Tuesday, August 29, 2006

G-Vegas Erosion

G-Vegas certainly has its personalities.  Many of us do various things to get under the other’s skin, all in the spirit of making it harder for them to play optimum poker.  Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t.  There are two players I have in mind right now that probably go at it more frequently than anybody else.

“Clock!” player A will say, while player B is deep in his custom-made think tank.  It happens at least twice a session and is high comedy for an outside observer like me.  In fact, player A is a master of manipulation, able to get his opponents off their game like no other.

“One player to a hand,” player B will say to player A as player A correctly tells everyone at the table what hands particular people are holding.  He’s often right, but not always and player B reprimands that breach of etiquette every time.

“You were called, you have to show.”  Player A likes to make moves at times with any two cards.  Sometimes those moves are glorious failures and he likes to muck his cards even when called down.  Player B likes to see what garbage player A is playing so he likes to enforce the “you were called, you have to show” rule.  Player A doesn’t like to show.


As entertaining as G-Vegas poker is, I have fears that the game is dying.  There were times when we would get together on a near weekly basis for a $50NL ring game.  When we moved the stakes to $100NL the attendance thinned, but was sustainable.  Or so I thought.  I don’t think I’ve hosted a game for a couple of months now.

Even the Monday night “Big Game” seems to be losing its legs.  Interestingly, calling it the “Big Game” is probably a misnomer.  It certainly used to be, but now the $200NL game is the only game in town.  The game used to be dealer’s choice NL games, but was restructured to be only Hold ‘em to reduce the swings.  But unfortunately, even that move seems to have failed, as fewer players seem to be showing up each week.

Our recourse has been to play in the underground games.  Otis once wrote about G-Rob crushing the local poker economy out of existence.  Frankly, I don’t think he’s far off.  In the last month or so, I’ve managed to do well at those games too.  The frequency with which G-Rob and I take over $1k off the table in profits at a $1/$2NL game is increasing.  And it seems the player base may be decreasing as a result.


I’m sure there are even bigger games out there, but for me, I don’t foresee me trying to break into them.  The local $200NL games are populated with some unusual folks, but basically each of them seems harmless.  They are restaurant owners, private businessmen, teachers, engineers and television anchormen.

Although I have no personal evidence of this, my hunch is that the bigger local games are populated with undesirables.  Moving up in stakes in Las Vegas or other legal card rooms is one thing.  Moving up in stakes at underground games in South Carolina is another.  I’m guessing there’s big time drug money getting thrown around and once you get into larger stakes, you begin to take larger risks.  I wouldn’t be surprised if people pack heat in some of the larger games.  I could be wrong, but I’m in no hurry to find out.


Maybe things slowed because of summer.  Maybe some of the players have found other interests.  Maybe the stakes grew too high for their comfort level.  Maybe it’s all three.  I’m certainly interested to hear why if those folks wish to say.

Hopefully the people that can make it to the house on Saturday and Sunday will have fun and re-catch the bug that bit them last year.  Hopefully the G-Vegas game doesn’t go the way of Murderer’s Row and be just a fond memory of days gone by.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Most Excellent

Important update in the comments, check it.

Since poker content is at a lull, here’s a random list of 5 songs that I’ve recently got into.  Few will care, but those who do will be thankful.

1.  As noted in the comments of an AlCantHang post, Killswitch Engage’s cover of Dio’s Holy Diver is most excellent.  Find it on a CD called Kerrang’s High Voltage 2006.  “Look out!” never sounded so good.

2.  The 1st video released for Lamb of God’s Sacrament CD is called Redneck.  It more closely resembles early Vulgar Display-era Pantera, but to me, it is also most excellent.

3.  You’d have to find this next song on the MTV2 Headbanger’s Ball CD called The Revenge, but Hatebreed’s To The Threshold is, as they say, most excellent.

4.  A relatively underappreciated band called God Forbid recorded the next most excellent song called The End of the World.  It appears on their CD IV: Constitution of Treason.

5.  Last, but not least, I give you Opeth’s The Grand Conjuration.  As a final exercise for the reader, you may guess my rating for this song.

