Thursday, August 30, 2007

Michael Vick & My Red Meat

I can't help but think that if Michael Vick was financing a cow killing operation there'd be absolutely no problems for him.

In fact Michael Vick Burgers on a George Foreman Grill might be what's for dinner.

But since Vick was involved in killing dogs and dog is man's best friend, our acquaintance Michael Vick is in some big trouble.

The worst part is I don't think the debate here really has anything to do with Vick.

No. The real debate is whether a dog's life is worth more than a cow's life.

And for most Americans that answer seems to be a resounding Yes.

I'm too lazy to search anything on the internet but what would happen if I googled China? Do they eat dog there? I feel like I've been told that at some point.

If canine eating exists then perhaps the reaction in those places to Vick's killing some dogs would have made him even more popular. Maybe his jersey sales would double and someday he'd own a chain of steakhouses like Don Shula. Except of course they'd serve dog.

There is something overly didactic about a country of meat eaters going after Vick on the animal rights stuff. Have you seen what we do to chickens? Have you seen how they make your veal?

It takes a damn strong dose of self righteousness to say that it's okay to kill a cow but that you are a bad person to kill a dog.

I don't dare cast a stone at Vick on this matter.

That's cause I like my steak medium rare.

I'm a red meat eater who says he loves animals and clearly lives in denial.

That's because when I eat red meat I'm eating a steak. Or a hamburger.

I'm not eating flesh. I'm not eating some animals leg, side or ass.

I think most people agree that it's wrong to kill dogs. I just wish most people wouldn't sit around and bash Vick between bites of their burger.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Ou est le plumber?

From the film Hustle & Flow:

It's hard out here for a pimp.
When he tryin to get this money for the rent.

For the Cadillacs and gas money spent.
Because a whole lot of bitches talkin shit.

One could apply the above song lyrics to my life.

Well except for the fact that I drive a Toyota.

So yesterday I mentioned the Feng Shui stuff regarding leaky pipes and losing money.

Part of me hates bringing it up because I really dislike the idea of believing in any kind of superstition. It just seems like too much work.

And even Stevie Wonder has tried to warn me that when you believe in things that you don't understand then you suffer. Superstition ain't the way.

But this leak in my house is getting ridiculous.

I played live for less than 3 hours last night but still managed to play plenty of memorable hands. Not so much in terms of poker strategy, More in terms of randomness.

Among the highlights:

My very first hand from the blinds I held king 7 and hit trips on an ace,7,7 flop. I bet the turn and got reraised by what I was hoping was a big ace. At least that's what I thought I was hoping until a second ace appeared on the river. It happens.

The very next hand I picked up ace 4 in small blind. The board came out ace,2,4,6,10. Me and my two pair got check raised on the river by a dude in early position who also hit two pair with his ace 6 off.

Again, it happens. As the dealer pushed him the pot I felt encouraged by the fact that at least I wasn't going down with top pair top kicker here. If I'm going to lose let it at least be respectable with trips or two pair.

Then things got really weird.

The 5 times I held pocket pairs last night, all 5 times I flopped sets. It was shocking.

Each set should happen 1 in 9 times.

What are the odds of something 8 to 1 happening 5 times in a row?

I'm not even sure my calculator can handle that one.

But what was even stranger was that 4 of the 5 times my sets didn't hold up.

We're not talking top pair top kicker getting outdrawn here. We're talking sets.

Like even if I'm up against a straight or flush draw and even if they hit, I should still occasionally win if or when the board pairs.

The first hand I held pocket 6's on a 5,6,7 flop. I gave up and lost the least money possible to my opponents 8,10 once the 9 came on the turn. (He only bet 10 dollars on the turn!!!!! He was trying to milk money out of me but instead gave me such a cheap shot at the board pairing or me hitting quads with my 10 outs.)

The other 3 times my sets lost to flushes. Each time it was the humiliating 4 card flush where the board goes runner runner on the turn and river and my opponent turns over 1 card of that suit.

Not that it should matter but it would somehow feel more respectable if my opponent turns over 2 suited cards.

Yet despite all this madness I was ahead on the night by picking spots to take down pots without having to show cards.

And even with the hands I was losing at least they were strong holdings rather than the previously mentioned typical top pair top kicker kind of stuff that I watch people lose their stacks with everyday.

