Thursday, December 30, 2004

Home Game Precursor

Tonight is my last regular bi-weekly Thursday night home game for the Y2K4. I hope to continue to do well as this year has been my most lucrative of my career since I began tracking poker in 1992.

Also, this Saturday the 1st, I'm hosting a home game tourney followed up by a NL ring game. The entire contingent from UpForPoker will be there, I'm hoping to have some pix for y'all after all is said and done. Otis won't have too much of a big red circle on his back after his monster win Tuesday. :)

Hope everyone has a safe New Year's Eve. Considering where I'll be on the 31st, I'll be happy if I can wake up in time for the tourney at 5pm on Saturday.

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Sunday, December 26, 2004

The Post I've Wanted To Make For a Long Time

As a famous Hobbit once said, if you’re going to tell a story, you really should start at the beginning…

It was a Friday in June of 2003, and I was scheduled for an outpatient procedure that would leave me somewhat immobile for the entire weekend. (Aside: Yes, that procedure begins with a “V.” Having two kids can do that to you, trust me.) I needed something to do since I wouldn’t be able to be active with the kids nor really do anything except sit around with frozen vegetables in my crotch.

Like thousands of others, I had been watching the World Poker Tour and had seen the ads for Party Poker. I’d been playing the play money tables for a while, but I soon lost interest as the games weren’t being taken seriously by everyone. I made the decision that I’d deposit some real money there and test my luck.

After blowing through my first two $100 deposits, I began to feel a little sheepish. It went pretty quickly and I began to think that I made a really poor decision to even attempt to play online poker. My third $100 deposit dwindled down to the $30 level and I told myself that this would be the last money I’d throw down the drain. Playing at the $2/4 tables was eating me alive.

Then, surprisingly, things turned around. I managed to win back my initial $300 and then some $250 more. I was hooked. How much easier could it get? I just won $250 in one day. I was so impressed with myself, I completely forgot about how close I was to losing $300. Boy was I a fish.

I eventually grew the bankroll and cashed out my first $300 and managed to keep winning. It was so much fun that I grew more and more impatient to just keep winning. My impatience led me to the short-handed tables and for the hell of it, I jumped up to the $5/10 level. And I won there too.

Weeks later I was sitting pretty with nearly a $1000 profit. I’ll always remember the moment when I was playing from my laptop downstairs and Mrs. Blood gave me that “What the hell are you doing look” when I told her what was to be one of my most infamous statements:

“Honey, I think I’m actually pretty good at this.”

What a dolt.

I wasn’t. I was getting some lucky cards. I had no clue about variance in poker and how it would come back to bite me in the ass.

During the Labor Day weekend of 2003, variance showed her evil, ugly head. I started losing to suckouts at a $5/10 table and grew irate. The solution? Move up. To the $15/30 tables? You betcha. I remember winning a $450 pot and thinking to myself I’d easily recoup my losses at this table. Who else among us has had those thoughts? Don’t lie. My guess is nearly every one of us has played above our heads and above our limits in an attempt to recoup “unjust” losses. Unfortunately for me, I soon lost my entire bankroll in one night. All $1000 of it, gone. I had to wake Mrs. Blood from her sleep and utter another infamous statement:

“Easy come, easy go.”

So I quit for a while, but the online poker bug had bitten and infected me with her venomous addiction. The memories of winning nearly $1000 at the $5/10 tables were vivid and I told myself if I could do it once I could do it again. So I kept trying. And trying. Two hundred dollars at a time. Occasionally I’d find success and win a decent amount, but whenever I did, I’d cash out my deposit and unbeknownst to me, cripple my bankroll. This error in judgment kept me from being a winner and condemned me to a slow steady losing streak.

About a year ago, in December of 2003, I was down $1600. I felt so guilty about losing it that I did what I’d promise myself I’d never do: I withdrew money from my company’s Savings and Security program to cover the losses. And then I vowed to quit again. It almost worked.

I relegated myself to play money tournaments which were the closest thing to real poker I could get without risking my personal financial ruin. Predictably, I placed or won in most of the tournaments in which I played and fooled myself into thinking that if they were for real money, I’d begin to chip away at my debt. You can guess what happened next – rebuy!!!!

I dropped another $500 over the course of the next few months and became incredibly disappointed in myself for amassing losses in excess of $2000. How foolhardy. I was smarter than this I told myself, what the hell was wrong with me?

Then it happened. I’ll never forget it. Reading through, I noticed a text add placed by a poker blogging site: I clicked on over to Iggy’s site and began to read. I read about how profitable online poker was and how the fish at Party Poker were so eager to donate. That was me. I was the fish happily giving away my hard earned money.

After reading through most of the archives at guinnessandpoker, I asked myself why I wasn’t the one winning. It was simple, I was stupid. At least in the realm of playing poker I was. Perhaps ignorant was a better term. Generally speaking, I like to think of myself as a pretty smart guy. Math is my forte; I scored an 800 on my math SAT test and placed out of two semesters of college math by virtue of a 5 in a high school AP course. I honestly don’t say that to brag, just to give you a frame of reference.

So I bought some books. The first one was Lee Jones’ low-limit hold ‘em book. Then came the bible, Super System. I devoured the information and changed my game accordingly. I also began to blog and read other players’ blogs listed over there to the right. There are some smart guys and gals out there who’ve either been through what I’ve been through or who were smart enough to avoid the mistakes I made in the first place. The internet proved to be a valuable source of poker information with which I could use to improve my game.

And so I began to chronicle my attempts at winning back all the money I lost the first few months I played.

It’s been quite a trip. I still suffered through tilt-induced losses on occasion, each time seemingly as I got closer to even. Whenever I’d get close, I’d get more impatient. I believe I got to within $500 on about 4 separate occasions only to drop back down to a four-figure debt. Over the summer, I got to within $143 before tilting away again.

