Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Late Night Weirdness at the Blue Parrot
"Swish, I'm right fucking here!" - Ugarte scolding a player for continuously acting out of turn
I had a great birthday yesterday. I wrote for several hours, played a few hands on Party Poker, ate dinner with my brother, then ventured off for a late night game at the Blue Parrot. Signor Ferrari had not hosted a game in several weeks. He pushed back the starting time a couple of hours and suggested that everyone bring a lax attitude this week, along with alcohol. Lots of it. Most of the regulars were back... Coach, Ugarte, and even Swish made the game. He was in town covering the Giants-Skins game and stuck around an extra day to play. Weirdness is the norm when the games get into the late hours. You can imagine what it was like when we left his apartment at 6am. At one point I was down almost $200 and left at 3am. I'm glad I stayed because I stormed back, saved face, and walked away only down $30.

It was a full table at the Blue Parrot, with the MNF game on in the background.
The players:
Seat 1: Joel
Seat 2: Om
Seat 3: Matt (first appearance at the Blue Parrot)
Seat 4: Signor Ferrari
Seat 5: Ugarte
Seat 6: Swish
Seat 7: Diane
Seat 8: Coach
Seat 9: Dr. Pauly
9:35pm EST... I won the button and called a round of $2-4 hold'em. Swish scooped the first pot and Joel won two of the next three. LJ Smith scored a TD. He's the starting TE on my fantasy team and I needed three TDs from the guy to win the week.

9:56pm EST... Coach won a pot with one of his trouble hands AQ. He flopped top pair and escaped both a flush and straight draws to take down his first pot of the night. It was a little hectic because I had been wasted from celebrating all day. I swigged my Rolling Rock, and in between folding all my junk hands, I bravely attempted to carry on eight different conversations at once since I had not seen everyone in weeks; Coach dropped 27 points in a lawyer's league hoops game, Swish just got back to America after a month covering the Olympics in Athens, Matt and Om were quizzed me about the origins of The Hammer, Joel spoke to me about my short story Lost Puppy, chatted with Ugarte about his recent stand up gigs, Ferrari talked up college football including his Buckeyes, and Diane told me about her new poets group.... all within one orbit of hold'em.

10:19pm EST... -20. Ferrari took down the biggest pot of the night in $2-4 hold'em after calling a preflop raise with 46o. He was defending his blinds, flopped his pair, then nailed his trips on the turn. Swish's KJ, Diane's pocket 9s and Om's 10s all went down when everyone bet to the river with their two pair.

10:43pm EST... -25. Playing another round of hold'em, Diane, went heads up with Swish. The flop: KsJs7c. Swish had the reputation to play any two cards to the river, taking down gigantic pots and cracking pocket pairs in the process. Running aces made the board extremely terrifying, filling up a flush in the river. Swish raised, Diane reraised, and Swish went back over the top. There's no limit to raises heads up at the Blue Parrot and it looked like someone's flush was going to lose to a full boat. Diane folded and Swish flipped over Big Slick. It was a nicely played hand especially since he didn't raise preflop.

11:01pm EST... -31. Ugarte called a round of Omaha hi/lo and I found A23J, double suited. The board read: A2356 with no flush possibilities for me. It could have not been a worse flop.

11:19pm EST... -50. This is what I scratched in my notes: OMAHA KILLING ME!.

11:43pm EST... -35. I took down one of my first pot of the night after playing for over two hours. I had Ah-10h UTG and raised. I drove out all but four players and. I flopped two hearts and pushed the action. When an ace fell on the turn I checked-raised and everyone folded.

11:57pm EST... -45. Hold'em. Coach opened up with a raise. I called with 10-10. The flop: Q76. Coach came out firing and I folded. He got a few callers to the river including Matt and Om. He had a set of 7s and scooped a decent sized pot.

12:17am EST... -70. Most recently, we rarely played games with wild cards. Om called Follow the Queen (Stud where Queens AND the card following the Queens are wild) and I lost a pot when I had 88/Q to open. I could not even fill up a full boat, which would have been a marginal hand in a game with so many wild cards.

12:30am EST... -75. I was waiting for Stud hi/lo. Unfortunately I got nothing and folded. Since I had been playing a lot of stud in the last ten days, I got more accustomed to seeing different starting hands. I have a better feel what to muck and what hands I could draw out on.

12:44am EST... -55. I went heads up with Diane. In LP, I raised. The flop: A22. I raised Diane and she called. The turn and flop: 6 and J. I was worrying about a 2, but more concerned about getting outkicked. I didn't raise on the river and Diane showed A3. I won the pot with A5s. It was one of the best hands I had seen all night and I got a few grumbles from the peanut gallery for my questionable preflop raise.

