on tv), I imagine in that moment I collapsed into a pile of chips right before their very eyes. Easy sucker money.
I heard that Al Can't Hang did a spit take when he read it earlier today.

8:23pm EST... Texas Hold'em was called and UTG, I found KK (ironically my best hand of the night). I raised which drew a few cat calls from the pokerati (Ferrari, Ugarte, and Coach). Of course, my loose-aggressive behavior in past games has pegged me for a loose-maniac. And I had a great hand this time, hoping that someone would call me. I think I got two callers, including Dawn in the big blind. The flop: K-J-9. I flopped a set. Another 9 fell on the turn and I made my full house. I guess Rick had told Dawn that I bluff at a lot of pots, so she was still hanging in there, although she was drawing dead. Alas, I flipped over the Dudes, and took down my first pot of the night. It was the only pot I won the first two hours. In the Strangest Hand of the night... Ferrari raised a game of hold'em in MP. Coach called and so did F Train in one of the blinds. The flop: A-x-x. Both Ferrari and Coach let out a collective sigh. Ferrari folded and put his cards to the side to show the table after the hand was over. Coach quickly did the same. Did both guys have KK or QQ? I figured they had either of the two. Alas, F Train had A-Q and Ferrar and Coach showed their pocket Dudes. Both folded KK on the flop. That's discipline, laying down a hand like that when you know it's beat. Prime example why they are good players. A lot of other players would have kept seeing cards when they get attached to their high pocket pairs.

9:01pm EST... I'm down -50. Joel called his favorite game: 5 Card Stud hi/lo with a Replace. It came down to heads up with F Train and Ugarte, who had three diamonds showing and chose to replace his fifth card. And of course, he caught the King of diamonds that gave him his flush. When F Train took his replace card, he paired his door card, a 3, which was enough for Ugarte to attempt to win both the high and low when he declared and scooped the entire pot.

9:40pm EST... I was down -68. Ouch. Missed played a few hands of Omaha. Had A-2 twice and both time no low qualified. Joel took down a winning pot with a flush against Ferrari who flopped a straight or a set. My only notable scribblings in my notes included the following quote after Rick Blaine ripped a fairly loose a juicy fart (some would say it was a borderline "check your shorts" variety).
Coach: "Would you fart again, Rick?"
Rick Blaine: "You didn't even have to ask."
What could be better than fart jokes at a poker table between two of our nation's finest legal minds? I expect that sort of low brow Jackass-influenced humor to come from bong-rattling cretins who parited their way through state schools... not from the sort of gentlemen who were educated in the Ivy Leagues. Only at the Blue Parrot. And yeah, Ferrari made Coach take off his jacket and tie... when he sat down at the table. Ferrari has his rules. No shoes and no ties.

10:02pm EST... Rick and F Train were mugged by a pizza delivery man. Well, not really. He forgot to bring a 2 liter of Ginger Ale, and promised to come back with the bottle. Of course, he never showed up. The bastard. Next time were gonna hold his green card for insurance. Otherwise we'll drop a quick dime on him and he'd get picked up by the Federalies, and be spending the next week getting body cavity searched in Riker's Island by the thugs in Homeland Security. All because he ripped Rick Blaine off for a friggin bottle of ginger ale. Don't mess with Rick Blaine. He has chunks of punks like that soda pop thief in his stool.

Back to poker. Coach called Seven Card Stud Push. It's a game where each time you get an up card, you have the opportunity to pass it down to the player on your left... for $1, and so on and so forth. (Example: I get the 10h. I'm trying to get a low hand, so I push the card to F Train and throw $1 into the pot. I get a new card, a 5s, which is awesome. My gamble paid off. Now F TRain has to decide whether he wants to keep a 10 or pass it to Sugata. Since he has a 10-10 as his hole cards, he keeps it... Then Sugata gets dealt a card... and it's his turn...) I had low cards the entire way: 4-6/A-2-5-7 and caught an 8 for a straight on seventh street. I decided that a straight was not good enough to win, with a flush possibility on the board from both F Train and Coach, so I just jammed the pot with my low, which was locked up. In the end Coach's Ace flush beat out F Train's King flush.