Finally, I gained more and more discipline and found myself winning pretty steadily at the $25NL games. I had a preference towards no-limit rather than limit poker since I feel it’s more strategic in nature. I was hoping that by the time I got to Vegas, I’d be able to raise a toast to my even-ness, but alas I was $162 short.

As I mentioned in one of my trip reports, playing and losing in Vegas actually gave me some confidence in my game. Losing the monster pots that I lost simply gave me more of a feeling of financial indifference towards poker. Granted, it was not immediate, but I was able to shrug off the losses in Vegas and looked at the hands objectively. I truly feel that financial indifference is one of the keys to being successful. It allows you to overcome the fear of losing money and realize that you will eventually win it back if you continue to play good poker. (Another aside: I’m convinced that pros like Greenstein, Gordon and Phillips who’ve made millions outside of poker are more successful because they are so indifferent to losing, at least in the financial sense.)

When I got back from Vegas, I moved up levels from the $25 tables to the $50 tables and things began to go my way. Then came THE HAND:

I had about $70 at the table and I was dealt pocket nines in middle position. Someone under the gun went all in with a shorter stack of about $22. Those of us that play no-limit online recognize that classic over-bet as a middle pocket pair. I put him on 6’s, 7’s or 8’s and called. He had 6’s and didn’t improve. After I realized I had won, I clicked the cashier button on the Party Poker interface. I saw that I was finally in the black, albeit for only $6. I quit immediately savoring the moment. I shared it with Mrs. Blood and she asked me in her classic deadpan style: “So, are you going to quit now?” She’s pretty funny sometimes.

It did beg the question however of where do I go from here? I’m not exactly sure right now. I will of course keep playing online, most likely at the $50 NL level at which I’m currently having some success. I’ll probably stay there for the foreseeable future and see what to make of it. Hopefully I’ll build the bankroll a bit and be able to finance a trip to the next WPBT tourney wherever that may be.


In closing, I’d be remiss if I didn’t thank those of you who helped me along the way. Rather than be specific, because I know I’d forget someone, I’ll take the easy way out and thank all the other bloggers (you know who you are!), readers, and commenters who’ve stopped by over the past 9 months and witnessed my evolution as a poker player. I’m not lying when I say I couldn’t and wouldn’t have been able to do it without your support. Most especially, even though she doesn’t read this blog, I need to thank Mrs. Blood for putting up with my latest endeavor. She’s a great balancer in my life, I have a tendency to go overboard in much of the things that I do and she always seems to adjust my course back to level. I’m a lucky guy.

Saturday, December 25, 2004

Happy Holidays

I hope everyone reading this is having a wonderful holiday season. Those of us in the BadBlood home have been more than fortunate this year. I truly feel blessed (who said that?) to be able to provide my family such a great Christmas season. The mini-Blood's are at the age where Christmas is a magical experience. It's such a treat see their faces as they open each gift...

I've got a bit of a backlog of posts I need to make, been too busy.

Just a few tidbits:

- I have to write and post my retrospective on erasing my online debt
- I received a complimentary copy of Matthew Hilger's "Internet Texas Hold 'em" in exchange for doing a review on it. I've just began to read it and thus far would have to say it is a very solid book.

And right now, at 9:44AM on Christmas, there are 17,000 people playing on Party Poker. What would Jesus say?

"All-in, baby!"

Friday, December 24, 2004

Recapturing the Glory

I do my best.

Re-living the glory of Vegas is hard, but let it be known that I tried. I invited local bloggers Otis and G-Rob out for a bit of drinking on Christmas Eve Eve. Due to either work or family constraints, neither could make it. So I still headed out to local establishments and ordered a triple shot of SoCo and one Bloody Mary, my signature drink. I hoisted each shot of SoCo to dem dere bloggers and drank away. BadBlood == happy.

Merry Holidays

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

The Finale

How best to drown your bad beat sorrows was the question of the moment late in the afternoon on my final full day in Vegas. It was roughly 4PM local time and I had plans to meet some neighbors at the Nine – a restaurant at the Palms Casino. G-Rob and Otis (I think – the haze of fading memories is setting in now and I have no notes) went back to the Excalibur with me via the tram system. I’m sure it was a fun ride for them getting to hear over and over again my bad beat stories. I can’t think of a more fun way to spend time in a tram.

I made the decision that I’d regroup my poker head by playing the Excalibur’s $1/3 spread game for a little while until I had to shower and change to get ready for a nice dinner. During this time, I don’t think any other bloggers were playing poker, but I had to get back on the horse again. Albeit, the horse was a dog with a saddle and I was a tiny monkey. I was happy to win about $20, erasing a small part of my poker pain.

I eventually cabbed it over to the Palms and met my friends. The Nine is quite an upscale restaurant and it was here that I was glad I packed a decent set of clothes. Our waiter mentioned that Joe Awada was in earlier but I unfortunately missed him. I would have liked to share my bad beat stories with him. He couldn’t have possibly seen worse. Oh wait, the beat he took to Scott Fischman at the WSOP may have been slightly worse, but only slightly.

Regardless, the meal was wonderful. We emptied a couple of bottles of Shiraz and had massive steaks. Three people ate, here’s the bill:


After the dinner, we took a cab back to their casino, the Rio. That happens to be right across from the Bellagio. The Bellagio was on my list of things to do in Vegas and I was debating whether to complete that task or head to parts unknown and make Maudie a prop bet winner.

I decided that I was in no financial condition to venture to those parts of town, I would have been sure to leave with a bad case of buyer’s remorse. So off to the Bellagio solo to see if there were any pros at which I could gawk.

There were. Many of them, in fact.

