Saturday, December 31, 2005

The Year's Best Poker Quotes: 2005

The top 10 poker quotes of 2005, as compiled by Kid Dynamite:

10: "I've busted a million Europeans" - Phil Hellmuth, after he compliments an opponent on a strong play, and another player comments that the guy is a tricky European.

9: "Can we take a break so I can stack my chips?" - Ed Moncado after winning a big pot.

8: "Three tens? NOOOOO!" - David "the Dragon" Pham, to Tommy Reed, after Reed tells him that he mucked a set of tens on a A-J-7-T board with two diamonds. Norman Chad follows up: "Lon, if you're going to laydown a set of tens there you might as well be selling refrigerator magnets on the beach."

7: "Pocket Pool is when you're playing with yourself" - TJ Cloutier to John Bonetti, missing the point that Bonetti is busting on him.

6:"I guess I'll go home and fuck my dog" - Young Phan after being eliminated from the Foxwoods World Poker Finals.

5: "I like Bing Wang as much as the next guy" - Norman Chad, after Andrew Black is seen crying because the table will not slow down play to accomodate Bing Wang, who has not returned to the table.

4: "The Kiddie Game is down the street" - Mike "the Mouth" Matusow after running another successfull bluff in the Main Event

3:"Do you know who I am? What's my name?" - Phi Hellmuth, Ali-like, emphasizing the point to his opponent as he lays down the A-K on the 4-4-A board.

2: "I can dodge bullets baby!" - Phil Hellmuth, after avoiding going broke on a 4-4-A board with AK, when his opponent had AA.

1: "Pass the Sugar!" - Joseph Hachem after flopping the nuts in the Main Event and check-raising all-in against Andy Black.


Friday, December 30, 2005

Patience is a Virtue

Last night I played 4 1/2 hours of live 1-2NL at the Club.

When I sat down in the must move game, it was utter madness. Ivan, Asian Paul, Frank, Robin and Liquor Billy ensured that each and every pot was raised. Ivan could open a pot for $50 and get 3 callers - the action was insane. I had finally found a table where I was virtually CERTAIN that I'd be looking for a limp-re-raise with a premium hand in early position.

I liquidated a short stack early with QQ, but was rendered a spectator for the next hour as I couldn't find any hands to work with. The texture of the game changed, as Ivan left, Robin and Frank went to the main game, and we got some new players.

To the Felt!

The first interesting hand I played was when I raised to $10 with QsJs after the UTG+1 player limped. I got 4 callers.

Flop: QcTs9s ! I flopped top pair plus an open ended straight flush draw. Rubin, in the BB, announces "I hit that flop hard." Hmmm... So did I... SB bets out $30, Rubin raises to $75, and it's on me. I have about $400, and Rubin has me covered. I re-raised to $175, and everyone folded to Rubin, who called.

When the turn produced a rag 7, Rubin moved all-in, and I called. The river brought another offsuit seven, and my draws had failed to materialize. Rubin had Q-T: flopped top two pair, and I reached for a rebuy.

In retrospect, despite my 18 outs, I didn't play this hand as well as I could have. I don't need to re-raise the flop, as I want action. I'm not going to get a bigger flush draw to fold (and I think a bigger flush draw is unlikely, as the Qs, Js, Ts, and 9s are all accounted for. AsKs is unlikely given the preflop action, which basically leaves Ax suited. If I smooth call Rubin's $75 on the flop, maybe someone comes along, drawing almost dead.

Anyway, I rebound less than 20 minutes later when I call a $20 raise from Prince. I have 88 on the Button, and the SB comes along for a 4-8-J two club flop.

The SB, a calling station, checks, and Prince bets $70. I decide to smooth call, and the SB comes along. The turn is a blank, an offsuit 3, and SB checks again. Prince moves all-in for $115, and I come over the top to price out any potential draws from the SB. SB folds, and my hand holds up - my stack is back to about $750.

Laying down TPTK

After one limper, I raise to $10 in EP with A-J offsuit. 3 people call, and a younger, less experienced player who hasn't really played a pot yet bumps it to $25 from the button. One caller to me, I call, 3 calls behind me. 6-way action.

flop: J-8-2 two spades. I have a bad feeling about this - I got a good flop, but I don't think my hand is good. Fred, the button raiser, only has about $225 in front of him, but I think I'll be playing for all of it if I get involved. UTG checks, I check, and it's checked to Fred who bets $75. I show Prince my hand, commenting that I'm making a sick laydown, and when everyone mucks Fred claims pocket Kings.

An hour later, Fred opens for $15 in EP, and gets called by Rubin and Prince. I'm on the button with Friday in Vegas: JJ. I re-raise to $75, and it's folded back to Fred, who moves all-in for $127 more. Rubin and Prince fold, and it's on me. I talk to Fred: "For real? You have a monster?"

"You can do whatever you like, but if you decide to fold, I'll show you my hand for $10." Fred retorts. "You have Ace-King!" I intone. He shrugs. He's kinda excited - like maybe because this is his big chance to bluff Kid Dynamite again! I tell him "I have jacks," and he flinches so slightly that a lesser caliber warrior may not have noticed it.

"I really don't care what you do," Fred assures me - and he's talking so much I'm getting the vibe that he's NOT huge - maybe A-K, maybe worse.

The table eventually calls the clock on me, and I call. Fred doesn't turn his hand over, which I take to be a good sign.

The flop is 9-7-3, then an 8 on the turn, and another 9 on the river.

"You're not going to like this," Fred assures me, and turns over pocket EIGHTS! Rubin then says "I mucked 8-7!" Aiiyahhh! I made a nice call, and Fred spiked the case eight on me. Nice hand sir.

He says "You really did have jacks!"
"Yes. I told you because you had already moved in - you couldn't act again."
"I thought you were just trying to get a read on me or something," he continues.
"I was. That's why I told you what I had!" Dumbass.

The game has turned somewhat boring and mediocre, but I'm first up for the main game, which consists of English Paul sitting on $2500 in chips, Asian Adam with a similar stack, and Robin & Frank both amply armed and swinging. Charlie is also there, splashing around.

Adam and Robin are both assassins, and if I can get in a pot with one of them, it has the potential to be extremely profitable - or FELTING!

I make it to the main game, and spend 45 minutes folding mediocre hands. Prince crushes Paul in a pot where Prince makes a set of aces vs. Paul's A-J. Then Charlie piles on, calling a huge overbet from paul on a 2-3-4 two heart board: Paul has 3-4, and Charlie has J-5 with the flush draw. An ace on the turn doubles Charlie up, and in 45 minutes, Paul's stack is down to $500.

Frank is still ribbing me for hitting and running when I spiked the brutal K-J two outer on him a few weeks ago, so I've warned him that this will be my last 1/2 hour, and that I can't wait to double through him and then cash out.

The Monster

I finally pick up a big hand: AhKh in MP. 3 limpers to me, and I raise to $20. English Paul, two to my left in the cutoff, makes it $50 to go, and Adam calls in the SB. Charlie, who had limped, calls the $50 as well. I have about $575 to start the hand, and the action is back to me. Fuck it - let's rock. I announce "raise," throw in the $30, and then stack off $225 more in green $25 chips.

Paul beats me into the pot, and Adam calls quickly from the small blind, prompting a chorus of "ooohs" and "aaaahs" from the table. Charlie mucks. Ok - I need help!

The flop is Th6h3d, and Adam checks to me. Clearly, this is a pretty good flop for me, and I move all-in for $313 more. Again, Paul beats me into the pot, and Adam calls quickly! I shake my head - at least I have outs. I stand up and implore Kenny the dealer "COME ON YOU BITCH!"

The turn is an offsuit queen, and suddenly Paul stands up and slams his pocket queens on the table! He's practically reaching for the pot, so I turn my hand over. Everyone is standing now - and Kenny deals the river card... as if in a time-warp..... foooouuuuuuurrrrrr offfffff..... HEARTS!

Everyone erupts, and Paul slams the table, having gone from $2500 to the felt in under an hour. Again, I'm off my game, as I fail to shout PASS THE SUGAR!

Frank immediately starts ribbing me: "Look out - HIT & RUN," but then I get a genuine "Nice hand," from him, Adam, Charlie, Prince and Gil. What did Adam have? J-T! JACK TEN! I told you it could be profitable if I got in a pot with Paul or Adam, never mind both of them.

I played one more hand in the next orbit, when I raised to $15 in EP after one limper, with K-Q. I got 5 callers, and saw a KdTd5s flop.

I bet out $75, and Robin, sitting on about $650, raises to $175. now, Robin has been playing out of his gourd tonight - he's been caught bluffing about 6 times, and not even with anything resembling a hand. In this case, I think I'm leading: I put him on a range of K-J, a weaker king, a diamond draw, K-T, or even K-5 of another suit.

I decide to call, and re-assess on the turn, even though I'm out of position.

The turn brings a rag diamond: not really a good card for me. I prepared to check-fold to a big bet here, but Robin only bets $100 after I check. I have the queen of diamonds, and I'm getting more than 5-1 on this call. Although I may be drawing dead if he's already made an ace high flush, I think a call is in order here.

I call, and the river is another brick. I check again, and Robin thinks for 25 seconds. He's trying to decide if he can get me to muck a better hand I guess, but eventually decides I'm living high on the hog after raking in the previous monster pot: so he turns his K-9 faceup! Ship it! I think this is a pretty interesting hand: very risky no doubt, playing it as I did out of position. I could have re-raised the flop, but by doing so, I have to make a sizable re-raise, and if Robin has woken up with K-T, which is quite feasible, it gets expensive for me in a hurry. I took the inexpensive route, and managed to show down a "reverse implied odds" hand cheaply in a big pot.

Paul is still mumbling about the beat he took with his queens, so I look him right in the eye and I say "You know I was a favorite, right?" "When? When the queen came?" he replies, in his smarmy English accent. "No, on the flop - when all the money went in," and he shuts up. In fact, I have a tiny EV edge preflop, and a sizable EV edge on the flop against the QQ and JT.

At the end of the 1/2 hour, I rack up, and cash out for what is likely the last time in 2005, and my biggest gain at the club all year.

until next time, PASS THE SUGAR!


Wednesday, December 28, 2005

WSOP: The Finale

The final 5 players (Kanter, Barch, Hachem, Black, Dannenmann) highlight the last hour of ESPN's coverage of the 2005 WSOP Main Event. Blinds are 80k-160k, and action is furious right away:

Early on, Black raises to 550k with A-x: we only see one of his cards! Kanter reraises to 1.5mm, with KK. Black calls.

flop: 5h3cKd Kanter comes out firing: 1mm! BET THE NUTS! the "Bet the Nuts" strategy shows its benefits: Black raises to 4mm. Kanter calls.

turn: 3h: both check

river: 8c. Kanter bets 2mm, Black calls, and Kanter wins a 15mm pot!