Coach and I chopped a $270 pot. And that was big for me. I was now only down $5 for the night! Dawn blogged a mini conversation she overheard (and that I forgot, what I uttered until I read it on her blog. Here's her take:
After winning one particularly huge pot, Ugarte asked Pauley how much money he had taken in. Obviously, trying to be cagey and witty, Pauley feigns some mental calculations and then says:

"Oh, I don't know, the square root of 64!'

At least three people at the table simultaneously say "8?"

Ugarte: "I don't think you were as inscrutable as you were trying to be."

Embarrassed Pauley hangs his head.
Alas, I hung my head because I couldn't recall the word: inscrutable ever used at a poker table before, wedged in between a fart joke and a comment about Britney Spear's pubic hair, or lack there of.

10:40pm EST... Ferrari and Christian grappled in the first of several battles. Christian raised preflop and only Ferrari called. The flop: A-K-x. I joked, "Someone is pumped about their Big Slick." And I picked up a tell from Christian, right away after I said that. He had AK and it was interesting to see what Ferrari had. Another rag fell on the turn and when a 10 hit on the river, Ferrari came out firing. Alas, his A-10s was not enough for Christians Big Slick.

11:15pm EST... Omaha 8/b... I had Kh-10h-10d-9d. I limped in and the flop: Qd-Jx-4d. I called with my opened ended straight draw, and a flush draw. A ten hit on the turn and I made my set. The pot was getting jammed at that point by Ferrari and Christian. I had to assume one of them had a straight. When a 4 fell on the turn, I had a full boat, and the way Ferrari was raising, I assumed he had a 4 and possibly a full boat. But Christian was raising away and after it was capped... he turned over: QQ. Ouch, Queens full over fours. Ferrari had J4 for fours full over Jacks, and my 10s full were not enough to win. I pick up a few pots in hold'em and I fight my way up to $60.

Late Night Poker

Yep, when it gates late, the games get a little more brutal. The table gets looser. The players are tired. The huge swings happen after Midnight. Ask Rick. Ask Ferrari. Ask Swish. Shit, I'll tell you... the money that flows back and forth on the table after Midnight is enough to suck out your entire bankroll, or enough to eradicate your loses and pull even.
The Late Night Players:
Seat 1: F Train
Seat 2: Christian
Seat 3: Ferrari
Seat 4: Rick Blaine
Seat 5: Ugarte
Seat 6: Pauly
12:01am EST... $3-6 hold'em... Ferrari is heads up with Christian, who raised preflop. Ferrari, in the blinds called with Q-10s. Christian's A-Ks was the winner when he caught a flush on the river. I think Ferrari had top pair on the flop and (or at least a pair) and again, Christian sucked one out on the river. Another Frustrating match up for Ferrari. Here's what Dawn thought of our reaction to Christian's appearance:
The phone rang and it was someone wanting to know if there was any more room at the table. His name was, I believe "dead money."... Seeing my opportunity I said I would be leaving soon, dead money was then told to come over (oh and "to hit the ATM heh heh heh")... These guys are evil.
Earlier in the night, Ferrari's Big Slick didn't hold up to Christian's A-A! Here's how Ugarte views Christian's play:
The news of Christain's impending arrival was greeted with whoops and hollers. He is a good guy with a habit of losing a lot of money at our game. His reputation cost Ferrari a lot of money last night...

Christian's raises haven't been respected in a long time, so Ferrari probably thought he was going to drag a big pot with Big Slick when (1) Christian capped the betting preflop and (2) an A hit on the flop (maybe a K as well; I really need to take better notes). The pot got very large, particularly for heads up, and you could have knocked Ferrari over with a feather when Christian turned over Rockets.
It was another rough night for Ferrari. Last week it was Swish. Last night it was Christian's turn to be the spoiler in his night.

