Friday, March 30, 2007


G-Vegas is a bit damp and dreary. Thursday rolled around with me failing to set up a home game for the second consecutive time. Even GucciRick tried to gather the troops for a game in his garage, but 'twas to no avail. After dinner and a simultaneous conversation with G-Rob and the Mrs. to determine where and when I should next play cards, it was decided that we'd head to the Black Stallion game. G-Rob's mood was a bit down after Monday's lackluster effort at the $2/5 game. We got seated at table 2 upon arrival and bought some chips.

I decided to try my best not to be a pussy. On my second hand, Sgt. (FU)ry straddled my small blind for $5 and 5 limpers came along. When I looked down at AQo I figured I was ahead of the majority of limped hands and determined that simply completing the straddle was far too pussy-like in a vaj-tastic kind of way. I raised to $35, only (FU)ry calling. With a 667 flop, I led out confidently for $60 and Sgt. (FU)ry folded, claiming to be folding a pair and knowing I had a higher pair. "Jacks?" he said. I feigned amazement, showed him my Queen and said "Close. Nice read though."

After Tuesday's grind wherein I never had a profitable stack in front of me, it felt good to "earn" a pot as they say right off the bat. Thankfully, I'd not look back.

G-Rob was his usual self, winning huge pots with J4o and J4s. Buying in for $450, it wasn't long before I was staring down a $1k+ stack to my right. Yes, the stack was thankfully to my right.

With KTh in the big blind, I checked my option. The flop came Ks5d2s and I led out for $10. After 5 people called my bet, I knew that the flush draw was on the agenda of at least two players. The turn was the Ts completing the flush and I felt I was done with the hand, even with two-pair. That is, until it got checked around. Slow playing fools. The Tc hit the river and based on the player-types remaining in the hand, I led out for $50. I got called by two flushes who let me get there for free. It was a case of "the jackpot giveth, and the jackpot taketh away." The last player to act had QsJs and failed to bet the turn, fearing a fold from everyone left in the hand. It would deny him a chance to catch his jackpot draw that he picked up on the turn. In an effort to win the $2000 prize, he cost himself a $200 pot.

Unfortunately for G-Rob, his stack size was undulating like a bobble head doll on a dashboard. Up and down, up and down. While I chipped up bit by bit, he was all over the place. Unfortunately, he paid off two sets for large bets and went in the hole.

Meanwhile Sgt. (FU)ry was busy bluffing away the $500 he had in front of him. On a board of Jc9c5h3c6s, he finally led out for $60 on the river after check-calling me pre-flop and post-flop. I was holding a measly AJo for TPTK. I began to ask questions and like Radio Shack, he had answers. "You have 78? 78 would call my flop bet." He said no, because if he did, he'd have 78c and would have flushed up on the turn. "You have a flush?" I asked once again. It was then that he gave it away. He gave away the most reliable tell I've seen anyone make. It's the tell G-Rob and I have used before and it's been relatively reliable under the right circumstances. I called and he mucked.

G-Rob's fate met an untimely end when he got it all-in post flop with a pair and a flush draw. Unfortunately, there were two opponents, one with top two and the other with a better flush draw. He did manage to win the small side pot on that hand, not much consolation however. His last few chips were sucked away from him when his top two failed to dodge an 11-outer on the river when someone's pair and straight draw got there. We left not soon after, moods diametrically opposed.

I booked a $500 win, the first such win since early February. G-Rob finished down and pondered taking some time off. I told him that's why I stayed home last Thursday. It's hard enough missing a game when you want to play, but it's doubly hard to stay away when four of your close friends are playing too. But that's what I did last week, just to get my mind right. I needed to quell the irrational enthusiasm I had for the game and take it much slower. I won't be playing at all this weekend.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

I Should Probably Post

...but there just isn't much to say really. I wish I had some cool poker hand stories to weave but the material is just too thin. There's just not that much happening that's interesting, which brings me to the following thoughts.