Dannenmann gets all in as a 3-1 dog with A-6 against Black's 9-T on a 5-9-6 flop, but spikes one of his outs on the river and doubles up.

In an unraised pot, Kanter clashes with Tex Barch:
Kanter has K-5, Barch: K-7 and Joe Hachem: J-9.

flop: 7s-K-Ts. Tex and Aaron check, and Joe bets his gutshot straight draw: 450k. Tex now check-raises to 1mm, and Aaron check-re-raises to 2mm! Joe folds, and Tex makes it 4.5mm to go! Kanter moves all-in, and Tex calls, winning a 21MM pot, as the Qh and Jd come on the turn and river (Joe would have filled his gutter on the turn!). Aaron Kanter probably could have gotten away from this pot when Tex raised to 4.5mm, as Tex hasn't exactly appeared to be splashing around thus far.

Black's table reign ends when he raises to 600k with TT, and is re-raised by Dannenmann (A-K I think, can't find it in my notes) to 2mm. Black moves all-in, and is called by Dannenmann.

flop: 2-3-8 turn: K rio: 9 and Black is out in 5th place with $1.75MM.

Chip counts: Barch: 23.2MM. Dannenmann: 22.2MM. Hachem: 6.5MM. Kanter: 4.2MM

Joe, with 7-8, raises to 500k, and Tex calls with A-Q. Kanter moves all-in (4.2mm) with A-7, and only Tex calls. Kanter continues his magic with a final board of 7-7-T-A-6, and doubles up.

Next, Joe limps on the button with Qd7d. Tex limps in the SB with A-4, and Kanter raises to 1mm from the BB with 9-9. Joe now limp-re-raises all in, and Aaron calls. Joe hits the Qh2h8c flop, and the Ah turn cannot save Aaron, nor can the 2c river. Aaron has Joe covered though, and admits "I probably deserved that," for all the beats he has issued.

Aaron's A-9 runs into Tex's J-J (Friday in Vegas!) soon thereafter, and he goes home in 4th place, with $2mm.

Chipcounts: Dannenmann: 23.5mm, Joe: 20.3mm, Tex: 12.7mm

Dannenmann raises to 750k with 77, and Joe calls with JJ. Tex moves all-in with A-6, and both players just call! They check it down, which drew some discussion amongst the cognoscenti: why would Joe be willing to let Dannenmann catch an overcard out if he had one? But Joe's JJ holds up, and Tex leaves in 3rd place with $2.5mm. I think Joe was probably content with the very real $2mm difference between 3rd and 2nd place, and also knew that Dannenmann would be playing predictably, thinking the same way.

The field of 5,619 players is now down to two: Steve Dannenmann, with 17.5mm in chips, and Joseph Hachem, with 38.7mm. It has been widely reported that before the heads up battle, Dannenmann predicted it would be very quick, and also quietly told Hachem "I hope you win," and that Hachem would represent the title better than Dannenmann could.

Things ended quickly: Dannenmann, with Ad3c, raised to 700k, and Joe called in the BB with 7c3s.

the flop came 4d5d6h: holy cow: to flop a straight heads up for the WSOP Main Event title... If Only...

Joe checks, Steve bets 700k, Joe raises to 1.7mm, and Steve calls.

Turn: As. Joe bets 2mm, and Steve raises to 5mm. Joe says "I thought we were being friendly?" Steve opens his mouth, searching for a witty reply, but Joe puts his hand up: "All right. Stop. I'm all-in." Dannenmann quickly takes the bait: "I'm all-in," and is drawing to a split pot.

The 4c on the river offers no help, and Joseph Hachem is the 2005 WSOP Main Event Champion, raking $7.5mm in first place prize money. Steve Dannenmann's always smiling demeanor landed him $4.25mm for 2nd place.

until next time,

ESPN WSOP Main Event Final 18

Back to my tardy recaps of the ESPN WSOP Main Event coverage: We're down to the final 18, and Sheik is on level 10 TILT with Mike "The Mouth" Matusow. Blinds are 30k-60k

Michael Kessler wins the "That's the Attitude" award of the week, when, after being eliminated, he tells his buddies: "I tell you what we do now - we go party like rock stars." Attaboy.

Matusow raises to 180k with Jh9h. Sheik is next with AdKd, and raises to 600k. It's about 1/3rd of his stack I think. Scott Lazar wakes up with A-K in one of the blinds, and smooth calls! Mouth folds.

The flop is 6d 5c Tc, and Lazar puts Sheik all-in. Sheik has to lay it down: There's really no way he can call here - at BEST he's chopping (as would have been the case.)

Aaron Kanter continues to exhibit tremendous CardRack tendencies, assassinating all comers with violent suckouts.

Sheik doubles through Mouth with A-J to Matusow's K-Q. Then, Sheik taunts Mouth like a little boy: "You got what you deserved sucker!" - yelling at him while standing over the table. I don't know what Sheik's problem is, but he was way out of line.

Mouth got his revenge when he raised a subsequent pot with A-Q suited, and Sheik moved in for a little bit more with A-7. Lazar must really hate Sheik too, because he called with Q-6 suited. Matusow turned the nuts, and sent Sheik home in 11th place, $600k richer.

Matusow, Lazar, Black and Tex Barch played this gi-normous hand which illustrates a KEY bluffing concept, and a major error by Black:

Mouth raised to 200k with T-9. Lazar called with AcTc. Black called with K-J. Barch, with J-J (Friday in Vegas!) raised to 1MM! Everyone folded back to Black.

Matusow chides him "Come on man, you KNOW you ain't calling."
Black: "I'm not calling. I'm raising or nothing."
Barch: "I think I've got you dominated."
Black: "All-in!" Barch has about 4MM left, Black has him covered.
Matusow: "Wow."
Barch calls!

Let's think about Black's play: It was raised and then called before him initially: that's not a likely spot to smooth call with a monster hand this late in the tournament, so AA and KK are unlikely. Similarly, A-K is a hand he's likely to re-raise with when the action gets to him the first time. Black's attempt to convey supreme strength by smooth calling then re-raising just isn't consistent: One of the most important considerations in any bluffing situation is that you are telling a consistent story. It is possible that Black has QQ (or even A-Q), and if Black thinks that Barch has a hand like TT or 99 then his play makes more sense: he thinks Barch will probably call, but he also knows he has some fold equity, and two overcards when he gets called. If Black thought he could get Tex Barch to lay down JJ there, he made a crucial mistake.

In the final hand of the broadcast, Kanter's AhTh cracks Alsancak's QQ: They get it all in on a flop of 7h 3h 3c, and the Ts turn gives Alsancak hope, but the 8h river takes it away, and we have our final nine.

The Final Nine

Blinds are 50k-100k, and stacks range from 1.4MM to 10mm. ESPN gets a dream confrontation on the first hand:

Steve Dannenmann, with JJ (Friday in Vegas!) bumps it to 250k. Lazar, with red Aces, raises to 1mm. Matusow wakes up to KK on the button, and moves all in for 7.5mm! Dannenmann mucks, and Lazar calls, destroying Matusow with the bad news.

On the flop of Qh6hKd, Matusow goes beserk, having been given a reprieve from this brutal cold deck, but the 2h and Jh on the turn and river give Lazar's nut flush the pot. Even though all the money went in with the best hand, the way this hand played out undoubtedly makes it this week's Kick-In-the-Junk-of-the-Week. Matusow is crippled, but still has some chips.

Matusow continues his aggression, raising to 250k with 9-5 offsuit. Black, with J-T offsuit in the BB, calls.

flop: Jc6c5h. Black checks, Mouth bets 350k, and Black calls.
turn: Th. Black bets 1mm! Bet the nuts baby! It works, as Mouth raises to 2mm! Black moves all-in with little hesitation, and the crowd goes wild. Black silences them with a Pope-like finger to his lips. Mouth does a little angle-shooting, feigning like he's going to call, but mucks.

With 60k-120k blinds, Mouth (1.8mm in chips) raises to 250k holding 8-5 suited. Norman Chad quips "We just saw him raise with 9-5, and now he's raising with 8-5. He indeed IS mixing it up." Dannenmann calls with 8-8, and Black calls with J-2 in the BB.

flop: K-T-9 rainbow. All three players check
turn: Ah, completing the rainbow. Black checks, and Mouth, drawing dead, bets 600k and takes it down! Nice play by the Mouth.

Dannenmann eliminates Mouth in ugly fashion, when his A-J spikes a gutshot wheel to crack Mouth's TT. On the flop of 5-2-3, Mouth checks, Steve moves in, and Mouth calls. The 4 on the turn sends Mike home in 9th place, with $1mm.

Kondracki's A-Q cannot catch up to Dannenmann's 8-8, and Brad goes home in 8th place with $1.1MM

Daniel Bergsdorf wins the "15 minutes of fame" award, as he basically gets his first coverage of the WSOP when he gets unlucky and goes home in 7th place. Tex Barch's TT spikes a set against Bergsdorf's JJ, and Daniel leaves with $1.3mm.

Scott Lazar blows up for no reason at all, possibly because he mucked an A-5 in a prior hand where he would have turned quad aces against Tex's 5-5 and Black's 8-8.

Lazar insta-calls a big-reraise twice: first with K-9 suited vs Joseph Hachem's A-Ks, and then with Q-T offsuit against Black's JJ, and just like that, he's out in 6th place.

we'll return with the final 5.

until next time,

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Recognizing the Real Deal

Mrs. Dynamite, Dirty Dave, JoeC and I went to the Pats-Jets Monday Night Football game last night. We had the benefit of a luxury box, courtesy of JoeC, which really made it easy for Mrs. D to enjoy her first ever NFL game. Although Mrs. D pussied out and removed the Steve Grogan throwback jersey she had borrowed from me, she still did herself proud.

We even managed to avoid a Lord of the Rings-esque assault from the jealous fans in the "blue seats" right outside of our box, who were definitely contemplating raiding out box in order to get at the booze we had inside, as the rest of the stadium was dry.

We pounded a never ending smorgasborg of chili-dogs, chicken tenders, tortellini, buffallo wings, potato salad, vodka & tonics, miller lites, cookies and brownies. Although there was no action like the Ashleigh Manning story, Dirty Dave did give me yet another glimpse of how he is the Real Deal of gambling afficianados:

As we contemplated a slate of prop bets, Dirty Dave was getting a chili-dog when the referee led the teams through the coin toss. With his back to the TV, Dirty Dave instead recognized the voice of referee Ed Hochuli. Now, when you know NFL refs by voice, I'm not taking the other side of your prop bets. Nice laydown KD.