12:11am EST... +120 after I won a huge pot of Follow the Queen. Ugarte got a Queen on fourth street which meant whatever card I got next was a wild card... until another Queen came out (which never happened). Deuces were wild, and I had a one underneath with an Ace showing. In the end, I missed a flush and had a straight. I ended up winning in a three way pot with Rick and Ugarte, neither could beat my flimsy Ace high straight.

12:14am EST... Anaconda. Always a tough game. I had a nice low and I was waiting to fill it the Wheel, but I missed it. Here's how I arranged my cards to disguise my busted low (rolling each card one at a time): A-5-2-4-9. On fourth street I had A-5-2-4-X exposed, and Christian had A-2-3-6-X. With X being a 7. The way I confidently kept jamming and reraising the pot (thanks also to Ferrari who was battling out the high with Rick and jamming the pot) which made Christian fold. There were a few $25 chips in the pot, that was filled with plenty of blue and green $10 and $5 chips. There is a declare in this game and you have to say your intentions for the high, the low, or both. I don't like declares. I like to have The Cards Speak! Here's what the F Train has to say about it:
Now, I'm not such a fan of "declare" games. I think that for any game, cards should speak. Quite often, there are only three players left in the hand by the time of the declare, two going one way and the third going the other. The declare allows the solitary player an extra betting round to build the pot. I have been on both sides of that coin, and frankly don't care for either. Be that as it may, those are the rules at the Blue Parrot.
The pot was well over $200 and I chopped it with Ferrari. I flipped over my 9 (because you have to show your hand to win the low regards if you are the only one left) and Christian was pissed. I think that set him on tilt. I had almost $300 in chips!

12:34am EST... I lost a few hands of hold'em and won Follow the Queen with four sevens! I ended up with $280 in chips.

I guess that huge bluff in Anaconda helped me out. That and chopping Coach's Seven Card Push was enough for me to stomach all the other poor plays on my part. I won $200+ in the last two hours of play... and both Rick and Ugarte's huge multi-colored stacks slowly dwindled away. At one point Ugarte cornered the market on the rare $25 white chips.
The Final Tally:
Pauly +180
Rick Blaine +81
Dawn +24
Coach +15
Sugata -3.50
Ugarte -23.50
Christian -55
Joel -70
Ferrari -72
F Train -73
Yeah, I'm on a roll. Consecutive weeks of being the big winner at the Blue Parrot. Let's hope the streak continues next week, when Ferrari hosts his second NL tourney!

OK, go read about Tony Randall next...

Tony Randall Died and I Won $5

So far the score is Pauly 1, Boy Genius 0.

If you don't know what's up, I foolishly got into a weekly proposition wagering debacle with Boy Genius. He threw down the gauntlet and I accepted. Here's the recap:
My first proposition: Pop Culture Passings. Pauly McGrupp... will the next celebrity to pass on to the pearly gates be a musician, or an actor?
And I picked an actor! Luckily, earlier this morning Tony Randall died, which netted me $5!

Why am I gloating over a man's death? Because almost 10 years ago, he was a complete dick, jerkoff, asshole to me. And I have never forgotten about our chance encounter.

A decade ago, my first job out of college was as a security guard at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. It was an odd period of time in my life, the transition phase from college to real life, and I wasn't exactly just ready to jump into the 9 to 5 world, so I took a bullshit job, where I knew I could just shuffle in hungover everyday... alas, I was a security guard.

One fateful day, I got stuck working in the Main Hall... specifically in the dreaded coat check. It started to rain, and the Met had a weird policy about: NO UMBRELLAS in the galleries. That meant visitors had to stand in line and check their umbrellas, wet or dry, it didn't make a difference. That particular day, the museum was swamped, and everyone had umbrellas. The line was backed up into the Main Hall. The umbrellas were dripping wet sheltering their owners from one of the biggest downpours of that year. The four security guards working the coat check area had pruned hands from handling the wet umbrellas. They were more soaked than the visitors.

I recall standing up on a wheel chair and yelling out to the crowd: "Ladies and Gentleman, if you could please help us out, since it's a very rainy day, please use the white plastic bags you see in front of you. Thank you."