I think that the stage at which poker becomes a grind is approaching. I would be lying if I didn't say that this year's results, or lack thereof, have contributed to my malaise. Each night where I'm either winning or losing a single buy-in just makes me think more about what I may have missed at home that night. Sure, getting to play 2 or 3 times a week can be fun, but when it isn't, most of the time I would rather be home.

The cardrooms I'm playing in are all now obscenely filled with smoke, so much so, that when I get home, I shower up just to unpollute myself. I climb in bed and wonder what the point of playing for 6 hours was.

Early last night, I lost a pot with 2nd nuts and doubled up 1st nuts. From there on in, I hovered around the same stack size for the remainder of the evening. Yawn.

Normally when things get like this, I host a home game, which I'll probably do again. However, I've been donating so bad at my own house that it may not be such a great idea. Oh well, gotta snap out of it sometime I guess.


Turns out miniBlood has lost his Wii privileges for the week. He and one of his buddies got into a spat on the school bus home and it just escalated into a "My game system is better than yours" argument. Of course, he was right that his Wii dominates his friend's inferior console but we still had to teach him that it's wrong to flaunt your toys in front of your friends.

Speaking of which, my poker chips still RULE!!!!

Friday, March 23, 2007

Days of Birth

As with most parents, your children's birthdays are days when you want them to be the happiest. So I try my best and spoil the crap out of them while they're so young. It's what I do. Does it make them spoiled? Frankly, I don't care. I'll pay most any price to see that they get everything they want or need while I'm alive.

miniBlood's birthday was about a week and a half ago. Probably six weeks ago, our Nintendo Gamecube broke. Being the videogame prodigy he is, this was no small issue to deal with. Something had to be done. Using some internet tools linked directly to Target's online inventory system, I had inside information as to when new shipments of the next generation Nintendo console would arrive.

Unfortunately, they came in on a Sunday, when Target opens at 8am. I had played poker until 3:30am the night before, and at 7:30am mrsBlood kindly kicked me out of bed to go wait in line. It hurt. But I managed to procure a Wii. And when I gave it to my son on his 7th birthday, his happiness made up for any sleep I lost that day.

My daughter's birthday is soon to arrive too. What to get her? Well, since she's turning 9 and has a full compliment of sass to go with her long blonde hair, I figured I'd be the hero by getting her and some of her friends a ride in a limo. Sure, I'm paying out the ass for 3 hours of frivolity, but she's worth it.

Least importantly, I just noticed I've been blogging this blog for over 3 years now. Sheesh, where does the time go?

Monday, March 19, 2007


For the past 6 weeks, poker has been a relative "meh" experience. No big wins, no big losses, just "meh."

Most of you know the drill. You're online, and after mucking 32 straight hands, you get dealt AA in the big blind. Action folds to you. You finally flop a set, lead out into a pre-flop raiser on an A-hi board, and then your opponent folds.

The old adage is true - you gotta give action to get action. I think my play of late hasn't been giving much action. On one occasion, as I walked out of a Thursday night local game, one talented player announced to the room: "There goes the tightest player in Greenville." Great. Two weeks later after I bet the turn after an Ace hit, an older gentlemen who had never seen me play before that night mucked immediately with second pair. "That guy's been folding for an hour, of course he had the Ace," he said after the dealer ran out the board which would have tripped him up. Great. I did have the Ace after all.

So how long does it take to dismantle an image you've built up over the course of a few months? Apparently to some players, not long at all.


With my tight image in tact, I figured Saturday was as good a night as any to take advantage of it. Taking advantage of your tight image is an art all its own. It's not the equivalent of capitalizing on a loose image. The tight player needs to bluff more while the loose player needs to just keep betting his monsters in the same pattern as his bluffs.

And bluffing more requires better reads.

I made one bluff in position holding AQ on an all undercard board. I played the hand just like I had an overpair and topped off my action by asking my opponent how much he had left after he checked the turn. I calmly put exactly that amount of money into the pot and after he claimed I had none of that board, finally folded.