It's Monday

You know, every now and then I write a post about not winning, or getting bad beat, or whatever.  Then after it’s written, I delete it, because seriously, who in their right mind wants to read that crap?  I sure as hell wouldn’t.  The only reason I even start to write those posts is because I don’t want people to think I’m consistently winning.  I’d like to be, but I’m not, and I do want to be truthful here.  When I have a downswing, I sometimes wonder if it invalidates any of the strategy posts I write.

But then again, there’s a saying:  “Those who can’t, teach.”  Welcome to class.

So, rather than go on about the bumps in the road on the journey of an online player, I’m just going to take a small break from even playing online.  Live poker is going great this year and with the big tourney coming this weekend, I’ll be focusing on that for a while.

A break from the click and lose phenomenon is certainly warranted.

The below attendee list will be updated as needed.  Right now, we have 13 players which matches last year’s total.  I anticipate some more confirmations to trickle in as I’ve yet to hear from various out-of-towners.

So carry on and good luck.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Attendee List

Confirmed attendees: (up to 19)

Shep Tiltstein
Stan McKinney
Teddy Ballgame
Dave G.    

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Second Annual Invitational

The text below is from an email I sent out to our local pool of poker players.  Leave a comment with your email addy if you would like to get on the list and you’ll get some regular updates in the next week and a half.

Ok gang, here is the official invite to the "Second Annual BadBlood Poker Superstars Invitational."

Before I get into the details, please consider the following:  You will need to make a commitment to be available for BOTH days.  If you cannot make such a commitment, please do not sign up.

Saturday - September 2nd - 12pm start
Sunday - September 3rd - 2pm start

My house (specific details sent via email rather than INTARWEB)

$100 Entry fee
All players will play three PRELIMINARY ROUND 6-player single table tournaments (The number of players in preliminary rounds may be slightly altered to accommodate an odd number of total signups).  The goal is to accumulate points.  Points are distributed as follows:

1st - 10 + $50 Bonus
2nd - 7
3rd - 5
4th - 3
5th - 1
6th - 0

Each of the three PRELIMINARY ROUNDS will be played on Saturday.  Each table's participants will be randomized prior to the event.

I expect each of the tournaments to last about 3 hours.  THERE WILL BE TONS OF POKER TO BE PLAYED ON SATURDAY.

At the end of the 3 PRELIMINARY ROUNDS, the 6 players with the most points will advance to the FINALS on Sunday.  All players in Sunday's FINAL will start with an equal amount of chips.  Tie-breakers, if required, will be a headsup tournament on Sunday at 12pm.  The format for the tie-breaker headsup match will be the same, but will have 10-minute levels.

The payout for the FINAL round is:
1st  66% of total prize pool - preliminary tournament payouts
2nd 33% of total prize pool - preliminary tournament payouts

(Example:  Let's say we have 18 people.  Total prize pool is $1800.  There will be 9 (3x3) preliminary tournaments each paying $50 to the winner.  That leaves $1350 in the prize pool.  1st would get $900 and 2nd would get $450.)

The structure for all rounds, including the finals, is the following:

20-minute levels, starting chips T250 - Breaks are after every 3 rounds or roughly 1 hour.

Round     SB     BB
1     1     2
2     2     4
3     3     6
4     5     10
5     8     16
6     10     20
7     15     30
8     20     40
9     30     60
11     40     80
12     50     100  

During preliminary tournaments, deals can be made wherein a split of remaining points and the $50 prize payout may be discussed.  This could theoretically happen if a person playing in their last tournament is headsup with someone already guaranteed to advance such that the points are more valuable than the cash.

For the finals on Sunday, feel free to come watch even if you didn't make the cut.  I'll be there no matter what, even if I get outdrawn by a 2-outer on the river.

Any questions, please feel free to contact me.

Friday, August 18, 2006

I Say Thee Neigh

I took some time off from the NL ring games and played around a bit with the new Pokerstars HORSE games.  I played the $2/$4 game for 5 full orbits of each game.

Everything you hear about the game is true.  I won a large pot on the first Stud deal on one rotation when my opponent obviously loved his great Razz hand.