And in the middle of my quick speech I noticed that Tony Randall was second or third in line. He had his trophy wife with him, a 20something year old model. He lived close to the Met and he was probably one of the more frequent celebrity visitors. Each day we'd get a Tony Randall sighting. And every guard pretty much that met him had to say the same two things:
1. He's a dick.
2. His wife is hot.
Anyway, I got back behind the coat check counter and started to accept umbrellas. I put one away and I looked up and there was Tony Randall, handing me a dripping wet umbrella. He never bothered to use the plastic bags we provided. Instead he maliciously handed me over his umbrella like it was a dirty diaper filled with rotten mushy baby shit. He gave me a look like: "I'm fuckin' Tony Randall. I'm fuckin' a twenty year old. You make minimum wage. Fuck your plastic bag." And I was not pleased. Of course he didn't tip me, the cheap bastard.

Now, let's flash forward a decade. I got my sweet revenge. I made money on his passing. So, I'm a heartless fuck. But, I'm a winning gambler today, rejoicing about the death of a guy who thought he was better than everyone else. It don't matter in the big picture, and I'll probably give the money to a homeless person on the subway, and say, "Don't thank me. Thank Tony Randall, that fuckin' umbrella jerkoff."

Monday, May 17, 2004

Call Me Jesus... the WBT Hits Pacific Poker
"Definition of Faith: not wanting to know what is true." - Nietzsche
So it's true. I'm Jesus. With that said, congrats to Otis in addition to Mean Gene and Boy Genius. Thanks to Iggy for the grunt work. OK that's it. I came in 20th place and didn't get many cards. The only highlight was my attempt to play incognito after I grew rabid with frustration trying to get a decent user name on Pacific Poker. Their 8 character rule was pissing me off, and you know how much I like rules. So I decided that I'll try to play under a different name to disguise my style of play, and perhaps I'd get to steal a pot or two. I considered trying to mock my fellow bloggers and play under names not so identical nameds like: HDooble or AlCanHang or GirlGenius or NiceGene. Alas, I decided upon Jesus. And when I got to my first table, I tried to see if I could pull off my disguise.
Table 1... The Players:
Seat 1: Cheap Thrills
Seat 2: Maudie
Seat 3: CanesFan
Seat 4: Chicago Phil
Seat 5: NemoD
Seat 6: EMPTY
Seat 7: PDooley
Seat 8: Jesus69
Seat 9: Boy Genius
Seat 10: EMPTY
I decided to try ou tmy acting chops on Boy Genius. Here's the chat, and in case you're very slow... I am Jesus69:
chgophil: nh
NemoD: ty
Dealer: (Hand# 10787776) boygza won $130, didn't show hand
boygza: mean gene in the early chip lead with 1214
Canesfan: cant let him take another title tonight
Jesus69: i like your blog boy genius
chgophil: I'm the early short stack
boygza: thanks jesus
boygza: reader or blogger?
Jesus69: reader
Dealer: (Hand# 10787801) ChpThrls won $150, didn't show hand
Jesus69: i like your blog too Maudie
Dealer: (Hand# 10787933) MaudieB won $30, didn't show hand
MaudieB: Thanks
And that's not all. I even hammed it up for Boy Genius... and asked him what the Hammer was!! And he responded! Here's more hilarious chat:
Dealer: (Hand# 10788230) Jesus69 won $840, didn't show hand
MaudieB: i thought Jesus was supposed to be charitable...
Jesus69: how do you show cards?
boygza: uncheck automuck?
Jesus69: ok thanks
boygza: hammer!
ChpThrls: lol
boygza: this is how i lost to the fat guy last time
Jesus69: whats the hammer?
boygza: 72o
Jesus69: oh
That was great. Then I got moved to another table. And this time, it was with some of the big boys. Here's my second table:
The Players:
Seat 1: EMPTY
Seat 2: HDouble
Seat 3: Otis
Seat 4: NemoD
Seat 5: LieBot
Seat 6: UpForPoker (CJ)
Seat 7: EMPTY
Seat 8: Life's a Grind
Seat 9: MonsterZ
Seat 10: Jesus69
Right away, HDouble tried to out me. Here's what Yoda himself said:
Hdouble: hey nemos here
Hdouble: and jesus
NemoD: heya
Dealer: (Hand# 10788489) NemoD won $175, didn't show hand
Hdouble: jesus = pauly
Up4Poker: same difference ;-)
Hdouble: maybe
Jesus69: im not pauly, i'm mike from buffalo.
Jesus69: tao of poker sucks
NemoD: jesus asked "whats the hammer" at my last table
Hdouble: oh my bad mike
Dealer: (Hand# 10788499) MonsterZ won $200, didn't show hand
Hdouble: lol
Hdouble: oh the humanity
NemoD: haha
Up4Poker: The Hammer!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Jesus69: i like your blog though
Hdouble: thank you sir
Hdouble: you can donate your stack to me
Hdouble: ;)
And that was the end of the humor. Shortly afterwards, I was busted!! Congrats to the winners!
The Boy Genius Challenge Begins!

