Friday, September 29, 2006

Convince Me

When my parents rolled the dice to determine my Constitution, I think I scored a seven.  Sure, they made up for it with Strength, Intelligence and Charisma; but it’s that pesky low scoring attribute that ruins me for days after events like the Bash.

(For those of you nodding your heads knowing exactly what I mean, go put away your Level 12 Magic User)

The Bash wore me out.  In college, I could never drink on consecutive nights.  I still can’t.  But at the Bash, I did and when I got home I paid for it.  I’ve been under the weather for a few days and am just now emerging from the sickly haze that overcame me on Tuesday.

I’ve been so tired, that I missed out on Wednesday’s drink-and-shoot-the-shit-first-then-play-poker-and-win-big-cash-later adventure.  G-Rob and TheMark had to put aside their Monday disagreement and ride together.  Word on the street is that GucciRick came along, a rare occasion indeed.

So now it’s Friday.  My energy levels are back up, and I’m most likely hitting the gym.  I’ve got lunch with the Axeman to look forward to and maybe, just maybe, I may head down to the Spring Hotel solo.  Otis is WCOOP’ing for the 34th consecutive day, TheMark is hitting up the lake (sadly we have too much soccer this weekend to go with him), and G-Rob is actually spending time with Mrs. G-Rob.  He may have a fever.

It’s 9:00AM as I write this.  I’m still seesawing about whether I should go.  So I’m asking you, yes you, the readers to convince me.  I’m comment whoring, that’s true.  But still, give me a creative reason to go to the Spring Hotel by myself tonight after my workout.

If I win, perhaps I’ll give the most creative comment a no-prize.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Final Main Event Thoughts

Does this sound absurd to you?

“Welcome back to Game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals.  Those of you who happen to be astute viewers will realize that the score is now Calgary 5, New Jersey 3.  During the second intermission, the zamboni driver found two extra pucks inside the New Jersey net and the officials have credited the Devils with two goals giving them the lead.”


Then why not this?”The more mathematically inclined will realize that these chip counts total in excess of 2 million additional chips in play.  The error is believed to have occurred during a color-up of lower denomination chips.”

And that’s it.  Swept under the rug.  The pinnacle of your sport and a gross error is made and ESPN gives it five seconds.


I watched all of ESPN’s coverage of the Main Event.  Nobody is ever as good as they think they are when they win.  Jamie Gold will realize that eventually.  Did he push some of his table talk too far?  Maybe.  Is the lawsuit that contests the other half of his 12 million dollar prize unfortunate for the game of poker?  Yes.  Is Jamie Gold a bad person?  I don’t think so.  Maybe it was contrived, maybe it was sappy, but the final few seconds of broadcast footage showing him talking to his dad about his victory outweighs anything negative he may or may not have done during the tournament.  But that’s just me.  I’m a sucker when it comes to family.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Moderation of Aggression

Getting dealt one of the three best starting hands used to give me an instant adrenaline rush.  A cash game, a tournament, it didn’t matter; give me AA, KK, or QQ and my eyes lit up.

As I’ve mentioned recently, I’m still having trouble with overvaluing AA.  But I’ve recently made some progress with playing the other two big pairs and in doing so, I’ve come to a conclusion of sorts that may help me with the biggest pair of them all.

KK and QQ are inherently vulnerable.  On their own, there exist other starting hands that dominate them.  But not only that, any Ax against KK or Kx against QQ is only a 2:1 dog.  Because of that vulnerability, I’ve been able to exercise caution playing those hands.  In fact, whenever I get dealt KK or QQ, my first thoughts are “don’t go broke.”

But until recently, AA hasn’t given me that first thought instinct.  I think for me, it’s primarily due to the fact that you know, with 100% certainty, that you have the best hand pre-flop.  So before the flop, that starting hand is not dominated by any other hand.  That over-confidence has led me to ruin recently as I’ve failed to recognize flops that diminish the strength of AA.

A quick hand example, but with QQ.

It’s 6-handed and I’m on the button with QQ.  Folded to me, I raise 3.5x and the big blind calls.  The flop is 89J rainbow.  This flop is certainly coordinated; any ten has a big draw albeit with two fewer outs.  The big blind checks, and here’s were my cautiousness comes into play.  I check too.