Later, I busted the same guy with a marginal holding of 56o by rivering a straight. GucciRick, sitting to my right, wondered aloud, "Will the real BadBlood please stand up, please stand up?"


At that point, I should have realized that my tight image was successfully torn down.

I didn't.

I bluffed off a huge pot by representing a flush on the turn, again calmly putting my opponent all-in on the river after he checked to me. It was a decent bluff, played just like I would if I had the flush. But the opponent called with top pair.

Sadly, it was a big enough pot to define my evening - another small loss.


It's true, the more you play, the more you learn. I'm still hoping for that consistent, winning play to come back to my game. The type of play that made my bankroll bloom late last summer and early fall. Unfortunately, the longer it's missing, the more you think it won't come back. And therein lies my malaise toward the game right now.

Locally, one room's jackpot is over four thousand Quatlu's. Pocketing some Triskelion currency of that magnitude would cheer me the hell up. Tuesday, I roll again.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

By A Show of Hands

It was nearing 4pm and the conference call I was on was winding down. Some folks from a division based in Italy were asking our organization to do some unscheduled and unfunded work. I lost interest as soon as my boss took the lead in deflecting any responsibility. I peeked next door into Random101's office and asked how the weather was today as he'd just recently returned from a visit from the dentist (bye bye bankroll.)

"Man, it's nice," he said.


I grabbed my jacket, my iPod and said "Fuck this noise." I bolted from the premises, hopped on my horse, and rode dirty.


"I don't think you've won a pot since you put on that iPod," said California Grass.

"I did chop one, remember?"

I remembered. I had AK and flopped TPTK on an all-spade board. I led out the flop from late position when Yastrzemski check-raised me all-in. I insta-called because I knew I was good. Yaz tabled ATo with no spade. Apparently, nobody was dealt spades because they were all on the board. Choppin' broccoli. Right play, wrong results.

Images of Jack Nicholson axing his way through the bathroom door filled my head.


Earlier, I stole a pot from California Grass. I raised UTG and Grass re-raised me from the big blind. I called. The flop was J-high with two hearts and he lead out for $55. I quickly made it $200 and he went into the tank. Whatever thoughts were running through his head at the time managed to convince him to lay down his pocket Aces. I showed the King of spades and all hell broke loose.


Through the remainder of the night that hand plagued him. He later told me that it was almost a good thing he folded as it made his play tighter and more solid afterwards.

"Good players sometimes fold good cards," I responded. He wasn't interested in that theory however.


Because there weren't many players last night, Eddie both dealt and played. It was near the end of the night, I was turning into a pumpkin soon and the table was turning into a barren wasteland as three players had busted and left.

Grass raised a hand in position and Eddie re-raised out of the blinds, but not my much.

"That's a bitch slap of a re-raise," I volunteered. Grass agreed and called.

The flop came 866 and Eddie led out for $40. Grass raised another $75 to $115 and Eddie went looking for his own Piece of Mind.

And finally, Eddie folded his pocket tens face up. Grass tabled 22 and all hell broke loose.


It was the very next hand. Eddie was visibly shaken; I had played with him previously, but had never seen him this flustered. He opened for $16 and Grass called. I was the button and looked down at T7o. Perhaps the faint echoes of G-Rob made me call. "You're the button...." I heard him say.

I called. It was the last orbit and I was slightly down but still had $400+ in my stack.

Earlier in the evening, I had tried a re-raise pre-flop with the hammer on the button. Eddie pushed all-in over the top of me and I folded. I told him later that it was the hammer after he confided that he had Kings. Who knows what echoes were floating around in his head, but there was something going on.

The flop came down 689, two clubs. I had no clubs but held the current nuts. Eddie led out for $40, all the while jammering, "I'm not laying this one down, don't think I won't push here." Folded back to me.

I raised.

"One twenty," I said.

More tank. "Did you flop a set?" Eddie asked as he gazed at my stack. He had me covered.