The only time I wasn't ahead on the flop came near the end of my session.

I held the ace of hearts in the small blind in an unraised multiplayer pot.

Flop came jack, queen, king of hearts. And two players were actually willing to go all in on that board.

Sitting in front of your computer reading this you might figure they held a small flush. Or a set they were trying to protect. But they weren't even that strong.

One guy held king, queen of diamonds for two pair. The other held 9,10 of diamonds for the bottom end of the straight.

If one of them goes all in and the other folds then I probably fold too. I don't necessarily need to gamble on this draw.

But against two opponents getting 2 to 1 on money was just too good.

Even if you don't have much gamble in you, folding is incorrect here when your holdings are 40% to win the hand. (9,10 guy was slightly above 40%. Two pair dude was slightly less than 20%)

Not to mention the poetic justice. I had just had 3 sets cracked by 4 card flushes. Wouldn't it be fitting if I were to win a huge pot the same way?

Apparently not. No heart or 10 came and pot went to the 9,10 straight guy.

And as happens so often, the very next hand I picked up pocket jacks on the button. There was a guy sitting across the table from me who had been bullying everyone all night. He was fearless when it came to firing 3 bullets into pots. I'd watched him do it a few times. Anytime he raised preflop he would just keep betting every street until he faced resistance. So even though I hadn't played a pot with him, I felt like my observation was setting him up for his maneuver whenever I did.

On this hand he raised preflop to 20 and I called from the button.

Flop was 2,7,8. He bet 20 and again I called.

Turn was another 7. He bet 40. I called.

Why no raise?

I don't think he has a 7 and I don't want to scare him away. We know he's going to bet the river again out of position. And I'm likely to reraise him.

River is a harmless 3. No straights. No flushes.

He bets 75.

Something seemed different about this bet. The first two times he threw the chips out onto the felt in front of him. But this time he counted his chips carefully and placed them out softly.

This scared me. I decided not to raise. I just called.

He turned over pocket 3's. He passed me on the river.

Looking back now I don't regret not reraising him earlier in the hand to force him out. His actions were exactly what I wanted. In fact everything was perfect. Except for the 2 outer on the river.

That be poker.

Meanwhile I gotta get that leak fixed. ASAP.

Although I must say I'm tempted to play again before that happens just to keep sharing this madness with you folks.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Now It All Makes Sense

For the past 8 weeks I've witnessed a plethora of math defying moments go against me at the table. Over and over again.

Meanwhile, coincidentally my water bill has gone up tremendously the past two months.

So today we shut off all the water in the house and went outside to look at the water meter.

And guess what? It was still moving!

I have a leak. This explains everything.

Check this out:

Leaky faucets, shower heads, and pipes can waste more than water. When there is a waste like that occurring in your home, it represents a waste of money and can affect your emotional state. In addition to the water bills increasing, other unrelated unnecessary expenses will occur and you may begin to feel frazzled. Whenever you are wondering where all your money is going or your life suddenly becomes too much for you to handle, it is time to make sure you have no water leaks in or around your home. The only cure for this problem is to have your plumber fix your leaks.

- from Leslie Jacobson's article "Feng Shui and Your Health"

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

The Second City

When I graduated from college I gave some thought to moving to Chicago to take comedy classes at the Second City. Well it's only taken me 16 years to get to the school but I finally made it.

It was my wife's idea to sign up and I tagged along. It's been real interesting entering a beginner level class in something I spent 15+ years doing.

Whenever I tell people I'm taking an "intro to comedy" class they think I must be bored. But I'm not. In fact it's easily the best 3 hours of every week.

We're now up to level 3.

When we complete level 5 we get to meet Tom Cruise.

Most of all it's just nice to have friends again. A dearth of community made the first half of the Vegas Year a little rougher and tougher than expected. But finally knowing some people here makes the Fall seem a little more hopeful.

And our new friends are as diverse as ever. Despite growing up in the melting pot that is NYC, I can't say I've ever had a conversation before where the other two people were Lebanese and Mormon.

Now I do it once or twice a week.

And of course now that I'm friends with people of these backgrounds, I have the comedic license to make fun of them.

That's right.

It took me 16 years but I can finally make fun of Arabs and Mormons.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

I Beg to Differ

We've been away for the past week. Just got home.

