Monday, May 23, 2005

TowneHouse Bon Voyage Saturday

Toni hosted a Saturday afternoon BBQ followed by a tournament and cash games. She dubbed it "Pauly's Bon Voyage Bash." Damn, talk about one cool lady! Toni knows how to throw a good party. Have lots of great food, good music, interesting people, and include a $50 freezeout at some point during the twelve hour blow out. Yeah, I wandered out of the TowneHouse close to 5am after arriving 12+ hours earlier.

Although Toni's midtown apartment lies in the shadows of the Chrysler Building, she manages to have a large terrace (sadly, it's bigger than my old studio) and that's the perfect place to enjoy an almost-Summer afternoon party. The BBQ started out as a mini-NYC bloggers convention. I met Joaquin and Jordan from High on Poker, both for the first time. F Train and Mas stopped by and played in the tournament. Derek and Ugarte showed up later for one of the many cash games going on all night. Toni had a few friends, TowneHouse regulars, and co-workers over so it was a good mix. Poker was the center of the events during the afternoon, evening, and early morning hours.

The highlight of the party was seeing everyone at the TowneHouse for the last time before I head off to Vegas, in less than nine freakin' days. The other highlight was chopping first place with F Train in the tournament after playing a back and forth heads up match, which last over a half hour. To hell with Jesus and Phil, NBC should have been taping F Train and me battling wits at the TowneHouse! We we're much funnier and no fuckin' commercials.

Toni had some great food in addition to the usual BBQ fare. You'll see some of the pictures sprinkled throughout this post. The deserts were amazing, including the cookies and brownies. Kathy made chocolate covered strawberries which kept me sane all night long.

Toni also ordered a crock of chili! Impressive. I'm a big chili guy. I swear that Joaquin ate at least four bowls. And it goes without saying that in a room full of lawyers, the alcohol was flowing pretty heavily. I'm pretty sure everyone was hammered at one point or another. I know I was steadily fucked up since the moment I walked in the door until the moment I left.

We played a two table tournament. $50 buy in. Top 4 places paid ($300, $150, $100, $50) and everyone started with T1000 in various colored chips including lavender and pink. If you don't know about the TowneHouse, Toni uses pink chips at her games. First three levels are twenty minutes long then the next few are 15 minutes until Level 8, when they drop to seven minutes. I have a very good history at the TowneHouse and cashed in the majority of the tournaments I've played in, despite a handful of bubble finishes. I chalk up my success to good luck. There are some good players there. Joaquin opted to sit out of the tourney and wait for players to get knocked out to start a cash game outside on the terrace.
Tournament Players - My Table:
Seat 1: Kathy
Seat 2: Jordan from High on Poker
Seat 3: Pauly
Seat 4: Ken
Seat 5: Steve-O
Seat 6: Andy
If you don't know, Jordan is a relatively new poker blogger and it's the first time we've met. He works in the building next door where I used to work in down on Wall Street. He's been pretty good at blogging frequently, which is a tip I suggest to every new blogger out there. He's stuck with it and I hope he keeps on blogging on a steady basis. I've played with everyone else at my table before, so I was familiar with all of their playing styles. Luckily, I skipped early action with Mas and F Train who were at the main table with Cliff, Toni, Damon, and Dan. And yes, I was the only non-lawyer at the table. Insert your own lawyer joke here _____.

5:37pm EST... Fireworks went off early as Cliff and F Train moved all in on the flop. With A-10, Cliff flopped top pair with a rainbow board and a ten high with two rags. F Train called Cliff with pocket Hellmuths. Yeah, F Train's KK held up and he doubled up on the first hand. Wow, it's just like Party Poker! Cliff would have been one of the last players I picked to get knocked out on the first hand, so it was a surprise to see him out before he had a chance to make a dent in his drink.

5:50pm EST... It looked like Jordan was the early chipleader at my table. Although I found both AA and KK, I was unable to capitalize and got no action. Andy was the short stack and moved all in with 77. I quickly called with JJ. I flopped a set and sent him out in 11th place.

5:56pm EST... Damon had a shortstack and found AA. F Train had the big stack at his table and called with A-x suited. He hit his flush and Damon was out in 10th place, earlier than we both expected. F Train continued to amass a monster stack.

6:11pm EST... We consolidated to one "final table" and all the bloggers were still left. F Train had the big lead and Jordan was far behind in second place.

