Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Tuesday Night at the Blue Parrot
"Every possession and every happiness is but lent by chance for an uncertain time, and may therefore be demanded back the next hour." - Arthur Schopenhauer
Signor Ferrari hosted his first game of 2005, this instance on a random Tuesday night with the Orange Bowl on in the background. We had a good mix of regulars (Joel & Asphnxma) and first time players at the Blue Parrot. Although the Blue Parrot isn't the same without Rick (living in California), Ugarte (self-imposed exile), Swish (working in DC), and Coach (on a cruise with Mrs. Coach) adding to the dynamics of the games. It had been a long 71 days since the last game and I was eager to play live after being sick for over a week and losing a huge chunk of my online bankroll since Christmas. The four new players were lawyers (and Ferrari knew them through Ugarte who is friends with Toni) and once again I found myself at a table with Ivy League minds.
The Players:
Seat 1: Asphnxma from Riding the F Train (arrived late)
Seat 2: Cliff
Seat 3: Joel
Seat 4: Signor Ferrari
Seat 5: Steve
Seat 6: Andy
Seat 7: Toni
Seat 8: Pauly
The game started a little late and right away I liked the new guys (and girl). They brought oil cans of Fosters to drink. Cliff impressed me the most after he busted out a bottle of Absolut early on and steadily drank vodka on the rocks all night. I had a few beers which is something I never do when I'm playing online. The last few times I played in casinos, I found myself having one or two pops (and in Vegas I had a lot more). One of the best feelings in the world is cracking open your first beer with friends at a poker table. Apparently I almost played poker once at Toni's home game. I had gotten an invite to one of her tournaments last year sometime and declined. I think I was in Rhode Island writing Gumbo at the time, so it was good to put a face to the name. Ugarte told her about me so I was wondering how much info he gave up... and if she actually read my blog.

Toni won the button to start and called a round of hold'em. Just in case you did not know, the buy in at the Blue Parrot is $100 and it's dealer's choice. We generally play rounds of $2/4 Texas Hold'em and $2/4 Omaha hi/lo and seven card stud, $1-5 spread. Although wild cards games are frowned upon by the purists at the Blue Parrot, they have been called from time to time. And some late nights, the stakes get bumped up to $3/6 or Pot Limit for hold'em and $10 max bet for stud. I always call hold'em or seven card stud.

8:40pm EST... +25. I won two quick pots right away with AK and ATs. I flopped TPTK with Big Slick and Joel called me down with a pocket pair in case I was bluffing early on. My hand selection at the Blue Parrot has tightened up over the past few sessions, but it still won't deter people from calling me all the way down to the river. It's good in that instance, when Joel didn't catch... it hurts other times when I am brutally river'd. On a positive note, all my big hands have been paying off because I get action when I raise preflop.

8:46pm EST... Toni's AA are cracked by Ferrari's A-10. The flop was something like: K-10-x and she might have checked (my memory is fuzzy there). On the turn she checkraised Ferrari (or perhaps she did that on the flop and checked on the turn, one or the other). At any rate, I never put her on aces. Alas, on the river Ferrari caught trips and cracked her pocket aces.

9:01pm EST... +65. Feels good to start out the night winning the first few pots you play and not have to worry about the dreaded rebuy in the first hour. We were still playing hold'em and I dunno why, but, I limped UTG with 10-8s. The flop had a J and two spades. I check raised my middle flush draw and got two callers. The turn was a 10 and I at least made second pair with my flush draw. I bet and Toni in the big blind check-called. The river was an 8. I missed my draw but I thought that I might have the best hand. Toni checked and so did I. My two pair held up and that was the loosest play I had all night.

9:35pm EST... +103 after a round of Omaha hi/lo. I recently changed my Omaha strategy and found myself scooping a lot more pots that I normally had gotten. I hit a couple of straights which surprisingly held up. I won a big pot with As-Ah-Qh-2s. I chopped the low with Ferrari and my AA held up to win with a pair on the board. I'll take 3/4 of an Omaha hi/lo pot anytime. I glanced at the TV and Oklahoma was getting crushed at halftime by USC.

9:51pm EST... +100. Joel looked like he was struggling and he was the shortstack. He had been missing flops all night and lost a few big pots in Omaha. Ferrari was close to rebuying but stopped the bleeding with a nice win in Anaconda. I called seven card stud once when it was my deal and I didn't win.

10:08pm EST... +140. In my notes I scribbled down, "Crushing hold'em". I was on a roll for sure. If I had KQ, I'd flop KQx. If I had A7s, I flopped top pair with a nut flush draw. It was one of those nights when I had better than average starting hands, won pots with helpful flops, and I hit my draws when I was aggressively playing them hard and fast. I have to give Iggy credit to improving that aspect of my limit game after a late night conversation in Vegas at the Sherwood Forrest bar. It was a simple statement that I've ready plenty of times before in books and online, but hearing it from his mouth while I was standing in Vegas seemed to make a bigger impact. "Play your draws hard," the Blogfather told me. Last night they all paid off.

10:23pm EST... +160. Andy called 7/27. I won the low when I was dealt A/6. A monkey could have played my hand and won.