The Pats held the ball for almost 44 minutes, hammering a nine minute TD drive to start each half, and Brady threw two TD passes to linebacker Mike Vrabel. For a meaningless game, it was a good time, especially getting out with Gambling Expert Dirty Dave, and Party Expert JoeC.


Friday, December 23, 2005

The Double Reverse Angle Shoot

Friday 1-2NL at the Club.

To set the scene: I managed to get stacked with A-Q again: 6 handed, Ben (who I've played with once before shorthanded) opens for $10. Prince calls on the button. I'm in the SB with A-Q of hearts, and I bump it to $35. H0nus in the BB thinks and mucks (A-Q!) and BB folds. Ben and Prince call.

Flop: K-8-3, two hearts. Prince and I have deep stacks, Ben has $178. I bet out $60, Ben says "A hundred on top" and Prince reluctantly folds his JJ. I laugh at my plight, do the math, and put him all in for $18 more, getting a fair price.

Ben has K-Q, and I cannot catch an ace or a heart.

On the next orbit, Ben opens for $25, and Prince calls on the button again. I'm in the SB with KK, and I bump it to $85. Ben calls and Prince folds.

The flop is 2-2-7 with 2 spades. I bet out $100 (I have about $550 behind, Ben has about the same). Ben thinks, and says "Ace-queen again?" I give him a yeah right look, and add, "Of spades!" He says "That would be a very good hand right now." Ben thinks for a full minute, and is about to muck - he's 1/2 flinging his cards to the dealer, but at the last minute, I check my cards again as I'm about to pass them to the dealer to rake the pot. Ben freezes, and puts his cards back in front of him!

Now, I suddenly appear VERY annoyed, and, like a kid with his hand caught in the cookie jar, shake my head as I mutter "What a f'n angle shooter." At this, Ben thinks he's caught me apparently, and calls! Holy cow! DO YOU KNOW WHO THE FUCK I AM? I can't believe how well I played that without a moment's hesitation. Incredible. I turned his angle right back onto him.

The turn is a 3, putting a second flush draw (diamonds) on the board. I quickly move all-in - hoping that Ben will read me as tilting from what he thinks was a successful sneaky move on the flop, OR that he has an overpair or a seven. He mucks after a few seconds, and I rake a decent pot.

I finished my 90 minute session +$133.

Happy Christmakah to all.


Turning Back the Clock

As the Indianapolis Colts' dream of a perfect season comes to an end, I feel compelled to share this account I wrote on January 4th, 2003, of the Indy-JETS playoff game @ Giants Stadium.

*******The Time Machine: Ashleigh Manning*********

Boyz - never mind the fact that I was 0-4 in my BCS bowl wagers,and that I blew another 2 units on the Jets-Indy game - which I just got back from - this is one of the all time great stories.

I'm trying to figure out how to set the scene for you, so I guess i'll just write down everything I remember...

There's a guy at work who has seasons tickets for the Jets, and he has a mini-bus that he's converted to a tailgate party factory. Every week, they have a huge party in the parking lot at the Meadowlands. Me and the Big Show went with them to the Pats-Jets week 2 Pats romp. This week, they had about 40 guys, so they rented a luxury cruise bus, with a bathroom a video screen and all the accoutrements.

Leeroy hit a broker up for tickets. We bundled up, mixed a liter of vodka and tonic for the road, and called a car to take us to the game. We found the tailgate party in short order, pounded several beers, demolished trays of wings, boneless wings, veal, chicken, pepper steak, more beers, and pasta, then played catch with the sweet Jack Daniels mini-football that even I can huck for a 35 yard spiral. After pounding the liter of vodka-tonic, I mention that I bet at some point the score of the game will be 17-0, but I'm not sure for who... I manage to get offered 10-1 odds, but puss out and don't take it... This turns out to be a brutal mistake, as the JETS quickly take a 17-0 lead!

After a short wait to get into the stadium (we've been here for about 3 hours now) we grab more beers, and find our seats. This is unbelievable - there is not a SINGLE Colts fan in the ENTIRE place... Now, I'm no kinda Jets fan, but that's no fun... When I went to Jets-Fins Sunday night, it was sick, and there were numerous Dolphins fans to harass.

This time, we're in section 110, 30 yard line, 23 rows off the field, and the place is electric -Meadow Soprano sings the national anthem, 2 BlackHawk choppers fly over, and the Jets immediately begin their merciless romp.

So, it's Me, Leeroy, H0nus and Adam. Behind us, are the two best looking girls in the stadium, and I overhear them talking about how one of them went to UVA. They are with two guys, but sitting girl-girl-guy-guy - so obviously not 2 couples. The girl wearing a cowgirl hat has a deep southern drawl, and at some point takes off her gloves, and has a HUGE rock on her finger. She also has two GIANT diamond earrings.

So we're talking about how it's no fun without any Colts fans (even though I have $50 on Indy, and am secretly hoping they can at least cover the spread) and she interrupts:

"Why do you need Colts fans?"

and I'm like "It's no fun if there's no one to harass"

and she's like "Really? I don't get it."

H0nus is wearing a blue jacket, and so is the girl's friend, so I'm like "H0nus is a HUGE
INDY fan
!" - I'm yelling now - "And so is this guy -FUCK THE COLTS!!!!" Totally joking around, making the "This-guy-is-going-to-pump-H0nus-in-the-ass-because-they-are-both-Indy-fans-even-though-neither-of-them-really-are" motion.

So we mention that we're Pats fans, and she says "I know Brady, we're good friends" and we're asking her how, but she's being all coy about it, like "I'm not telling."

So I say "Did you go to Michigan?"
her: "No"
me: "UVA?"
her: "No"
me: (unfazed by her attempt to deceive me) :"Alabama?"
her: "Actually, I did go to UVA - how'd you know?"
me: "I just knew - I'm good like that."

Then I ask "Where's your husband - we saw your big rock earlier," and she says "That guy" and points to the guy in blue jacket who I was ripping on for being an INDY fan earlier. He is obviously NOT her hubby, because he's not sitting next to her, and he's not at all protective of her. So I retort "Whatever - if that was your husband he'd be sitting next to you."

In the meantime - the Jets are beating the shit out of the Colts, and Manning is Bledsoe-esque: coming to the line of scrimmage, audible-ing 4 times, and then burning a time-out. We are talking infinite shit about how Peyton is doing the leg lift silent snap but the center is missing the signal, so he has to do it again, and the girl behind me pipes in "No, he does that on purpose."

I turn around: "No he doesn't - it's loud and crazy, and center is missing the signal" She won't be swayed: "No, it's a silent count, and he does it a lot to fake them out, and then he fake counts hut-hut-hut-hut too." I'm like "Yeah whatever," thinking she's some kind of wanna be cheerleader or something...

Peyton comes out of the huddle, audibles 3 times, changes the play one more time (it's absolutely DEAFENING in the Meadowlands at this point) and burns a timeout... I think it's 24-0 now, and I'm screaming "WHAT THE FUCK DID YOU TALK ABOUT IN THE HUDDLE? HOW YOU WERE ALL GOING TO WEAR YOUR GAME JERSEYS TO HOGS AND HEIFERS TONIGHT AND TRY TO GET LAID? THEN YOU FIGURED YOU'D AUDIBLE AT THE LINE AND THE BURN A TIMEOUT?" and the guys in front of me are laughing like I'm Ray Romano or the King of Queens.

Suddenly the girl behind me asks me something like "How'd you know I had a ring?"
"I saw it when you took you're gloves off " I tell her. Also, I'm Kid Fuckin' Dynamite, Master of Subtle Observations and false tells. Did I mention it was HUGE? like 4 carats "and my friend was admiring your earrings." I continue.

She somehow ends up asking me how big I think her earrings are, and I guess 1.5 carats each. She tells me that one is 1.5, the other is 1.6, and then she asks me how much I think they cost. This is getting weird... ummmm...

I say "Hmmmm... I have no idea... 9 grand." Why are we having this conversation? She's clearly trying to tell me something.

She says "I saw the receipt. They were $25,0000, and that's with Peyton's 40% discount."

lemme pause right there....

I scream "HOLY SHIT - YOU'RE PEYTON MANNING'S WIFE!" and I'm totally kidding, turned around with my back to the field, yelling at the whole section, still joking "THIS IS MANNING'S WIFE!" and pointing with both hands.

She freaks out! "Shut up - don't tell anyone, they'll kill me!"

It's like the moment in Animal House where the boys walk into bar and the record screeches, and everything grinds to a halt: "Wait - you're serious?" She pulls out her license: "Ashleigh Manning"

My eyes widen and I almost shit in my pants from laughing... Unbelievable - here we are - RIPPING her husband for 90 minutes, and she's so scared of getting lynched that she doesn't let on at all, even after H0nus spouted "Manning sucks - I bet he throws at least 2 interceptions" (which he eventually did.)

So we promise not to say anything, and Leeroy comes back from getting beer with Adam, and we don't tell him what happened, only that we just had the greatest all time story, and he is dying to know, but we won't tell him, because we don't want Peyton's wife to get

Anyway, the Jets pound the Colts, and we leave with a good story, and a picture of us with Manning's wife on her camera - someday i'll be the "Who's this guy?" in Maxim.

***** End Time Machine*****

Happy Holidays to all.

-Kid Dynamite

Thursday, December 22, 2005

The Power is Intoxicating

It seems my post ranting about the strike, "The Union & Capitalism," shook enough people to their senses and ended the strike while the parties return to the bargaining table! And I thought only a few lucky souls read my 'blog. Who knew....

A colleague sent me this quote from Ronald Reagan - I couldn't have said it better myself. Maybe that's why he was a two term President.

"We cannot compare labor-management relations in the private sector with government. Government cannot close down the assembly line. It has to provide without interruption the protective services which are government's reason for being. It was in recognition of this that the Congress passed a law forbidding strikes by government employees against the public safety...It is for this reason that I must tell those who fail to report for duty this morning they are in violation of the law, and if they do not report for work within 48 hours, they have forfeited their jobs and will be terminated." - Ronald Reagan, Aug. 3, 1981

I sucked it up and paid $15 for a cab to work this morning, but on the way home I decided to walk from 48th & Park to 32nd & 6th and hop on the PATH train to Christopher St. The line into the PATH station at Christopher stretched up the 3 story entry, down Christopher Street, around the corner up Hudson, and all the way to 10th Street! Holy cow. I think there is usually a long line, due to an engineering flaw with the station entrance design, but that's a serious bad beat for people trying to get home.


Wednesday, December 21, 2005

The Union & Capitalism

Here's the thing about the NYC Transit Union strike: I don't really give a fuck what the complaints of the Union are - I know this: America is a Capitalist Nation. The ULTIMATE Capitalist Nation. That means we mostly have free pricing power on goods and services. Obviously, there are some exceptions.