Part time actor, part time gambler Boy Genius issued a challenge to me on his blog. Here's the gist:
A Challenge To Pauly McGrupp

You're an admitted incorrigible gambler. I'm well on my way.

I'd like to issue a challenge to you to for a weekly wager.

We'll pick something absurd. Whether it's the weekend box office gross of the fourth week of release of Spider-Man 2, or betting an over/under for what percentile Iggy can finish in his next multi-tourney, the hype and level of interest for a friendly $5 wager could be off the charts.

My first proposition: Pop Culture Passings. Pauly McGrupp, starting with this Wednesday's newspapers, will the next celebrity to pass on to the pearly gates be a musician, or an actor? (of course, we'll wait for the next actor or musician to die to pay off this bet)

$5 and pride is riding on your decision. I'll be happy to take whichever side you choose not to.

Are you man enough to play my little games?
And yes, I'm in!!

Sunday, May 16, 2004

The Penguin

Go visit The Poker Penguin. Talk about some quality blogage out there, fom a great writer, and skilled poker player, down in New Zealand. Here's a bit of The Penguin's last entry:
Sure, it's not great comedy, and it's not hot drunk 18 year olds. But it got me another few bucks closer to being debt free. It was also wonderful to be mister suckout for a change. I have experimented with the fish lifestyle, and it was good.
Ah, drunk 18 yr olds.... reminds me of just yesterday.
Man Skips Sentencing to Play in WSoP

It's funny because it's true. Man Skips Sentencing to Play in WSoP was in the local newspaper this morning. Here's a bit:
A man scheduled to be sentenced for masterminding an illegal million-dollar investment scheme went to Las Vegas instead to play poker.

Superior Court Judge James N. Citta issued a bench warrant Friday for the arrest Brian Strahl, 29, of Staten Island, N.Y. Citta called Strahl "a degenerate gambler."

Strahl was scheduled to be sentenced Friday, but faxed Citta from Las Vegas to say he was playing in the World Series of Poker to win money to make restitution to his victims. The letter said he had made $5,000 so far.
I wonder if he reads the Tao of Poker?

Saturday, May 15, 2004

Poker in the Weeds: Vegas Trip Report Day 2

My brother posted his Day 2 action from our Vegas trip last month. Here's a bit:
The others (locals) are losers. They seem to never win and constantly bitch when they get out played and lose. These degenerate gamblers are definitely living in the wrong city.
Check out his blog: Poker in the Weeds.
Choice Poker Stole My Money!!!

Where's my check? Chocie Poker sucks ass.

Besides Grubby, who else has had problems cashing out of Choice Poker? I am in the middle of a nightmare, and I'm trying to figure out who else they ripped off before I attempt legal action (if I can). They might be able to rip off one or two of us, but if there are a bunch of bloggers they ripped off, maybe we can band together and do something to bring them to justice.

I am starting off with my first anti-Choice Poker rant. I was wondering if anyone who frequents 2+2 forums or RGP, can do me a favor and post a quick inquiry whether or not any one else is experiencing a similar problem. I don't hang out on those formus/message boards, so any info would be greatly appreciated.