When I first got to the poker room, I immediately saw Cindy Violette and Katerina Jett. Then I looked to the high-stakes area and saw a veritable who’s who of professional poker. Gus Hanson, Daniel Negraneu, Ted Forest, Hasan Habib, were just a few of the names I saw. I saw Gus sign a few autographs but felt it would be too tool-ish to ask for one myself. I also had nothing for him to sign. I put my name on the $4/8 list which was about a mile long.

While I waited I saw Max Pescatori make his way towards me. I cut him off and re-introduced myself, figuring he’d not remember me. He said, “Yes, I remember you. You were the guy with the 2,7 shirt.” God Bless the Hammer.

I chatted it up with some other players waiting and sooner than expected my name was called. There was one minor problem, I was out of cash. I bee-lined it to the ATM, walking by the Bellagio’s club whose name escapes me. I did see some outlandish outfits walking out of the club and in line. I picked my jaw up off the floor and got my cash and headed back to the poker room for some chips.

Of all the places I’ve played cards, the Bellagio has the nicest chips. I shouldn’t have been surprised. Everything there was top notch. I was seated at my table and began to play. I glanced to one table over and saw Howard Lederer playing heads up against someone unknown to me. Andy Bloch, Humberto Brenes, and eventually Gus Hanson were all sweating the heads up play.

I was still a bit, let’s say, tipsy. I had a Heineken perched to the left of my chip stack and when I went to grab my hole cards, I spilled my beer. Great, I thought, what a classy move. I folded my hand in the dark out of embarrassment and apologized to the table and the dealer. Nobody seemed to mind too much, but there I am at the classiest casino spilling my beer all over my cards and chips. I felt a bit like Men the Master, except I never had a chance to bring the bottle to my mouth.

I was getting some nice cards, I had AA twice, both times holding up. My pocket 10’s caught a set and nobody believed my raises. Soon I was up over $100 and my poker spirits were rising. So much so that I asked the lady player to my right to go ask Gus Hanson if he’d be up for a challenge. I told her that I’d bet him $10,000 that I could out-bench him. I wasn’t kidding. I’d even normalize it for body weight, whomever could get the most reps out benching their bodyweight would win. Sadly she couldn’t muster the courage to ask.

During a bathroom break, I ended up walking the wrong way out of the poker room. Realizing my mistake, I turned around and walked back and caught a site for sore eyes. Dr. Pauly was sitting at the bar, talking with Julie and we exchanged hugs along with a “What the hell are you doing here?” Talk about a strange interlude. It was just what I needed and at exactly the right time.

Our table got moved and as time wore on, my cards stopped holding up. I had AA cracked by J,3 – hey they were sooted! – and I had a set cracked by a straight. I wasn’t going to leave a loser, so I cashed out up $40. On the way to cashing out, I saw Tobey Maguire playing what appeared to be a $100/$200 game. What impressed me the most wasn’t the chipstacks at the table, but the absolute bricks of $100 bills each player had behind them. That game was truly out of my reach.

I knew my Vegas time was short and I had to leave the next day, make that this day as it was 3AM local time. I hit the sack and began to wind down, but I was having a tough time getting to sleep. G-Rob and Otis were there and we chatted a bit before finally catching some Z’s.

The morning rolled around and I got up, showered and went downstairs for some breakfast. I had a cinnamon roll and coffee, but ate it outside in the fresh air. Eventually, I had to go back to the room to get my stuff for my flight. I opened the door and was greeted by the morbid smell of smoke, ass, and breakfast. Damn, opening that door I could almost see the haze of stench inside the room. They say the sense of smell is most strongly associated with memory. I don’t think I’ll ever forget those few minutes it took to gather my belongings and bid my farewells.

The flight back was thankfully uneventful, and made a bit easier on me by a young lady sitting in my row. Eventually, she admitted she worked at “The Horse” in Vegas and was traveling home to Florida for some vacation with the family. Sadly, or perhaps appropriately, I had no cash and she was off-duty. The last chance to make Maudie a prop-bet winner had been lost to circumstances beyond my control.

It will be tough to sum up this trip in a few words. It was beyond my expectations in every respect. The most important thing I’ll perhaps take away from this experience was the people that I met. You guys made the trip for me one of the best experiences of my life. Truly. I’ll never forget the camaraderie, the respect, the humor, the drinking and the poker playing we all shared. I can only hope the next get-together will be half as good as the first.

Monday, December 20, 2004

Day 3 - Part 1

More Vegas Action! Right here! Check it!

Sunday began with only CJ and I waking up at the Excalibur at a somewhat normal hour of 8:30AM. CJ thankfully included me in what was to be a free breakfast at the Aladdin Casino. I'm somewhat dense at times, but even I know not to ever refuse a free meal.

We walked our way down the Strip toward the Aladdin and I remember how fresh the air was. It was invigorating to breathe the outside air, you tend to forget what an unhealthy atmosphere the smoky casinos can be. I am afterall, the pinnacle of health. Cough.

Our gracious host for breakfast was Edna, the cardroom manager at the Aladdin. G-Rob, PokerProf, Flipchiro and I helped support CJ in his quest for female companionship, er, I mean in support of discussing how powerful blogging can be, especially in promoting our dear obsession. Edna was extremely interested in furthering the WPBT, even suggesting hosting an event. CJ and the PokerProf took the lead here and represented us well. Me? Free breakfast. Mmmmm.

Afterwards, we made our way over to "Vandalay Industries, say Vandalay Industries!!!" or Mandalay Bay Casino for some football watching action. I had earlier made a parlay bet and upon arrival, 2 out of the 3 games were in the book in my favor. Only New England needed to cover an 11.5 point spread and the last score I had seen showed them up by 35-14 against Cincinnati. Alas, it was not to be as those damn Bungles scored some garbage touchdowns to beat the spread.