The turn comes and I hit my set.  But also, it gives the big blind a straight if he was drawing to one.  He checks.  I’m prepared for a check-raise here, but I’m going to give my opponent a chance to make a mistake.  I bet 2/3rds the size of the pot.  Like I predicted, my opponent does check-raise.  But it’s a min check-raise.  I call knowing I’ve got 10 outs to a better hand if in fact the big blind has hit his straight.  Min-check raises at the $200NL game are still many times just weak bluffs.

The river pairs the 9 and I know I’m good.  If my opponent has his straight, he’ll go broke.  He bets out just over half the pot and I raise him all-in.  He folds.  The turn min check-raise was indeed a bad bluff, followed up with another weak bluff on the river.

I played it cautiously for sure.  From my perspective, the check on the flop made this hand more playable than it would have been otherwise.  The pot was kept smaller, it let my opponent bluff at it easier, and had I not hit my full house, I would have an easier chance of letting go of the hand.  I was willing to fold the set there given appropriate pressure.  That is of course opponent dependent.

Aggression is certainly a key factor to NLHE success, but I maintain that moderation of aggression, depending on flop texture is an imperative consideration as well.  Depending on the situation, you can win more money and at the same time give yourself a chance to lose less.

As always, comments are welcome.  I’m interested in opposing viewpoints on this hand, especially from the perspective of me playing it weakly.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Bash Report Bullets

Well it wouldn’t be a BadBlood trip report without some kind of travel-based snafu, now would it?  Note to self:  Do not schedule a return trip from the Bash at the Boathouse at 8:40AM the following day.

I awoke at 6:30AM (feeling, shall we say, less-than-fresh) and got out of the hotel with all my stuff before 7:00AM.  It was roughly a 45-minute drive to the airport and I was pretty confident that I had enough time to get there, check-in, go through security and catch my flight.

One thing I didn’t consider was my compromised brain capacity on 4 hours of sleep/passed-outed-ness (now an official word).  I had printed directions from the airport to Malvern and for the return trip, simply had to reverse them.  Same highways, different directions.  Pretty easy, huh?

Things started off well.  I navigated Routes 29, 202 and 76 successfully.  For whatever reason, when the time came to trackback onto highway 476, I followed my printed directions to the letter, gleefully driving the wrong direction away from the Philadelphia airport.  Fifteen minutes later, something in my subconscious must have noticed something was wrong.  In my best impression of Derek Smalls, I asked myself a most practical question:  “What fucking direction am I driving right now?” (“No we’re not going to fucking do Stonehenge”)

I should have realized something was amiss when I had to pick up a ticket from a toll booth, something not required on my journey there two days previous.  Making matters worse, this section of highway had a concrete barrier separating the north and southbound lanes.  There was no chance to make an illegal u-turn.  I had to immediately find the next exit and change directions.  Of course, the next exit was miles away.  I got my rented PT Cruiser past 90mph and gave it my best shot.

It was 8:25 when I tried to e-check myself in.  No go.  The lady at the ticket counter refused to print me boarding passes for my originally scheduled flight and I had to rebook.  This time, I looked at my final destination just to make sure it wasn’t Greensboro, NC.  Luckily it was correct and after delays upon delays, finally made it home at 5pm.  For those of you mathematically inclined, that’s 10.5 hours travel time.  I could have driven home in less.


As usual, I had an excellent time.  I’ll try to remember some details, but here are some highlights:

  • Meeting some bloggers for the first time – Veneno, Kat, Jordan, Pokerwolf, Slb, brdweb, and more that I have probably already forgot.

  • Live blogging the charity tourney was a blast

  • Playing Gavin Smith headsup for $100.  I didn’t just win, I dominated.  Granted, he was probably at 25% capacity, but so?

  • Playing the beer pong tourney with Brandon Schaefer.  We dominated early, but lost in the finals.  I choked by going 0-fer in the last game.  I hung my head in shame.

  • Seeing all the cool peeps again. You know who you are.

  • Watching Bobby Fucking Bracelet roll.  The guy is a legend.

  • Sharing a king size bed with Drizz.  Who said that?

  • Word to the wise, do not let Eva make your drinks.  Eva+drinks=memory loss.

  • StB

  • Heather, who grabbed the gunz the most.  I was going to retaliate, but wised up. (

  • Getting to shoot the shit with Maudie for a while.  We’ve officially retired steel chair jokes.

  • Having Carter use my Full Tilt card-protector and taking it to 2nd place on Friday.