This is what the clock looked like this morning when the car service arrived to take us to the airport:

We were flying standby and had been unable to get on a flight the night before. So when we got on the plane, we were grateful to leave the airport.

Things then got even better. We had seats next to each other.

I sat in the aisle seat. My wife in the middle. In the window seat was a guy who midway through the flight got switched with a crazy hyper 25 year old woman who had spilled her drink, a white russian, on someone in another row on the plane.

This woman was amazing. She got up 10 to 15 times in the two hours she sat with us.

She was all over the place. Laughing with some people. Yelling at others.

And then as soon as we land she takes out her cell phone, calls up her boyfriend and has the nerve to say:

"Hey honey. I was thinking about you the entire time."

I beg to differ. She was not thinking about him the entire time.

And I have 150 witnesses.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Stupid. Stubborn. Full of heart. Determination.

When I was 14 years old I spent my Summer at a coed sleep away camp.

My fellow campers were all in high school but for some reason we weren't all grouped together by our age. The counselors were slightly older college kids so you saw all sorts of statutory stuff going on but at least you had to leave your bunk to participate in that.

In my own bunk, my own cell, I was trapped with 10 guys. And two empty beds where the counselors occasionally slept. 12 people living together with 1 toilet and 1 shower.

The camp was located in the Poconos (Pennsylvania). Most of the campers were from New Jersey. Towns likes Teaneck and West Orange. Westfield and Milburn.

I was the only guy from New York City. This would have worked in my favor had I been cooler in 8th grade. But when I was 14 I still took myself way too seriously. I hadn't found my sense of humor yet. I hadn't suffered enough.

Lack of humor aside, my main problem was having just turned 14 which made me the youngest age you could be and still attend this camp. The majority of the kids were 15, 16 and 17 which is a sort of difficult obstacle to overcome at 14.

Females are already more mature than males of equal age. Let alone 14 year old me hanging with 16 year olds. Actually the female part was great. At least they were kind.

It's the 16 year old guys that aren't too cool when you're 14.

There was one kid in my bunk who openly declared his status as bunk bully. He was a football player and wrestler. And of course he was older. As if his being an aggressive athlete wasn't enough of a physical advantage.

Whenever this kid wanted to punish his fellow camper his favorite move was to put you inside of a laundry bag. The type that tightens when you pull on the two strings of rope on the end. He would then hang said laundry bag from a hook on the wall. Gravity took over from there and whoever was inside the bag would remain stuck inside since their own weight would pull the bag down and keep the strings tight and locked.

Our bully was a hard worker- after a week or two everyone in the bunk had hung on the wall from inside that laundry bag.

Everyone except for me.

And the bully.

I stayed out of his way. I had dealt with way harsher meaner scarier kids in the school yards of Brooklyn than this suburban football tough guy.

He was scary. But he didn't scare me. I was already having a rough Summer without this kid. I didn't want to be at this camp. And not really caring if I got kicked out gave me a freeing nothing to lose attitude.

So when he announced one night that I was going in the laundry bag, I looked him right back in the eye and said "No I'm not."

"You're going in the bag" he repeated.

"I'm not going in the bag" I clarified.

By now the procedure for us campers was to simply climb into the bag by ourselves and thus avoid the whole physical encounter part. This way you only had to endure the humiliation of being hung. Not the actual pain associated with getting into the bag.

Still I refused.

"Get in the bag."


"Get in or else I'm going to make you get in."

"Then make me get in."

And so he tried. He came over and put me in a head lock. He began to squeeze.

"I'm going to keep squeezing harder until you get in the bag."

I shouted "You can squeeze as hard as you want. I'm not getting in that bag."

He squeezed harder.

"Get in the bag."

It was hard to breathe. It hurt.

Still I said "No."

Everyone was watching intently. He roared out loud and squeezed as hard as he could.

And I refused to acknowledge the pain.

I remember thinking to myself that I don't care if he kills me. I'm not getting in that bag.

And then I passed out.

I'm not sure if it was from the blood being cut off from my brain.

Or my body simply checking out from the sheer pain.

But I fainted.

I woke up a few minutes later.

No one was happier to see me awake and alive than the bully.