Now, I have absolutely no doubt that there are hundreds of thousands of workers or un-employed people who would be happy to do the work that the transit workers are doing, for their pay and benefits. Thus, I'm against the strike. I think every fucking one of them should be fired, and we should hire a new transit force. I smiled as I logged on to and disputed the $76 I paid for my 30 day unlimited Metrocard: on the grounds that the MTA has failed to deliver the service I paid for.

Don't rush to judgment to label me a heartless republican - that's not the case at all: I'm a very fair and reasonable man. My point is simple: there are plenty of others who are willing to do the work for the same price: so let them. Never mind the fact that transit workers are compensated pretty well: many of them make in the neighborhood of $20+ per hour. I know that there are plenty of people flipping burgers at McDonalds who would be plenty happy mumbling incoherent crap into the intercom of a subway car every time the door opens.

In the end the problem is that there is a surplus of unskilled/low-skilled labor in the United States. The minimum wage in the U.S. is probably a result of just this fact: if the market was allowed to freely set wages, there would always be someone willing to wash dishes for $2 an hour, and employers would be able to unfairly capitalize on the surplus of labor. Still, with the transit workers, there are plenty of people willing to fill such jobs, thus the Unions lose their leverage: because they shouldn't have any leverage to begin with! Their only leverage is in threatening to strike, which is why the strike is illegal, and why they deserve to be fined and have their pay docked. Each striking employee is docked 3 days of pay for every day they strike. New York One news reported that 1000 workers had crossed the picket line and gone to work last night: kudos.

I was talking with some colleagues who sympathized with the transit workers. Huh? what about the hundreds of thousands of hard working New Yorkers who are getting fucked because it takes them 3 1/2 hours to get to work? The transit workers have a right to a pension? Sure - and New Yorkers have a right to be able to get to work in a reasonably manner: which means not being held hostage by the transit union. Guess what - the pension benefits cost money. You have to pay for those benefits. Those benefits will be worth even more in the future: THAT is why you have to pay more for them now. One of my the people I was discussing this issue with asked me, "How would you feel if your boss tried to replace you with someone who worked for less than your salary?" Guess what: if he could, he would do it in a heartbeat. I earn my income doing a job which not everyone can do - and I get paid a premium for that. If there were 100,000 people who could do my job as well as me, I'd make a helluva lot less.

As a result of the strike, cab drivers are gouging customers, taking advantage of the ridiculous $10 minimum zone system, and scalping un-knowing tourists.

Did you know that transit workers make more money than teachers, firefighters and police officers? (Source: New York Times 12/21/05, Sewell Chan) I really don't think there's anything more that needs to be said.

And I'm on TILT.


As I was Saying...

I finished my Growin Up post below and returned to the club at noon on Wednesday, only to suffer a giant case of Foot-in-Mouth.

The game starts at noon, and the main game was already full! Holy fucking bad beat! Not to worry, as we quickly got a must-move game going. I'm not exactly sure what went wrong for me. Somewhere along the line in the 4 hour session I dropped 2+ buy-ins. I started off by building my stack up to about $800, then made a questionable call against Ivan and was back to $400. After dwindling to $300, I added $200 more and ground back up to $1100.

I then lost a series of $600 pots. I'm trying to figure out if I just contradicted everything I praised myself for in my post earlier today; being able to play well regardless of the situation, regardless of the beats. I think what happened was, the game was insane: chips donking around like they were fucking party favors. The fish from yesterday's game, LooseCannon, came for less than an hour and pushed all in about 5 times. I couldn't catch anything resembling a hand to pick him off with.

Maybe my losses today were unfortunate: TT vs Ivan's $35 preflop A-3 on a 2-4-5 board... A-K vs Paul's J-T on a 8-9-Q two flush flop... King on the turn... My 99 vs Todd's K-3 suited after I raised to $10, Paul called, Ivan raised to $30 and I called, Paul called. The flop of 7-3-3 was a disaster for me. Uggh... One thing I do know: in each of the hands, I did take the time to carefully analyze the sitation. In the A-K hand against Paul I knew I was beat - and that's the one mistake I definitely made. The reason I called anyway, drawing dead, was that we'd played a previous hand where he'd reacted very differently after making a giant river bet - and then showed me a monster - so I was clinging to the hope that his reaction this time meant he did NOT have J-T.

In any case, I'm fucking pissed. It's so frustrating watching chips being GIVEN away, and not being able to do anything about it... Then I push an edge, and run into the fucking nuts. And then I do it again.. and again... Eventually, I'm the donkey giving away the chips.

Until next time,

Growin' Up

Well I stood stone-like at midnight, suspended in my masquerade
I combed my hair 'til it was just right, and commanded the night brigade
I was open to pain and crossed by the rain, I walked on a crooked crutch
I strolled all alone through a fallout zone and came out with my soul untouched

-Bruce Springsteen, "Growin' Up"

I had another live 1-2NL session today that I feel was a landmark in my development as a poker player. Although I didn't make the one laydown that would have let me say "I'm finally at the point where I can call myself and excellent player," I maintained my composure, and played some excellent poker in the face of adversity... Let me explain...

Tuesday, 12:00 noon, I took a few mid-week days off during the slow time of year, and used my free time for, what else, poker. The 1-2 NL game at the club quickly filled up, and it was playing big. Most pots were straddled, and liquidations led to rebuys which led to large stacks. I took some beats, was down $350, before fighting back to +$400 with a $1050 stack, when this hand happened:

A young loose cannon straddles for $5 UTG. Two players call the straddle, and Larry, a club regular raises to $10. I'm two to his left, and I raise to $40 holding Friday In Vegas: coupl'a hooks: JJ. Dean calls in the SB, the straddler calls, and Larry calls.

The flop is 5-8-T and the LooseCannon is visibly excited. This is a player I'm not familiar with, but he's shown some big bluffs and some big hands thus far in the 3 hours we've played together. He clearly pushes his hands too hard, and I'll have a chance to take his stack eventually. So, after Dean checks, LooseCannon comes out firing: $200. Larry can't believe it, shakes his head, and mucks his pocket nines. I'm left running my fingers through my hair, standing up, and talking to myself. With $1000 each, I'm playing for a lot more than this $200 here - I need to raise or fold. How can I call? He's playing it just like he has a set, and given the action, a set of 5's or 8's makes PERFECT sense. This guy could even have QQ or T-8 here. Oy vey. I think for 3 minutes, and eventually muck - I'll have a better chance to take his stack. After Dean mucks, LooseCannon triumphantly shows his T-9, showing us that he did indeed have the hand he claimed to.

Now, this is the important part: the kid actually THOUGHT his T-9 was the nuts! That's why I read him as being so strong - he didn't know he wasn't! I've thought a lot about playing a hand blind, not looking at my cards and simply CONVINCING myself that I had Aces. This may work against solid, observant opponents - but it's an interesting concept nonetheless. Now, this kid wasn't trying to convince me that he had a huge hand: he actually thought that top pair WAS a huge hand - that's the mistake I made. Also, if I were in his spot, I would have bet out a set there. I projected this same line of thinking onto my opponent: "That's how I'd play a set - he must have a set," which is a dangerous line of thinking. After further analyzing the hand, I realized that this player would probably try to check-raise me with a set here, where as I would bet the set and hope to trap an overpair. Unfortunately, this kid left before I had a chance to get his stack, but I'm sure his money will be recycled into the poker community at a future date.

I 'Coulda Been a Contender

I had the opportunity to become a great player on this hand, but I failed. Here are the details: I've been making pot sized raises every time I raise preflop, regardless of position or hand. I raise to $7 with A-K UTG, and I raise to $11 after 2 limpers with 8-9 suited on the button. Always consistent. On several occasions I've been reraised, and have exhibited the ability to fold, call or re-raise when the action is back to me.

Billy, my eventual opponent in this hand, was formerly known as a very tight aggressive player. He's a regular, has been playing live poker in NYC for 30 years, and knows what he's doing. Lately, however, he's exhibiting some stranger tendencies: calling oversized raises preflop with hands like A-T offsuit, K-J: things that "Billy" simply doesn't do. In addition, he's shown the tendency today of VASTLY overbetting the pot on the flop or turn on numerous occasions when he pushed all in. Now, the Billy I used to know doesn't put his stack in the middle without the nuts, or outs to the nuts. However, tonight, he's made such bets: like $1000 into a $200 pot, that just don't make perfect sense. Is Billy preying on his opponents' natural desire to play sheriff and not believe him? Is he HOPING to catch an opponent with a huge second best hand? Is he WILLING to not get the value he could from his nut hands by bullying everyone out of the pot with oversized bets? All of these previous hands, and my detailed knowledge of my opponent, led to: The Biggest Pot I've Ever Lost:

I'm UTG with $1100 and KK. I raise to $7. 2 players call my raise, and Billy, in middle position, makes it $50. I have him covered by $85. It's folded back to me, and I raise to $150. The players in between us fold, and Billy takes his time, before announcing "I'm all in." Whoa. I've never mucked KK preflop, but Billy is a player I could do it against. I know him well, and he knows me well: he respects me as a highly intelligent, talented player. I stand up and walk in circles. What is he trying to do? Why would he do that with AA? He knows I cannot call with any hand other than perhaps KK, and that's not even automatic. Is Billy willing to win a small pot with his Aces if I fold? Maybe he has JJ? QQ? A-Ks? and knows that I cannot call? Wow. Lay it down Kid Dynamite - be a pro. I look at Billy. He is not cool, calm and collected. I ask him, "Have you been to the movies lately Billy?" "Why? would that be relevant to one of these hands?" he replies. Yeah bitch - King Kong... and we all know the ape dies in the end.

After 4 full minutes, I call. Billy says "You have kings,?" I nod. "You're trailing," I know. An ace on the flop seals my fate, and I feel like Mikey McD as Billy's Aces float to the felt in slow motion. Holy fucking cow. I've been thinking a lot recently about how I haven't been stacked with KK vs AA for a long long time - and it finally happened. The problem is, it was probably avoidably in this case.

Billy played me like a pro. He put off some fantastic weak tells, which he later acknowledged, and I picked up on them. He capitalized on his knowledge that I'd deconstruct the hand in the context of everything I knew about him, and the action I'd seen from him thus far today. In the end, I was simply outplayed.

