Friday, September 30, 2005
"Spits in his gloves and then slaps his hands, sends it out to the
right field stands. Don't worry. Big Papi.
Also, thanks to Dirty Dave for putting me on TILT by sending me this version of the immortal R. Kelly's "Trapped in the Closet," as done by The Sims animation. You'll still get the idea of how absolutely RICOCKULOUS it is. The 10.5MB file takes a little while to load.
Wednesday, September 28, 2005
It's really sad when the best segment of the show is the "The Nuts" featurette, which starred Erik Lindgren, Mike Matusow, Ted Forrest and Robert Williamson in a prop bet tourney, with a seat in the $10k Main Event at stake. Each competitor chose one event that they'd all compete in:
Forrest: ping pong
The Mouth: card pitching into a hat
Williamson: Air Hockey
E-dog: spelling bee
Great stuff. Maybe ESPN should make a full show out of the Ferguson in the Freezer "Hold'em or Fold'em" gems, and the other Milwaukee's Best Light "Men should act like men" commercials, with some "The Nuts" segments thrown in for good measure, and maybe even some shots of Phil Laak acting crazy.
It wouldn't do any harm, since the viewers have no idea how the eventual winner of the $2,500 NLHE event, Farzad Bonyadi, built his 200k in chips to 1.4mm in chips to overtake Lars Bonding, who was the chip leader at the start of the event with about 1.2MM in chips. What the fuck ESPN? Did Bonyadi fold his way from 200k to 1.2MM? Because that's all we saw...
The broadcast also featured Johnny Chan winning his 10th bracelet, defeating Phil Laak in heads up play.
I can't believe these broadcasts are so bad, and I'm sitting here with a dogshit stock position in WPTE (World Poker Tour). Jeez. At least we got a glimse of Pauly in the background!
until next time,
Monday, September 26, 2005
We were playing live, 1-2NL, and I was foolish enough to let E-dub have position on me. Fortunately, his limit hold'em theoretical expertise wilted in the face of live game pressure from the ruthless Kid Dynamite. I was up a few hundred when our must move table consolidated with the main table.
I won a few nice pots from Ivan: in the first I found A-J of diamonds on the button and raised to $17 after 6 limpers. I got 4 callers, and Ivan bet out the Ace high flop (A-8-9 rainbow). I raised his $20 feeler to $60, and then bet $75 on the turn. When a ten came on the river, I checked behind him and showed down a winner.
Next, I played A-7 of hearts for $10 from the BB, and led $35 into the 6-way field on an A-T-x flop (two clubs). Only Ivan called, and the offsuit 7 on the turn gave me confidence - I bet $75 after Ivan checked to me, not realizing that if he called he'd only have about $17 left. The river was a 3rd club, and Ivan checked to me again. I put him all in, and showed that I'd sucked out on his A-8.
Ivan rebought a fresh rack, and we quickly played this deciding pot:
Greg, who had been moving all-in in an attempt to play off his short stack, moved all-in from MP for $51. I called quickly with A-Q of hearts. Ivan called, and one limper called - I was in position.
flop: K-T-8, with the T-8 of hearts. I have an overcard, a gutshot, and the nut flush draw - there is about $205 in the pot.
Ivan checks, EP checks, and I bet $200. Ivan calls rather quickly, and the EP player folds.
The turn is an offsuit 3, and Ivan moves in for his last $235. I'm getting 3.5-1, and I call. Scott now pipes in "I mucked K-J of hearts." Uh oh... Matt burns and turns the river:
4 of hearts! as E-dub pumps his fist quietly with a "YES!" (he'd looked at my cards preflop).
As Ivan turns his T-8 on the felt, I'm spiking the nuts with authority.
E-dub later asked "what did Greg have that hand?"
"I don't know - I guess he couldn't beat the nuts," I replied.
Me and E-dub have discussed this hand at length - specifically - my flop bet when I had the option to take a free card - considering that I had no fold equity against the all-in player. It's an interesting hand for sure. I felt that I was a favorite against Greg, but I didn't want to give Ivan and the EP player a free card. E-dub counters that a different way to look at it was that I would be TAKING a free card, and he's right, but I felt my hand was so strong, I didn't need to take a free card. Alas, had I known Ivan had flopped bottom two pair, a flop check is automatic.
Aside from poker, I have some burning questions and random observations from this week's NFL slate:
1) Why wasn't the Jets-Jags game broadcast in High Definition? Anyone?
2) Philly kicker David Akers was hurt in last week's game. They had a linebacker kick an extra point. How is it that Andy Reid doesn't seem to realize he's still hurt until this week's OPENING FUCKING KICKOFF (at which point Akers crumples to the ground)?!?!?! Akers is then put in the position to play hero by hobbling on late in the game to kick the game winning FG, further injuring his already shredded hamstring on his plant leg.
3) The Patriots played the second half like they can repeat as World Champions. Despite a rash of injuries, Brady finally woke up from his 6 quarter slump, and looked masterful handing Ben Roethlisberger his first regular season defeat. The unheralded play of the game was the always brilliant Bill Belichik completely out-coaching Bill Cowher on the last play of the game: the Pats are lining up for a 43 yard field goal, and they have no timeouts. On third down, the Pats take a little time sending out the FG unit, as time ticks off the clock Cowher, now thinking that the Pats might not have enough time to get the play off apparently, decides NOT to stop the clock to give his team a chance to launch a miracle play - hoping instead that N.E. will run out of time. Of course, Vinatieri calmly steps up and nails the game winner with 1 second on the clock, and Pittsburgh is left holding their peckers.
until next time,
Thursday, September 22, 2005
Early on, Fossilman called down Ulliot's KQ on a Ten high board holding pocket sixes - Fossilman played the hand fine - checking the flop to keep the pot small, and calling bets on the turn and river (the river was about 1/3rd of the pot I think). Nevertheless, Devilfish took it upon himself to chide the Champ, spurting: "I should have learned from watching you on TV - never bluff a calling station." Ouch. Even Norman Chad grasped the magnitude of the insult.