  • Having a chance to hang a bit with the McGrupp brothers.

  • Being CJ’s beer-bitch during the charity tournament and having him suck out with the hammer and then winning the whole thing.  Good cards late, I kept repeating to him.  Good cards late.

  • And of course – TheAlCantHang Experience.  The person, not the band.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Boat House Live Tourney Updates

Gavin Smith asked me to live blog the Bash at the Boathouse tourney. So I am. It was either that or be called a Douche. Bag.

4:58pm - Gavin receives backrub from octogenarian.

5:00pm - Bobby Bracelet surrenders another bling to Gavin Smith. He's in the small blind sitting to Gavin's right. Gavin calls him a pussy.

5:02pm - Players are on a 15-minute color up break.

5:10pm - Brandon Schaefer fold J7s to an all-in raise from Joe Speaker. Tight box.

5:14pm - Bobby Bracelet doubles through Gavin Smith with Q8o vs. 44. A classic race situation.

5:16pm - Gavin Smith - "BadBlood! Tell everyone I'm not giving up."

5:27pm - Brandon Schaefer pushes with A9c and gets called by Lewey who woke up with pocket Kings. Gavin Smith reluctantly folds pocket 6's, and then tosses the deck at the dealer when the board shows 4 spades which would have given Gavin the win. Lewey survives after flopping a set though. Still 8-handed with 300/600 blinds.

5:41pm - Joe Speaker and Lewey are all in pre-flop. Lewey with 88, Joe with AKo. The door card brings an 8 on a ten-high flop. Hello runner, runner. JQ lets Joe Speaker double up via the rigged-ness that is live poker.

5:44pm - Brandon Schaefer is out. CJ, the luckbox, called his all-in with A5o. Brandon showed 67s and did not improve.

5:52pm - Lewey, Lewey, Lewey, Oi, Oi, Oi, is out. He pushed with 64o, Gavin Smith makes a G-Rob-esque call with 25s and flops a 2. We are 6-handed.

5:56pm - Bobby Bracelet is out. Hear that ladies? Pushing with 67o and getting called by Gavin Smith's pocket tens. After the hand is over, Gavin says "See ya douche!"

6:09pm - Lauren, the online qualifier is out. Falstaff takes him out with QT, having the nut straight by the time the hand was played out. The good news? The mardi gras beads are out. That means boobies.

6:19pm - Gavin Smith insists on hearing "Blinded by the Light" just to hear "Wrapped up like a douche."

6:22pm - Gavin shows his man-boobs. For beads.

6:30pm - Break time, color up time. Four players left. Gavin Smith, Falstaff, Joe Speaker and CJ. Joe is chipleader with 16.5k, Gavin has 12k, Falstaf with 9.5k, CJ with 6.5k. Blinds are 500/1000. Nobody is drinking. Duh.

6:42pm - I'm on tilt. People are singing the Killers song. And it's so fucking gay.

6:46pm - Faltaff doubles off of CJ with KQ agains A5. Still 4-handed and were still on the bubble. 3 spots pay.

6:51pm - Joe Speaker is our bubble boy. He pushed from the button with JTc and CJ woke up with Aces. Gavin was reluctant to fold 66, but did. A Jack on the flop gave Joe some momentary hope, but that was it. Pauly is over my shoulder giving live blogging tips. Also, people are encouraging CJ to drink more than his 2-beer limit. CJ is lean. Like 95 pounds. Pretty sure he's obliterated after his 4th sip. Also, F-Train wins the last longer bet after Joe was eliminated. We be in da money.

6:55pm - Gavin is out in 3rd. CJ took him out with pocket 5's. It's now headsup, CJ and Falstaff.

7:03pm - Falstaff just doubled up with A3 against CJ's AJ by turning a 3. Still headsup and Falstaff is currently in the chip lead.

7:09pm - CJ wins with pocket Aces on an all diamond flop. Falstaff needed a non-diamond Jack to double up, but it didn't come. The river completed CJ's nut flush and that was all she wrote. $2500 later, CJ is the champ.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Short Ride

G-Rob was early.  I walked into PF Chang’s anticipating a repeat performance of the previous two occasions wherein I’d be the first to arrive, order my drink, and then wait.  G-Rob was deep into his first diet beer so either he was thirsty or had been there longer than I originally anticipated.  After I took my seat at the black marbled bar, I ordered my $9 standby, Grey Goose martini.  Dirty.  It’s not cheap, but the barkeeps manage to fill my martini glass to the rim more often than not.  We both ordered food knowing TheMark would be late.  That’s just TheMark.