And of course the way life works the bully and I got along after this experience. Suddenly I was his friend. The only one stupid and stubborn enough to stand up to him.

I share this story because I'm noticing a common theme in my life. I get myself involved in difficult tasks. Quite often I'm in some sort of a hole. And I reach a point in the experience where I know most people would quit. Just get in the bag.

And yet it's in these times, these low points that something inside of me seems to get energized and only work harder. Chase whatever it is that I'm chasing even more. Even harder.

The Poker Gods can take pots away from me when I'm an 80 or 90% favorite.

They can do it over and over again.

They can test my resolve.

They can make it feel personal.

They can take away all of my money.

But they're not going to break me.

They have no idea who they are dealing with.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Philospher Joe Torre

“You just hang around, go through the streaks. That’s what the season is about, being able to fight through the dark times.”
--Joe Torre

Friday, August 10, 2007

Ali Needed Frazier

Wednesday night I played in a cash game at the Venetian.

I got myself into some good situations in the first hour and doubled my stack.

The key hand for me was hitting a set of jacks from the small blind on an ace high flop.

A guy on the button with an ace bet. I called. A 4 came on the turn. He bet and I called again. Another 4 came on the river. I decided to lead out with a pot sized bet. I thought it might confuse him and make him think I was attempting to steal the pot by representing I had a 4. I figured if he had an ace he'd call. And if he didn't have an ace he'd check it down anyway.

Much to my surprise he came over the top of my bet and went all in. I thought to myself damn if he has pocket aces I'm about to lose a big pot. But of course I still called.

He turned over ace 4 for a runner runner 4's full of aces house. But my boat was better with the jacks full of 4's.

I was lucky to hit a set of jacks on the flop. But the reality is I was even luckier that he made his hand with the runner runner so that I could get paid.

Ali needed Frazier.

The Yankees need the Red Sox.

Pocket aces need pocket kings.

And a set of jacks sometimes needs runner runner 4's.

After this hand the guy was clearly on tilt. He was raising with crap like 2,8 and stealing blinds.

I knew I was going to get even more chips from him. Since he was playing so super aggressive I sat back and waited for the right spot.

Little while later I picked up pocket aces under the gun and limped in. Some guy in middle position made it 20. There were 2 callers. And then this same ace 4 guy repops it $100 more from the big blind.

I go all in on him and the ace 4 guy calls. Just like we knew he would. He doesn't want to show his cards so I don't show my aces. Meanwhile I'm sure he doesn't show his cards because I'm sure they're not that strong. He was just making a move to steal the preflop money and got caught.

Flop is 2,4,7. Turn 3. River 10. Now he turns over pocket 7's for a set and the dealer shoves the pot to him.

I've been doing alot of work away from the table on my mental state at the table. And here was my first test. I laughed out loud and took a walk to the bathroom. Alot of my profit from the previous hour was gone. I recognized that the key for me at the moment was to not lose the rest of my chips trying to get back to where I was before this hand.

So I folded. And folded. For an hour.

I got no cards so I played no hands.

What was sort of amazing to me was how hot I had been before that hand. And how losing that hand basically took the wind out of my sails. From as many hours as I sit at the poker table I'm starting to feel how things happen in bunches. And so I was real focused on not losing my stack while in the midst of a bad run of cards.

I eventually played one hand. Had the nut flush draw on the flop but didn't get there. Which is sort of expected during a run like that.

And so I went back to folding.

Finally after more than an hour I started to get some cards again. I won a small pot with pocket kings. I won a larger pot with king jack suited. I could feel everything changing again.

I even limped in and played my button with jack 3 suited only to flop a jack jack 3 full house.

Unfortunately none of my opponents held a jack.

In other words- no Frazier for my Ali on this hand.

After 4 hours I'm ahead exactly 100 dollars. I laugh to myself at the math. I guess despite some crazy fluctuations that's $25 an hour.

I decide there's no need to stay. It's 320AM. I will call it a night. I'm about to be under the gun so I make the decision to leave after one more hand, before I have to pay my blinds again.

Under the gun I pick up pocket 8's and play them. Flop comes 8,8,9. It gets checked around. Turn is a jack. I check and call. River is a jack. I know I'm not getting paid off here unless my opponent has a jack. I check again and hope he bets. He does.