I saw most of the gang there already lubed up with liquor and whatnot. I put my name on the poker waiting list for both the $200NL and the $4/8 game. I was eager to take the first seat. Otis had already sat down at a $4/8 table and mentioned it was pretty juicy.

I found things interesting at the $4/8 table I initially sat down at, especially when I realized that this was a kill-pot game. Whenever someone won 2 hands in a row, the limit went from $4/8 to $6/12. The first time this happened I won the kill-pot with A,K suited. The second kill-pot, I notice the good Dr. standing behind me. I peel back my two cards and find....

Yes, the hammer.

Since Pauly was there, I had to play it. I caught a 2 on the flop and bet out. The turn brought a 4-card straight draw to the board, but nobody bet. I knew the hand was mine when the river brought the 7. An eruption of "Hammer! Hammer!" echoed through the casino as I looked behind me at the blogger contingent rooting me on. That was a feeling, let me tell you.

I finally found my way over to the $200NL tables.

Stop reading now if you hate bad beat stories. If you choose to read on, put the women and kids to bed. This shit hurts even in retelling.

The first: I'm dealt A,Q in EP and raise the $4 blind to $17 and get 1 lone caller. The flop is A,7,4. Me like. I get fancy and check the flop and the lone caller bets $25. I immediately check-raise it to $50 and the guy pauses. I know I'm good here. His reaction to my raise, his reluctance in calling, it's all there. I've got him nailed. The turn is a K and I put him all-in. More pausing, more hesitation. Finally he calls. We flip up our cards and he shows A,10. There is $320 in the pot. The river? Guess. My first bad beat is a 3-outer and it costs me huge. I wince, but I vow to keep on keepin' on. The other players at the table even complimented me on a hand well played. Big freakin' deal.

Then comes the second: I'm dealt K,K in EP and raise the $4 blind to $17. See a pattern? Anyway, the SAME FUCKING GUY re-raises me to $30. Now, I'm certainly not psychic, but his re-raise seemed weak. Again, I knew he didn't have aces here. So, of course, I re-raise all-in. The guy has me covered with the $320 he won only 20 minutes earlier and quickly calls. We flip our cards, he has Q,Q. Can you say dominated? I didn't. However, the bastards at my table tell me "Don't worry, he'll catch his queen on the river." Honestly, I'm not making it up, this was said to my face before the flop even occurred. The flop was junk, the turn was a brick. The river? Guess. A 2-outer, and I'm busted.

Twenty minutes apart and to the SAME GUY. I said aloud "Is this Party Poker?" and left the table. I was given some condolences as I left but I had to get out of there. I relayed my story endless times that day. I even had to call home. Talking to the kids cheered me up a bit and I vowed not to let it get me too down. But in all honesty, I was down. Huge. Both monetarily and in spirits. I had to let it go, and I eventually did. I told myself I'd somehow turn these bad beats into something positive. It took a while but I think I did.

Initially, I lamented the fact that every time I played above my normal limits and "took a chance," I seemed to fail. This was no exception. There are those players who take the chance, hit it big, and never look back. For whatever reason, not me. Upon further thought, I realized I played those hands about as good as anyone could. I had all my money in the pot when I was a 93% and a 95% favorite. What more could you ask for really? Losing the hands was just a formality, an occurance out of my control.

As absurd as it may sound, I took home from Vegas a greater confidence in my play. I was making good reads and good bets, and that's all you can really do at the tables. I rallied myself and my spirits and eventually made my way to dinner at the Palms with some friends who happened to be in Vegas at the time. And that's where I'll leave off for now, the finale will be next.

Saturday, December 18, 2004

Day 2 - Part 2

We last left off the tale with our hero completely inebriated and having a rollicking good time at Sherwood’s Forest. Big Mike of AlCantHang fame rallied the troops into a stretch limo, I can’t honestly remember getting inside of it, but I do remember the trip over to Sam’s Town. How could I not? After bestowing upon Al some heavy metal schwag, we managed to get some old school rare metal into the CD player of the limo.

I was confident pretty much nobody knew what songs were being played perhaps save Al and Eva. So I was happy to offer a $100 bounty to whomever could name any song that was being played. The first was Agony Column’s “God, Guns and Guts” a true rare classic, followed up by Annihilator’s “Alice in Hell.” I believe we got about half way through song 3, Coroner’s “Masked Jackal” before those who were more sober and not used to such metal masterpieces regained control of the stereo. Still, watching Al headbang out the window of the limo and throw some horns out to random early morning Vegas-ites was worth every minute.

Upon arriving in Sam’s Town, G-Rob and I had to take care of some business. My bladder was in dire straights, so much so, that I could literally barely stand up straight. I believe our male readers know the feeling. Finding a restroom was imperative, lest I seriously wet my pants right there. I’m not sure Evelyn Ng would talk to me with a big urine stain in my crotch.

After taking care of my duty, G-Rob and I made it to the meet and greet. Here’s where I get to offer my sincere gratitude to the PokerProf, Flipchiro, Pauly, and Dick for setting this little thing up. I didn’t feel too comfortable schmoozing around, but I did managed to get Charlie Shoten to sign my complimentary Poker Aces book. Charlie’s a great down-to-earth guy and I really enjoyed talking to him. I was basically too star-struck to talk to anyone else, especially Marcel Luske and the lovely Evelyn Ng. Maybe next time. Yeah right.

As we made our way downstairs to play in the tournament, I was hoping I’d do myself justice and do well. Things started off the right way with G-Rob dropping the hammer the first hand at our table. I chipped up pretty early with some decent hands like A,J and A,Q catching the flops.