The pre-poker gatherings we’ve recently instituted are perhaps the most relaxing and at the same time enjoyable parts of my week, this side of a lap dance anyway.  Good food, good drink and good company set the stage for a trip down Route 385 towards the Spring Hotel.  Even as I write these words, I’m given a brief respite from the day’s activity, calmed by the fond memories.

This evening, we’d only be three strong.  Otis was WCOOP’ing, understandably busy watching Fehljiglop take down another bracelet.  Without him though, the chance of profiting from the game would grow.  Enough to outweigh the lack of his company?  Probably not.  But you take what life gives you.

The advertised start time for the Underground game is 7:30pm.  We learned the hard way that arriving any time after 7:15pm means waiting for a seat.  We cleared our tabs at 6:45 and made the easy drive down the highway to the game.  The anticipation makes the drive to the game seem much shorter than it truly is.

I took my seat directly across from the dealer, dressed in his standard Steel Lady t-shirt.  You know your poker blog is losing anonymity when the dealer from your underground game finds his way to this corner of the Intarweb.

I’m not really going anywhere with this post except to give a glimpse into what the G-Vegas poker scene has become.  I may look back upon these days as the Golden Age of my personal poker career.  Not because of wins or losses, but because of the fun.  I’m lucky to have a wife who’ll allow me two nights a week to go play a silly card game.  I’m lucky to have co-pilots willing to go to battle against the denizens of the Spring Hotel.  And in the end, any money won is just the gravy.


Tomorrow I’m Bash-bound.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

License To Ill

To quote a better player than I:

“Something about making a stupid play that makes you feel ill in your gut gets you concentrating again.”


I had been playing for over an hour.  I was at a 6-max table $200NL and in the course of 122 hands, I had won 7.  I had reloaded for another $100 but was still down less than a buy-in.  I wasn’t unhappy with my play, just borderline frustrated at the lack of opportunity.


I was under the gun and was dealt pocket 5’s.  I could limp, but at 6-max, I don’t like to limp.  I raised to $7 and got called by the button.  The flop was K72 rainbow, I could hear the whoosh sound as I missed yet another flop.  A check now simply gives away this pot by letting my opponent with better position take the lead by betting.  I don’t always continuation bet, but against one opponent on a K-high flop, it’s not a horrible play.  I fired out $12 and the button called.

The turn brought me my 5.  As they say, sets are gold, but when they come on the turn, they’re platinum.

I bet $40, button called.  River was a blank, I pushed, button called with KQ and I won my 8th hand out of 123.  But I was now on the winning side of the ledger.  Had I limped with 5’s, I would have called the button’s likely pre-flop raise, then check folded the flop.  Instead, I gave myself a chance to get lucky and it paid off.


Not soon after, I tossed it all away.


My Achilles heal is still pocket Aces.  I had them in the small blind and everyone limped to me.  I raised to $10 and the big blind, who had me covered, re-raised to $30.  Folded back to me and I re-popped it to $70.  The big blind flat called.

Can you put the big blind on a hand right now?  I can.  I did.  And then I ignored it.


The flop was K42.  I could give more betting round details, but instead it’s just easier to type, blah, blah, blah, yadda, yadda, yadda, I went broke.

I was fuming, and as DoubleAs mentioned “ill in my guts.”

I logged off immediately.  But of course, there was no way I was getting to sleep.


I watched TV for 30 minutes and went back to the virtual tables.  I just was not going to be able to sleep knowing how badly I butchered the last hand.  I was going to play just 50 hands, and play them well.  I could win a little, lose a little, double up or go broke again.  I didn’t care.  I needed to log 50 hands of decent poker to wash away the colossal misplay of AA once again.


The results of the short 50-hand session aren’t important.  I did play well and was able to find a small amount of contentment in that.  It wasn’t much, but it did let me get to sleep without thinking too much about that one previous hand.


And when I woke up… was Wednesday.  Giddy up.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006


Somewhere inside your brain, there are some dedicated neurons and sections of grey matter devoted solely to the game of poker.  Of course I can’t be sure of this, it’s just a guess.  But why wouldn’t there be?  It makes a little bit of sense that you’ve got some internal wiring programmed to make decisions when you’re in a game.