+24BB at the end of the night, even after losing a big pot with 6532A to a 6432A

I would imagine many of the mixed game specialists are currently drooling.  Thanks to Wil for the email spam notification.

PS:  I silently railbirded Wil at the .25/.50 LIMIT game for about 5 minutes.  $10 says he was teaching Nolan to play for his birthday.

Thursday, August 17, 2006


In the rapidly-approaching-dementia department comes the following:

Two nights ago, I had a poker dream.  I’m at my normal $1/$2 NL ring game, but for some reason Daniel Negreanu was sitting to my right.  I know what you’re thinking.  True, at least he’s not to my left.

Anyway, during one of the hands, three people get to see a flop:  Me, Kid Poker, and random-dream-NPC.  (Kudos to you geeks who immediately knew what NPC was.)  I’m holding pocket 6’s and the flop comes Q65 rainbow.  There’s some random betting and such, all three people see the board pair the 5 on the turn.

Granted, this hand is strikingly similar to that recently shown on High Stakes Poker.  But that’s where the similarity ends.  After the turn, all three players somehow get it all-in.  I show my full house, Negreanu shows Q7, and NPC shows 47o or some such G-Rob-esque holding.

The river comes, and it’s a third 5.

Immediately, commotion takes over the table.  “What a suckout!!!”  “Live poker is rigged.”

I see the pot slide towards Negreanu and regret my luck.  I tell him that he’s the luckiest player ever, and then I direct my admonishments towards the NPC wondering what the hell he was doing in the hand.  Even in dreams I get bad beat.

Then I wake up.

It is only then, when my conscious mind takes over, that I realize that the pot SHOULD HAVE COME MY WAY!!!!  I had 6’s over 5’s, not 5’s over 6’s.

Lord help me if I didn’t try to get back into that dream and contest the pot.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Very Good Player

Before I get into any more Vegas posts, I just wanted to give a thanks to all the Vegas people I hung out with last week.  There was of course Easycure and his lovely wife (continuing the blogger tradition of marrying up), Ryan and his lovely wife (see previous), BiggieFries, Pauly, Change100, CC, CJ, Wil, Jen, Linda, Jay, April, Jason, Zeem, Felicia and Glenn.  It was great to see you all.  If I forgot anyone, kick me when you see me next.  That way I’ll have a physical reminder.


My absolute favorite hand of the trip occurred on Friday back at the MGM poker room.  There was a very large kid who sat down next to G-Rob and began to talk so everyone could hear him.  You know the type; someone who makes sure he’s heard so that everyone knows how good he is.

“I don’t usually play $1/$2, I’m mainly a $2/$5 player,” he said to G-Rob.
”Is that so?  What happened to you then?  Why are you sitting here?”

“I took a bad beat, and now I need to work my way back up to that game.  I won $600 yesterday, and if I can do that again today, I’ll be right back there,” he said, making it known that the merits of bankroll management were oblivious to him.

“Good luck,” replied G-Rob.  “I’m not a very good player, so I hope I can learn something from you.”

“I’m good.  Actually, I’m very good,” he responded.

Whenever someone tells someone else that they’re “very good” at poker, I realize that their poker universe is a only just small subset of reality.  He immediately became G-Rob’s and my target.


That same very good player came in for a raise in early position and I looked down at T9d.  I had position and cards to bust a big hand so I called.  G-Rob also called behind (which was a very large mistake – we’ll see why soon enough) making the pot roughly $45.

Our flop was pretty much exactly the flop I was looking for – QJ3, two diamonds.  I had an open ender and a flush draw giving me enough outs to choke on.  Our very good player with about $350 in his stack bet the flop for $100.

From my perspective, I had 15-outs.  Twice.  I love these hands, maybe too much.  Add in some fold equity and I’ve got the advantage.  So I raised.

“Make it $300,” I said.

G-Rob visibly winced.  Later he’d tell me he thought I flopped a set and laid down pocket Aces.  I didn’t flop a set, but it was a good laydown on his behalf.  Had he re-raised pre-flop, I’d have folded to a re-re-raise that very good player would have made with his hand.  