10:35pm EST... +210. Asphnxma arrived in the middle of a huge Anaconda hand. He was a little tipsy and had a great story to tell us about post-work cocktails a with former female co-worker who literally wanted to "Ride the F Train". He blew her off to play with us. Back to the action, Ferrari and Andy were battling it out for the low. I had J-9-9-J showing for the high and Steve had all clubs... 10-9-8-7. I had the Jack of clubs, so I knew that he had only one out for the straight flush. If he had the 6c, then I was doomed and properly fucked for sure. His betting pattern suggested that he didn't have it... because he wasn't raising. However, that was also a concern. If I had the nut high, I would be smooth calling until the last round. Luckily, he had the A of clubs... just a flush and my full boat 9s over Jacks held up. It was the biggest pot of the night.

11:14pm EST... +195. Asphnxma called a round of Razz. Felicia would have been proud. I bailed right away when a Q appeared as my door card. I had a pair of Jacks rolled up. That would have been a decent starting hand for stud... but not for Razz.

11:20pm EST... +190. Cliff called Evil Homer. It's a made up game in a variation of Stud and Chicago. The lowest spade in the hole chops the pot with the high in a seven card stud format. However, the only change is this... the Jack of Spades is the Evil Homer card. If you get that as one of your down cards, before the last round of betting, you have to jump up and do the Evil Homer dance. Afterwards, you are able to remove cards from your opponents hands. You select one card you want to get rid of... say you pick Aces... and everyone that has an ace has to muck it and only use the rest of the cards in their hand. You can select 2s and kill someone's lock on the low if you choose. Steve had the Jack and he did the Evil Homer dance and decided to kill Queens out of the deck. I think he won the high and Cliff chopped when he showed his 2 of spades.

11:30pm EST... Toni called an interesting game called "31". It's has that Screw Your Neighbor vibe to it. Basically you get three cards and try to make 31 (all the cards get a numerical value... face cards are 10 and aces are 11). But you can only use the suited cards to make your best hand. You get to draw a card as the deal goes around and you can only hold three cards at once. The goal is to not have the lowest numerical value when the hand is over. If that happens, you have to put one stack (out of two $3 stacks) of your chips in the pot. The last one standing gets all the chips. I didn't explain that very well since it was my first time playing and I dunno all the exact rules... but I managed to come close to winning the game, losing on the last hand.

11:52pm EST... +190. I got the Wheel in Anaconda and had the low locked up. Alas, it was a small pot.

12:20am EST... +168. I lost a big pot in Omaha hi/lo. I had plenty of outs going down to the river and I missed them all ... royal straight flush draw, flush and straights... all missed.

12:22am EST... +159. The game was now six handed when Joel and Toni left. F Train called Razz again and I was a loser.

1:02am EST... +125. On consecutive hands I had pocket pairs cracked. The first one really sucked. I had JJ UTG and raised. Ferrari reraised with K7o and I reraised back. He called. The flop was nothing, all rags and I bet out. I even check raised on the turn. Ferrari called me down to the river and spiked a King, one of his three outs to win. Of course he had no business being in that pot considering I raised and reraised UTG, bet strong on the flop, and checkraised on the turn. He didn't have any draws. But that happens all the time it seems at the Blue Parrot... none of my raises get respect. If I don't raise preflop with a big hand, it gives more people a better chance of cracking them. If I do raise with a big hand, people still stay in, even after I've been showing down big hand after big hand and building a big stack of chips. I have to keep jamming the pots because in the long run, I will get paid off. I have been winning over the long haul, haven't you guys noticed? I shouldn't complain because I really want people calling me down with nothing when I got a hand. But it's moments like that when you just scratch your head and assure yourself you played everything correctly and the other person got incredibly lucky with a three outer. The next hand I had pocket 10s cracked by Steve's Q7s. Losing on pocket pairs in consecutive hands in a 6 handed game really blows and could set you on tilt.

1:42am EST... +165. I won a decent sized hand in Anaconda to make up for the minor hit in my bankroll. During 7/27 I had 6/K. My 6 1/2 was perfect for the low and I scooped half the pot. I won the low both times we played 7/27.

When the night was over, I had $50 in cash under my chips. I also had three $25 chips and a nice stack of blue $10 chips. $265 in total on the table for me. Minus my buyin, that was a $165 profit. Not bad for five hours and it was nice to walk away a winner in the first Blue Parrot game of 2005. All the new players were cool and were solid players. Its funny how I can get along with complete strangers sitting around a table for five hours yet I can't sit in the same room with certain family members for more than thirty minutes without me wanting to bash my skull in.
The Final Tally:
Pauly +165
Ferrari +50
Cliff +27
F Train +10
Andy +9
Steve -50
Toni -80
Joel -120

WPBT in NYC: The Blue Parrot Invitational

Signor Ferrari has agreed to host the first ever NYC bloggers NL tournament called The Blue Parrot Invitational. The tentative date is for Saturday afternoon on February 5th. That's the Saturday before the Super Bowl. Because space is limited, we have to restrict the seats to Coach and poker bloggers. Hopefully Ugarte can make his return to the Blue Parrot and I hope to see Derek, Mas, Joaquin, and Toby make their first appearances. If any else is interested (like Diane and Monte Christo) shoot me an email.

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