Unfortunately, that section of brainpower doesn’t sit by itself, operating in a vacuum making perfect decisions each time.  It’s right next to another part of your brain, perhaps intertwined within other circuitry that muddles with its efficiency.  That other part?  It’s filled with frustration receptors, self-analysis processes, and if you dig deep enough, you’d find a pipeline straight to irrationality.

Controlling and separating that “other” part from your poker brain is to me the Holy Grail.  For it’s that section that shuts down part of my poker capacity when I’m winning and it’s that section that skews the decision-based output when I’m losing.


How quickly things can turn around.  I’ve mentioned these names before; mainly because of all the players I’ve played with locally, I just happen to think they’re the best.  They are the three people I love to play with, but refuse to unless there’s sufficient dead money at the table.  Otis.  G-Rob.  TheMark.

And I’ve seen each of those three go through rough times in poker when each has questioned their abilities.  Lord knows I’ve done the same thing.  Several times.  I can whine about losing with the best of them.  During each down swing, I find myself questioning my motives, questioning my abilities, questioning everything.

It’s that “other” part of my brain acting up again.


But what can shut that part off or at least put it behind a big enough wall such that it no longer interferes?  Well, winning for one.  But that is often times out of your control.

Time off?  That can do it too.  But that’s certainly no fun.

Frankly, I’m not sure if anything can completely remove that part from affecting the other.  Perhaps, however, we can control it.


Sometimes, it’s something simple.


Another reason why I enjoy playing with the aforementioned BigThree is because they have a lot to offer.  During play, nobody’s there to teach.  But away from the table, the sharing of ideas has without a doubt been extremely beneficial to my game.

Last week, I was at GucciRick’s playing $1/$2 NL.  At one point, I was into the game for $700.  I made a comeback of sorts finishing down only $40.  I had managed to control the “other” part of my brain to a certain point but at certain moments, I was bordering on instability.

Two days later, at the Spring Hotel, I found myself into that $1/$2 NL game for $700 rather quickly.  Otis was sitting to my left, doing his best to control the action.  But during a break, he said to me, “You made a comeback Monday, right?”

And that was all it took.  Segregation of the irrational.  Poker brain – Activate!  (Apologies to the Wonder Twins)

I finished up over a buy-in, an $800 turnaround.


Right now, I need to focus on staying focused.  I’m not on fire, but I’ve managed to string together some wins.  I need to make sure I don’t let winning interfere with my poker decisions as they have in the past.

And while I’m on this side of rationality, hopefully I can contribute to those on the other side and help them through their personal haze, just as they’ve done for me.

Sunday, September 17, 2006


Even tournament donkeys have their day.

Thanks to Byron for hosting and the end of the evening railbirders Hoy, Derek, and StatikKing.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

This is My Home Town

It’s tough to fight the good fight.  Those of you who read many of the blogs listed on the right are aware of the current legislation intended to make illegal the act of playing poker online.  A dedicated group of players created the Poker Players Alliance (PPA) in an attempt to protect our rights to play the game we enjoy.

Obviously every one of us who plays a significant amount of online poker hopes that the bill doesn’t pass.  It has its flaws, but that’s never stopped our government before.  Thankfully, there exists some opposition in the form of banking lobbies and such that will hopefully derail the progress of the bill.  But then again, based on past history, I don’t think anyone would be surprised if the bill passed despite the efforts of everyone involved.  Congress and logic seldom mix.

The only remaining option, should online poker become illegal, would be to play more live poker.  In my lovely adopted home state of South Carolina, that recourse is also at risk.

Read This

Like I said, sometimes it’s tough to fight the good fight.  But like the PPA, there are those who won’t just silently acquiesce to the nonsense of outlawing the game of poker.

If you read the above link, you’ll find that one of G-Vegas’ own is challenging an antiquated law whose basis allowed local police to break up a game and arrest its participants.  With our state situated on the big ole’ shiny buckle of the Bible belt, you can see how difficult contesting this may become.

But that’s not stopping TheMark and the others who’ve decided against folding their hand.  TheMark is perhaps G-Vegas’ most aggressive player.  It doesn’t matter if he’s facing the big stack with his tournament life on the line.  He knows how to make the correct decisions that give him the best chance to win.