6:15pm EST... Mas was knocked out by F Train's Hilton Sisters.

6:17pm EST... In an unorthodox move, I limped UTG with AQo. There were four callers and I continued to passive play my hand on the flop. I checked to Jordan who bet out. I reluctantly folded, but since I completely missed the flop it was my only option.

6:22pm EST... My pocket Jacks held up again as Ken noted that I had been getting a lot of high pocket pairs. I had about T1600 and was in fourth place.

6:23pm EST... Toni's KJ knocked out Steve-O's and his shortstack in 8th place. He mumbled "I need a notebook. Two people at the final table have notebooks. That's why I got knocked out." He was referring to both F Train's notetaking (on the pad Joel gave him) and mine.

6:57pm EST... Kathy slowly built up her stack, as she always does. I found AK and raised. Jordan called with T9s. He caught some of the flop which I missed completely again. I almost pushed, but glad I didn't double up Jordan.

6:59pm EST... Dan was knocked out in 7th place by Jordan.

7:01pm EST... F Train continued his run and knocked out Toni in 6th place. By that point, Derek called and he was knocked out of a Full Tilt WSoP Freeroll. He took 101st out of 1500+. He told me he was en route to the TowneHouse.

7:10pm EST... Ken doubled up against F Train in one of the few hands F Train lost all night.

7:16pm EST... F Train's AJ knocked out Jordan on the bubble in fifth place. When Jordan flipped over 56o he said, "I have you dominated!" That drew a few laughs from the table and the railbirds. His hand didn't improve and F Train continued his chip lead. I was second, Kathy third and Ken in fourth in chips. We all made the money.

7:20pm EST... F Train tried to steal on the button and I re-raised with KJs in the little blind. He folded and I found myself with T6100 after going on a mini-rush where I picked up a lot of blinds with timely preflop raises.

7:22pm EST... Kathy and I were in a race. She pushed preflop with KQ and I had JJ again. I flopped a set and hit a fullboat by the turn.JJ held up for a third time, which might be a record for me. I always get killed by pocket jacks. Kathy took fourth place.

7:24pm EST... Ken's A5 was knocked out by F Train's J5 when F Train paired his jack on the flop. Ken was out in third place and we were heads up! F Train had almost a 3 to 1 chip lead on me (see pic to the right) and I offered him a chop. He laughed in my face. I did a little trash talking and told him, "OK dude, I gave you a chance, now I'll have to take all your chips."

7:36pm EST... With AQs I won a big pot and ended up coming from behind to even the chip distribution. You can say that the momentum had swung my way. I felt like the Yankess in the late summer of 1978 when they chased down the Red Sox's 14 game lead to force a one game playoff.

7:40pm EST... We pretty much stay out of each other's way for the next few hands. I got shitty cards and I assumed F Train was getting nothing as well.

7:47pm EST... With a slight chiplead I made the first mistake since we started playing heads up. I tried to steal with 46s. F Train re-raised me as he moved all in. I put him on a re-steal and figured that at worst I was a slight underdog. With a lot of my chips already in the pot, I decided to call because Gus Hansen would have called. F Train showed 88. Ouch. Unlike Gus Hansen, I didn't kick my opponent in the junk with a runner-runner straight. That mistake crippled me and I had a little more than T1200 left in chips.

7:50pm EST... With T1800 when I pushed all in blind. I flipped over T3o. F Train looked solid with K4s. I flopped a ten and my hand held up. I doubled up as F Train shrugged his shoulders. Still alive with the blinds 400/800 and the levels shortened to seven minutes.

7:58pm EST... After about a half hour of heads up play, I came from behind twice against F Train to even the chip count. I think he had about T6400 and I had T5600 when he offered a chop. The blinds were 500/1000 and it seemed logical that we chop first and second place ($450 total) since it would almost be a crap shoot with the accelerated blind structure. It was a nice heads up match and F Train is a formidable opponent. I walked away with $225 or a $175 profit.
The Money Winners:
F Train & Pauly $225 each
Ken $100
Kathy $50
Toni and the rest of the gang wanted to start a second tourney right away. I passed. I wanted to take a break, get some chili, have a beer, and wait for Derek and Ugarte to arrive for the second cash game. While the second tournament reached the last few players, the bloggers who were KO'd were down with starting a cash game once Derek and Ugarte were settled in. Jordan ended up bubbling out again!
Cash Game 1 - The Players:
Seat 1: Derek
Seat 2: Pauly
Seat 3: Mas
Seat 4: F Train
Seat 5: Ugarte
Seat 6: Andy
I wish I could say more about the first cash game other than that I lost $85! My Hiltons were cracked and that cost me a few bucks. As always, I'm a bleeder in Omaha hi/lo and I was giving away my chips. I was about halfway between Tara Reid drunk and Courtney Love shitfaced at that point and at a table of six, I declared that TPTK is an awesome hand in Omaha. That's why I pissed away most of tournament winnings, with delusional notions such as my Omaha debacle.