Fossilman can play - but the ESPN broadcasts have a knack for making him look lucky - on many hands he has tried to keep pots small by check-calling, or simply smooth calling - and thus come off looking like a calling station. On others, his aggression has run into better hands and he has sucked out - hey - that's the benefit of having chips - you can pressure other players like he did in last year's main event.
However, one hand really struck me as strange: Fossilman either limped or open raised with 7-7. It was folded to the BB who came over the top all-in with A-K. Now, it wasn't like Greg was priced in - I think the re-raise from the BB was AT LEAST 2 or 3 times the size of the pot - but without even a moment's thought, he declared "Let's go" and called instantly. One can complain about not winning races at the final table when it counts, but Greg really didn't do a good job protecting his chips at this final table either - a call like that at least warrants some thought. Greg had plenty of chips, and I don't know why he was dying to get his chips in the middle where it was highly likely he would be AT BEST a tiny favorite. It would be easier to argue if ESPN showed bet and raise sized. Then again, Greg won the fucking main event last year, so maybe he's on to something... GAMBOLLLLL!
There was one other interesting hand: 4 handed, Minh Nguyen open raises on the button with JJ - he moves all in for about 400k - a big overbet. Now the blinds were like 10k-20k at most here, and the SB calls him with TT - I think the SB had about 200k in chips. Then Billy Gazes in the BB wakes up with A-K, and goes into the tank. He eventually calls - I think Billy had about $300k.
Minh sees Billy's hands and chides him for calling - Billy retorts that there's no way he can fold A-K at this 4 handed table considering how the play had been, especially getting 2-1. Again, from the stacks I saw, it didn't look like Billy was quite getting 2-1, but anyway...
Flop: J-T-2, and Minh flops top set to the SB's middle set. Billy is drawing to a queen which doesn't come, and Minh eliminates two players. He takes on Mark Seif heads up, and Mark takes home his second bracelet in as many events.
No offense to Mark Seif, but if he can win back to back bracelets (a TREMENDOUS accomplishment) - I feel like I should be entering these events....
The other broadcast was a 7 Card Stud event. All I can say about this event, which featured John Phan, Joe Awada and Chip Jett, is that on almost every hand ESPN showed, I found it very interesting from the %'s of each player to win shown on the screen, that it would have made very little difference if the players played their hands face up: the player in the lead would bet, and the player trailing would call, getting proper odds to do so. How boring is that? Watch the next 7CS event and observe this. Very important to notice that in general, despite Norman Chad chiding players for "chasing" - they are very rarely making mistakes by calling bets. The exception of course is on the river: and every limit player knows that you don't get rich by making big laydowns on the river - you almost always HAVE to call.
until next time,
Monday, September 19, 2005
"When was the last time you were downstairs?" she asked innocently.
"I don't know - Wednesday night?" I replied.
"Don't get mad - " she continued, which of course, IMMEDIATELY resulted in my interrupting:
"WHAT THE FUCK HAPPENED?" we have 50 people coming over tonight mind you...
"Don't worry, I'll clean it up - when were you last down there?" she keeps me on the hook...
I'm flipping out now - worried that I'm going to walk downstairs to a broken pipe and 3 inches of water or something.
"Just. Tell. Me. What. Happened." I enunciate slowly.
"Why don't you go downstairs and see if you can figure out what's wrong," she still won't tell me!
I walk down the stairs, fearing the worst, and come face to face with a soot covered pigeon perched on my leather couch! He apparently came down the fucking chimney! Soot is everywhere, and my couch and recliner are COVERED in pigeon shit. I can't help but laugh, and Mrs. Dynamite captured a tremendous photo on her cell phone of the pigeon sitting on the floor inside the apartment, with the neighbor's cat outside the window hungrily eyeing the pigeon inside. Anything is possible in New York City.
The party rocked, and my high school buddy Matt provided the comedy highlight: Some drunk chick who I don't even fucking know comes up to me and says, "What's the best vodka you have?" "Umm, is Grey Goose ok? I can open the Ketel One if you want?" "Is Grey Goose the best?" she continues... I'm thinking, "Who the fuck are you? " but I'm too polite, and simply pour her a Grey Goose on the rocks. She quickly realizes she needs a mixer, and goes to open a new bottle of seltzer. The selzter sprays all over her red silk shirt, and Matt doesn't miss a beat: "A little selzter will get that right out." I'm fucking dying, as is Matt, and even the poor guy who's on a date with this chick is laughing, but she's flipping out, whining about how the shirt is silk, she got it in California, blah blah blah. I tell her to fucking chill, not quite like in Pulp Fiction "TELL THAT FUCKING BITCH TO CHILL!" but she keeps whining. I tell her to put a sock in it. Her date tells her to put a sock in it. She sulks away, and I marvel at Matt's seltzer response.
We eventually end the night in fine form, passing a bottle of Courvoisier amongst the WHS Class of 1994. Good Times.
Saturday, September 17, 2005
After a particularly tough session back in February, I remember the wise words of The Chairman Jay Greenspan, who told me, "You should be prepared to lose 3 buy-ins in a NL session." Lately, I've been taking those words a little too literally, by sprinkling buy-ins all over the table as I continue to hemorrhage cash. When I go to Vegas, I take a sizable cash bankroll, which, if things don't go poorly, becomes my cash-on-hand poker stake for a long time to come. I was slightly annoyed that my recent cold run had left me down to the final two buy-ins of my cash stake from April - I'd have to actually go to the bank if I got busted. Unheard of.
Kid Dynamite does not go to the fucking ATM. The poker table is his ATM.