He may be pushing his stack in behind, but I’m rooting for him to hit whatever outs he needs.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006


Wednesdays.  Odin’s Day.  Hump days (I wish).  Generally speaking who the hell looks forward to a Wednesday?  I confess, I do.

Wednesdays are off-days for me from my workout schedule.  I’ll do a Monday/Tuesday split, 1 day off (that would be Wednesday), then either Thursday/Friday or Thursday/Saturday split depending on how Friday at work goes.

On Wednesdays, one of the local $1/$2NL underground games goes on at The Spring Hotel, an Otis-derived moniker.  With the condition of the G-Vegas home game in the state that it’s in, the appeal of the underground game, rake and all, grows.

And, to top it all off, one of my poker playing buddies from up North is in town again.  Yes, that’s right, tonight once again we will be sharing martinis prior to.  I like to call it Riding Dirty.

I sent an email to TheMark, G-Rob (Mr. October, NOT!), and Otis about plans to meet at the local PFChangs for drinks, a bit of food, and pre-game revelry.  Otis is in, I suspect G-Rob is in too since it’s still only September.  TheMark actually has a valid excuse *cough* the wife’s birthday *cough*.

Friends, drinks, poker.  An outstanding recipe for my amusement.  Five o’clock, post meridian can’t get here soon enough.

Wednesdays.  I live for this.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006


Nigel Tufnel: The sustain, listen to it. Marty DiBergi: I don't hear anything. Nigel Tufnel: Well you would though, if it were playing.

There are many differences between cash games and tournaments.  One often-overlooked difference is the sustainability of the two forms of no limit poker.  A tournament entry buy-in represents to many people all that they’re willing to lose on a given night.  While it may be unfair to call that a safety net, it draws many more people to the game that wouldn’t normally be willing to play.  Couple that fact with the added variance of a tournament where even those less skillful can walk away with a significant cash and you have a sustainable player base.

In a cash game, that’s simply not the case.


Cash game skill differential amplifies and accelerates the redistribution of money from the bad players to the good.  When the good players find that their games dry up they look for others, often times at higher stakes.  And when the stakes increase, so does the pace of cash redistribution.  The aforementioned reason is primarily why no limit cash games generally have a capped buy-in.  It extends its viability.


I’m not fond of trying to judge my own skill level in relation to others.  I also don’t think that G-Vegas is a hotbed for future Brunson’s, Greenstein’s and Elezra’s.  However, the only data I have is that over the past few years, a few players have successfully navigated the trail from low limits, to medium limits, and if they haven’t already arrived there, the high limits.

Last night at TheRick’s, five of those players were there playing 6-handed no limit hold ‘em.  Last Thursday, four of those players (by the end of the night) were playing 7-handed no limit hold ‘em.

And I was left wondering at the end of each night, what was the point?


When I first went to what I would eventually call the G-Vegas big game, I wrote that it was populated with people who seemed to have a large amount of disposable income.  They drove Mercedes, BMW, Hummers, and Jaguars and I was certainly a bit tentative to join the game.  In fact, during the no limit Omaha games, I was by far the tightest player there.  I was watching, learning, and folding my way to an understanding of how each player played.  I soon realized that the gamble was strong with these players.


While the gamble was strong, it soon became evident that the lure of any four cards was all that was keeping some of them afloat.  The game changed to strictly no limit hold ‘em and unfortunately, many players never changed styles.  Any four cards became any two cards, and as is often the case, missing flops became expensive when you pay extra to see them.  It’s been a while since I’ve seen those players at TheRick’s.  I’m not sure why.


A few people are proclaiming poker blogs to be dead too.  Poker content is certainly diminished and while many of us have certainly grown as friends, it is becoming more difficult to write quality poker material that hasn’t been done before.

Is it just the natural ebb and flow of a cyclical phenomenon?  Or is it the sign that the peak has come and gone?

What was it that drove people to the game in the first place?  And is that impetus gone?  Did learning the game come too easily?  Did mastering the game become too difficult?  Is writing about something with which your interest has diminished become tedious?


To those of you who feel that you may have lost your way, I have a recommendation that may or may not help.  Give yourself a goal and write about attaining it.  Write about your feelings on the road towards success or even failure.  I remember way back when, that’s why I started blogging.  I was trying to recoup a $2100 loss that I incurred upon my initial foray into online poker.