As noted in Glenn’s blog, I was crippled after Linda went all in with 6,6 and Al called with A,Q. I looked down to find pocket Cowboys and went over the top all-in. Of course Al had to call and caught his A on the flop. I still think I made the right play but just got a bit unlucky. Being very shortstacked, I went all-in with K,9 hearts only to get called by one of Otis’ crew, Marty, holding A,Q of the same suit. I got no miracle and got bumped in 20-something place.

G-Rob, having also been bounced, and I headed off for a little blackjack while the tournament finished up. I dropped a quick $50 and went back to the poker room and put my name on the 4/8 list. I got a seat next to Jeffery from CheckNRaise poker and we had some good conversation while the tourney wrapped up. I love the card topper we got and can’t wait to see the jackets. Eventually, I’ll get my money into CheckNRaise poker and check it out properly.

After Felicia won the tournament, we regrouped and headed back over to the Excalibur for dinner. I certainly had no idea there was to be a Felicia-led stud lesson/talk going on after the tournament, otherwise I would have eagerly listened in. Perhaps that’s my biggest regret of the trip is how that generous offer from her got bungled. I certainly hope she doesn’t take it personally.

I had dinner with Daddy, Pauly, Derek, and Maudie and as Pauly’s blog mentions, we got to talk about non-poker related stuff and actually got to know each other a little bit better. That was a whole bunch of fun. Next trip, I’d like to have more time to do more of that. These bloggers are good people.

After dinner wound down, I eventually made my way back to the Excalibur poker room and sat back down at the $100 NL table. I ended up putting a hammer bounty at the table so that if anyone won a pot by showing down the hammer, they’d get $5. I’m not as generous as the Grub.

One hand in particular stands out. I had A,T suited and simply limped in. The flop was 7,7,2 and thoughts of bluffing the hammer filled my head. Bill Rini, sitting at the table too, gazed in my direction. I could have sworn I saw a glimmer in his eye and chose to check the flop. I had a hunch he had the hammer. I folded to a bet and saw Bill split the pot with someone holding 7,J when a second 2 hit the turn. Bill did in fact have the hammer and I tossed him a $5 chip. I vowed I’d drop the hammer sometime this trip, but just haven’t had the right opportunity.

I ended up calling it a night not soon after, retiring my hammer shirt for the trip. Shameless plug: Hammer shirts are available here. They even have ones with sleeves.

Next to come…sports book betting, 2 worst beats of the trip and off to the Bellagio.

Friday, December 17, 2004


We interrupt this Vegas trip reporting for a very special public service announcement.


Well, it only took about 9 months, and I'll have a special blog entry to commemorate this event, but I am FINALLY profitable online. I have successfully erased a $2100 debt to Party Poker and its brethren and have hit the black.

I lost my shirt and my ass in Vegas, but it gave me some confidence to play at some higher limits online and Bam! My quest is over.

...more to come....

Day 2 - Part 1

I remember waking at 4:00AM local time feeling like a new man. Whatever internal batteries that had been fully discharged (hey, my pants were still dry) had recharged sufficiently for me to make my way back downstairs to the poker room. Shower? Not necessary yet, nothing seemed to be growing under my arms. I believe I did brush my teeth however. Oral hygiene is very important. Very.

I headed straight to the poker room and saw only G-Rob playing no limit. I grabbed a seat immediately. Unfortunately for G-Rob, I’ve played with him before and kind of have a read on when he’s trying to buy a pot. When I was dealt A,Q and limped, I knew G-Rob would raise. The flop was an ugly 4,6,7 and I checked. G-Rob, true to form, bet out about $35. I was pretty sure even though the flop missed me that I still had him beat. So the only proper thing to do was raise him all-in. He reluctantly called and showed his 8,3 and his gutshot draw. A Q on the turn sealed his fate, and G-Rob muttered something about the problem with playing with people who know how you play. He went to the bar to drown some sorrows.

Not long after I see Otis and what I originally thought was one of his Missouri posse hanging out on the rail. Oddly, this other guy seemed to be staring at me in a way that made me slightly uncomfortable. He was staring with this wry smile and at first I thought he was sizing me up so he could kick my ass later. Being on the friendly side, after I folded a hand, I went to introduce myself. I asked Otis if this was a friend of his. Otis replied, “I just met him.” Odd. Nonetheless, I introduced myself and he mentioned something about being a fan of my blog. Even more odd. My blog’s not really anything to write home about, unless you like heavy metal and strippers.

So I went back to my seat and again watched as this person stared at me. Finally, after a couple more minutes, this guy mouths the words, “I’m Iggy.” Ok, now my pants weren’t dry, for I shat them. The man, the myth, the non-dwarf??? I cashed out and immediately went with Iggy and Otis to the Sherwood Forest for drinking and drinking and more drinking.

We all got lit up rather quickly and like so many others have mentioned, it was like meeting old friends for the first time. I am not a wordsmith, I’m an engineer by trade. I have no words to describe how awesome it was to drink with Iggy, Mr. & Mrs. AlCantHang, Pauly, Otis, Big Mike, Daddy, Derek, and everyone else I may have missed. What was a trip centered around poker became a trip centered around new friends. Eventually, I got drunk enough to start flexing my arms for anyone who asked. Trust me, they’re not that impressive on the world-scale, but I can’t help myself after beers, shots of SoCo and great company. I apologize for any undue flexing that may have occurred. Also, when I’ve imbibed large amounts of alcohol, out come pictures of my kids. Mini-Blood and mini-bloodette are my pride and joys. I’m sure I whipped out those pics for people too many times too, but I can’t help it. When you’re a proud, drunk dad, that stuff happens.