So after a busy day at work on Friday, I still manage to make it to the 1-2 NL game by 5:05pm. The game is good, with multiple players with big stacks who will gladly redistribute their wealth. Greg is in the one seat - a jovial guy who is capable of playing any two cards: he will play Ace-rag for $60 preflop. He will play K-J suited for $110. Greg is sitting on a $2,000 stack. Ivan is also there, in the 5 seat, with about $1800. I take the 7 seat, to the left of the dangerous Joe Israeli. I'm whittled down to about $400 when I play this pot with Greg:
I'm UTG + 1 with J-J, and bring it in for a standard pot-sized raise: $7. In this game, I could make it $7, $15, or $25 and get the same action - so I keep my raises consistent, especially with a hand like Jacks (aka: FRIDAY IN VEGAS!) - since I don't need to play a bigger pot with them out of position multiway, I have deception value if I make my hand, and I'm willing to re-raise if someone plays back at me preflop.
I get 4 callers, and the flop comes:
J-9-3 all diamonds.
I bet $30, and only Greg calls. I have not played a ton with Greg, but this call means very little. He will probably call here with any diamond.
turn: K of hearts.
I bet $100, and Greg thinks for 10 seconds, announcing "All-in."
Now, this bet has a little more meaning... It could easily mean: K-J, K-T, K-9, J-9, 9-3, K-Q with a diamond or some similar hand, A-9 with the ace of diamonds, etc. Of course, Greg could have a made flush.
I'm getting slightly less than 2-1 on the call, and I figure I'm either a 3-1 dog if he has a flush, or a big favorite if he doesn't. I call. He says "Are you there yet?" and shows me 8-5 of diamonds. "I have outs" I shrug, and turn over my set. See - I told you I had deception value - he never saw it coming! The board failed to pair, and I rebought for $500.
I'm then left to wonder - did I misplay this hand? Can I lay this down here? I don't think so. I'd have to know my opponent very well to make this laydown, and I simply do not think Greg is a player who only makes this move with a made flush.
My new stack quickly gets whittled down to $350, and I'm pretty miserable - trying to figure out what I'm going to do, as the game is very good, and my pocket is empty. I rebound to $550, and then really screw down and play solid poker. I take A-Qs against Ivan and make a flush to get up to $800, and we then play this very interesting hand:
After one limper, I find A-Q offsuit, and make it $15. One caller in LP, and Ivan calls from the button. Limper folds.
Flop: Q-J-4, rainbow. I bet out $45 and Ivan min-raises to $90. I have $220 left.
Now, I talked with Vortex this week about how I think that this play from Ivan FREQUENTLY means he has a draw - but it seems lately tonight he's been making this play with a piece of the flop too. A hand like Q-x or J-x. I carefully consider my options - smooth call or raise. I somehow come to the conclusion that an all-in raise is best, as I want Ivan to commit his chips with the worst of it, or fold. What I fail to consider is that if he indeed has an open-ended draw, he is getting the right odds to call, and he will do so. Ivan mucks a weaker queen, and we discuss how I probably misplayed the hand - I probably should have made an intermediate raise, which would lead to me playing for my whole stack anyway on the river. The upside of this is that I am positive EV, and will get paid off - the downside is that I'm vulnerable to a suckout which will bust me.
I have now ground my stack back up to $1150 - I'm out of the black hole and actually up on the day - cruising, and playing solid, tight poker. I may be one of the few guys who can really TILT himself by WINNING a pot - but when I have the chance to liquidate a big stack and do not take advantage of it, I KNOW I've made a serious EV error, as in the next hand:
We are 7 handed, and I'm UTG+1 with 7-7. The UTG player mucks his cards and they flip over: 7-2 suited, which leaves me in a little bit of a jam: I'm reaching for raising chips, but now do I just want to play this hand passively and try to nail the miracle 1 outer for a set? Or do I want to make a raise and try to win un-improved? I raise to $7, Kenny calls, Markus re-raises to $15, Ivan calls, I call, Kenny calls. Markus's re-raise means very little, and everyone in the hand is capable of holding a very wide range of hands. All 3 of my opponents are also quite capable of bluffing and semi-bluffing this pot.
flop: 7-9-9 with two diamonds. Holy cow - what a dream flop. The case fucking seven, and NO ONE could put me on 7-7. Now lately I've been playing a very UN-fancy form of poker - take the best hand and bet it. Somehow, in this hand, I elect to make the 10% of the time Fancy Play:
Ivan checks. With Kenny behind me, as well as the preflop re-raiser Markus, I check. Kenny and Markus check.
turn: offsuit 5. Ivan bets $25. Again, I normally raise here a HUGE percentage of the time - but I think that Kenny and Markus will call at the very least, or maybe do my raising for me - I also don't have reason to believe Ivan has a hand, and I want him to make a straight or flush and pay me off big, so I just call. Kenny and Marcus fold. Hmm.. This isn't working out as planned. Actually, if I put Ivan on a straight/flush draw, I should probably raise here, and go after Ivan's stack instead of Kenny and Markus's. Ivan will pay to draw.
River: offsuit 8: Ivan bets $40. Now I wonder if it's best for me to come over the top with a huge raise - like a pot-sized raise which Ivan will read as me trying to buy this pot. I elect to raise to $120, and he says "Ok, I deserve to lose the way I played this hand," and makes a crying call... Showing me.... ACE NINE! As I realize what I've done, my eyes widen and the steam begins to build inside of me: Ivan and I "trapped" each other into playing a $250 pot instead of a $1500 pot... MY FUCKING $1500 POT!
If I had bet the flop, Ivan either check-raises or calls and bets then turn - at which point I raise and he re-raises, building a huge pot.
If I had raised the turn, Ivan re-raises, and we again build a nice pot.
My worry, I guess, was that I'd actually managed to make some big hands against Ivan recently, but had blown him out of the pots in those hands by pushing too hard. This time, I tried something different, and ran into the one hand that WOULD HAVE paid me off. Fuck.
It's now about 11pm, and Greg, who had left about 3 hours ago with my chips, returns from his dinner. Let me put Greg this way: when he cashed out earlier, he said "How do I cash out? I don't think I've ever left with chips before," and he was only half kidding!