It must have been the showing of hands. Earlier, when I showed a King to Grass after he mucked Aces, that got to him. The hand previous, he flashed pocket 2's to Eddie and that had him reeling.

The magic words came.



Eddie tabled the hammer and I took down the $850 pot.


The Spring Hotel sees us G-Vegas folks less often than it used to. Closer games have cropped up and the drive home from the Hotel is a 30-minute trek that destroys your enthusiasm for poker after a losing night.

I didn't mind the drive last night. Not in the least.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

With A Twist

Leave it to Otis.

He had an idea last week. It was a good idea. Last night we implemented said idea.


When you play NL ring games, where do you think the cap on the buy-in should be? Many of our home games and underground games had adhered to the online tradition of making it 100x the big blind. In fact, for probably the past two years plus, that's exactly the buy-in I've used, whether the game was uncapped or not.

However, that's not always enough cash in play to make the game truly interesting. Otis theorized that the max
buy-in is really more of a function of the opening raise than the big blind. And I think he's right.

Our 1/2 NL games tend to have opening raises in the $10 to $12 range. Assume for a moment that you get three to four callers and the pot is near $50pre -flop. Any sane continuation bet that gets called in one place almost makes you pot committed by the turn. With the thought of "I can just rebuy" in most everyone's head, the looser calls from the draw monkeys make the 100x big blind buy-in a heavier action game.


Last night at Gucci Rick's, we made the max buy-in 200x the big blind. The resulting game was very different. From my perspective, it was different in a good way. With more at risk each hand, the play was more cerebral. Fold equity all of the sudden became a viable notion in NL ring game poker. Strong hands could put weaker hands to the test earlier in the hand without fear of an "aww hell, fuck it" call. I actually enjoyed myself more last night than I had in a while.

I posted a small win to alleviate my hemorrhaging. And now, whenever possible, I'll buy-in for 200x and see what happens.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Dead Eyes See No Future

In the olden days of my gambling past, when counting cards at black jack was de rigueur, my group of cohorts and I would scurry to an open seat at third base whenever possible. You see, third base or the last position to act before the dealer, was of special import. The decisions made by the person in that seat were the ones that would impact the results for every other player at the table. Taking a hit or standing pat would determine which cards were left for the dealer. Nobody liked to see someone playing psychic black jack at third base. You know, the type of person to make their play based on their "feeling." Whenever a non-by-the-book player stood on 16 with the dealer showing paint, we all groaned inside knowing that our fate was being determined by someone playing less than optimally.

Years later, after learning the nuances of probabilities and statistics, we did finally realize that someone's decisions at third base had an equal chance of helping us as it did of hurting us. Still, at the time, it was enough to put us on black jack tilt. That ain't fun either.


With another losing week in live action behind me, my thoughts drifted back to the effects of compound decision making. I have trouble letting go of decisions made an hour earlier, either right or wrong, and wondering how my results would be impacted had I acted differently.

Here are some useless examples.

The new Thursday night game: I'm in the big blind and see UTG raise it up in standard fashion. Middle position lump of flesh re-raises, and finally G-Rob on the button makes it $100 to go. All pre-flop. When the action finally gets to me, I look down at AJo. I "lol" internally and make the easy fold. All three players in the hand finally get all their money in pre-flop. KK vs. QQ vs. AQo. The board is all undercards with four hearts. I had the Ace of hearts. $800 pot. Not mine, because I properly folded.

Not soon after in the same game, the action is very similar to that described in the previous hand. Again, in the big blind, I look down at pocket 7's. I "LOL" internally and make the easy fold. This time, it's KK vs. AA vs. AK. The flop is 7-high. $500 pot. Not mine, because I properly folded.

Just one more, I promise.

