Monday, October 31, 2005

Don't Throw Rocks at a Man with a Machine Gun

The title of this post pays homage to the highly quotable Rowdy Roddy Piper.

No sooner had I finished typing "aggressive - not afraid to bluff more than once" into the "notes" section on PartyPoker for my opponent (whose anonymity I'll protect by giving him the pseudonym "Helpless_Douchebag", we played this hand:

$2-$4 NL on Party

Seat 3 is the button,

Total number of players : 6

Seat 1: DBAG1 ( $521.60)
Seat 2: DBAG2 ( $349.20)
Seat 3: DBAG3 ( $382)
Seat 4: Helpless_Douchebag ( $290.80)
Seat 5: KidDynamite4 ( $520.50)
Seat 6: DBAG6 ( $135.50)

Helpless_Douchebag posts small blind (2)
KidDynamite4 posts big blind (4)
Dealt to KidDynamite4 [ Kd, Ks ]
DBAG1. DBAG2 folds. DBAG3 folds. DBAG6 folds.
Helpless_Douchebag calls (2)
KidDynamite4 raises (12) to 16
Helpless_Douchebag calls (12)

** Dealing Flop ** : [ Kc, 8d, Qh ]

Yeah - I flopped top set... But in this game, that's only 1/2 the battle, as it's very hard to get action unless you make a big hand VERSUS a big hand... The other way is to artfully induce bluffs - which is the path I chose:

Helpless_Douchebag checks.
KidDynamite4 bets (15)
Helpless_Douchebag calls (15)

This guy expects me to bet...Now he's gonna see if i have the stones to follow through with it on the turn.

** Dealing Turn ** : [ 5h ]
Helpless_Douchebag checks.
KidDynamite4 bets (20)
Helpless_Douchebag raises (40) to 40
KidDynamite4 raises (60) to 80
This was the key point in the hand... I could have smooth called, but I figured I'd give him one more chance to try to win the "bigger-dick-contest" - by re-raising.

Helpless_Douchebag raises (219.80) to 259.80 Helpless_Douchebag is all-In. DO YOU KNOW WHO THE FUCK I AM? FISH ON!
KidDynamite4 calls (179.80)

** Dealing River ** : [ 5d ] Creating Main Pot with $578.60 with Helpless_Douchebag

** Summary **Main Pot: $578.60 Rake: $3Board: [ Kc 8d Qh 5h 5d ]
Helpless_Douchebag balance $0, lost $290.80 [ 9c Td ] [ a pair of fives -- Kc,Qh,Td,5h,5d ]KidDynamite4 balance $808.30, bet $290.80, collected $578.60, net +$287.80 [ Kd Ks ] [ a full house, Kings full of fives -- Kd,Ks,Kc,5h,5d ]

So I'm owning the table. Playing very sharp poker - winning an endless succession of small to medium sized pots, and I'm up about $600. Then my AK runs into pocket 4's on an A-7-4 board... Then my K-Q of clubs sees a flop of Q-5c-2c: top pair and a flush draw... And I run into a set of Q's. I'm only up a few hundred now, and for some reason, I get bored with this predictable, easily beatable game, yearning to get back to my high-water-mark of profits, and I open up a second table. With this Donkey thinking, I quickly become the Donkey.

Now, I don't play online poker everyday. I'm not used to focusing on two games at once, and dealing with them both effectively. On my second table, I find A-K suited, and raise it up, getting 4 callers. I bet 1/2 the pot on the Q-J-x flop, and when my opponent comes over the top of me, I muck. We repeat this scenario soon when he runs me out of another pot. Finally, I take a stand when I again raise with A-K suited, this time in position, and we see the flop of K-J-T. he bets 1/2 the pot into me, and I raise. He comes over the top for ANOTHER pot-sized re-raise all-in (and he has me covered), and for some, inexplicable reason, I decide to lose my stack ($450+) with A-K top pair, when it's pretty fucking obvious I'm beat. He shows me Q-9 for the flopped straight, and I'm officially on TILT.

I jump tables again, desperately searching for action, before bluffing off another buyin, and working myself into an absolute tilt-o-fuckin-riffic frenzy before Mrs. Dynamite gets home. "Hey Honey - guess what I am for Halloween - a fucking DONKEY! Yeah - I'm the guy who plays perfect poker for an hour, then tilts off three buy-ins in 15 minutes because he loses focus and starts making bad decisions trying to get even!"