1:08 am EST... -40. Matt called Baseball and I got three 3s with the King and 10 of hearts. My Royal Straight Flush took down Swish's quad 4s in a great example of the insanity of wild cards games!

A couple of folks left and the game got shorthanded. That's when I knew it was going to get ugly.
Late Night Players:
Seat 1: Om
Seat 2: Matt
Seat 3: Signor Ferrari
Seat 4: Swish
Seat 5: Diane
Seat 6: Dr. Pauly

1:21 am EST... -115. Anaconda. Man, I have lost so much money on Anaconda at the Blue Parrot that I could probably buy an entire bar in Southern Mexico somewhere, a place that Al Can't Hang and Mrs. Hang could vacation, and where the locals would shout out, "Senor No Puede Colgar!" everytime our favorite Socologist entered the premises. I cannot fold hands in Anaconda. I know better too. I feel like one of those battered wives, with two black eyes and a broken collar bone, who constantly runs face first into the fist of her pugilistic husband, unable to break free from the sadistic nature of life that we all crave, yet lack the self-esteem to walk away. I had a fullhouse, Queens full of Jacks. Diane was showing 77A. I knew Om was going for the low. He had one ace covered up. Did she have the other two? I paid to see the next card and Diane showed an Ace. That's when I folded when I should have called. In the past when I called that last bet, I always lost to a higher full boat. That was the first of many poorly played Anaconda hands.

2:03am EST... -120. Om took down five 5s in Follow the Queen. Ferrari had been doing well at that point. And Matt had two huge stacks of chips which slowly bled away. I bought 80 off of him for my first rebuy of the night. Om had a few swings back and forth. He started out hot. Diane and Swish were sputtering along, having to rebuy after a trip downstairs to the ATM.

2:11am EST... -155. Swish called Baseball. I lost to Ferrari's quad cowboys to my quad 2s. We played Midnight Baseballl or no peek. Om's quads beat out Diane's trips.

2:36am EST... -165. In hold'em, Diane raised perflop with the Hammer but lost to Swish's A5s. Matt left and the already loose game got five handed.

3:10am EST... -190. Ferrari bad beated Om when his 73o took down K-10. Om flopped top pair, Ferrari bottom pair, then caught his trips on the turn. The next hand, my A-10s lost to Q9. I had just a few chips left. I was going to leave but decided to stick around for a few more hands.

3:17am EST... -130. I started my run. Swish called Seven card Stud with 2s wild. My fullboat took down Swish's set of 9s.

3:41am EST... -90. Hold'em. I raised preflop with 88. I got two callers including Ferrari. I flopped a set (Q78) and raised. Ferrari reraised, I played back and he called. I put him on top pair or a straight draw. I paired the board on the river and my full boat took down a well needed pot. I was off running. I was gunning to win my rebuy back.

3:50am EST... Karma found it's way towards Ferrari's hand. He had K8 and Om had the Hilton Sisters. The flop: 2K9. Ferrari had him and raised. Om proceeded to catch running cards for a Broadway Straight suckout!

3:57am EST... -60. I raised preflop with QJs. Swish called. The flop: AK3. I caught my straight on the turn. Swish hit two pair on the river and raised me. I played back and I thought we were going to chop the pot. Nope. He had A2 and I scooped it all.

4:20am EST... -70. Om called Follow the Queen. I bailed right away but the pot was huge by the time it got to the river. Ferrari had quad 6s, Swish had qaud Aces, and Om flipped over five 9s!! He added to his stack with another huge hand in Follow the Queen. Ferrari had been playing great all night and was up over $300 at one point. But he made some loose calls. It was late, the table was loose and no one was folding when he raised to drive people out so plenty of us hit their hands when they probably should have been folding.

4:34am EST... -49. I limped in with 34o. I flopped a straight and was heads up with Diane. Huge pot. Lucky flop.

4:47am EST... -70. Swish found a flight back to DC and was going to stay until he left for the airport. He put a nice play on me and bluffed me out of a pot. I had 35s. The board read: 837J2. Swish check raised me on the river and I folded my ugly pair. Swish flipped over 62o. Well done! He also bluffed out Diane in a similar pot. She had K6 and paired the board with her 6. He had bottom pair with 34 and won it.

5:09am EST... -45. I called Ferrari's preflop raise with 10-9. The flop: 332. I caught my top pair on the turn and got a full boat when another 3 fell. Ferrari had A9s. And I won back over $150 in two hours. All I could think was, "I'm happy I didn't leave to hit the bars just before last call!"