It's my home game last Thursday. It's a straddled pot and G-Rob raises to $20 and gets 1 caller behind. I look down at Q8d and after temporarily forgetting that it's a jackpot hand, fold. The odds of flopping a flush are less than 1%. Well, I flopped a flush. Second nuts in fact. And when G-Rob led out on the flop, the guy to my right pushed all in. He had probably close to $400. I would have stacked him as he had the lower flush. Stacking him meant that he wouldn't have mis-dealt a hand later when I had pocket 6's. The mis-deal in question was him putting the flop out before Otis had acted. The flop was Q64. Had I stacked him, he wouldn't have been in the hand when I found pocket Q's and re-raised big. He of course had AA.

It was the butterfly effect. And I was thinking too hard about how it impacted my overall results. Anytime I'm not thinking about the poker hand I'm currently playing, then I'm not playing as well as I can be.


Things that also bother me: I've had 6 hands this calendar year where either I or my opponent was all-in pre-flop. I've won 1. The hand I won was KK vs. QQ in Tunica. One loss was KK vs AK. See the title of Barry Greenstein's book. Two others, I rightfully should have lost as I pushed KK and QQ respectively into AA. The other two? The other two are my AA getting stacked by KK. Those two pots alone are almost half my current bankroll. Blah.


and Blah.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Heeeeeeeeeeeeeeere's Johnny!

All right plays and wrong results make BadBlood a dull poker player.
All right plays and wrong results make BadBlood a dull poker player.
All right plays and wrong results make BadBlood a dull poker player.
All right plays and wrong results make BadBlood a dull poker player.
All right plays and wrong results make BadBlood a dull poker player.
All right plays and wrong results make BadBlood a dull poker player.
All right plays and wrong results make BadBlood a dull poker player.
All right plays and wrong results make BadBlood a dull poker player.
All right plays and wrong results make BadBlood a dull poker player.
All right plays and wrong results make BadBlood a dull poker player.
All right plays and wrong results make BadBlood a dull poker player.
All right plays and wrong results make BadBlood a dull poker player.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

In Like a Lion

Ah....March. I cannot describe how happy I am to see February's last day pass. As with many of you, I put an unnecessary importance to monthly results, arbitrary as they are among the true "one long session" devotees. But still, the month measurement scale is as convenient as it is meaningless.

I posted a very good January, which was especially sweet coming off the horrible December that I traditionally have. Then on February 1st, I hosted a home game and dropped 4-figures, which unfortunately set the tone for the remaining 27 days. Add in a rather poor performance in the FTOPS tournaments and you wind up with a big minus sign leading your Excel sum(x:y) cell.

Looking back at last year, my record of winning to losing months would go 8-3-1. That's decent enough to get me into the playoffs via wildcard.

This year, I've started off 1-1, which while not worrisome, is still disappointing since December's drop was so precipitous. So just like last month, I'm hosting a home game to start off this month. My goal is to not lose $1000. Aim low I always say.


February can go pound sand with respect to physical health too. Not mine, but my family's. My daughter set the tone with a bout of stomach flu, which led to my son's being sick for 6 days with the "regular" flu. Just as he was getting better, the wife decided that the family's phlegm production was too low and began manufacturing mucus at breakneck pace.

Me? I'm not sure what's happening. I've either avoided getting ill, was immune to begin with, or am simply incubating a killer cold that should hit me right about the time I press the "publish" button on this jinx-machine known as blogger.


Alas, no more celebrity sightings for me. Two days after Renee Zellweger embarrassed herself to get closer to my physical presence at the gym, I saw Rudy Giuliani at a local steak house during lunch. I thought he may have come to town to discuss the future of online poker with me in preparation for a presidential bid. Not the case.

I figured such things come in three's, and was eagerly awaiting my next fortuitous meeting with the rich and famous. Who would it be? George Clooney? He's in town too. No, not him. Perhaps a porn star? Jenna Jameson? Nope. Wasn't her.

It was sad that my third encounter happened Saturday night at a company sponsored dinner party. The night's entertainment was none other than the King. Elvis. The Fat Elvis. Nothing like seeing an Elvis impersonator wrap his sweaty scarf around some young, drunk female employee on the dance floor. We left after he began his third song.