I titled this post "Growin' Up" for two reasons: First, I'm not about to make a habit of laying down KK preflop routinely, or to every overbet, but I think my analysis has matured to a level where I can understand what I did wrong, and how I can do better. Second, and more importantly, as I discussed with E-dub after my A-Q debacle a few weeks ago: I had the opportunity to continue playing after a crushing blow, and while in the hole, which has been a weakness for me. I maintained my composure perfectly, avoided TILT, screwed down and played excellent poker, and ground back to finish the 7 hours session with a very juicy win.

until next time,

Monday, December 19, 2005

Stacked and Re-stacked

Sunday evening at the club, familiar faces: Me, H0nus, Vortex, Asian Paul, and Vortex's boy Ryan. Ivan joined us later, as did some others.

In the second orbit, I passively played a 2-3 offsuit open ended draw on a 4-5-Q board. I check called a small flop bet from H0nus. We both checked the turn, and when I missed my draw on the river he bet out. I mucked, and he triumphantly dropped the hammer on me. I'm not sure if it counts though, since he was bluffing with the best hand!

A few orbits later, we played a real pot. 1-2NL, $5 straddle. 3 call the straddle, I call in the cutoff with $400 and A-2 of diamonds. H0nus on the button makes it $20, and everyone calls.

Flop: 9-6-5 with two diamonds. 3 checks to me, I bet $50, and H0nus raises. He was trying to make it $120, but didn't announce his amount before his first stack hit the felt, so it was only $100 total - $50 more to me. I thought for 8 seconds and moved all-in, counting down my stack: $250 more.

H0nus went into the tank and was about to muck, before he decided to make a boner call on me. Fuckin Douchebag. The turn was the 3 of spades, giving me a gutshot draw (PASS THE SUGAR!) but the river paired the 5 on the board. Vortex, and everyone else at the table was certain I had a big hand (at least SOMEONE was paying attention to the story I told), but alas H0nus was the only one that mattered, and he caught me. H0nus tabled his aces, and I tabled my hand with the Ace of diamonds pinned on top of the deuce, announcing "CHOP!" H0nus freaked for a split second before I smiled and spread my cards, showing my busted draw, and reaching into my pocket for a rebuy.

I was down to $250 off my second $500 buy-in when I doubled through Ivan on two separate hands: once with A-J when I flopped top pair, and then after I spiked a set of 5's vs. Ivan's A-J on a J-5-x board.

Paul and H0nus played the hand of the night: 3 callers of the $5 straddle, and H0nus in the SB made it $40 to go. Paul quickly responded "$100" from the BB, and everyone folded back to H0nus. "Three hundred" he announced, pushing 3 stacks of red chips forward, and the Bigger Dick Contest was officially on as Paul insta-called.

When H0nus bet $200 into the A-K-8 flop, I was SURE he had a set or A-K. Paul, however, stood up, walked around the table rubbing his head, and called! The turn blanked off, and H0nus thought for a minute, before saying "I'll let you bet it," as he checked. Paul checked behind him.

As the river blanked off again, H0nus ($400 left) bet $100 into a $1000 pot! Paul ($400 left) called! When H0nus turned over his QQ, I cringed... but Paul rapped the table and announced "It's good!" Holy fuck - what just happened?!?!?!

Paul is an excellent player, but as you can see here, he is subject to momentary lapses of reason where he loses focus and fucks up: his preflop call with anything that cannot beat queens is terrible. He makes an AMAZING flop call, somehow realizing that this pot can be taken away, but then doesn't follow through when given the opportunity to take the pot on the turn! Then again on the river, H0nus's ABSURD blocking bet actually worked! Paul somehow decided that he wanted to see a "cheap" showdown with his hand after he made the flop call, which was a massive error in judgment, and H0nus stacked chips for 5 minutes.

Paul recovered later by putting a throw-up-in-your-mouth beat on Vortex, who had previously dropped Quad Tens on Paul! Later, Paul and I played this pot:

I was in the SB with 3-3. Paul straddled, there was one limper, and then Paul's brother raised to $15. I called, Paul called, the limper called.

flop: 3-8-9 rainbow. I bet $30, Paul calls, the others fold.

turn: offsuit Q. I look at my chips - but something smells funny... Paul just hammered a straight on me - I can feel it. I check - he checks behind me, and now I KNOW something is wrong... Pair the board!

river: 8, pairing the board! I bet $100, and Paul quickly makes it $300. We each have about $300 more behind. Now I'm a little taken aback, as Paul can easily hold Q-8 here. 8-9 is a possibility, but he'd probably bet the turn with 8-9. What about the straight - which is what I'd previously put him on? He can't call a re-raise with the straight can he? I call after 30 seconds, and he triumphantly announces "straight." I table my 3-3 "full." And he's shocked. I rake a nice pot. Raising the river is certainly a feasible option. It's a close call I think.

I finished the session +104, after making another nice comeback.

until next time,

Friday, December 16, 2005

The Sports Guy

Bill Simmons: The Sports Guy's recent column contained this gem: it is so good that I just copied it as its own post here:
I have been pushing for a complete revamping of the cable TV warnings, and only because this should be a seamless, informative process. For instance, when they throw the old "SSC" for "Strong Sexual Content" before the movie, you absolutely know that there isn't just going to be some sexual content, it's going to be some STRONG sexual content. These are the movies that usually lead off with a detective sitting in a car watching someone's house while some bored housewife pulls the pool boy inside for a daytime romp. The point is, you know you're getting the goods with "SSC." But the "N" could mean anything -- two dudes naked in a shower, a 53-year-old woman getting embalmed, even Kathy Bates going topless in "About Schmidt."

So I would come up with these categories:

SN -- Standard Nudity
(Note: In other words, nothing special.)

MSC -- Mundane Sexual Content
(Note: For those really lame sex scenes where the two characters are going at it in slow motion and there's just some squinting and grimacing and that's about it.)

SSC -- Strong Sexual Content
(Note: I'd like to keep this one as is, just because it always puts a hop in everyone's step. When I lived with my old roommate Ricky, we would always stay up late watching bad movies on our illegal cable box, and when the "SSC" tag came up, we would both start cheering -- it was like winning in BINGO or something. I miss having a roommate sometimes.)

CESC -- Career-Ending Sexual Content
(Note: This covers Chloe Sevigny in "Brown Bunny" and that's about it. It's almost impossible to kill your career with a sex scene.)

UDN -- Unexpected, Delightful Nudity
(Note: This covers any scene where the nudity comes out of nowhere with someone you would never expect -- like Katie Holmes in "The Gift," Reese Witherspoon in "Twilight" or even Kelly Preston in "Mischief.")

WDN -- Wildly Disappointing Nudity.
(Note: For scenes like Teri Hatcher going topless in "Heaven's Prisoners.")

EN -- Epic Nudity
(Note: For those once-in-a-lifetime performances like Natasha Henstridge's in "Species," Apollonia in "Purple Rain" or Nicole Eggert in "Blown Away." I just feel like they deserve their own category. If you've earned the "EN" tag, that's almost like getting an Oscar.)

GSN -- Gratuitous, Sweeping Nudity
(Note: I like this one because you know where you stand -- you're getting nudity and lots of it. That's important information at 2 a.m.)

RGN -- Really Gross Nudity
(Note: This would cover old women getting embalmed, any nudity in those autopsy shows on HBO, Kathy Bates and Diane Keaton, those "Real Sex" shows where they show some nudist colony in Germany and there are like 100 hairy naked guys standing around, and so on. Give us a heads up. It's imperative. You could probably argue that Kathy Bates deserves her own tag here -- something like "KBN" -- but whatever.)

MN -- Male Nudity
(Note: That's an important one -- I need a warning if I'm going to see someone's johnson, whether I'm getting dressed in a gym or watching TV at 1:30 in the morning. If Kevin Bacon decides, "I know this isn't in the script, but I think this scene in 'Wild Things' could use a boost with my dangling member," I want to be prepared. Again, give us a heads up. I don't ask for much.)

MDDS -- Michael Douglas' Dangling Stuff
(Note: For those movies where Douglas feels like it's a wise idea for him to walk away from the camera with his, um, stuff dangling between his legs like a grandfather clock. Why does he do that? We may never know.)

APR -- Awful Prison Rape
(Note: Classic example -- the Ed Norton scene in "American History X." Come on. Just a mere "R" for "Rape" can't possibly cover how traumatic that scene was. You stick the "APR" before the movie, I'm probably avoiding the movie.)

Tourist Induced TILT

Friday afternoon I want to do one thing: get the fuck out of work and play poker. This has been an especially stressful weak, and although I was beat, I still thought I'd go scoop a few pots with medium suited connectors.

The fucking tourists in Rockefeller Center tilted me right out of my plans. I left work at 49th & Park, and hauled west past Saks 5th Avenue. All the fucking d-bag tourists from middle America are stopped in the street looking at the window displays. I dodge and weave through them like Barry Sanders, but at the northwest corner of 49th and 5th, every d-bag in the world is stopped right on the fucking corner! I lower my shoulder like Mosi Tatupu trying to pound the ball over the goal line, and plow through the throng of douchebags.

All I could think of was the immortal Andrew Dice Clay quote from Ford Fairlaine:

Dice: "Go back to Michigan"
Douchebag: "Oh, we're from Wisconsin."
Dice: "Yeah, and I'm from my dad's penis. Get outta here."

So, being a savvy NYC commuter, I ditch the throng by the Rock Center X-mas Tree, and duck underground to the no-so-secret tunnel to the subway. I crush through a trio of Korean tourists blocking the path, and dodge and weave down the hall. Things are going ok until I get to the end of the path: a revolving door. As I try to exit the revolving door, this fucking asshole chick sets herself right in the middle of the revolving door exit. I had nowhere to go - not even Kevin McHale could have rolled off the screen she set for me. I get frozen 1/2way out of the revolving door and get railed from behind by the still spinning door, crushing my ankle.

I take two steps, shake my head, and let out a delayed: "FUCK," as I look back over my shoulder. Now the girl who was behind me in the revolving door, who just plowed into me through no real fault of her own, apologizes profusely, as I try to tell her I'm not mad at her, but rather at the fucktard who decided to block my exit.

I hurdle down the stairs to the subway, just missing the closing doors of my train. At this point, believing in Friday afternoon zen-karma poker theory, I decided to just go home. When things are already going somewhere between kinda bad and very bad, there's no reason to fuck with the quan and tempt the poker Gods.

I hit Jamba Juice on the way home and got a giant frickin' frozen fruity drink - it's like a half gallon. Boo yah. A few hours in the recliner watching the CSI and Sleeper Cell episodes I recorded this week should do the trick...

until next time, beware of retarded tourists.


Tuesday, December 13, 2005


Yeah - I still watch Survivor. In this week's finale, nice guy Rafe had a sweet thing going: he was down to the final three with Danni, who was in his debt just because he had carried her that far, and Steph, who he had an agreement to go to the final two with.