Here's what happned. Two months ago I requested a cash out of Choice Poker. I got the run around and they said that they were unable to complete the transaction, unless I had set up my account via a Western Union deposit. Since I Western Unioned them the money, I thought I qualified to get a cash out. I requested a check, and they assured me that they had teh funds and would send me the check in 2-3 weeks. When I brought up the rumor that Choice Poker was broke (and not paying their employees and players) to a customer service rep, he got angry and said that he would never lie to me and he was upset that I questioned his credibility. I should have known he was bluffing. Here's the email that they sent me on Macrh 30, 2004:
As for the check, because it is for such a small amount, we will have to send it via normal mail. Otherwise, the cost of sending its would be greater than the withdrawal itself. Therefore, you can expect to receive your withdrawal in the next 2-3 weeks (because sending it normal mail from Costa Rica takes that long normally). It will be for $XX.XX minus the cost of the check itself and the cost of sending it.
What a crock of shit. They are charging me to ship the check and the cost of cutting the check? It was under $50, but that's not the point. Here's some of the lies that Choice Poker has on their website: emphasizes allowing for the fastest possible deposit and payout transactions.

The family pledges to always be honest and consistent in all our promotions and advertising. As well, any information we publish regarding our company and operations is honest and truthful. All information regarding our games, policies and procedures are always available and open to the public.
More lies. They are so full of shit. I sent them two emails in the past 10 days... without any responses. Now I bring my plight to you attention. Grubby said something about how they are still operating, looking to con new players into getting new funds. At least, I can do something from preventing another victim of this awful poker site.

Bloggers... tell me your problems with Choice.

Attorneys... tell me what would be a proper course of legal action.

Thugs... anyone want to go down to Costa Rica and handle things... the old school way?

And to all the assholes at Choice Poker... you fucked with the wrong guy. Nothing pisses me off more than a bunch of liars.

Friday, May 14, 2004

The Hilton Sisters

Poker Slang of the day: The Hilton Sisters are a pair of Queens... Nicky & Paris.

On a random WPT broadcast Vinny "Rum & Coke" Van Patten called a pair of Queens... The Hilton Sisters and it stuck with me ever since. I love that nickname. I used to call Q-Q... "The Bitches" because I used to lose to them all the time. Ever since I started calling them: Nicky & Paris... they have done me right.

I made Paris for the Queen of Diamonds. Am I right?

Here's the Paris Hilton bio from her TV's show's homepage, The Simple Life 2:
22-year-old Paris Hilton is the great-granddaughter of Conrad Hilton, founder of the Hilton hotel chain. With homes in Manhattan's Waldorf-Astoria, Beverly Hills and the Hamptons, she is a renowned jetsetter and socialite.

Hilton has developed a modeling career and has posed for such publications as GQ, Vanity Fair and FHM. She has also actively contributed in numerous fashion circles, often collaborating with top designers at their shows. Some of these designers and labels include Tommy Hilfiger, Joey and T, Heatherette, Richard Tyler and Jeremy Scott.

Hilton is currently focusing on an acting career. In 2001, she made a cameo appearance in Ben Stiller's film "Zoolander." Her additional film credits include roles in "Raising Helen", "Nine Lives" and "Wonderland" with Val Kilmer. She will also appear in the upcoming feature "The Cat in the Hat" with Mike Myers and recently wrapped production on the film "Win A Date With Tad Hamilton," with Kate Bosworth and Topher Grace.

Often a tabloid centerpiece, Hilton has been linked to numerous young actors on Hollywood's Hot List. Her interests include yoga, tennis and designing a high-end purse collection and jewelry line with her sister. She is also actively involved in numerous charities and has lent her support to various animal advocacy organizations.

Hilton is bi-coastal and divides her time between Los Angeles and New York.
What a total crock of shit. Here's what her resume should really say...
Paris Hilton's Bio: The Straight Dope by Tenzin McGrupp

The 22-year-old Paris Hilton is the luckiest woman in America. Her great-granddaddy Conrad Hilton made a shitload of cash building hotels for rich idiot Americans who were afraid to stay at local hotels abroad. She was given luxurious homes in the hippest places in America and spends less than two weeks of each year at these gaudy abodes, because she is busy flying all over the world shopping, fucking, drinking, and snorting things you never imagined could be shoved up that cosmetically shuffled nose of hers. And no... Paris has never flown Coach once in her life.