So Greg comes back, and within two orbits we play this soul-crushing hand:
Markus opens for $25. Greg calls, Ivan calls, I call with 5-5 in the BB.
flop: 3-4-8 rainbow. I check, Markus checks, Greg bets $30. Ivan says "no one plays the 8-3 like you Greg," and mucks. Greg chuckles, as he's been showing down any hand with a 3 in it to match the board all night long. I think I have the best hand, and with this small bet into a $100 pot, I take a card off for $30. Markus folds.
turn: 5. GIN! Vengeance will be mine. This is so sweet. I check. Greg bets $25. I raise to $100. He nods "One hundred?" and thinks for 10 seconds. "I'm all -in." Greg announces.
Wow. I can't believe this is happening again! Same guy - same type of hand! But this time, He is staring me down, and I have the best hand! I think for 8 seconds and call. As if in a slow-motion car crash, Greg says: (you have to imagine this slowed down and blurred/slurred, like when Rocky throws the knockout punch at the end of Rocky III, and you can imagine Greg kicking me in the balls at the same time)
"I have six-seven." (I haaavvveeeeee siiiiiiixxxxxxxxxx seeeeeeeevvvvvennnnnnnn)
Aiiyah! I cannot believe it! Fuck me! Deja Vu all over again. I jump to my feet, "You have GOT to be fucking kidding me! PAIR THE BOARD!" as Ben the dealer confirms, "I'm just going to run it once."
"PAIR IT!" but the ten of diamonds doesn't help me.
Bad beat? Of course not - pay attention rookies: I got all my money in with the worst hand. The question is - could I have avoided it? Hmmm... This is a tough one.. Greg Raised $410 more, into a pot which contained $100 preflop + $60 on the flop, + $200 on the turn = $360. Again, I'm getting almost 2-1: I think the call is mandatory.
I still had $500 left, and Greg and Ivan were still in the game, so again I tried to screw down, focus, and get my chips back, but I was unable to make anything happen, and I eventually left at 12:30 in the morning after 7 1/2 hours, down $619. The roller coaster session was a heartbreaker - bookended by me getting stacked off by the same player TWICE, and fighting to get all of my chips back in between. I've never had a session where I lost a full buy-in to the same player twice before - especially not an assassin like Greg.
So, we have 4 hands where, by definition, I made a mistake:
1) J-J on a 3 flush board against Greg
2) A-Q on a Q-J-x board against Ivan
3) 7-7 on a 7-9-9 flush draw board against Ivan
4) 5-5 on a 3-4-5-8 board against Greg
If I were to rank the hands in order of WORST played by me to BEST played by me, I'd say:
7-7, A-Q, 5-5, J-J --> I played the 7-7 worst. The JJ and 55 are both odd - as I don't think I could have gotten away from either of them, but I could have mucked the 5-5 on the flop, or bet it out... or check-raised. The result would have been the same, but that's somewhat irrelevant.
I'd be eager to hear other opinions on the order of the misplays.
until next time,
Thursday, September 15, 2005
Although I still have trouble reading the online game, there really is a plentitude (great word I just made up) of poor players. The way I recognize a poor player is simply by looking at his bet size relative to the pot size.
When we got down to 6-handed (top 4 pay), I had 7k of the 20k in play, there were two 2k short stacks, and two 4k stacks. Chips got shifted back and forth for two full blind levels (100-200 and 150-300), before I suddenly crashed and burned down to 1500 in chips on 3 successive hands. On one I turned two pair with a flush draw against top set, and on another I called with a draw that didn't get there.
Just as quickly as I had tumbled from the penthouse to the outhouse, I doubled up twice, regained my chip lead, and never looked back. I thoroughly thrashed the table with a merciless succession of preflop raises and postflop bets and by the time I got heads up, there was literally no way I could lose: my opponent, with 300-600 blinds and 1200 in his stack, would MUCK to me in his SB! I hammered every pot and whittled his stack down.
Finally, after 2 hours, the $160 first prize was mine. We goin' to SIZZLER baby!
More important than the money though, is the glory. That's right. No longer am I the "guy who finished second (that paid $5500 by the way) in the Mirage Thursday night tourney in August '04." I am now the "guy who won a 2 table $20 SnG on Party." Suck It.... Fear me.
until next time,
Half of my team went out hard last night, and around 2:30am, Parker hails a cab
and says "Bleecker and LaGuardia" before passing out in the back seat. The
driver wakes him up 20 minutes later at the airport, asking "Sir -
which airline? Which terminal?"
Wednesday, September 14, 2005
Don't be fooled - although RoShamBo, aka Rock-Paper-Scissors is a game of luck, there is skill involved also, in the form of psychology. I had the privilege of playing with former RoShamBo World Champion and Tiltboy Extraordinaire Rafe Furst in my homegame. When we were done with poker, I challenged Rafe to a RoShamBo. I quickly thrashed him, and collected my bounty: five bucks - but it was the glory that mattered - I had beaten a former world champ, and did a victory dance in my kitchen. However, Rafe was clearly setting me up, as he then RoShamBo'd me for the dinner check, which I lost, for considerably more than $5.
Annie Duke made the final four of the tournament by taking all psychology out of it - she used the serial numbers on dollar bills to randomize her decisions. The reason RoShamBo is a game of skill if you don't use a method like Annie's, is that I think we humans are actually very bad at randomizing decisions. We may THINK we are randomizing decisions, but we always compensate to make series of events appear like WHAT WE THINK RANDOM SHOULD LOOK LIKE.
I actually wrote a paper on this in college, and I don't want to get into it here, but if you ask someone to write down a random sequence of ten "heads and tails" coin flips, he will naturally try to come up with an answer that contains a roughly equal number of heads and tails. Furthermore, you are very unlikely to see a response like: HHHHHTTTTT, even though it's just as likely as TTHTHHTHTH. You will find that a massive number of people will come up with responses like the second, "random looking" string. You are unlikely to get TTTTTTTTTT as a response, although it should occur with the exact same frequency as the other strings.
Anyway - RoShamBo, without the aid of randomizing agents like dollar bill serial numbers, the second hand on your watch, etc. Is a game with a not-so-insignificant amount of skill.
If you don't believe me, I'm sure Rafe will play you for any amount you choose.