This was an interesting spot for me. I can push and hope he calls with a jack in an attempt to chop the pot. But if he doesn't have a jack he's not going to call an all in. So I choose to make a value raise and just triple his bet. He calls. Indeed he had the jack. I got paid off on my river raise because my Ali once again had a Frazier. It took runner runner to make it happen. But Frazier finally showed up.

Tonight I went to the MGM. I sat down at a passive table and decided to open it up. I'm usually lurking in the weeds but because of the tightness I came in for alot of raises.

I decided that if I was going to play a hand I was going to raise with it. I was bullying the table for the first 15 minutes. Then I switched gears and really tightened up. I doubled up hitting a set of 8's and incredibly got paid off by a guy with ace 8 when 8 wasn't even the high card on the board.

Soon after I hit a set of 3's on king 8,3 flop. The guy who raised preflop bet and 3 of us called.

Turn was another king. Everyone checked. I bet small but everyone folded. No Frazier for Ali on this hand.

Two more hands worth mentioning:

There was one that didn't work out for me but ended up being a display of zen poker.

I held the jack and 8 of clubs in the big blind and called a standard preflop raise from middle position.

Flop was an exciting queen, jack, 10 with the queen and 10 both clubs. I got all sorts of draws and of course a pair of jacks.

I didn't end up hitting my straight or flush but I did hit a 3rd jack on the river. Anyhow at showdown the dude turned over ace king for the flopped straight. (Interesting that I was still 40% to win this hand on the flop despite him hitting such a great flop.)

But here's where it got interesting. For some reason my mind was in outer space and I thought the 3rd jack on the river won me the pot. Almost as if I thought he had king queen for top pair and I sucked out with the trips. So I'm sitting there expecting the dealer to shove the chips towards me.

I was humble. Indifferent really. My mood did not change one bit when I thought I won the hand on the river. It was just another hand of poker. Sometimes I win. Sometimes I lose. This time I thought I won.

So of course there became a specific moment when I asked the dealer why she was shoving the pot the wrong way and she pointed to his straight.

And here's where it got interesting. I honestly felt no different.

I found it funny that I misread the board. I tapped the table and told the guy "nice hand." It really made no difference to me. Sure it would have been nice to win the pot. But it wasn't like I was sitting there with any kind of disappointment. I think I am developing the stomach.

And it gets worse. On my way out of MGM I dropped into Hooters again across the street. By now it's after 3am and I bought into their ridiculous 1/2 game. Everyone was pretty drunk and I thought this could be good action. I folded a few hands and then picked up pocket kings.

There were a few limpers. I raised it up to 17. There was a guy to my left from Calgary who had played every single hand since I sat down. This guy raises it to 40. We're at 1/2 with a 200 max so I don't have too many moves here. Like whether I reraise 100 or push all in it really makes no difference. Either way it looks like I'm representing aces. And all my chips are going in.

If he has aces then good for him. This is part of the fun (and importance) of playing low enough stakes and within your bankroll. I can make this move after getting reraised and live with it regardless of outcome.

Calgary is holding pocket queens and he has to call $160 more to win $240. Good for me.

If he puts me on aces or kings (what other hand reraises a reraiser?) he would need a pot of at least $640 for this call to be correct. But we're at Hooters playing 1/2. He ain't folding.

The dealer puts the queen out on the flop. And just like that my evening is over. 20% happens.

I was lucky to get pocket kings on the same hand where an opponent picked up pocket queens. Another Frazier for my Ali.

Although I wouldn't exactly call my pocket aces vs pocket 7's all in hand from the Venetian an Ali-Frazier.

That was more like Ali-Jerry Quarry.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Tuesday Night on ESPN

I watched the $3000 WSOP no limit hold em event Tuesday night on ESPN.

Final tables usually start out with 9 players but Harrahs let 10 people sit down for the ESPN cameras because the small stack in 10th place just happened to be a guy named Phil Hellmuth.

If they're going to make this kind of exception for Phil then perhaps I shouldn't complain when he repays them the favor by embarrassing himself as a human being. Thus providing what he thinks is good television.

Hey I'm a performer. In a theatrical sense I'm just as entertained by Phil's antics as the next guy. But what Phil does at the table isn't poker. It's not always about him getting a read.

Way too often it's just straight up taunting. If poker was the NFL or NBA he'd be punished.