An unknown model just a few years ago, Paris was thrust into the mainstream by a foolish act of debacuhery, when shit faced hammered, she never realized that some pencil dicked retard video taped themselves having medicore sex. The camera work was shotty, the plot was stale, and the sound fuzzy. In short, her acting debut was less than spectacular, it was like she "phoned in her orgasm". Due to the insanity of the internet, everyone in the free world has seen the infamous video which launched a less than avergae acting career, but with some snazzy advertising, marketing, and brainwashing, everyone watched her TV show. And now she gets to hang out with people a lot cooler than you, and waste more money in a single weekend shopping spree than you will earn in your lifetime.

Often a tabloid centerpiece, Hilton has gone down on numerous young actors on Hollywood's Hot List and even some very fortunate, random valets parkers. Her interests include shopping, talking on the phone, and making fun of poor people. She was photographed in a local newspaper once, giving money to a homeless woman. But it was a mix up, she just gave a hagged out Courtney Love a quarter so she could make a phone call.

Hilton is openly bi-sexual and divides her time between the crotches of both men and women.
New season starts June 16.

Thursday, May 13, 2004

Don't Look Down
"We are here to laugh at the odds and live our lives so well that Death will tremble to take us." - Charles Bukowski
I've been afraid to write about my recent hot streak because I don't want to jinx myself, but to hell with all that. It's just a matter of time before this rush is over. When I got back from Vegas, I played horrible on Party Poker and needed a break. When I got back from a brief hiatus... I started kicking ass. You see, you cannot be afraid to play poker. You cannot be afraid to fail. It's a simple mantra in life, but it works when you apply it to poker. If you are afraid to lose, it's going to hurt your game.

When you play too timid, then you begin to second guess yourself when you see pots getting shoved to another player when you really should be stacking up those chips. No fear. Shit happens. Sometimes good cards get beat. You have to be able to stomach that if you want to play cards and piss in the tall weeds with the big dogs.

With that said, I tightened up my game. I eliminated a series of trouble hands and decided to put alot more confidence in high pairs. I used to be afraid of JJ and QQ, but now I'm playing them as strongly as KK and AA. By the numbers, they are some of the best starting hands in hold'em, so why be afraid to bet strongly with them in No Limit? I'm not afraid to see and ace or over card flop. I've been jamming pots preflop with those trouble pairs and most of the time everyone folds. Those small pots add up. And I'd rather win five small pots than lose one big one.

I've also limited my play online at Party Poker. No more eight to ten hour sessions. Those were brutal, especially when I'd play for ten hours and only be up $10. Those days sucked. I'm no longer waiting for that $500 day to come around. I'd rather be a "hit-n-run" kinda guy.... play for a little bit at a time, and as soon as I win a sizeable amount, I don't get greedy, I just walk away. $25 here. $105 there. $80 here. $45 there. That all adds up. It's amazing that playing less online actually increased my hourly win rate!! And plus, now I've had more time to write, hang out and watch Yankees games with my brother, live life, and see a shitload of films at the TriBeCa film festival with Haley... and when you're playing great cards, that confidence spills over into your regular life. People are attracted to you when you beam with confidence. It's just how life works.

I've only had two losing seesion since May 1 and like I said in a previous post, both negative sessions were followed up by big days. I am very close to wiping out all my Vegas losses!! I thougth it was going to take months to rebuild my bankroll. And I hope my new found confidence and new strategy can work. I understand that it's only 12 days into my rush, so we'll see how this game plan works during a bad run. Anyone can play well when you're getting cards. But how do you play in a middle of a rut? I haven't been fully tested, but I'm not afraid to find out.