On another philosophical tangent - Josh Arieh was ranting a bit on his 'blog about how he never saw a penny from his appearance in the Milwaukee's Best Light Hold'em or Fold'em segments. At first I though - "Hey, I'm sure he signed over the rights to his image when he made the final table," - but then I thought - "Fuck that - he gave ESPN the right to use his image - if ESPN is going to SELL his image to someone else like the Beast, he probably has a legitimate beef and deserves a cut of it."
As someone once said... "Mo' money, Mo' problems."
"No - I play pocket pool," Bonetti replied.
"That's not what you mean," TJ chuckles.
"Yeah- pocket pool," Bonetti knows EXACTLY what he's saying - don't be fooled.
"Pocket pool is when you're playing with yourself," TJ tries to explain. Bono knows this of course, he was just making a scene and playing ignorant - which TJ completely missed. Great stuff.
Some hands to talk about: seven handed or so, Tony Ma mucks A-Q offsuit UTG + 1. Huh? Explanation? Stack size? Why? We need Mike Sexton to explain it to us, as Norman and Lon expressed disbelief, but offered no clue as to why Ma made that play.
A very interesting hand: Blinds are probably 5k-10k, and it's folded to Wang on the button, who makes it 30k with 9-9. TJ is in the SB with A-Q offsuit and comes back for 95k total. Wang thinks for a minute and calls.
flop: 5d 2h 3c and TJ quickly moves all-in, for about 2/3rds the size of the pot.
Wang thinks for a minute and makes the correct call.
Think about this hand: Wang's button raise doesn't necessarily mean anything, but he hasn't seemed to play a lot of hands - this is in fact the first hand he's played on camera. I know that the televised hands give a distorted view of play, but Wang appeared to be one of the tighter players at the table - coming in as the chip leader, simply avoiding confrontation, and getting whittled down.
So, TJ has a legitimate hand, and figures to find out where he's at by re-raising preflop. When Wang smooth calls, TJ figures he can't have JJ or better. On the flop, TJ has the 2nd-nut-no-pair, but doesn't figure Wang for A-K anyway. TJ figures if Wang has a hand like 6-6, 7-7, 8-8 it may be a difficult call for him to make. In fact, even with 9-9, it WAS a difficult call to make given the action- but Wang correctly worked through the logic in his head. I tend to doubt TJ would expect Wang to lay down 9-9 in that spot.
TJ catches a Queen on the river to stay alive, and eventually wins the event.
In the PL hold'em event, the final two players, John Gale and Brian Wilson fired pot sized raises back and forth at each other, and traded the chip lead. On one key hand, Gale raised with T-T, and Wilson re-raised the pot with 4-4. Gale again re-raised the pot, and Wilson came over the top AGAIN, re-raising the pot all-in. Gale had him covered and called. At this point, Wilson uttered the question of the week:
"Am I in big trouble?"
No Brian - I'm sure you're a huge fucking favorite here...
Of course Brian spikes a 4 and doubles through, and goes on to win the event. He was emotionally moved when he finally won the bracelet, and admitted "I am the luckiest guy in the world."
until next time,
Tuesday, September 13, 2005
Best accidental (?) needle of the week: Ed Moncado, after winning a big pot near the end of the NL Hold'em tourney: "Can we take a break so I can stack my chips?"
Speaking of breaks: In the other event, PL Omaha, Josh Arieh had to go running off to the bathroom during a hand because he was gonna piss himself. Of course, the cameras chased him to, but thankfully not into, the bathroom. Great footage ESPN.
ESPN actually had a quote of Marco Traniello (Jen Harman's husband - the Italian hairdresser) saying, and I swear I am NOT making this up: "We were having dinner at Macaroni Grill..." Come on... SERIOUSLY! Marco Traniello eats at Macaroni Grill? Is THAT authentic Italian food? Holy Cow. Even more shocking, is that he finishes the sentence by explaining that that's when he decided to propose to Jen... I can see it now... "Theesa linguini eesa fantastico! I wanna to marry you Bellisima!" In any case, Marco is apparently playing some quality poker - he has several World Series cashes this year!
Finally, ESPN is doing a great job with many parts of their poker broadcasts: Norman Chad, as much as I hate to admit it, beats Vince Van Patten's ass on the off beat commentary - and the Milwaukee's Best Hold'em or Fold'em segments with Chris Ferguson hiding in the fridge are some of the best on TV. However, they NEED to add a little more detail for the real poker fans out there - like stack sizes or raise amounts. At the end of the PL Omaha event, Josh Arieh had about 850k to Chris Ferguson's 350k. They show Chris double up. Then, on the next hand they show Chris double up again! When they show the new stack sizes, they haven't changed: Josh 850k, Chris 350k! Obviously they can't show every hand, but please, tell us BEFORE the hand that Chris is still way behind - I'm thinking "Wow - I can't believe Arieh just gave away all those chips," only to find out that in the context of the actual stack sizes, it makes more sense.
And hey - World Poker Tour - get your ass in gear! I'm a shareholder after all now (that one is in the Kid Dynamite capital depreciation fund - I think it's gone down 3% every fucking day since I bought it). Who the fuck is running this company? Why don't they have more episodes on TV? ESPN is going to eat their lunch...
until next time.
Monday, September 12, 2005
R. Kelly takes the stage, and I immediately ask Mrs. Dynamite "How does he still have a career after getting bagged for banging a 16 year old?" Little did I know - that is the least of his offenses: the performance he put on was, in a word: INEXPLICABLE. Apparently R.Kelly has written a kind of R&B rock opera called Trapped in the Closet: a love triangle involving two men and a woman - I'm not sure: it may have been a love rectangle (love rhombus?) involving THREE men and a woman, but I really couldn't figure it out. R.Kelly Plays all the parts simultaneously in this bizarro display which I likened to a Gay R&B Quadrophenia. Dirty Dave tells me R.Kelly is very popular these days. I thought he was kidding. He was not.