For those of you who don't know, the winner of Survivor gets $1MM, while the runner up gets $100k. The final three contestants have an endurance challenge, where the winner is immune from being voted out, and basically gets to decide which of the two vulnerable opponents she wants to vote out, and which opponent to go head to head with against the jury of previously voted out tribemates, to determine the million dollar winner.

So, if Rafe won the immunity challenge, he'd go head to head with Steph, as they'd been together the whole time. Steph is a conniving bitch, who's been on the show before, and Rafe would almost surely get the jury's vote over her. Rafe would win a million bucks.

If Steph won immunity, she'd go head to head with Rafe, because they had committed to each other. Rafe would win a million bucks.

If Danni won immunity, she'd take Rafe, as he'd saved her ass, and allowed her to get into the final 3. Rafe would have a shot at a million bucks, but be guaranteed at least $100k.

One problem: when Danni actually won immunity, Rafe secured the "Nice Guys Finish Last" award of the week by telling Danni that he was "relieving her of any promises that she made," and that she should take whomever she wants to the final two. Since Danni had previously said she'd take the "best" player anyway, rather than the opponent she's most likely to win against, Rafe figures she'll do the right thing and take him - especially since he saved her ass.

Well, Danni lives in the real world, and smartly chose Steph, who she thrashed in the final vote and took home the million dollars. Steph took a hundred grand for second place, and Rafe was left holding Herman. Well done douchebag!

I also played 3 hours of live 1-2NL on Sunday afternoon, shorthanded with the Vortex, Paul and some others. I 1/2-stacked the Vortex on the very first hand when, 3 handed, I raised from the button with A-J. Vortex in the BB made it $25, and I called.

The flop was J-8-x, and Vortex led out for $50. I insta-called.

A jack came off on the turn, and Vortex checked to me. I bet $100. He called.

The river was a king, and Vortex again checked to me. I thought, and decided on $150. Vortex went into the tank and mucked his QQ. I hadn't given him credit for such a big hand - just thought he was throwing down the gauntlet with a "bigger dick contest" on the first hand. At least I sucked out. Boo yah.

I finished the session +143.

Until next time,


Saturday, December 10, 2005


Friday I was well prepared for poker. I wore my patented Boston Red Sox World Champions hooded sweatshirt to work with a pair of jeans, and made it to the club in record time: just after 4:30 pm. Alas, I was first up for a seat in the must move game! Holy fuck - who are these delinquents - don't they have jobs?

At least I didn't lose my seat to H0nus, who'd earlier threatened to beat me there and take the final seat. Joke's on you sucka: H0nus arrives 40 minutes later, and finds the list 3 deep, but gets to watch me rake this nice pot:

I'm in the BB with aces. Kenny straddles for $5 UTG ($1-$2 blinds, $5 straddle.) Two limpers, and then Paul moves all in for $85. Rene, a player I've never seen, smooth calls the $85 in the cutoff, and it's folded to me. I ponder my options, and decide to raise roughly the size of the pot: I make it $300 to go. All fold to Rene, and he thinks for 20 seconds before moving all in, for just under $500 total, which is what I have. I call of course, and his QQ cannot catch up. I never see Paul's hand.

On the next hand, I find 3-3 in the SB, and fail to liquidate Ivan after I call his pre-flop raise and see the flop come Q-J-3. I bet out $20, into a $60 3-way pot, and the player in the middle mucks. Ivan makes it $60 to go, and I come over the top all-in. Ivan only had about $140 left, and he was steaming, so I thought I'd get him here with any piece of the flop, but he managed to muck his Q-8.

An orbit later, Ivan made it $10 to go in early position, and I called 2 to the right of the button with 5-7 offsuit. Ivan is now sitting on a fresh $500 stack, and the button has a slightly smaller stack when he calls as well.

The flop comes down: 5-5-7, with a two flush. Yeah baby - I'm a card rack, but getting hit with the deck is only half the battle: you still have to get your opponent's stack... Ivan checks to me, and I bet out $20, into a $35 pot. The button announces "raise" and makes it $65 to go. Ivan folds, and it's back to me. I cut some chips and give him an eye before smooth calling. The turn is an offsuit 6, and I check to the raiser. This guys is a player I've only seen once before: he's somewhat new to the game, but not a complete fool. He hems and haws, and finally bets $150. I again look him over, and calmly push out a stack of green $25 chips, raising him all-in. He has about $210 left.

Now, this guy is shaking his head, motioning like he's going to fold, so I execute the trademark Kid Dynamite fish-catching move: I slide my hand out toward the dealer, holding it in my right hand, like I'm just waiting for him to muck so I can rake the pot. He seems to perk up. I deftly drop three white $1 chips onto my cards, which I'm still holding, as a pre-mature dealer tip.

My opponent shakes his head, and can't bring himself to muck - he finally calls, and I calmly withdraw my cards back toward me, remove my pre-mature tip, and flip over my fives full. He is speechless, as the Queen on the river doesn't help his pocket 8's, and I rake another sizable pot. He makes a trip to the ATM, and returns to question his play. I assure him it was a mandatory call with 8's, as he had to expect that he had straight outs as well. Whatever... Suck it.

The rest of the session was uneventful: I managed to pick up AA again in the BB, but got no action after I raised to $20 following 4 limpers.

We had one hilarious "over your head" moment after an improbable series of events in this hand: Joe ends up mucking an ass-straight face up with a final board of K-Q-J-T-x. He shows a nine after his opponent bets. Joe jokes "I'm too tight," and Eddie, the dealer, remarks, "Tighter than a nun's ass." Now, Eddie has women sitting on both sides of him in the 1 and 10 seats, so I sarcastically whistle, as if to say "Whoa, hold up."

Eddie looks at me and says sarcastically, "What? You ever had a nun?" The blonde in the 10 seats pipes in: "I had a nine!" and Eddie and I explode in laughter, as she completely missed the dialogue, and was still focused on the hand. Good times.

I finished the session +$1291, making up for my abomination from last Monday, and also ending my streak of "consecutive sessions getting stacked while holding A-Q."

In other news, I read a Party Poker research report from a major brokerage house which stated that Party makes upwards of $700k per day from their "casino" games; ie: Blackjack. More interestingly, Party claims that 40% of their users play both casino games and poker! They are planning to introduce 2 more casino games in the next quarter: widely believe to be roulette and... ?

Mrs. Dynamite and I are going to visit a Brussels Griffon breeder Sunday morning: if all goes well, we'll be puppy parents in about 5 weeks!

until next time,

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Old School

Bones threatened to fire his entire staff if I left him with no blog entries to read for another morning, so, in the interest of losers employed at big French banks who desperately hope to NOT get fired, here you go:
I went bowling last night. What's more old school than bowling? Actually, for me, bowling is kinda new school, because I grew up in Boston - land of Candlepin Bowling. I didn't go "Big Ball Bowling" - as I call what most people simply call "bowling" - until I was about 20 years old. In candlepin, you whip these little cannonballs down a lane at pins that are very subtly tapered: they look like cylinders, but they widen very slightly in the middle before narrowing out. They are symmetrical. I'm guessing if you didn't grow up in, or go to school in New England, you've never seen candlepin bowling.

Anyway, in candlepin bowling, you get three balls, and the fallen pins are not removed between balls. A good score for a novice player is over 100. In big ball bowling, however, a solid novice can bang out something in the 150-175 range. I was very consistent, bowling 112, 102, and 114 in my three strings.

I'm not ashamed to admit that this morning, my fucking fingers are killing me, and my right forearm is wicked sore. I guess I'm not in bowling shape. I did throw down 4 beers and 2 hard iced-teas though, which should count for something in the bowling fitness test.

Aside from candlepin bowling, another classic New England sport is Wiffle Ball. The North Andover Wiffle Ball league page has a great video montage set to a rockin' soundtrack. They also have some phenomenal "news" stories ripping on each other. I wish I could play in this league, alongside teams such as the Hulkamaniacs, the Moose Knuckles, and the Pink Pounders. Another strange piece of the Boston lexicon is that we call a "crew cut" a wiffle. Yeah - everyone gets a wiffle when they're a kid... But again, I'm guessing if you're not from Beantown, you don't know this term.

In other news, check out This is a site founded by fellow MIT grad Jeff Ma, who was immortalized in the entertaining book on the card counting MIT black jack team: Bringing Down the House. Basically, they try to apply the Moneyball concept to football: every situation in the game has an expected value. The difference between the expected value at the end of the play and at the beginning of the play is the value gained on that play. For example, the EV of "1st and goal from the 1 yard line" is very high: about 6.35 points: you score the vast majority of the time in that situation. However, the EV of "3rd and 17 from your own 20 yard line" is very low, and for that reason, a big conversion on the 3rd down play can actually be worth more in EV than the 1 yard TD plunge. The resulting EV's create values for each player. It's an interesting site, worth exploring.

Congrats to the Big Show for finishing 10th in a 1500+ person $200 tourney on Paradise this weekend. Also, the Vortex finished 3rd in a NLHE event at the Bike last week, earning himself some Player of the Year points in the process. He also took down a $30 multitable tourney on UltimateBet this week. Vortex is throwing down the gauntlet: he's on fire.

until next time,

Sunday, December 04, 2005

In Your Head

Football opponents at the University of Iowa have been psyched out for many years by the pink visiting locker room. The pink locker room was instituted by a former coach who decided that the pink color had a calming effect on opposing players.

Today I went to Madison Square Garden to see the Knicks vs. Celtics game. The Knicks used a little mindfuck of their own by having a 10 year old girl do the player introductions for the visiting Celtics. Then, the Knicks own announcer does the New York intro's in the booming voice... "And nowwwwwww.... YOUR NEWWWWWW YORRRRRRKKKKKK KNICCCCCKKKKKS." I thought it was a great psyche out move. The Celtics didn't seem to mind, and won by three. We spotted Fat Joe, Billy Baldwin, and Matthew Modine at the game.

Did you know that Madison Square Garden has a sporting goods store inside called, I shit you not... The Double Teamed Store. I couldn't make this stuff up.

Did anyone see Carolina Panther Steve Smith's touchdown celebration today? Smith placed the ball on the ground, pulled a towel out of his wasteband, and pretended to be wiping a baby's ass, with the football playing the role of the baby. Only one problem: Steve, everyone knows you never wipe back to front. Come on man.


Forget Regret

Mrs. Dynamite and I went to see the new movie version of RENT yesterday. We've seen the play about 7 times: 3 times in Boston, 3 in NY, and 1 in Stamford. Knowing the play so well actually made it harder to enjoy the movie, as there is some dialogue that they felt was important enough to include in the movie, yet it wasn't done in song like it was in the play. I also fear that the trend started by the screen adaptation of Chicago will be tough to duplicate. Overall, I'd recommend the movie, especially to people who don't know the play inside out.