Very good player went into the tank for only about 5 seconds.  “I’m all in.”


“Do you have a set?” he asked and showed me his pocket Kings.

If he put me on a set, it’s an odd play.  “No, but I have an uber-draw.”

“What??!?!?!  You raised on a draw???”

When the turn brought the 4 of diamonds, very good player was drawing dead.

And then very good player went Hellmuth.

“What kind of a donkey play is that?  You are horrible, raising on a draw like that, that’s awful!”  He was ranting and raving, pacing back and forth away from the table.  But more importantly, he was busto.

Normally, I’d keep quiet, and just stack his chips, but this time I couldn’t help myself.

“I’ll tell you what, why don’t you log onto Google and type ’15-outs twice’ (granted I only had 13 after he showed his hand) and see what comes back.  That’s double you, double you, double you, gee, oh, oh, gee, ell, ee.   Dot.com.”

Very good player had more work to do.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Busting Fehljiglop - Epilogue

They say table selection is paramount to success in poker.  Had I seen from afar our little $1/$2 table morph into the pushfest that it became, I probably wouldn’t have sat down.  But once I got a feel for it, I wasn’t getting up.

Sadly, one by one, our friendly Norwegian maniacs went busto.  Soon, there were only two left, and unfortunately for the rest of the table, they began to play actual poker.

My final hand of significance came against an undercover Norwegian.  Yes, he was from Norway, but he entered the game late and played poker in a more conventional manner.  So when I flopped top two pair, and raised his post-flop lead out, I was quite taken aback when he re-raised me.  He led out for $20, I raised to $60 and he made it $100 more.

The board read QT5 and I was sitting there with QTo.  At first, I wondered if he flopped a set of 5’s.  But then again, he did lead out on the flop which put some doubt into my mind.  I flat called.  The turn brought an Ace to the board and he made a significant bet of about $150 into the pot which at that point totaled nearly $300.  I paused, trying to put him on a hand, but for the life of me, just couldn’t.

After I called that bet, the river brought a King and the sane Norwegian asked me how much money I had left.  I had him well covered with over $600 left.  He had about $150 in chips and three $100 bills behind him.  Then he made a bet that was by far, the easiest of the entire hand for me to call.  He bet all his chips, keeping his bills behind.  It screamed weakness in a voice that most likely everyone could hear.  In fact, it didn’t matter what he had, the pot was entirely too big for me to fold now.  The bet seemed almost defensive, but given that any hand with a Jack beat me, I just called.

“Do you have two pair?” he asked me.

“Yes, I flopped top two.”

“You’re good,” he said as he mucked his weak Ace.  “I flopped the nut flush draw and missed.  Nice hand.”

As another $600+ pot slid my way, our stealthy Norwegian took his three bills and got up to leave.  That left only one remaining, and not only was he the best player of the bunch; he had a good $1500 sitting in front of him.  Staying away from him seemed prudent and what better way to stay away than get up and leave the table?  I had turned $150 into over $1250 and was quite content to book this win and go have breakfast.  I looked towards G-Rob, and he nodded in the affirmative when I asked him about leaving.

As we left Caesar’s poker room, the guy who kept calling G-Rob “Denver!” walked out with us.  We were overly courteous to him, realizing that he had just donated about $2000 towards the table we were at.  We told him we might be back the next night around the same time and he said there was a good chance he’d be back too.  He was our Jerry Buss and we felt like Brunson and Greenstein, making sure our donator felt welcome to come play with us again.


During breakfast, G-Rob and I both reflected on how crazy the previous 5 hours were.  I’d never in my life played such a game, and when all was said and done, I was just glad to have survived.  It just wasn’t my style.  In fact, the next day when it came to decide at which poker room we’d play; my vote was for the MGM.  I told G-Rob that we basically caught lightning in a bottle and any attempt to do so again would most likely be met with failure.

I took away from the game an appreciation for the inherent gamble in some poker players.  It for sure loosened me up, perhaps making me less of a nit in the process.  Most definitely, it conditioned me to think more in terms of buy-in’s than bets during NL hold ‘em sessions.  And really, that’s what it’s all about – stacking your opponent.