The sad thing is, I KNEW I was making mistakes, but I couldn't stop myself... I was pushing my stack around like I was in a small-buy-in-tourney, but these were real dollars. I finally felt like I'd figured out how to crush this game, but I decided I needed more action, and created it - by donking off my stack. Infuriating. I hope my opponents added me to their buddy lists and come looking for me... Because when they do, I'll be focused... and KidDynamite4 will take your fucking stack. Fair Warning.

TILTed out of control, but trying to get back on the wagon,

Sunday, October 30, 2005

I Can Dodge Bullets Baby!

Somehow I forgot the best line of the WSOP thus far, from Phil Hellmuth, after making the tremendous laydown in last week's episode:

"Honey, I was supposed to go broke on that hand! Except they forgot one thing: I can dodge bullets baby!" - Phil Hellmuth, to his wife.

I strongly encourage everyone to use the line "I can dodge bullets baby" after every suckout as you rake a pot to put your opponents on tilt.
ESPN's coverage of day 2 of the Main Event featured one of my personal favorite players - Layne Flack. In an early hand, we see Layne limp with 7-T. The button calls, and the SB calls, but the BB is apparently so fucking terrified of Layne that he mucks - in an unraised pot! Seriously though - who can blame him? Layne Flack is a stud.
The flop is A-5-6 rainbow, and the SB, holding 3-5, checks to Layne, who bets 1200. The SB CR's to 3200, and Layne makes it 10k to go, raking in the pot as the SB gives it up.
Coverage shifts to DBOTY (DoucheBagOfTheYear) Barry Paskin - doing his annoying, inappropriate screaming routine again. This time a player nearby finally says "Shut up!" and Barry quickly and loudly replies, "You shut up! I'll play my game, you play yours." This is the point where I think the floor needs to step in and tell Barry to shut the fuck up. Later, Barry Paskin is forced to change out of his lucky David Beckham jersey, because it apparently smells too bad! He whines "Tell me in the rules where it says something about smelly," and complains that the officials are just trying to take him off his game, but he is forced to change, and promptly gets eliminated, prompting Norman Chad to erupt: "I'll make some noise! YES YES YES YES SEE-YAH!"
We get a glimpse of Dan Harrington goading an opponent: "It's worth calling - you'll be on TV. Even if you LOSE you'll be on TV." Jeez... I'd hate to try to figure out what Action Dan wanted me to do in that situation...
Sammy Farha executes the TILT-inducer of the tournament by taking pictures of the people he busts! AIYAHH! What a great move for implied tilt odds - the only problem is that the person is eliminated already, so Sammy can't capture any of the TILT odds. He cracks a guy's flopped set of aces by turning a flush, and then says "Wait - let me get a picture of you." It is unclear if Sammy also kicked the guy in the junk.
Joe (Hendon Mob) Beevers and Michael "The Grinder" Mizrachi join Layne at the TV table, and the Grinder plays this interesting pot: We don't know the blinds, because ESPN's attention to actual poker details sucks, as we all know, but I'm guessing they are 750-1500. Mizrachi finds KK and raises to 4000. Joe Sartori, an amateur, calls with A-J.
The flop is T-J-T with two hearts, and the Grinder bets out 4k. Joe raises to 19k, and the Grinder thinks before re-raising to 39k. Sartori comes back with an "all-in" that I believe was 90k total.
Grinder thinks for a while, and finally calls! I thought it was an interesting call, since Grinder's re-raise to 39k seemed to say "if you raise me here, I'm giving up the pot - I'm convinced you have a ten." Grinder is getting roughly 2-1 pot odds, but it seems he was committed to this hand all the way - his re-raise to 39k was more of a value raise than a feeler raise.
In the second hour of the broadcast, one of the first things we see is Greg "Fossilman" Raymer coming to his table wearing a pair of tight khaki shorts. Yikes. This stirred up immediate memories of the discussion Bones and I had about Raymer's role in the Extreme Poker League. Bones pointed out that Raymer would CLEARLY need to wear a one-shouldered-singlet, in the style of former WWF superstar Earthquake. The similarities are downright eerie...
Howard Lederer runs into a seemingly endless succession of opponents who do not yield to his pressure, including Steve "the Weaz" Dannenman. Howard gives the viewers a free lesson in consistent preflop raise amounts: when he decides to raise, he always makes the same raise: 3xBB, regardless of the quality of his raising hand. In a featured hand, howard bumps the 1k-2k blinds to 6k, and Dannenman calls with 6-8 (aka: The Vortex) in the BB. The flop comes K-Q-J, and Dannenman checkraises the Professor's 7500 flop bet to 30k. When Howard mucks, Dannenman immediately stand up and calls his friend, sounding like quite the douchebag as he boasts on camera about his nicely executed bluff. We then see a brief flashback to Howard Lederer's 1987 performance at the final table of the Main Event, where he looked like a cross between Grizzly Adams and Bob Villa.
John Juanda puts the bad beat of the day on Paul "the Truth" Darden, when Juanda, as a 19-1 underdog to Darden's set, sucks out to scoop a big pot. We then return to Layne's table, where we see him with stacks and towers of black T100 chips. This is an interesting observation because it likely means that Layne is dominating the preflop action by stealing a lot of blinds and antes.
Fossilman carries his ample racks of chips to a new table, where Mike "The Mouth" Matusow has already set up shop. Matusow is surprised to see Raymer, as the two had butted heads in a confrontation at last year's WSOP (Matusow had taunted Raymer after a few big pots last year, and Raymer then refused to shake Matusow's hand when Mike tried to apologize) that left Matusow on the rail, and led to Fossilman bringing home the bracelet. ESPN, loving a good story, has plenty of canned interview footage from both players, and ends with the Mouth saying "We're friends, I respect him a lot," to which Norman Chad quickly counters: "They're not friends. He doesn't respect him a lot. Trust me."
The oddest segment of the week is the shot of Adam Friedman trying to decide what to do with the second nuts. He has a K-x flush, and his opponent has moved all-in. Friedman agonizes for what appears to be several minutes, before calling, and seeing that his opponent does indeed have the ace high flush. Friedman collapses into his chair and appears to actually CRY! Now, seriously, there is NO CRYING IN POKER! Listen Adam, we don't know the details of how the hand played out, because ESPN picks it up only when the all-in move is announced, but I'm pretty fucking sure calling with the second nuts in that situation isn't worth crying about. What would TJ or Doyle say about crying at the table? In the Extreme Poker League, Doyle would have come running out of the chip cage and clubbed Friedman across the back of the head with his crutch. Then, Doyle would have stood over Friedman's crumpled body and uttered a line like "Now you have something to cry about." Finally, Mel Judah would have come out and shaved Adam's head, as he lay unconscious!
until next time,
Kid Dynamite