After the play, Mrs. Dynamite fell in love with a Brussels Griffon puppy at a local pet store. Oy Vey - this is a topic of never ending problems. I've always been a big time animal lover, and I want a dog wicked bad, but since we both work all day, it's tough to think about having a prospective pet sit home alone for so many hours. There are plenty of apartment suitable dog breeds, but the situation would never be ideal. Still, we have several friends who work full time and manage to have dogs, so I'm sure it's feasible. The next problem is: how can I buy a dog from a pet store - that's like the cardinal sin: like drawing to a gutshot straight with a two-flush on the board - everyone knows you just don't do it. Pet stores get their animals from all sorts of places that don't really give a crap about their animals: they just crank out puppies for the money. Anyway, I hope we will find a solution in the near future: we aren't ready for kids, so maybe a puppy is a good first step to becoming a mature, responsible adult. Scary thought.

After the pet store, Rony and I crushed a rack of baby-backs each at the unfortunately named "Bone Lick Park," before hitting Absolutely 4th for a round, and then Employees Only. EO was packed, noisy and hot - but the bartender is a whirling dervish of activity who's always entertaining.

I want to thank WickedChops for giving me props, and for continuing the great debate "What subset of Ex's is the biggest poker threat going?" Ex-magicians (Lazar, Esfandiari)? Ex-Backgammon players (Hansen, Magriel)? Ex-hair-dressers (Traniello, Judah)? Ex-internet millionaires (Phillips, Gordon)? If you're not reading Wickedchops regularly, you should be.

until next time,

Friday, December 02, 2005

Sometimes You're the Windshield...

Sometimes you're the bug...

My Friday afternoon session started much the way my Monday evening session ended: continuing my illustrious streak of "consecutive sessions getting stacked with A-Q."

1-2NL Hold'em, I have about $480. I raise to $15 after one limper, I'm in early position with A-Q offsuit. This game is playing very big at the moment. I'm called 3 times.

Flop: Q-T-6 all clubs. I have the ace of clubs: top pair, top kicker, nut re-draw.

I bet $50, prepared to take it to the felt. Kenny, a loose-aggressive regular sitting on a stack of about $3500 ($500 max buy-in: he's been tearing up the table) calls, all others fold.

The turn is an offsuit jack. I check, Kenny bets $100, and I come over the top all-in for about $100 more: a pot-sized check-raise. Kenny instacalls, and I shake my head as I turn my cards faceup and quietly ask the dealer for another club. The river is another offsuit jack, and I'm pushing my stack to Kenny before he shows me the K-9 of clubs. I feel fine about the way I played this hand, an I rebuy for $500 more. My main problem now is that I have no more money in my pocket. Oh - and I'm stuck $500.

Still, it's Friday afternoon, I'm satisfied with my play on the hand, and I concentrate on what E-dub and I discussed after Monday's debacle: I will NOT tilt. I am focusing on making optimal plays, and find K-Q suited on the button. After two limpers, I raise to $15, and Asian Paul (loose-aggressive player) calls, as does Albert (also loose aggressive). I have about $500, Paul has me covered, Albert is short stacked.

The flop is 6-6-K rainbow. Paul bets $30. I know I'm either way behind or way ahead, so I just call. Raising doesn't help here, as I think Paul will smooth call with a king or a 6, will probably NOT play back at me with a 6, but MAY play back at me with a weaker king.

Turn: Q, which I realize doesn't really change the situation, except it gives me additional outs if he has a 6. Paul bets $50, I call.

River: offsuit 8. Paul bets $125. I shake my head, but cannot fold here against this player. I call and he tables 6-7. Paul made a great river bet - he's capable of playing a rag-king the same way.

I'm bemoaning my bad fortune, but still entirely focused on playing the shit out of my remaining $250. I find A-K UTG and raise to $15. There's one caller, and Albert moves all-in for $78. I come over the top all-in, the caller folds, and I take back my raise. Albert turns over pocket kings, and I'm looking skyward asking "Why Me?" His hand holds up.

I'm down to $135 when I hit the inflection point: I limp with presto: 5-5, and Jerry limps behind me. Chris raises to $35, which Kenny calls, as does Frank. Now, it's back to me, and I have $135 in chips. I'm trying to decipher Chris's $35 raise: If he has A-K, and I move all-in, he will protect me by coming over the top all-in for his $290 stack. I think for a while, and realize it's more likely he has a medium or big pair than A-K. I now consider folding, but given likely 5 way action, I call, as does Jerry.

I'm staring at Chris as the flop comes. He says "You're first - you have to look at the board." I don't flinch, and check in the dark, never taking my eyes off him. Jerry checks. Chris looks at the board and checks. Kenny bets $100. I look down at:

T-5-4 rainbow. I call all-in for my last $100. Jerry folds and Chris comes over the top all-in for $170 more. Kenny mucks 2-2, and I turn over my set. Chris has an underset of fours! The turn brings a deuce that wouldn't have helped Kenny, and the river is a 7. I more than triple up.

I have about $420 in my stack when I play my final hand:

4 limpers to me, and I check my K-J in the BB.

flop; 5-7-J, two clubs. Will, with $120 in the small blind, bets out $20. I get a vibe of strength from Will and decide I'm not going to call here: raise or fold, and I don't like folding. I raise to $60, and decide I'm not going to put another dollar into this pot if Will raises me.

Frank suddenly comes to life and cold calls in middle position. I now realize that my raise is a dogshit play, because Will only has $120 in chips, and CANNOT call me. He has to raise me all-in with either two-pair OR a flush draw, and I"ll have to call another $60...

Will cold calls! Now Will is out of my mind, and I'm focusing on Frank.

The turn is an offsuit 5 and Will checks to me. There's $200 in the pot, and I put Frank on a flush draw: he's that kind of guy. I bet $200. Frank pauses. He asks how much I have left: $166 more. He says "Make it $366 then." Will calls, and it's back to me.

Holy fuck. What have I done. I am TOTALLY drawing slim to dead. Would Frank really try to run me off my hand with a flush draw? No way... but wait - what about a seven and a flush draw (the jack of clubs is on the board)? What about a weaker jack? I take a LONG time. I ask the dealer to pull the chips in, pull Frank's raise in, and make the side pot. I'm trying to do math, and somehow come up with "I'm getting HUGE odds," when, in reality, they're about 5-1. I ask him: "You're full?" He shrugs, "I don't know." He crosses his arms. He stares at me.

Hmmm... "You have 5-7" I tell him. He looks at me with no reaction, quiet. I'm looking at my final $166, saying to myself, "You can still play these remaining chips. You are drawing dead." But the consideration that I almost certainly have two sweet jack outs left, and that Frank may possibly be bluffing weighs to a call. As I'm about to call, I'm looking at the board, and someone says "There's so much money in there." I instantly look up and say "Who said that?" If it was Frank, i'm mucking faster than I could get stacked with A-Q (that's wicked fast!). Paul says "I did." And I call quickly.

The dealer burns and turns the river... jaaaaaaccccccck. I am so happy to have sucked out that I actually FORGET to yell "PASS THE SUGAR!" as I forcefully slam my K-J faceup on the table. Frank stands up - he looks at my hand - he shakes his head - and he mucks his 5-7.

PASS THE SUGAR bitch. From -$850 to -$3. I hope this was an inflection point.

Until next time,

Monday, November 28, 2005


The final 27 WSOP Main Event combatants moved to historic Binions to duke it out old school where it all began.

Let's look at the bet dialogue from the first televised hand, Phil Ivey takes the 20k-40k blinds up to 140k with Kh5h "In case you didn't know, I'm Phil Fuckin' Ivey." Andrew Black re-raises to 420k with Ad2d "Oh yeah, well you're not just going to run over this table, Homey..." Ivey pauses before making it $920k to go. "No, seriously. This is my table. Sit the fuck down." Black comes back over the top all-in! "Wow - I really hope Ivey is just flexing his muscles, or I'm going home." Black shows the "bluff," probably not guessing that he'd been bluffing with the best hand. In any case, this was a very bold play for Black to make - staking his tournament on this hand essentially. The beauty of an Ace and a lot of aggression in NLHE is, even if your opponent has a hand as good as KK, you still have a fighting chance if you get caught.

Sharam "Sean" Sheikhan is clearly tilted by something, but we don't know what. After mucking a hand preflop and seeing one of his cards come on the flop, he slams the table loudly. Mike "The Mouth" Matusow tells him: "We're in a hand, you need to shut the fuck up," and Sheik goes ballistic, calling the floor. Both players get a 10 minute penalty: Mike for the F-bomb, and Sheik for, I guess, inappropriate behavior. Later in the broadcast ESPN shows a clip of Mouth and Sheik nearly coming to blows! They actually shove each other and then Mouth diffuses the situation by putting his fists up and dancing like a boxer.

Ivey gets beaten up some more when he raises to 140k with A-8 offsuit. Joe Hachem calls him with K-J, and when the flop comes J-J-6, Ivey checks to Joe, who bets it out! Yeah baby - common theme here: BET YOUR BIG HANDS! Ivey checkraises to 500k, and Joe comes back over the top all-in. Ivey has to fold. Joe's fan club rocks the "Aussie Aussie Aussie, OY OY OY," chant, and Ivey has a grin on his face that paints a very telling picture - it clearly says "You are such a bunch of douchebags."

Sheik is down to 240k, and moves all-in, where the Mouth calls him with 7-2, trying to drop the hammer, and send Sheik into a monthlong TILT-binge. Sheik's QQ holds up and he doubles up. gets the Douchebag of the Week award for the "most ridiculous abuse of get-rich-quick stupid poker ideas." You've got to be fucking kidding me. I really need to know how many douchebags pay $39.95 for this thing.

Andrew Black continues to show either good hand reading ability or big balls, or both: he raises to 150k with TT, and is re-raised to 400k by Fossilman's Q-J offsuit. When the flop comes 5s-3c-Ks, Black checks and Fossilman bets 500k. Black check-raises all-in! Wow. That is some kind of fucking play.

Sheik continues to steam out of control: he moves all-in, and Matusow touches the chips that Sheik put into the pot. "Don't touch my money, Mike," Sheik sternly admonishes him. "Sean, do you want action? Hellloooo? Sheiky?" Matusow needles him mercilessly. "If you say yes, I'll call."

"You'll call?" Sheik confirms, "I want action."
"I fold," Mike instamucks, laughing out loud.

Fossilman is crippled when he raises to 100k with KK and gets called by Aaron Kanter's QhJh. the flop comes 6c-3h-5d and Greg bets 150k. Kanter calls with only two overcards. When the turn brings the 7 of hearts, Greg bets 300k and Kanter makes it 900k with his flush draw. Greg moves in and is called. The river 2h completes Kanter's flush, and Greg is crippled, left with 400k.