Thankfully, it was G-Rob and I that did the stacking.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Busting Fehljiglop - Part 3

Part One

Part Two


If my table wasn’t already crazy enough, imagine my feelings when G-Rob found himself in the 10-seat.  Carrying over $1500 from the $2/$5 table was suspect and at first I mentioned to him that the max buy-in was only $500.  He gave me the look that basically said, “Shut the hell up.”  You know the one, a tilt of the head, a thinning of the lips combined with a soul-piercing stare.  So, like a good friend, I remained quiet.

G-Rob has already chronicled his set flopping madness and all the while, I’m folding unplayable hands with a measly $150 in front of me.  By now, Otis had wandered over to sweat the action a bit.  He asked me a very valid question, “Dude, why aren’t you bought in for the max right now?”

Why not indeed?  My answer was two-fold.  First, I consider myself somewhat of a bad beat magnet.  Like pocket Kings to an Ace-high flop, I am the southern pole that attracts the most brutal of runner-runner northern pole combinations.  At this table, with the all-in’s potentially occurring on any street, there would be little chance I’d have my opponent drawing dead.  And unless that happened, my opponent would have outs.  Unfortunately for me they usually find them on the turn or river.  Or both.  Pessimistic thinking?  Of course it is.  But that was only half of my answer.

Truth be told, the madness that was going on around me wasn’t poker.  It was pure unadulterated gambling.  It just so happened that NL Texas Hold ‘em was the framework for the gamble instead of craps or blackjack.  I don’t necessarily either enjoy this form of gambling or consider myself good enough to play this form of high variance poker.  So it was for those reasons that I kept just $150 in front for the time being.  In the end, however, it really didn’t matter.


It took a while, but finally I peeked down at pocket Aces.  I was in early position, so I limped.  And then I watched.  Fold, fold, fold, fold, fold, fold, all the way back to the quietest of the Norwegians in seat 3.  Thankfully, he said, “Raise.”  He made it $40 to go pre-flop and amazingly the action was folded back to me.

“Aw hell,” I said to quote the ever-quotable Teddy Ballgame.  “Let’s all play like you guys.  I’m all in.”

And then the guy looked at me and didn’t act.  “Where’s my fucking goddamn double up you Scandinavian mother fucker?”  I didn’t say that, but I thought it.

“You want me to call?” he said.

“Yes, absolutely, without question, I want you to call.”

And then he folded.  I wasn’t sure there was even a word for “fold” in Norwegian, because that was the first time I saw any one of them do it.  Perhaps it was fortuitous that he didn’t call.  Perhaps I was destined to get my Aces cracked there, but miraculously didn’t.  The end result was that my stack grew to about $200 and I began again to play the waiting game.


Not soon after, a very odd thing happened.  Team Norway decided that rather than go all-in pre-flop, they’d limp, see a flop, and then go all-in.  Time for a strategy adjustment.  There would be no two cards I’d fold.

I wasn’t the only one making this adjustment of course.  The five players in seats 6 through 10 were all looking for the same opportunities as I was.  In fact, there was simply no disguising our collusive efforts.  Neither of us wanted each other’s money, we were all after Norway’s collective thousands.

After limping with T9o, I caught my first flop of significance:  TTJ.  On a real poker table against real players, I’d probably bet out at the flop for deception value.  Not here.  I checked and the action made its way around to the baby-face in seat 1.  With about $15 in the pot, he bet $40.  Seat 3 called and I simply pushed.  Seat 1 insta-called and for a moment, I feared I might have kicker issues.  Once seat 3 folded, the turn brought a Queen and the river a 4.  But they came runner-runner clubs to put a flush possibility on board.  Was this it?  Was this the beat I was expecting?  I had no idea because nobody was flipping their cards face up when all-in’s were being called.

“I have trip tens,” I said.

Baby-face just nodded and said, “They’re good,” and folded.

I have no idea what bullets I dodged, but my stack grew to about $450.


During this time of post-flop pushing, Team Norway must have doubled up the rest of the table multiple times.  But that did not deter them from re-buying when necessary.