Try to qualify for a major tournament.  Focus on beating a particular limit for 3 months.  Chronicle the home games you play in.  Something.

I truly believe that those of you who want to will find some inspiration and rejuvenate yourselves.  If you want to.

Is the G-Vegas home game sustainable?  Is poker blogging in general sustainable?  Who knows?  Not me.  The only thing I’m even remotely sure of is that I’ll keep playing.  And I’ll keep writing about it here too.  It’s not because I feel I have to, it’s because deep down, I still really enjoy the game.  Bad beats and all.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Invitational Results

It was the best of was the worst of times....

Ah, but I'm getting ahead of myself.


In college, we had a group of friends that would always pretty much seem to go out together. Among our circle, one friend was consistently scheduling the evening’s plans prior to, and for that earned himself the nickname “Planmaker.” We used to sing the words “Planmaker” to the theme song of the 007 classic Moonraker. That is, until we realized it was actually to the tune of Goldfinger. But I digress.

When it comes to poker tournaments in G-Vegas, I am the de facto Planmaker. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – I’m a control freak. In order to guarantee a good tournament structure, I create it, then I run it. But what does it mean to my already sub-standard tournament game? Well, it means I play worse. If that’s even possible.


First, some atmosphere, a slew of pictures:


Certainly, there’s a strategy to a tournament like this. You need to acquire points. Taking gambles early on and risking a big goose egg is not a sound approach. But that’s exactly what I did.

In tourney #1, I crippled myself by putting TripJax to the test and pushed on a 15-outs twice scenario. Sure, in a cash game, we’d all do the same. In this structure, the payoff in equity is not worth the risk. I missed. When I finally pushed my top pair, bottom kicker into Falstaff’s set, I managed to secure my 1st round zero. In fact, after round 1, I was tied with G-Rob for points. And he wasn’t even playing. Little did I know that G-Rob would still be tied with me after Round 2.


Round 1 winners included StanTheMan, Gamecock – who appeared out of the G-Vegas woodwork to come unleash his solid tourney game on the unwashed masses, and TheMark who wanted to retain the title he earned last year.

Otis, after a 4th place finish in Round 1 had this to say: Otis on the BadBeatDevice.

One minor consolation was that if you busted early in any round, there was plenty of food:

One anonymous player must have busted with aces: Argh.

Thanks go out to Mrs_Blood, MrsAllIn, and Shep and Debbie Smith for providing superb food for the local degenerates.


Round 2 is where things really start to happen. Or, if you’re me, it’s where the wheels fall off. Again, I gifted Falstaff all my chips and chants of “I suck, I suck” were emanating throughout casa de Blood. At least in my mind.

Gamecock took down his 2nd straight tournament, cementing his second consecutive spot at the final table. TheMark, negotiated a deal with Random101 wherein he took $50 and 8 points, leaving Random101 with 9 points and a very likely spot at the final table. Otis recovered from his own self-loathing just in time to score a second round victory himself.

When the points were tallied post-Round 2, I was officially eliminated.


Because of the fact that a few people had crushed Rounds 1 and 2, it left little doubt as to who would advance. In fact, two people failed to return for Round 3. And to that I say, “BOGUS!”

Granted, as the host, I had nowhere to go, but I’ll be damned if I wasn’t going to shoot for the $50 prize awarded to each round’s winner.

And that’s exactly what I did. It was too little too late, but I finally got headsup with StanTheMan and had a 3:1 chip advantage. Stan wanted a deal. I told him all deals start with me getting $50. He took the points and I salvaged part of the day.

I wasn’t the only one to salvage a moral victory. TeddyBallgame was about to pack it in as well. I convinced him to stay, and like a trooper, he did. He took home a 1st place prize for $50 as well.

There was only one table left to play round 3, and it pitted TheMark against Gamecock. It was a rematch of last year’s final two. It was a match between two players who already won their buy-in’s back by virtue of winning two previous rounds.

TheMark would emerge victorious in the final preliminary match. Was it a portent of things to come?


Sunday came, and with it the final table. Here were the participants:

Stan the Man:





And your favorite professional blogger, Otis:


The action got off to a fast and furious start. TheMark employed his aggressive style, but for whatever reason, was StanTheMan had his number. Stan came over the top of Mark several times, eating into his starting stack significantly.