Shortly thereafter, Fossilman gives us the Tactic of the Week on this hand: He calls a 200k raise holding A-9 from the BB, starting the hand with only about 400k in chips. Why? Because Greg is playing this hand for his whole stack, but he knows that if he moves in now, his opponent will have to call. On the other hand, if he moves the rest of his chips in on the flop, which he will do on ANY flop, he gives his opponent a chance to lay his hand down.

The flop comes K-K-7 and Greg moves all-in. Ayhan Alsancak calls him with 5-5, and the reigning World Champion's impossible repeat attempt has come to an end: out in 25th place.

Tim Phan gets the Kick in the Junk of the Week on his elimination hand: Black raises the 25k-50k blinds to 200k with AhQh. Phan comes over the top all in for about 1.5MM holding TT. Black calls, and the flop comes A-T-9. turn: Queen... river: Queen! and Phan is out in 24th place, taking home $304k.

Black gets the ESPN spotlight interview: blah blah blah blah "... and I realized I was a Buddhist" - yeah - and I realized you are a d-bag. Whatever. Go cry for Bing Wang.

In a potentially pivotal hand at the 25k-50k level, Hachem raises to 160k with AdKd. Steve Dannenmann calls with pocket nines. Joe must love the Td-9s-5d flop: two overcards and the nut flush draw. He checks, and Steve bets 150k. Joe check-raises to 1mm, and Dannenmann comes back all-in for several million more. Dannenmann makes the mistake of talking too much while Joe is trying to figure out the action, and Joe is able to make the easy read and get away from this difficult hand. Dannenmann shows him the flopped set.

Scott Lazar has the day's best shirt: a bright yellow t-shirt reading: "You played that crap?"

In the Hand of the Week, Andrew Black finally gets caught with his hand in the cookie, er, sugar jar. Joe makes it 150k to go with Ac6c, and Black bumps it to 550k with QQ. When the flop comes Qc-7c-9c, Joe checks and Andrew overbets the pot: All-in. Joe calls, stands up, and spikes his hand on the table before shouting the immortal phrase: "Pass the sugar!" He is none-too-happy to see that Black is as strong as top set, but Hachem's hand holds up as the Td and Kd come off on the turn and river.

Sheik continues to find big hands, doubling up again with KK against Matusow's A-J, and suddenly Sheik is back up to 2mm in chips! Kanter's KK busts Ivey's JJ, and Phil is out in 20th place, good for $304k.

until next time,

The Min-raise

Big MO took this picture on his honeymoon. After getting railed for my worst loss ever, all in the span of 90 minutes just now, I think I know how the lioness feels... but let me rewind...

This morning, Mrs. Dynamite wakes me up 40 minutes early: "You might want to get up now, we have to go to the gym to shower." What the fuck? FUCK. The shower knob broke when she tried to turn it on, and it was stuck "on," with no control of the temperature. Fuck that - I threw on some deodorant and went to work. Mrs. Dynamite, on the other hand, waited another 30 minutes until the gym opened at 6am, walked the 1/2 mile to the gym, and found that there was no hot water in the gym! AIYAHH! Holy fucking TILT. Man am I glad I didn't take that beat. Anyway, I get home, and the fucking plumber is in my apartment, tearing the tile wall down. So now, even if he fixes the fucking shower, I need to have someone else come in and patch up the wall. I figure I'll escape to the serenity of Monday night poker at the club.

I sit down, and on the first hand, this shit happens:

1-2NL, $500 stacks. I find Friday in Vegas: pocket jacks in the cutoff. Habib, a capable player who has just returned from a top 3 finish in the $1k NLHE event at Foxwoods WPF straddles for $5 UTG. I've played a lot with Habib - he's tricky and aggressive - he's competent, but not as good as he thinks he is. I don't fear him like I fear the Vortex (to the fucking FELT Vortex!). So, Habib straddles, and there are 2 limpers. I make it $30 to go, Habib calls, and the limper in the ten seat calls. I'm in the one seat.

Flop: 2-4-Q rainbow. Check-check to me. I bet $75. Habib check-raises to $150. Now, I know Habib expected me to bet here. I don't put him on a small set: I put him on AQ or KQ. He's a solid player, and I think he's disciplined enough to lay it down easily, especially since he's played with me some, and knows I'm not a maniac. His min-raise is his way of asking me "Do you have A-K? TT maybe? If so you should lay it down." I look around the dealer and verify that the ten seat has folded before quickly and confidently coming over the top all-in, for Habib's last $300. My bet says: "No, Habib, I have AA or KK. Believe it Bitch." It's a slightly smaller than pot sized raise, and he shakes his head in disbelief. I've just come over the top of his check-raise - I clearly have a very big hand. I really like the story I've told in this hand - consistent and reasonable... And then Habib makes a crying call. Fuck. I tap the table and tell him he's good. He shows A-Q, and it holds up. I actually feel ok about my play on this hand: I could have checked the flop and folded to a turn bet, and I certainly could have lost $300 less on the hand, but my play makes sense, and against an aggressive opponent, I can't laydown my hand to a min-raise there. It's either fold or re-raise, and I chose the latter.

However, after losing another $500 pot, and a $200 pot, I made this play, which could go down as "the worst hand I ever played." I write about it because I keep trying to defend the play in my head, but it's like Alcoholics Anonymous... or Gamblers Anonymous: the first step is admitting I have a problem. So, without further ado, my name is Kid Dynamite, and I played this hand like shit:

Habib straddles UTG. I'm next with A-Q offsuit, and I limp with the possibility of limp-reraising in my mind. I'm stuck 1 1/2 buyins at this point, which is completely irrelevant, but I did have a sense of "get even" in my head. It's funny, because I have a very vivid recollection of myself earlier this afternoon as I left work thinking to myself as I recalled hands: I am untiltable. So, Joe raises to $15 after one player folds. Joe is a tight, solid, but perhaps too passive player. He's a very good player, but tends to quickly temper his aggression if he meets resistance. 5 players call Joe's raise and it's back to me.

Now, a few weeks ago, I wrote about a hand I played with Joe where he min-raised me out of position, and I absolutely KNEW he had a medium hand, instead of a big hand. Here, I had the same read: the game has been playing very loose. If Joe made it $25, he could expect to be called a few times, so he KNEW he'd be called multiple times with a $15 raise. Joe is not the kind of player who wants to play AA or KK in early position in a 6-way pot. He cannot have a big hand.

I re-raise to $115. Joe makes it $215 to go: min-re-raising me. Joe has $200 left after the raise, I have him covered. All fold back to me. I'm shaking my head, "This doesn't make sense Joe," I don't get it. Joe must know I'm tiltable here, and he's trying to defend against what he views as a steal from me. Fuck you Joe - I'm not letting your medium pair off the hook. I call.

flop: K-J-6 rainbow. I bet $225, putting Joe all-in. He shakes his head. He can't believe it, but he calls after 45 seconds. The Q on the turn and Ace on the river are no help, as Joe turns over AA. Wow. What the fuck am I doing?

I took a shot preflop with my raise - I could have called $10 more, closed the action, and seen a cheap flop, but I went the aggressive route instead. This isn't a huge blunder, but once Joe re-raises me again, I must lay this hand down. I was so keen on my read: that he would not make it $15 after a $5 straddle and my call of the straddle with a big hand; I let it blind me to the possibility that he could indeed have a big hand, and I lost at least $300 too much on this hand.

My flop push was a desperation play, which I'd probably only make against very specific players, but even then is almost unjustifiable, especially considering how my session had gone: Unlike the earlier hand against Habib, I couldn't reasonably expect Joe to give me credit for a monster hand.

One common theme in these hands is the min-raise: I'm clearly having a problem reacting to min-raises and deciphering their meaning. I need to get it through my head that it can be ok to fold to a min-raise.

until next time,

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Pass the Sugar!

Last night's Thanksgiving Eve Kid Dynamite homegame brought out the best of the old school and the new school.
AltonEvil made his Ali-like return to the ring, and with Vortex and Ranxx joining the fun, the Fish Factor was noticeably low. Regulars H0nus and Mergie were there as always, and SoxLover made his KD Homegame debut, earning himself a link on the KD blogroll. It's always a little awkward inviting someone you only know from the internet to your homegame: I don't know if SoxLover is some psycho, and he's worried that I'm going to lock him in the closet and man-rape him like Zed from Pulp Fiction. When SoxLover came to my door, we both had an "Oh, it's you" moment - as we know each other from Playstation.
SoxLover quickly welcomed himself to the table by dropping the hammer on H0nus, who the repeatedly tried to "pay it forward" by dropping the hammer on others, to no avail.
I put an ESPN made-for-tv-beat on the Vortex when I raised from UTG with A-Q suited. He came over the top for a pot sized re-raise, and I, knowing that the Vortex likes to push me around, re-potted it. Vortex had K-K, and came over the top for a small re-raise which I called with a headshake. After a Q-7-7 flop, I screamed "PASS THE SUGAR," which happened to work this time... Turn: 7. River... wait for it.... SEVEN! Yeah baby - I made quad sevens, ace kicker to counterfeit Vortex's kings. Good times.
Ranxx arrived late, and further tilted me by breaking out his jumbo index Kem cards that look like Draw Two cards. Aiyahh!
Mergie demolished a six-pack of Bud tall-boys, and then honorably moved on to my Natty Ice stash. Kudos Mergie - no beer snobs here.
We eventually switched to PL Omaha, and true to my prediction that someone would get stacked in the first orbit, I stacked Honus when I flopped top set against his big wrap draw, and my hand held up. I also got my revenge on Ranxx for the Draw Two cards, by drawing to a wrap straight in PL Omaha with a two-flush on the board and calling him after catching - even though my straight card completed the flush. Vortex broke out "I can dodge bullets baby!" after laying down top two pair to H0nus's rivered gutshot.
We finally screened the Shana "Roast Beef" Hyatt Hawaiian Tropic video, which, after all the anticipation, was anticlimactic to say the least.
I ended the night up $420, which, combined with the $115 I hammered out in 90 minutes at the club earlier in the day, made for a somewhat productive day.
This morning, me and Mrs. Dynamite are cooking up a storm:
Oven roasted chicken with garlic/basil rub
White bread stuffing with hot and sweet sausage
Roasted butternut squash
Sauteed greenbeans
Skin-on mashed potatoes
Mrs. Dynamite's Homemade Apple Pie
Cranberry-Pineapple sauce
wine: Vincent Arroyo 2003 Melange Reserve (Napa)
Happy Thanksgiving to all, and may the flop be with you.