The limp and see a flop strategy was still in full force.  But now, I had more money at risk.  Seat 4 had been the most active, pushing nearly every single hand.  Often times, he’d be taking down $10-$15 at a time, but not always.

Again, I limped with 78o and saw a flop.  It came 568 rainbow.  Top pair and an OESD, what else was I looking for?

Seat 4, still having me covered, predictably went all-in.  Folded to me, I actually went into the tank for a bit.  I still had three members of Team USA left to act behind me.  As I mentioned, nobody made any attempt to disguise the collusive efforts we were employing.

“Any of you going in for this one?” I asked.  I got three shakes of the head, leaving me alone to decide.  I thought I was good based on any random hand seat 4 could be holding, but in reality had no freaking idea.  I sure wouldn’t put $450 at risk on a naked draw, but the draw combined with top pair finally induced me to call.

Again, no cards were flipped up and I had no idea where I stood.

Turn was a Jack, river was a two.  I missed my straight, was a pair of eights good enough?

I showed 78o and my heart pounded like never before.  There was no smile on Seat 4’s face, not that any tell would do me good now.  He took his two cards and flapped them in the air, then smacked them on the felt face down several times without letting them go.

Then he tossed them face up.  I saw an Ace and some paint, both black cards.  I re-checked the board and noticed that there were in fact 3 clubs sitting right there.  Seat 4 remained stoic, but before I could fully see his hand, he grabbed his two-cards and mucked them.

“Unbelievable,” I said.  Literally, I could not believe I just won the hand.  My testicles found there way back out of my body cavity and I could breathe again.

Obviously, he didn’t have a flush, nor was the paint card a Jack.  Turns out, he had AKo and missed his 6-outs.  How the hell did I overcome a 6-outer?  I learned not to question those things, especially when a pot of over $900 came sliding my way.


G-Rob will continue with Part 4.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Busting Fehljiglop - Part I

Last Thursday began like so many others.  Even when you’re in Vegas, there can be a certain sense of normalcy achieved if you’re there to play poker.  The previous night’s success at the MGM gave my confidence an early boost.  I guess catching two straight flushes will do that to your game.  But on Thursday, the mega-crew covering the WSOP had an off day and I was more than happy to hang with them playing some social poker.

The consensus took us to Caesars Palace where I joined a mixed game with several familiar faces.  Tuscaloosa Johnny, Linda Geenen, Jay Greenspan, Jen Leo, CJ, Otis, Wil, and Ryan took over a table playing $3/$6 mixed games – Stud8, O8, and Crazy Pineapple.  I had a fun, relaxing time, even though I dropped 20BB’s.  I felt it was money well spent considering the company.  I rode dirty martinis the whole way.

Many of us signed up for the $220 7pm tourney.  The 40-minute levels were nice, but the blind level increases made things difficult for me by level 5.  I managed to win the five-way last longer bet, but busted well out of the money.

Meanwhile, G-Rob had situated himself at a $2/$5NL table, as did Otis.  I made my way to the friendly confines of $1/$2NL and hoped I could recover my mixed game loss and tournament entry fee.  After a few hours of playing, those prospects looked grim.

I sat in the 7 seat and had a decent view of the table.  That all changed when a grimy Australian kid took the 6 seat.  He promptly turned his seat backwards and sat Todd Brunson-style, easily obscuring my view of the 4 and 5 seats.  He also took his shoes off exposing his dirty-as-shit feet.  I thought to myself, “This ain’t the fucking outback, mate.”

Yes, he titled me.  He posted early and woke up with Aces.  He had pocket Jacks the next hand.  The third hand, I paid off his nut flush.  I was in for $300 at this table and had been whittled down to about $63.  So much for yesterday’s win.

Thankfully the tourist in the 3 seat doubled me up.  And even more thankfully, the tourist in the 3 seat put Aussie, Aussie, Aussie on tilt, tilt, tilt.  He caught runner-runner two pair with K4o and then hit a two-outer set on the river to remove much of the profit Aussie-boy had built up.  Finally, he put his shoes back on and left, mumbling to himself about not being able to play with that guy.  “Good,” I thought, “because I can’t play with you.”