Up next, the listening party in the limo and the tourney at Sam’s Town…

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Day 1 - Part 2

Editors Note: I forgot to mention that prior to the Luxor tournament, I had the honor of meeting fellow bloggers Mas, Felicia, and Glenn. Mas appeared to be a very laid back, cool person, I could easily hang, drink and play cards with him any time. I also thought that Glenn was laid back as well. Felicia…not so laid back :) She was great though, it’s actually quite refreshing to talk to someone who so easily shares her opinion. Even if she’s wrong about me being gay.

…As Otis and I made our way to the Excalibur poker room, we agreed that it was imperative that we page Dr. Pauly, just as he requested. The card room manager had a slight accent so it kind of came out as if he said “Paging Dr. Pauliss.” Oh well, didn’t matter, the blogger table all got up to come greet us. It was Pauly, Derek, AlCantHang, Mrs. AlCantHang, BoyGenius, and Daddy from SnailTrax.

Their table seemed rockin’ and since there were no seats available, I joined the $100 NL ring game. I was here to test my mettle. I won’t get into too much detail here, but after a failed bluff at the hammer that cost me $50 (Damn Cowboys can’t lay down top pair even with the flush draw on board) I ended the session up $184. Unfortunately it would go down hill from there.

One hand to note though: Daddy sat down to my left and raised pre-flop. I had 8’s in the hole and called. The flop was 2,3,4. I checked and Daddy went all in for about $88. I paused and realized there were just too many hands to which I was an underdog to call. He could easily have 9’s, 10’s, or even J’s to make that kind of bet. I mucked and Daddy later told me he had A,K. Great bet on his part, even if I called he still had 10 outs.

Felicia got the card room to deal an Omaha/8 game for all us bloggers and a random few players who also wanted to play. I bled away about $75, but didn’t really mind. It was just too damn fun to hang with these guys. It was here at this table that I accomplished one of my Vegas goals: Share a shot of SoCo with AlCantHang. Quite smooth going down, it was of course a doubleshot.

While we were playing O8, an older woman sat down to my right. Blonde-ish hair, glasses. More than one of us thought it could have been Maudie playing a trick on us, sitting down and not announcing herself. This woman even inadvertently took a sip of Al’s SoCo which would have made the story even better. Alas, it was not her, as the real Maudie arrived to much revelry. Hugs all around for one of the most courageous bloggers of the group.

Not long after, the O8 table broke as Al, Felicia and others went to eat some sushi. I couldn’t do it, my protein has to come from land-walking animals. I also like things cooked.

I dropped some more cash at the $2-6 spread game when I only won one hand in about 2 hours. It was then that my body began to shut itself down. It was about 10pm local time, but I’d been running on 3 hours of sleep in the past 48. I grabbed a room key and hit the sack. I managed to grab about 6 hours of sleep and awoke at 4AM. Little did I know what was in store for me downstairs…

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Day 1 - Part 1

Going to sleep at 1:00AM and getting up at 4:00AM for my flight to Charlotte was not fun. Three hours of sleep the night before I’d be in Vegas. Dumb. Perhaps I’d be able to snooze on the long leg of the journey, but I know that sleep on an airplane is about 20% to 30% as efficient as normal sleep.

I met up with Otis at the airport in Charlotte and we boarded our flight. I was a bit disappointed not to be sitting near him, not because he had his laptop and new “Rounders: Special Edition” DVD to watch, but because as Felicia has noted, we’re more than just friends. I kid. I wanted to watch the DVD.

Just my luck, I get the aisle seat. No so bad you might be thinking to yourself. Well, it’s very bad when the man in the middle seat is about 1.5 seats wide himself. So a quarter of his girth occupied both my seat and that of his wife next to him. So that meant every person that passed down the aisle bumped into my shoulder. There went my plans for sleep recovery.

When we finally landed, I met back up with Otis and we grabbed a cab to the Excalibur to check in. I snapped some pictures from the cab ride over and I believe those were the ONLY pictures I took on the entire trip. Part of it was me feeling uncomfortable dragging a camera around and part of it was that I knew more capable photographers would do a much better job.

Not long after check in, Otis recommended the Luxor noon tournament. Who am I to argue about playing poker right away, this is after all why I came. This tournament was structured a bit oddly; the first hour was limit, and after that it was no-limit. Starting chips of T250 could be bought for $25 and a $3 add-on got you T50 more. There were 50 players with about 5 or so alternates ready to join the fun after the first few were eliminated.

Obviously to do well here, I’d need a fast start. The cards let me do so. The first hand brought AQ; with a raise pre flop and an A on the flop, I was off and running. Hand number two brought K,K. No A on the board let me take down another big pot against someone holding two 10’s. I lamented to Otis that had this been no limit from the start, I may have tripled up by now.

I didn’t play too many hands at that table. I saw Otis get crippled on a two-outer after he slowplayed his trip K’s. An eight on the river gave someone the 8 over K boat and Otis was basically in deep trouble. I believe he busted not soon after the table broke up.

When the no-limit portion began, I doubled up by going all-in preflop with Q’s. I got called down by someone holding 7’s and he didn't catch. Before I knew it, I was at the final table, probably at or near average stack. Unfortunately, average stack at this point was only about 4 or 5x the BB.

At this point, my cell phone rang. It was the Dr. He was in. Any other phone call, I let it go to voice mail. I actually left the final table of my first Vegas tournament to speak with Pauly. Few others would receive such an honor :)

I was able to triple up with A,Q when I was shortstacked on a Q,Q,x flop. I didn’t need the A on the river but I’ll take it. They were paying out the top 7 and soon enough there were 8 players left. In mid-position, I’m dealt A,Q again. Not wanting to miss an opportunity to finish higher, I pushed. I got called by the BB who I had covered holding 5,6 hearts. Unusual call from my perspective. But once the flop showed all hearts, thoughts of becoming bubble boy in Vegas filled my head.