I was left sitting in awe - mouth agape, simply FLUMMOXED! Did MTV know that he was going to do this? Had they seen this before? Does ANYONE like this? WHAT IS IT? Wow... R.Kelly Had me on serious TILT, mostly because I simply CANNOT be this far out of touch with what is cool. Yikes.
dazed and confused,
Sunday, September 11, 2005
Why did I watch the Thursday night NFL kickoff pregame? Because I was at Fenway Park on opening day this year when the Red Sox received their World Series rings, and raise their Championship Banner in front of the New York Yankees. Let me explain...
Opening Day @ Fenway
The pandemonium in Fenway was indescribable: Big Mo, Ryan (seen above wearing my prized "Posada is a Little Bitch" t-shirt), Biff and I were sitting right near Pesky Pole, courtesy of seats Ryan's buddy Troup hooked us up with (thanks again Troup!). The Boston Pops Symphony Orchestra was in centerfield, playing the Theme from 2001. At each mini-crescendo, one of the Sox's previous World Series banners (yeah - the Sox won 5 at the beginning of the century) would unfurl over the Green Monster. When they got to the peak crescendo of the song, the 2005 World Series banner came down, COMPLETELY covering the monster, and the Boston fans reacted with 86 years of euphoria. It's hard to describe the moment - I felt...Invincible...Awed...Sated... It was clearly the greatest sporting moment of my life. Later, as the Yankee's lineup was introduced, each player was soundly bood - but when they came to Mariano Rivera, Fenway ERUPTED with a massive ovation - as Sox fans credit the normally invincible Rivera with blowing two key saves in the ALCS, and allowing the Sox the opportunity to come back from the dead. Rivera took it with class - doubled over laughing, and tipping his cap to the Fenway Faithful with a broad smile. Later, when Rivera walked across the field to the Yankee dugout in the 6th inning, our entire corner of the park again gave him a rousing standing ovation - and again, he obliged with a smile and tip of the cap.
Patriots Unveil their 3rd Banner
I was eager to see the Patriots fanatics unveil their 3rd championship banner on Thursday night, and ABC actually did a fairly decent job with the coverage - capturing the intensity of the moment. Team owner Bob Kraft came out and gave a little speech, thanking "The greatest fans in professional sports" - and then announced the unveiling of the banner. The intense soundtrack, which Dirty Dave somehow correctly pegged the next day as the theme from Carmina Burana simply by reading a short description of it I sent him on IM, was perfect for the moment. You have to listen to it - "O Fortuna." The Gillette crowd went absolutely bonkers. BEZERK! Satisfied by two previous championships? No way - the Patriots faithful were out of control as the fireworks exploded during the peak of O Fortuna. How do you top that? They introduced OZZY OSBORNE to sing the Patriots' Anthem: Crazy Train! Ozzy pops out of this giant football helmet stage, and he was so psyched he almost bounced himself right off the side. The Patriots stormed the field, soaking up the pure adrenaline of the stadium. ABC later showed some shots of Tom Brady near the endzone fans, PUMPED in a major way - pumping his fist and absorbing the scene. Tom Brady is a stud. 'Nuff Said. Pats 30 - Oakland 20...
Red Sox vs. Yankees: Showdown in the Bronx
This weekend I made the trip into the jungle - aka - Yankee Stadium wearing a Red Sox shirt - THREE TIMES. Friday night, I opted for the "Believe in Boston" t-shirt, which normally generates minor ire... The Sox lost a game that wasn't really close - and the Yankees fans began to anticipate a turnaround in their fortunes.
Such hopes were put to rest on Saturday, as Schilling shut down the Yankees. I wore my "Jose Canseco #33" jersey t-shirt - which I believe may be the only one of its kind left in existence. The Canseco shirt generates minor heat from the Yanks fans, as it says "Red Sox" on the front, but anger quickly turns to respect from any real fan when they see the "Canseco #33" on the back.
On Sunday, I wore my newest and most heat generating shirt: Red Sox on the front, bright red shirt, and large baseball logo on the back with the Red Sox logo inside. No way to hide in this shirt... I knew ahead of time that "Big Papi" David Ortiz was on the bench resting his tight back, and Trot Nixon was also sitting (as a lefty, he hits poorly against the Big Unit). Varitek was sidelined too, as Mirabelli always catches the Knuckler Tim Wakefield, so the sox were missing 3 big bats from their lineup. Giambi hit a fluke bloop homer off of Wakefield in the first off the outside of the foul pole, and the game was a rather boring pitcher's duel into the 8th - as both Randy Johnson and Tim Wakefield were masterful. It was 1-0 NY with 2 outs in the 8th, with Tom Gordon in as the set-up man for Rivera. The Sox had the tying run on first with 2 outs, and suddenly Big Papi appeared in the on-deck circle. There are a lot of Sox fans at these weekend games in Yankee Stadium, and the place quickly ERUPTED - cheering Sox fans, and booing Yankee fans - but everyone appreciated the enormity of the moment. Now - one of the moments I always dread at Yankee Stadium is the appearance of Mariano Rivera: they play Enter Sandman - the place goes nuts, and he comes in to shut down the opposition. Today, however, as soon as I saw Big Papi, I turned to Mrs. Dynamite and said "Holy cow - I hope they bring in Mariano - this will be insane."
The Yankees, using their stalling tactics, as Big Papi's pinch hit appearance clearly caught them off guard, had a little conference on the mound (to give Mariano time to get loose), and then returned to their positions in the infield. As Big Papi came to the plate, Torre came out of the dugout. Suddenly - everyone seemed to realize what was happening - this is what it is all about - September baseball, Sox-Yanks - 1-0 in the 8th and a showdown brewing: Big Papi vs. Mariano Rivera. For the first time in my life I was psyched to hear the chords of Metallica's Enter Sandman, as Rivera charged out of the bullpen and the Stadium was E-L-E-C-T-R-I-C. Wow. Even Sox fans crave situations like this - we wouldn't want it any other way - if you're gonna win - you have to beat the best: as Ric Flair used to say: "To be The Man, you have to beat The Man." It's this same philosophy which explains why Sox fans wanted the Yankees to beat Minnesota last year so we could play them: If we're gonna win the World Series, we HAVE to go through the Yankees - or it won't mean shit.