The table was on the brink of breaking up as we neared the 12AM mark.  Then it happened.


The noise preceded their entrance by about 30 seconds.  Very drunk and very loud, five new players joined the game.  Huge wads of cash and yellow $1000 chips fell from their pockets onto the table.  All five players bought in for the max - $500.  They were all from Norway, fresh from a monster run at the craps table and ready to play some cards.  Or so I thought.

They occupied seats 1 through 5, and on the first hand when the 10 seat made a standard pre-flop raise, seat 2 came over the top.

For $500.

“Oh boy,” I thought to myself, “this is going to get crazy.”

The tourist who tilted the Australian douche bag went into the tank.  “What the hell is he thinking about?” I thought.  Did he have TT, JJ, or AK.  Nah, nothing like that.  Tourist called the pre-flop all-in from the drunk Norwegian in the 2 seat with KTo.  What did Norway have?  AJo.  The Ace held up, the tourist was busted, and we were on our way.


They say that you don’t have any friends at the poker table.  To a degree, that’s true; but I’m certainly not always capable of being that cut throat.  I could have just sat there and kept the forthcoming insane action all to myself.  But I felt I owed it to my remaining friends in the room to alert them to the fact that there was a huge opportunity here in the making.  In fact, over the next four or five hands, the Norwegians took turns busting each other and re-buying for $500 more at a time.  It wasn’t long before a cumulative $4000 of their money was on the table.  G-Rob and Otis deserved a chance at it.  So I went and told them about what would become the craziest game of poker I’ve ever played.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Sunday Bloody Sunday

I awoke Sunday morning at 9AM to the sounds of G-Rob and Otis stumbling in from a drunken –EV session of blackjack, lamenting the fact that I was leaving Vegas in only a few short hours.  Still, based on my poker experiences over the preceding few days, I still had that feeling of CouldDoNoWrong, having won over $2200 playing $1/$2 NL Hold ‘em.

After bidding adieu, I walked out of the Rio fully anticipating to take a cab back to the airport.  I had a free return trip for shuttle service but had failed to call the previous day for a reservation, so I thought that option wasn’t available to me.  But lo and behold, my shuttle was right there waiting for me.  As I left the revolving door separating the frigid cold of the casino from the blast furnace that is Nevada weather, my good fortune remained fully intact.

After a rather uneventful ride to McCarren, I wandered over to the American Airlines self-check terminal and swiped my credit card.  After a few seconds, my flight itinerary came up blank.  Odd.  I took out my Yahoo flight schedule and manually typed in the flight number.  Still nothing.  Mildly perplexed, I found an agent and asked her to help me get my boarding pass arranged.  She too could not find my information.

After looking at my Yahoo flight schedule printout, she said “That’s odd, I don’t think we even have a 12:35 flight today.”  Meanwhile, because my luck has been running so well, I simply figured they either changed the flight time or possibly the flight number and within a few short minutes, I’d be happily on my way.

She continued inspecting my printout then said, “Umm, do you realize that your return flight is not scheduled for August 6th?”

“Huh? Come again?”

“It says right here, return trip – Wednesday September 6th.”

Major malfunction.

Realizing that I had mis-clicked the month on the Yahoo travel reservation page, I was still holding onto the hope that this agent could still get me back home the same day.  However, after about ten minutes of furiously typing on her keypad, she said “The earliest I can confirm a seat for you back to Greenville is Tuesday August 8th.”

My personal How-Fucked-Am-I-Meter rose to “Mildly.”

My options were now somewhat limited.  I was at a minimum going to have to pay $100 to change my reservation and stay with American Airlines.  Getting on standby for the next available flight was a big gamble as the flight was already oversold with three standby’s previous to me.  I had to start looking at other airlines and live with the fact that I’d have to purchase a one-way ticket home.