I’m now down to T800 with the blinds 800/1600, probably not a great situation. I have about 3 hands before I was blinded away. Luckily for me, there was an all-in and a call. I was rooting for the guy who had the other covered and luckily he won. I’m in the money!!! I got eliminated when my blind came around, but got paid $47 for my troubles. I tipped the dealer $5, which was probably too much considering where I placed, but I was borderline giddy.

Afterwards, Otis and I made our way back to the Excalibur to meet Dr. Pauly and the other bloggers who were already there….

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Day Zero

Due to my procrastination, finding and booking a flight to Vegas was proving to be difficult. Fellow blogger Otis had booked his flight from the nearby Charlotte airport and when I went to check on prices for that flight, I was shocked and chagrinned at what Orbitz was claiming to be a fair price. In order to save about $300 I had to book my flight through Atlanta. Then fly to Charlotte. Ugh. The first leg of my journey began at 6:00AM so to make things a bit easier, a local buddy and I drove to Atlanta the night before so that I’d have less of an issue making my flight.

After reaching our destination at about 9:30PM we had dinner across the street from where we were staying. As time wore on, and mainly due to us being total degenerates, we went to a local establishment. Wink, wink. Nudge, nudge. Say no more, say no more.

As is fitting, my single sampling of the local talent had the fortuitous coincidence of occurring to the tune of Cowboys From Hell. I stopped what the fine young lass was doing, turned to my buddy Tommy and raised a toast to Dimebag. After the toast, I looked back at the slightly confused stripper and said, “You may continue.”

Pre-Trip Report

I be home.

The experience of a lifetime. Without question.

I've got to drive to Florida tomorrow for Xmas with the folks so my humungo-gargantuan-trip report will take some time. Just to whet the appetite, here are some highlights in no particular order:

- Placing at the Luxor noon tournament
- Meeting blogger after blogger after blogger
- Not 1, but 2 "Bad Beats from Hell"
- A tribute to Dimebag
- Drunken metal fest in a Limo
- Gawking at the pros
- Pulling a Men the Master
- The big dinner bill
- Free schwag

I really wanted to say this before I take off and run some errands. You know how when you're meeting a large group of people for the first time? You're a bit unsure if everyone's going to be cool or perhaps wondering if there will be that "one guy" who's a complete jerk.....

Not one single blogger I met was that "one guy" or gal :) Everybody was so enormously cool and respectful and flat out fun to hang with I truly feel that I knew you all even before I met you. I also truly feel honored to have met you and consider all of you to be true friends. If anyone is ever in the South Carolina area or nearby, you simply must look me up and stop by. I'll even break out the table for some 1 on 1 action. Poker action I mean, I'm not gay.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Last Pre-Vegas Post

Well folks this is it. After work tonight, I drive down to Hot-lanta (probably a bit more like Mild-lanta, not Milanta - that would be bad) and get ready for my 6AM flight on Friday. This too is my last working day until after Christmas so I'm in what those of us in the gas-turbine industry call "spool down."

My anticipation levels have been in check mainly for two reasons. First, work has been kicking my ass the past few weeks and I finally have a bit of breathing room today. Secondly, I can't officially get excited until the rubber hits the tarmac. Thankfully, I'm meeting up with Otis for the Charlotte to Vegas leg of my journey tomorrow. It doesn't make an awful lot of sense of me to drive from Greenville to Atlanta then fly from Atlanta to Charlotte and then on to Vegas. But that's what procrastinating does. It also saves me over $300 on my plane ticket. Not sure how that works....

Anyway, I've been pre-occupied this AM with the disturbing news below, trying to find out who else in the band was killed last night. Rumors are that it could have either been the lead singer or the drummer who also happens to be the brother of the confirmed dead. This little event sure as hell is going to make me think twice about going to another metal concert any time in the near future. Last year's fire at the Rhode Island club that took 100 lives made me at least look at where the fire exits were, but I'm not sure what I could do to prevent getting shot, short of wearing a flack jacket.

Back to more pleasant thoughts. I had hoped to extinguish all runs of bad cards, but last night the drought continued. Obviously I'll get only premium hands this weekend which will undoubtedly lead to monster profits.

I'm really looking forward to the live play, especially the WPBT Holiday Classic. Truly for me, the entrance fee will be judged as entertainment money, anything fortuitous that may come out of the tournament with respect to a high placing is purely gravy.

Can't wait to meet you all and see again those of you who I've met before.

BB out, and about.

Totally Messed Up

R.I.P. Dimebag

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

El Garbaggio

That can be used to describe the god-awful cards I was getting last night. After I rolled in from my company's holiday party, I fired up Empire, that's right Empire (bonus code IGGY1), and proceeded to click fold several hundred times.

The blogger convention caught my attention via an IM from the Dr. of Love and off I went. More crap cards. I believe I sat through 100+ hands only having A,K and 8,8 to really play. I did get to drop the hammer once since I was so tight and my pre-flop raise with a bunch of limpers did the trick.

So with that, I hearby cleanse my poker karma of all extended runs of crap cards. I don't want to sit at the Bellagio getting dealt garbaggio and have to constantly foldio. El boring-o.

Monday, December 06, 2004

Weekend Update

Jane, you ignorant slut!

Not necessarily that kind of update, but what the heck, any excuse to include the word slut in a post, right? Right.

This weekend was the first losing weekend online for me in a while. I should have known that the ass-ravaging dealt to me my AlCantHang on Friday night would set the stage. I never quite recovered. There was another $50 pot that was lost to me on a 3-outer, prompting me to yell some unmentionables towards my monitor. Little did I know that mini-Blood was in the hallway when he poked his cute head into the room and asked "Daddy, what did you say?"