Mariano eventually walked Big Papi, and Johnny Damon ended the inning with a groundout. The Sox threatened again in the 9th, but with runners on first and third with 2 outs, John Olerud finally struck out to end the game - in the perfect dramatic fashion for Yankee fans.
Tim Wakefield was stuck with a complete game, 3 hitter, one run, TWELVE STRIKEOUT loss.
and the Sox are still the reigning World Champions, 3 games up on the NY Yankees.
Thursday, September 08, 2005
A few years ago I got a Steve Grogan throwback jersey to proudly wear every Sunday as I lounged in my apartment in NYC and hoped that the Jets or Giants were off, so I'd get to see the Pats in action. Steve Grogan was the Patriot's QB back in the 80's when they still had the kickass "Pat the Patriot" logo on their helmets. Grogan was tough - tough as nails. Imagine if Drew Bledsoe had a little mobility, a lot of toughness, a little less distance on his arm, threw just as hard, and did NOT make you want to throw up every time he dropped back to pass, and you'd have Steve Grogan. I'll never forget sitting around after soccer pre-season double sessions before my freshman year of high school (we're talking 1990 here now!), and the team captain, Kenny Cacciatorre picked up a soccer ball for emphasis and said: "This is the size of Steve Grogan's sack." And he was right. Back to the story.
So the Patriots were playing the Tennessee Titans in the divisional round of the AFC playoffs. Somehow, Ticketmaster had tickets for this game on sale for about 75 seconds one day, and I managed to get through and land two of them: 40 yard line. Top Level. Third row from the top. Did I care about the shitty seats? Fuck no - I was going to watch the Patriots in the playoffs for the first time in my life, and bring my dad, who, since he still lives in Boston, is even more caught up in the mania than I am. My dad eagerly hunkers down with Doctor Jay each week to act like real men, each nachos, and watch the Pats play. I managed to semi-boondoggle the trip to Boston by going to see some clients on Friday - and holy fuck - it was fucking freezing. As Sean and I walked around downtown, we were shocked at how cold it was - and this was during daylight - the game was Saturday night. The city of Boston actually discussed moving the game time, because it was going to be one of the coldest games ever played, and they were worried about people getting hurt at the game!
On Saturday I got dressed: Two pairs of long underwear. Two pairs of sweatpants. A pair of jeans. A pair of Snowpants. 2 pairs of socks, with footwarmers in them. A skintight underarmor full sleeve shirt. Two more long underwear shirts. Two sweatshirts (both hooded!). My best winter jacket (also hooded). Gator mask, wool hat, and of course, to top it all off, the Grogan jersey on top. I looked like some kind of psychotic Pillsbury Patriots Doughboy. We tried to take some pictures, but it was so cold that my FUCKING DIGITAL CAMERA WOULD NOT WORK! We managed to get one shot (and what better a picture to break my Blog's photo-cherry)... Note Dad's sweet Russian Bear hat with the flip-down ear flaps. Why do we look so bombed? Well, it was so cold - it hurt to open your eyes. Seriously. My other problem was this: I lacked quality boots and gloves, and my fingers and toes quickly froze, even with the handwarmers I had layered in. I have never seen a beer in a 16 ounce plastic bottle freeze before I could drink it - every sip I took layered another little slush ring around the mouth of the bottle, and along the inside too. It got to the point where the vendors were advertising that their beer was NOT cold, so that it wouldn't freeze so fast. Anyway, the Pats won the game, Gillette was pandemonium, and I don't think anyone died from the cold.
And I'm dying to do it again this year. So tonight, I'll throw on my Grogan Jersey, make myself a stiff drink, and enjoy the game in stunning HDTV - all the while envying the manic fans up in Foxboro - relishing the start of another NFL season.
Here are my weekly picks, booked by the Big Show, who, through the laws of mean reversion, figures to take a handfull of money from me this year:
JAX -3 vs SEA: I hope SEA is as over-rated as I think they are.
NYG - 3 vs ARI : I'm betting on the Giants? Am I on drugs? I clearly have been in NYC too long.
IND - 3 @ BAL: Two units. Peyton figures to whoop BAL, after all, they are not New England
SDC - 4.5 vs DAL: Dallas - two words: Drew Bledsoe.
CLE + 3.5 vs CIN: CLE sucks, but they have some rabid fans, and I hope emotion will carry 'em
HOU + 5.5 @ BUF: 5.5 point line is a crapshoot - bet against the rookie BUF QB JP Losman
NYJ+ 3 @ KC: I'm betting the JETS too? ON THE ROAD? oh man.. this is GIVING $$$ away
NEP vs OAK: UNDER 50: Pat D stifles OAKtown.
also, I predict Randy Moss will be arrested on a misdemeanor, or suspended by the end of the season - I hope I can get 8-1 on that bet.
Monday, September 05, 2005
Erik Seidel made some great reads (re-re-raising Morgan Machina's A-T while holding 4-4 to move him off the hand preflop), and got lucky when it counted in the final hand against Cindy Violette, cracking her nines with his eights when he spike an eight on the flop, to win his seventh WSOP bracelet.
Tiltboy Perry Friedman was the first to use drawn on hand puppets to talk to the cameras - a little loony, yes, but Perry pulled it off well. In the previous event, fellow Tiltboy Phil Gordon had managed to take $100 from NYC local Shane "Shaniac" Shleger after winning an impromptu RoShamBo match at the poker table. I've played NLHE tourneys with Shane in the city - he's a good guy and a solid player - and he had massive implied-tilt-odds if he could have upset Phil in the RoShamBo, but alas, it was not meant to be.
Now, back to the hand I wanted to talk about: Morgan Machina, who is apparently a Phil Hellmuth disciple (yeah - that was one of the little ESPN vignettes: they actually played ULTIMATE FUCKING FRISBEE together in Madison, Wisconsin) was the chip leader in the small blind with about T1.5MM in chips. Paul Sexton (no relation to Mike) was in the big blind with about T475k.