5:47am EST... More Anaconda adventures. Diane made a great call against Om when heads up for the low end of the pot. She bet and Om raised. She said, "I don't believe you." and raised. Om came back over the top and they got into a weird staring match for a few seconds. Om wasn't going away, but neither was Diane. She said it again, "I don't believe you." and reraised. Om folded and Diane took down a big pot on a great call and a better read. On the last hand of the night, I had a full boat Queens full of 8s. Swish was showing: 9h-7h-8h-6h. He kept jamming the pot and raising me. That told me he didn't have it, but I still had some doubt. I ended up calling his last bet and said, "Show me the straight flush." He shrugged his shoulders and said, "I wish I could. Take it down." It was a great bluff because I almost folded. he was impressed I stayed in all the way.

I finished the night only down $31!! It was one of those sessions where I gutted through all the misery and waited until I had the chance to get better hands and take advantage of a short handed table. I was pumped about only losing $30 because it could have been a lot worse. My cash bankroll is more thinner than the anorexic Olsen twin and a huge loss at the Blue Parrot would have made this upcoming trip to AC uncomfortable with a limited bankroll.
The Finally Tally:
Signor Ferrari +202
Om +120
Matt +30
Ugarte +21
Coach +14.50
Dr. Pauly -31
Joel -34
Swish -140
Diane -190
It was just a few moments before sunrise when I left the Blue Parrot. Ferrari had to crash for a few hours before he went into work. I grabbed breakfast with Diane where we chatted about the night's game. She made a few mistakes but also made some great calls. She reads people well sometimes and that's her best asset. As I walked past Penn Station to get to the subway, I was nearly run over by a horde of bitter, early morning commuters heading to work. I smiled. I pulled an all night poker session on my birthday of all days, gutting out only a $30 loss after almost losing my buy-in and rebuy. I rode the subway home in silence, my eyes heavy, and my body wedged in between two NY Times reading, Starbucks drinking yuppies. They were just starting their day, while I was ending mine. Well, not really. I got home and wrote for several hours, including this rambling review of another wild late night of poker at the Blue Parrot.

My next big report will be about my tales in Atlantic City on Friday with Senor No Puede Colgar, El Comida del poker, and friends. Stay tuned.

Other Write Ups

Ugarte wrote up the game in his latest entry Ugarte's Poker Grovel #43, or Two Tabling Again where he touched on some topics like poor poker etiquette and semantics. Here's a bit:
The poker wasn't particularly interesting most of the night. I was steaming early, managing to lose almost $50 without really getting involved in much action. I can't even guess where the money went (with the exception of an Omaha hand where I had the second best hand both ways). The play wasn't the important thing anyway. Most of the fireworks came when two recurring themes from the game again reared their ugly head: poor poker etiquette (Swish) and semantics (Ferrari)...
I kinda missed the drama, I was taking notes during both instances and I usually stear clear of two lawyers in a heated exchange. But Ugarte is right about one thing involving acting out of turn:
I don't mind when people make mistakes; I'll point them out and calmly explain why they were wrong. But when someone so consistently flouts the rules - whether intentionally or becuase he can't be bothered to care or pay attention - it becomes a question of respect. So I was more than a little upset with Swish. Waiting your turn is essentially a kindergarten principle, and it steams my ass that the table considers me the petulant one for having the audacity to care. The argument that the game is loose and casual doesn't cut it with me. Most of the simple courtesies of poker play are designed to enhance fairness, not just order. Pretending that a game with pots that get over $100 shouldn't require just a little bit of attention is bullshit. So I guess I'm still a little upset.
Of course Diane blogged a little bit about the game on her site called ...Night at the Blue Parrot:
"Why are you staring at me so hard? Either bet or fold."

His body language reveals his cards. And that voice in my head is getting louder, so in order to make sure I push him, like Hamlet when he put on the play, I pushed and pushed until it was obvious to me that he was afraid, very afraid. His shoulders sank, there was a quiver in his voice, he was agitated, impatient.If you've got the nuts, you just sit there and wait. Who care's how long the other person takes if you're going to win. Then he bets and he almost scared me off because I was totally short stacked and I'll scare myself, but I didn't believe him and as I kept betting/raising I kept talking shit, as if to keep reminding myself to do what I knew I needed to.
Yeah Diane is a young player that will eventuallty mature over time. She hasn't been afraid to sit down with some great players and took away some lessons from her losing session. Lastly, here's what she wrote about me...
Something about sitting next to him (Pauly) while I play makes me calmer. He's about as close to a friend as you get in this game (*see obscure Rounders reference). It's not easy being the only girl, not to mention the only black person at this table. No one respects my pre-flop raises, All my bets get called and none of them have ANY issue with taking all of my money, in fact some are just straight gunning for me. Playing without him there just isn't the same, isn't as fun.
Aww, thanks!

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