But poker has no organization. No commissioner. No players union. The whole thing is the wild west. Even the actual rules vary by casino and players try to get away with whatever they can.

I thought this particular episode really exposed Hellmuth for the bully he is.

Anytime he gets reraised he has to criticize the other player for making a move and not respecting him before he can fold.

Men the Master pulled this same crap with me when I sat next to him at a WSOP event in 2006 and it's just so bush league.

Hey Phil, you just raised with jack 2 off.

You got reraised.

You were trying to steal.

You got caught.

Just fold your cards.

I'm genuinely shocked how polite the other players at the table are to him.

He doesn't deserve their respect.

In one hand Phil raised with pocket 9's and another player came over the top with a raise. Perry Friedman was talking to the player next to him and Phil chastised him for it. Twice.

This is because when Phil has to make a big decision he needs complete silence at the table.

Yet in the very same episode when Phil went all in with aces, he had no problem jumping out of his seat and running his mouth off while his opponent struggled to decide whether to call or fold pocket kings.

You can't have it both ways. If you want quiet then give silence. If you're gonna talk then don't complain when others do.

Phil doesn't afford others the same respect he wants for himself.

Yes he is interesting to watch.

But then again so was this:

Highlighting this sort of behavior makes poker good television in the same way that Jerry Springer was a good talk show.

Are we saying that poker isn't interesting enough to watch without someone acting like a spoiled child?

I'd love to watch Allen Cunningham, Phil Ivey, and Barry Greenstein play 3 handed. And if they never spoke once that would be fine. Their bets and folds would say everything.

Golf looks boring on television to the non-player. But it's not like we need Happy Gilmore to make the sport better for golf fans.

Meanwhile the reason I'm writing about Hellmuth isn't so much to discuss his tactics.

No. What shocked me so much more was his lack of basic math skills.

How do you win 11 bracelets and not know the correct showdown percentages for competing hands?

I'm talking specifically about his insurance bets with Phil Ivey.

If you didn't see the episode, anytime Hellmuth was "all in" he would walk over to Phil Ivey who was watching the final table sitting in the audience. Each time Hellmuth asked Ivey to give him insurance on his hand in case it lost.

So Ivey would take Hellmuth's hand and Hellmuth took his opponents. If Hellmuth got knocked out Ivey would pay him money. But if Hellmuth's hand held up then Ivey got paid.

But the thing was, each time Ivey offered Phil odds that weren't true.

If Phil was in there with a hand that was an obvious 4 to 1 to win, Ivey would give him 3 to 1.

And each time Hellmuth took it.

These odds were so obviously bad that Andy Bloch magically appeared to also offer Hellmuth insurance in case Ivey decided he'd had enough.

But Ivey never left. Why would he? He was making too much money.

Now at first I was thinking Hellmuth didn't mind taking the worst of it in these bets because if he could survive and win another (12th) bracelet it would be worth so much more to him (in future endorsements) than whatever cash he loses to Ivey.

But as the night went on it genuinely appeared that Hellmuth had no clue what the odds should be. Maybe that's because he always thinks he's the favorite in every hand he plays.

In the end Hellmuth got knocked out in 6th place and made $74,000 from the tournament.

This money almost covered the $109,000 he lost to Ivey in insurance bets.

But I guess Hellmuth still won.

Cause here I am writing about him.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007


I played in a tournament today with 366 players.

I got off to a really good start, turning my 2500 chips into 30,000 when the average stack was still only around 10k.

I then went card dead for awhile but bullied enough to build up to over 40k in chips with only 31 players left. I forgot how much fun tournaments are when you have chips.

And then I got pocket pairs on consecutive hands.

On the first one my pocket queens ran into pocket kings.

Nothing I could do. When he repopped me from the big blind I figured I was racing ace king.

I had him covered though so despite the cooler I still had around 15k in chips.

And of course the way poker works the very next hand I picked up pocket jacks.

Could someone tell the valet to get my car?

As I come in for my raise I know it looks like I'm on tilt.

And as expected I get called.

Dude has king queen off.

The dealer put a king on the board and just like that it was over.


Monday, August 06, 2007

Doing some Extra work

This weekend I played a few sessions at the MGM and the Wynn.