I was rivered out of a tournament when my A,K lost to K,7 when a 7 hit the river. Hopefully the karmic wheel of justice has rolled on by such that next weekend this crap won't happen.

Over at LasVegasVegas, word's out that Evelyn Ng will be attending our little blogging event. Looks like I'll put on some deoderant after all. How you doinnnnn'????

I'm not sure if anyone else had seen this, but a while ago I signed up for a promotional tournament over at The tournament was this past Saturday night, a freeroll where the first prize was one of those all-inclusive entries into the WPT event in LA in February. If you made a real money deposit, you'd also be eligible for some prize money if you finish in the top 100. I chose not to make such a deposit and played only for 1st.

There were only 475 or so entries in the freeroll, including a bunch of celebrities. James Woods, Mimi Rogers, Dennis Quaid, and Willie Garson were just some of the celebs who supposedly play at this site exclusively. They had $100 bounties on their heads, but I never sat down at a table with them, so never had a chance. I did in fact take James Woods' seat at the table right after he was eliminated, so I got that going for me.

I finished a mediocre 92nd. I would have cashed, but because I didn't make the deposit, I lost out on what was probably at least $5. Damn, that'd be good for a sandwich at SubWay. Eat Fresh!

I was also able to download and finally set up an Empire account. I did the blogfather a favor and used bonus code IGGY1. Lord knows he needs the cash. Look for epBadBlood on that site if you wish.

Oh yeah....4 DAYS!!!!

Saturday, December 04, 2004


Remeber that show about the unexplained called "Sightings?" It was kind of cheesy, but last night I had an encounter than can only be called paranormal.

I'd heard he existed, but to be honest, I was a doubter. Loch Ness Monster? Fiction. Bigfoot? Fiction. Aliens? Fiction.

AlCantFold? HE LIVES!!!! It's true!!!

Everyone's favorite consumer of SoCo was in fact sober last night, according to established reports. Be that as it may, AlCantFold called my all-in bet on a board of 10,4,4 holding A,10. Not really that questionable, but I had J,J damnit! Of course one of his 5 outs, an A, hit the river and a near $50 pot migrated in his direction, not unlike the swallows of Capestrano.

Regardless, I shall not hold such an occurance against the man, the myth, the legend.

In fact, I'm compiling right now, as I type, various metal-based goodies to shower upon AlCantFold when we meet for the first time in Vegas.

These goodies include:

1. Slayer - War at the Warfield Live DVD
2. BadBlood's New School of Metal Mix - Volume I
3. BadBlood's Old School of Rare and Underappreciated Metal Mix - Volume I

Even though I'm still owed a bounty from 10 years ago for knocking out Boy Genius from a blogger tourney, and even though AlCantFold crushed my Jacks like a walnut, I am brushing all that aside and bringing him some schwag for his enjoyment.

By the way, if you suck out on me like that at Vegas, I'm coming over the table at you!!!! Bizzatch!!!! I kid. I kid.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

In Response

Otis' latest ramblings pose the question:

what mental/physical preps are you making?
Good question, good question. Do I have an answer? Another good question....

Like Otis, I too have been dabbling in Party MTSNG's (that's multi-table SNG's for the acronym-impaired). I tend not to have time for 3-tablers, so I've been doing the next best thing. Um, that's 2-tablers in case ya couldn't figure it out.

Results? I've won 1, placed 2nd in a miraculous turn of events in another and have two thirds to my credit. Not too bad, but it's Party Poker - not exactly a true test of tournament mettle. There's a bit of alliteration for you literary types.

I'm usually simultaneously hitting the $25NLHE ring games while playing the tourneys just so I can click fold more often. Results there have been decent of late too; usually I'm up 2-3 buy-ins, then some other bloggers join the fun and I just tread water from that point on.

I've been able to cash out some cash (what else would I cash out?) and have managed to save up some bankroll for the NON-STOP poker that will occur next Friday.

One of the fortuitous events that has enabled me to partake in this little Vegas jaunt is my budgetting practices. Like many others do, I get paid on a bi-weekly basis. As such, I budget my family's monthly expenses based on two paychecks. So every 6 months, there's comes what I call "Extra Paycheck Month." This extra paycheck usually occurs in June and December, with the latter usually going to Holiday presents.

However, every 14 years, the space-time continuum allows for a year with 3 EPM's. 2004 is one of those magical years. Much of this year's 3rd EPM is allowing me to go to Vegas.

I truly hope that I still play my game and don't migrate to limits above my head. I wish I'd been able to practice at the $50 or $100 NL tables at Party, but my online bankroll and the discipline required to complete my personal quest to recover my tilt-based losses chronicled above have prevented that. But I think I'm a better live player than online, so I won't feel too under-prepared to buy-in at a $100 NL table in Vegas.

Drinking wise? I don't usually get too lit up too often. Here's why: strippers. If I get too much alcohol in my system, I tend (OK, tend would mean I don't always, so that's a lie) to migrate to one of this area's many fine adult entertainment establishments. I have a hunch that there's places of a similar nature in Vegas, but never having actually been there, I can't be sure.

My drinking plans will be to acquire a slow steady buzz. Maybe. I hope. Unless AlCantHang gets a hold of me and suggests I step it up a bit. I am quite positive that I won't be able to keep up with the likes of G-Rob and Al, but I sure as hell won't be a stick in the mud either. One thing is for certain, I can't play quality poker completely shit-faced. A bit of the devil's brew is fine, in fact, it may help. But if I'm planning on some serious poker, serious drinking will take a temporary back seat. Maybe. I hope. Unless AlCantHang gets a hold of me and suggests we go to Club Paradise.

One thing is for damn certain. If I win the Holiday Classic (biiiiiiig "if") then I'm getting paid in $1's and we definitely are going somewhere to spend it.