At that point, staying two more days in Vegas was not feasible.  I was missing the family in a huge way and really had to get back to work on Monday.  I went to United first.  They could get me to Greenville for about $740.  Northwest was booked solid for the day.  I started to consider other options for higher flexibility like flying into Atlanta or Charlotte.  I knew Delta had a hub in Atlanta so I went there.  They had a 12:30 flight to Greenville for $710, but also a 10:50pm flight that would get me home Monday morning for only $385.  After some consideration, I felt that would be my best option.  I paid cash for my ticket and was about to leave the Delta reservation desk when the agent said, “Now that you have a ticket, I can try to get you on the 12:30 flight for just $25 more.”  “Book it,” I said.

It was 11:30 at that point, so catching the 12:30 flight might be difficult.  But the 9:17pm arrival time home was too appealing to turn down.  Off to the security check I went.  Let me say this, buying a one way ticket for same day travel combined with traveling alone and being male is the fast track to the anal probe line.  They checked everything, cell phone, iPod, underwear.  Everything.  I’m sure my underwear gave off some odd readings to their spectrometer, but apparently they don’t check for biohazards.

It wasn’t until after security that I checked my boarding pass information to see what my layover time would be in my connecting city of Cincinnati.  Let’s see, arrival time in Cincinnati is 7:28 then I take off again at 8pm to….huh, WHAT???!?!?!

My final destination read Greensboro.  North Carolina.

What.  The.  Fuck.

My personal How-Fucked-Am-I-Meter rose to “Gloriously.”

Panic set it.  I called home and asked how far away Greensboro was from Greenville.  I told my wife that there was a seriously good chance someone would need to pick me up there at 9:17pm because I had zero time to change flights in Vegas and zero time to change destinations once I got to Cincy.  Thankfully, my father-in-law agreed to drive the 180 miles northeast and be there for my arrival.  The only catch was that because I had such a short layover time, if my Vegas flight was late, I could miss my connecting flight there.  Thankfully, that did not happen.

So after two huge flight reservation blunders and one 3-hour drive down Route 85, I finally made it home at 12:30AM.  I gave my father-in-law $100 for his efforts and gas money and crashed hard.  But not after waking the minis and Mrs. for some much needed hugs and kisses.  While the poker playing on this trip was by far my best ever, the travel experience at the end of it was by far my worst ever.

Luck has its way of balancing out long term.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Sneak One In

Ok, one last post before I go, what the heck.

My last live action before Vegas happened last night at TheRick’s, who has officially changed monikers to “Gucci Rick.”  I will tell you one thing, it’s especially nice to book a solid win two days before you head out for a poker weekend.  Especially nice.

One hand for you hand analysis junkies coming up.

I’m on the button at an 8-handed table.  Everyone (and when I say everyone, I mean everyone) limped in for $2 to me.  I hadn’t done much in the way of raising for at least an orbit or two, so when I looked down at T7o, it felt right to make a play.  Who says G-Rob can’t teach you anything?  Position rules.  I made it $15 to go and managed to thin the field; if narrowing the field to 5 players pre-flop can be considered “thinning.”

The flop comes and it’s A73 with two spades.  I caught a small piece, but I need to find out how much.  It’s checked around to me, and if anything is in order, it’s certainly a continuation bet.  I fire out $30 into the $75 pot and get one early position caller.  At this point, it’s quite easy to determine possible holdings.  He either has a weak Ace or two spades.

The turn brings another Ace and EP checks.  I’m now leaning towards two spades and bet $45.  It’s not a great bet, in fact, it’s probably correct for all flush draws to call here.  But I want my opponent to think I want a call.  I want him to think that I may have a solid holding like 77 or AK.  He thinks for a bit longer and calls.

The river is an off-suit King, the flush draw did not get there.  EP checks again.

Now here’s some consideration.  I’m confident the flush draw missed, but I’m not so sure I can win the hand by checking the river.  That last King represents a scare card to me, although my opponent surely doesn’t know it.  Often times, checking the river is correct, but this time, it wasn’t.

I needed an appropriate bet size.  One that was big enough so that EP would lay down his hand, but also small enough to continue with my “has a hand” story I’d been telling.  I figured $70 into a $225 was the right amount.

After some deliberation, EP folds KJ of spades.  I win.  G-Rob said he was proud of the way I played the hand after I showed my bluff.  Given that I showed, I had to tighten up the rest of the night because I surely was going to get called down from there on out.

Rock on.