I'm also proud to say I sat down for the first time in the Hooters Casino poker room.

The players in Hooters were pretty bad. That's the good news.

The bad news though is the only game they offered was 1/2 no limit with a 200 max buy in.

So even on a good night there's only so much one can make at that level.

Still it was quite entertaining. Between the waitresses in the unflattering orange shorts and the guy to my left calling 30 dollar preflop raises with hands like king 3 and king 8....well lets just say I got my money's worth.

This king 3/king 8 gentleman infuriated the guy from Texas sitting to my right. This Texan was one of these guys who acted tough, told everyone that he's a pro, and then felt the need to explain after each hand how poorly everyone played.

So to be honest, it was some kind of wonderful to watch Mr. Texas get sucked out on by Mr. King rag. The truth is Hooters should have charged me money for my seat in between the two of them. But instead they brought me free drinks. I don't usually drink when I play but after all this was Hooters. It's almost as if I had to drink to get inside the other players' heads.

Over at the Wynn, one tough decision that kept coming up for me this weekend (like 4 or 5 times) was how deep to go in hands with my suited connectors that partially hit against an opponent with a likely overpair.

On more than one occasion I called a preflop raise in position with a hand like 4,5 suited.

And on more than one occasion the flop came out something like 2 3 4 rainbow.

So with my small pair and straight draw I'm basically 45% to win this hand against an overpair like pocket jacks.

And thus when my overpair opponent bets out on the flop it can get real tricky for me to decide how to play it.

-I can call a bet and hope to catch up with two pair, trips or a straight on the turn.

-I can semibluff and reraise.

-And of course I can fold.

And what makes this spot so tough is that none of these decisions are terrible.

When these hands come up once in awhile they're fun. Especially against good opponents. Unfortunately against mediocre opponents it can be tough to play.

Against a good opponent I don't mind reraising in these spots. Because I know there's a chance my opponent will fold.

Yet most of the players I sit with don't have the strength (or is it weakness) to throw away an overpair on this type of board.

Which is why I get paid off real well when I can actually hit something that beats an overpair.

But in terms of my hand chasing and still needing help, my semibluff loses all fold equity against these non-folding dudes.

Meanwhile, by far the best moment I witnessed Saturday night occurred on the post river betting with the board showing 4,4,6,6,3.

An over aggressive guy who had been betting out on every street bet once again.

His opponent, a novice woman player responds by pushing all in.

Oops. He can't decide what to do.

He takes a few minutes so I sit think thinking he must have the 4 and he's terrified that she has the 6 for the better full house. After mulling it over he eventually calls.

The novice lady turns over pocket 3's. She hit the 3rd one on the river giving her a pretty weak full house. She is losing if her opponent has a 4 or a 6. One of which seems quite possible here.

Looking back at the hand, she showed her lack of poker IQ calling his turn bet on the 4,4,6,6, board. What hand can she beat here with pocket 3's? Like even if he's holding 2,5 in his hand he's ahead with his 5 kicker. Her pair of 3's were counterfeited because of the board double pairing with bigger cards. Her official best hand on the turn was two pair with a 3 kicker.

She was a beginner so I don't really want to mock her play here.

Even though I did think it was one of the worst moves I had seen in awhile....or at least it was until the guy who called her all in here turned over 5,7 for a straight.

Oh dear.

I guess he figured he was beating her if she had an ace for two pair with ace kicker.

Obviously I was quite disappointed not to get any cards to play pots with these people.

My only job at the Wynn on Saturday was to fold for hours while all this crazy action went on around me.

I genuinely felt like I was an extra in a bad poker movie.

You guys have got to look for me when it comes out on DVD.

I'm the guy in seat 3.


Saturday, August 04, 2007

About to head out on a Saturday Night.

I played a 10 hour cash session last night (Friday) from 530pm till 4 in the morning and nothing unusual happened.

I trapped people with my big pairs to win two huge pots.

I lost a pretty big pot after a runner runner 4 card flush took down my set.

You know. The usual.

My goals for this month are pretty simple. Put in the hours. And not let the wins or losses matter. Just keep making correct decisions.

Both goals are easy to say. Harder to do.

But I think I do get the fact that there's absolutely no point in my feeling good or bad about anything related to poker on the 4th day of the month.

Too much can and will happen.

It always does.