Blinds are something like 8k-16k, with a small ante (1k maybe? It would be nice if ESPN showed the size of all bets and raises on the screen like WPT does.). Everyone folds to Morgan with 8-5 offsuit, who raises to 50k. Paul calls with QhJh.
flop: JdQd6c Morgan checks. Paul checks.
Turn: Jc Morgan bets T50k.
Now, a lot of players might continue to slowplay here, but Paul makes a PHENOMENAL play, and raises to T150k. This raise leaves him with what appears to be just enough chips to muck if Morgan plays back at him - Paul will still have just under T300k. Morgan apparently notices this, and, replaying the hand in his head, decides there is no reason to believe that Paul has a hand. Paul's raise can mean anything - as Morgan showed weakness on the flop, and then made a basically obligatory turn bet, since he was the pre-flop raiser.
In previous hands, Erik Seidel had taken pots off each of these player by coming over the top of them, so perhaps Morgan wanted the chance to flex his muscles and chip stack at Paul, in essence, communicating: "Hey, I'll lay down for Seidel, but you better not fuck with me." Morgan comes over the top all-in for the rest of Paul's stack, and Paul calls instantly of course, leaving Morgan drawing dead.
Lesson of the day: When you choose to slowplay, you don't have to slowplay all the way to the river. Paul checked the flop here - that was his slowplay - but he correctly made a turn raise that gave him the opportunity to double up. Yes, Morgan may have mucked to Paul's raise, but the circumstances here were right for Paul to take that risk - given the stack sizes, and the lack of information in the hand. Had Paul smooth called again on the turn, he likely only wins Morgan's 50k turn bet, and possible a small river bluff.
To his credit, Morgan Machina kept his composure completely, even after a succession of brutal suckouts that eventually sent him home in 4th place.
until next time,
Friday, September 02, 2005
I fought back and rebounded in our 4-handed game, and when Ty left, it was Markus, Ivan and myself. This is a great game - although Ivan and Markus are capable of playing any two cards and putting soul-crushing beats on me, it was definitely a positive EV situation. Ivan is tricky because he is very unpredictable - but he will pay to draw to non-nut hands, and he will represent draws when they come.
I was out of the hole and up $400, when a new player, Ben sat down, who I'd never seen before. Ben was on my immediate left, wearing sunglasses, and about 24 years old. I quickly picked up a major tell on him which allowed me to take two decent pots:
pot 1: I raise to $7 on the cutoff with 6-6 after Ivan folds. Ben makes it $20 and Markus calls, as do I.
flop: 9-5-3 rainbow. I check. Ben bets $50. Markus folds. I call quickly.
Now, in a previous hand, Ben had cracked Markus's pocket queens with 9-2 when he flopped a nine and turned a nine. Ben pet the pot on the river that hand, and Markus folded - which got Ben asking himself out loud if he'd bet too much. I bring this up because he clearly seemed to be the kind of player who would underbet his big hands to get action, and overbet his bluffs. Back to the hand...
turn: Jack. I check. Ben bets $100 quickly. He has $250 left. I slide a matching stack out to match his. At this point, I think I'm winning - his big bets scream of weakness. Why don't I raise? Fair question - it's an option.
river: six. I know Ben can't call a bet, so I check it to him, giving him a final opportunity to bet at this pot, and he checks behind me, admitting that he couldn't call a bet with his A-T had I bet it.
Now, we get into it again a mere 5 minutes later: I raise to $10 from the cutoff (with 6-6) after Ivan limps, Ben makes it $20 from the button, Markus folds, Ivan calls.
flop: 9-9-3, two hearts. Ivan checks. I check. Ben checks.
turn: offsuit deuce. Ivan checks. I check. Ben checks.
river: three, making two pair on the board. Ivan bets $45, I call, Ben overcalls! My sixes are good.
Why did I play the hand so passively? Again - I thought I had the best hand the whole time, but I didn't necessarily want to play a big pot, and I didn't want Ivan to have the opportunity to take me off my hand by raising me on a draw - as I couldn't rule out a nine from him.
But these hands lead up to the big ones: The First Laydown.
Ivan limps, I limp with A-7, and Ben makes it $15 from the SB. Markus calls, Ivan calls, I call.
flop: A-8-8, two spades. Ben bets $50. There it is again! I call in a heartbeat.
turn: 7 of spades. I have a useless three pair, and Ben thinks for 20 seconds before announcing "All-in" for $145 more. Wow. This is an autocall... He overbet it again. Incredible. But then I start thinking... I fear I'm up against a bigger ace. I talk out loud:
"I don't know how I can lay this down."
"What do you have?" Ben asks
"Ace-seven" I reply.
"That would be a monster," he admits, before then realizing that the seven does me no good. I'm getting him to talk, and I don't really like the read I'm getting.
"If I muck, will you show me your hand?" I inquire.
He starts to answer "yes," but then says "What's in it for me?"
"You get the pot," I explain.
"I don't know." he says.
Jeez - now I'm really fucking with my OWN head - he would show me... Maybe... So he WANTS me to muck... But he's a smart young kid who writes software - and he knows that I know that he knows that... Well anyway... After 90 seconds I make what I think is a very disciplined laydown, and he kindly shows me rags: J-6 offsuit, with the Jack of spades re-draw.
a mere few hands later, I find TT in the BB, and raise to $15 after all three opponents limp. All call.
flop: 9-9-Q. Checked around.
turn: nine. Ivan checks. I check with the intention of calling or raising. Ben fumbles and bets $30. Now, at this point, I'm not even happy about calling Ben, but I'm going to - he has put off a very big "Weak is strong" tell, but it's made moot when Markus folds and Ivan check-raises to $100.
I muck and Ben mucks, and Ivan shows J-8. I don't know how I can make that call - I'm not afraid of the nine - but a queen beats me anyway.
I finish the session up $387, but wondering what could have been had I made the two calls I was supposed to make...What's the moral of the story? Go with your FIRST instinct I guess - your First read. As they say: "Think long: Think wrong."
until next time,