I've been playing a decent amount of Omaha 8/b on Pacific Poker after I signed up for Iggy's new tourney (this Sunday at 9pm EST). I've had a few swings, but for the most part, I wanted to get used to playing on a different site. Too bad Pacific limits user names to eight characters. I wonder if anyone will guess who I am on Sunday?

Back to Party Poker, where I have stopped playing SNGs for a while. Maybe if I have a huge day in the future I'll play a couple, but for now, I'm sticking to the $25 and $50 NL ring games, a place where I think I've found my groove. I'm a much better NL player than limit. That's just the way it is.

This past week, I got to play two sessions with fellow blogger, Monte Christo. He's a good egg and it's been a blast playing with him. Monte Christo was hammer happy, playing, raising pots, and showing the hammer to the other players at the table, some of which had no clue what was going on. That was the same day I saw Monte Christo take down a huge pot with the Hilton Sisters. Nice.

Then yesterday, I witnessed the carnage. Monte Christo thought he had the nut flush with A-2, but alas, the dude who raised him had... the straight flush!! Ouch. It was just one of those days. Monte also witnessed my insane rush of pocket aces! I got AA three times in an eight hand span. It was ridiculous. Coach estimated that the odds were something like: 10.648 million to one. I dunno how to calculate that kind of stuff, maybe some of you poker playing math wizards can show me how to calculate formulas such as that. Anyway, I only won a few small pots with the AA, but shit, at least they weren't cracked. In one instance, I smooth called a preflop raise. The flop: A-Q-Q. He checked, I checked. The turn: rag. He bet, I rasied 2x his bet and he called. On the river: another rag. He checked, I bet and he folded. Maybe I should have just called on the turn, and perhaps he would have tried to steal the pot on the river. At any rate, it was good to see the big cards hold up for me.

In conclusion, I've adapted some new game plans when playing online. It's left me with more personal time and my game and attitude has vastly improved. I'm not afraid to log onto Party Poker anymore. In fact, I can't wait to play later today!

OK... so what else has been going on? Visit my normal blog for updates on my strange and twisted life. I'm working on the next issue of my blog-zine Truckin', in addition to starting the first few pages of my new screenplay... a modern day adaption of Shakespeare's King Lear, hoping to get a first draft done before I take some time off to follow the Dead this summer.

Hangin' with the Homeys

It looks like fellow poker bloggers have been busy. HDouble has morphed into Yoda, my new nickname for The Dude, after tutoring his pupils in the Ways of the Force. I couldn't think of anyone better to be a mentor. Although, I'm sure Shana Hiatt can teach me a few new things or two. Boy Genius and his brother built a poker table this past weekend. Very cool. I'll have to check that out some day, perhaps on my next trip to Michigan (my last trip was en route to see Phish last year in Wisconsin). Chris Halverson is attempting to throw together a home game. I wish him luck! I'm having a blast filling a seat at Ferrari's and the Blue Parrot over the past few months. Poker is an amazing hobby/sport/distraction. It's a social event when you play with a group of friends, so I wish him luck. Lord Geznikor has some interesting things to say about playing $5-10. Al Can't Hang always entertains me with his stories about his wild weekend benders!! Maudie is on a nice run, crushing the $2-4 games over at Pacific. And Iggy is hard at work putting the next WBT event together. Burt Fu makes me laugh. Good site he's got going. The Poker Penguin has been posting regularly, which is always a pleasure to read. Felicia has a great post on Razz, and I hope she gets back into the swing soon. The Poker Prof is posting some great write ups of the WSoP. Check out his site.

Welcome to Las Vegas?

And lastly, is Grubby moving to Vegas? Let me know, and I'll be your roomie, Grubster! How crazy would that be... me, Grubby, and two leggy blonde, scantly clad, UNLV coeds... sharing a house. A novel and screenplay would write itself under those circumstances. That could be a new sitcom... hey Grubby let's pitch a comedic/sitcom version of Rounders meets Men Behaving Badly to NBC and get Wil Wheaton to play your character. Wil as the Grubster. I love it. We'll get Elisha Cuthbert to play one of the roomies, a fish out of water from a small town in Canada. A man can dream, right?