One thing’s for sure in tournament play, when you live by the sword, you die by the sword. Stan’s aggression level managed to double up Random101 when Random flopped a set of Queens. Then Stan was eliminated by Gamecock when he called off all his chips into the nuts. Hmm…that’s something I would do.

The fifth place finisher would leave on a sour note:

TheMark came over the top of Otis’ bet with Q9 on a Q-hi board. Otis called with QT and that was all she wrote for TheMark. There would be no repeat winner. However, one thing’s for certain, TheMark solidified himself as one of G-Vegas’ best tourney players, a title I’m certain he’s proud of. There are many in these here parts that look up to his tourney game, yours truly included.


Dr. AlanShaw would soon follow suit, pushing his entire stack into the hands of another nut-holding Gamecock. Two-pair vs. the nut flush is always a loser and Dr.Alan took home 4th place for his efforts. Not too shabby for a G-Vegas part-timer.


With three players remaining, it looked grim for Otis. He was severely shortstacked, and as such, offered a deal such that 3rd place would get a save. Gamecock was having none of that, and as the massive chip leader, who could blame him?

The stacks where roughly T900 for Gamecock, T250 for Random101 and about T50 for Otis. With the blinds soon hitting the 10/20 level, Random101 could have played the waiting game.


With the payouts being $975 for 1st, $475 for 2nd and $0 for third, how do you play this hand? The blinds are 8/16.

You are in second chip position as noted above. The shortstack on the button folds and the big stack in the small blind raises your big blind 3x. You find AQ and with position on the small blind, call.

The flop is AKQ. The small blind bets T75.

Your move?


Random101 pushed. I don’t blame him. It wasn’t much more for Gamecock to call. But all Gamecock had was a T8 or T6, I can’t quite remember. He did call and on one of the most brutal rivers I’ve ever seen, caught his Jack to take Random101 out on the bubble. Otis had a hard time keeping himself at the table and not doing a little jig on the front porch.


Once we were down to the final two, as is tradition here on the World Poker Tour…I mean here in G-Vegas, we make the money presentation:

To first place went $975, a coveted BBSOP 2006 money clip, a PokerStars WSOP 2006 Football jersey and a Pokerstars WSOP 2006 cap.

Second place would receive $475, a Pokerstars T-shirt, a ballcap and a 2006 WSOP card protector.

Again, much thanks to Otis for providing the schwag.


Otis did make a valiant run as the shortstack, doubling up at least twice. Finally, Otis succumbed to the big stack of Gamecock on this hand:

For the record, Otis had K7 and took an early lead in the race scenario. But the 9 on the river filled another inside straight draw for Gamecock and he took the whole thing down.

Not too shabby, finishing 2nd in ’05 and 1st in ’06.


Even though they fell a bit short, all was not lost for Random101 nor for Otis. Otis donated his second place Stars gear to Random. With his 2nd place finish in the biggest buy-in event thus far, Otis took over 1st place in the G-Vegas 2006 Player of the Year race. Updated standings can be found here:

G-Vegas 2006


Man, what a weekend. I’m not sure I can host much more of these things as they definitely take their toll. Most likely, with the passage of time, my enthusiasm will grow once again and I’ll host the first ever, G-Vegas Championship event to determine the 2006 Champion and Player of the Year.

The only thing that’s for sure is that it won’t be me.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Wish You Were Here

It's the night before the big tourney and all through the house, things are starting to take shape. Even a mouse. That doesn't make sense, but I thought, you know, it should rhyme like that Christmas poem does. 'cause I'm all about iambic pentameter. Shit, now I'm going to have to look up iambic. Hey, I got it right.

I've got my table, Shep is bringing his custom table, Random101 is bringing his table-top and 5 additional chairs. I've got my custom ceramic BadBlood chips, Otis is bringing his clay (real) chips, Falstaff is bringing both his ceramic Nevada Jacks and NexGen chips.

Most importantly, MrsBlood is cooking her custom meatballs and baking her custom chocolate chip cookies.

Better yet, I've got 100 proof SoCo, Patrone tequila, Grey Goose and Three Olives vodka, and some beer. Gotta have beer.

Bustout victims will get their choice of honorary Maudie-steel-chair-memorial-Tequila shot or Pre-Boathouse-AlCantHang-SoCo shot. I know, tough choice.

By Monday, I should have plenty o' pix, stories, and maybe even some sound bites. I'm oh so very psyched.