Otis called me sometime around 8:27pm EST for a Dial-a-Shot. I think he said he was in a bar in Boston. Or maybe I'm making that up. The last few times I've spoken to Otis, I've been obliterated, including in Vegas. When I was in Kentucky with Daddy a two weekends ago investigating the case of the Drunken Donkey Fuckers, we almost called Otis. I waited until Iggy's home game to give him a shout out at a more suitable hour. Anyway, thanks for the call, dude.

At that point, I was too sloshed to be using electronic equipment and hid my cell phone and camera. I really didn't care how much I lost and from my lack of notetaking, I'm sure that I was completely in the moment and enjoying playing cards with everyone, especially Mas, who I never get to see anymore now that he's a married man! Congrats again, Mas. And I never see Ugarte anymore either. He's becoming this bigshot comedian and only hangs out with people who sip Pinot, use air quotes, and toss around hipster buzzwords like Mocha Latte and WiFi as if they were the names of their firstborn children. Mas and Ugarte left the game up a few bucks.
Cash Game 2 - The Players:
Seat 1: Toni
Seat 2: Steve-O
Seat 3: Kathy
Seat 4: Cliff
Seat 5: Derek
Seat 6: Pauly
Seat 7: Andy
It was just after Midnight when I sat down for a second cash game. It was dealer's choice and I bought in for $90, the remaining winnings for the tournament. We played a lot of $3/6 rounds of Hold'em and Omaha 8. Kathy called Follow the Queen and Toni called 3-5-7. I bled in Omaha and won some of my money back playing Hold'em. Again, I didn't take too many notes because I was having too good of a time, which flew by.

1:04am EST... Steve-O cracked my Hiltons with K7s. Ouch.

2:15am EST... Derek hits a straight flush to beat Andy's four aces in a game of Follow the Queen.

3:21am EST... During Seven-card Stud (hi only), Derek called me all the way down to the river with an ace. I had two pair and I guess he thought I was bluffing.

4:41am EST... Derek limped in with AA and they got cracked by Toni. She had 47s and flopped an open ended straight flush draw. She had so many outs that Derek was almost an underdog there. She caught a straight to crack his pocket aces.

We ended the game just before 5am. I ended up down $64 for the second cash game and walked away up $26 overall I think. Ah, I dropped about $150 in the two cash games after the tournament. As least I was freerolling in the cash games.

Well, it was a perfect sendoff from Toni and her friends at the TowneHouse. Seriously, the chili rocked and Kathy's chocolate strawberries were awesome. We hung out for over twelve hours and drank and played poker the entire time. I got to meet a few people and two bloggers that I read (Joaquin and Jordan) but never met. Glad I got to do that before I headed off to Vegas. That was Derek's first time at the TowneHouse and I know he had a good time playing with everyone as well.

Shit, and I got to play heads up with F Train for over a half hour. I think that would have been more entertaining than some of the average coverage of the NBC Heads Up Championship. F Train acted like a real professional when I bad beated him and didn't fall out of his chair like Hellmuth did in his childish display of theatrics. Man, I should have had our heads up battle videotaped and uploaded it for everyone to see. Next time, I promise.

The only sour point was when Toni's upstairs neighbor complained at 11:06pm on a Saturday night saying that there was too much noise. I had been there on a random Thursday at 3am and we've been much louder. I dunno what was up that clown's ass, but it was comical to see a bunch of drunkards try to hush each other everytime the conversation got pretty loud.

Anyway, it was cool that Toni hosted a Bon Voyage Party. It feels good that people from back home will be checking in to see what I'm writing. Yeah I'm already looking forward to returning to the TowneHouse at the end of the summer to play with Toni and her friends again. Thanks again, Toni.

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