Saturday, October 29, 2005

The Magic Glasses

Paul Phillips has two very interesting threads on his live journal (second thread here) regarding a hypothetical pair of magic glasses - that could allow you to see all of your opponents' hole cards. He ponders what % of the time a top player would win a typical WPT blind structure $10k buy-in tournament with this advantage.

This question makes for a great topic of discussion for the analytically inclined player. I am most surprised by Paul's quote:
"I asked two players who I thought would make good sanity checks: if one of
them had a different view I'd try harder to figure out how not to win. Both said
they would win 100% of the time minus some tiny epsilon. Those two guys were
Barry Greenstein and Andy Bloch."

Now, Barry and Andy are two very talented players who are also fundamentally mathematically sound. I'm very interested, therefore, that they believe the answer is virtually 100%. You can read various responses on Paul's threads as to why the answer should be at least SOMEWHAT lower - many of the posters miss the key points though, which I believe are these:

a) You want to be playing "small ball" poker: it's the Chicago White Sox vs the Boston Red Sox... If you have perfect information, you don't want to get into an all-in slugfest: even if you find AA vs 22 preflop, you still don't want to commit all of your chips. In fact, you NEVER want to commit all of your chips unless your pot equity is 100%, which leads me to point "b"

b) This is the essence of "playing your opponents' cards, not your own cards." The majority of your behavior would be predicated on the fact that you can assume your opponent must lay down his hand if you act in a certain manner. You don't need the best hand, you just need to know what your opponent will do. If you have 6-8 suited, aka, The Vortex, and your opponent has JJ, you may still be willing to play a pot with him, since you think you will be able to get him to either 1) lay down his hand on a flop with overcards to his jacks, or 2) pay you off if you make your hand. The key to the "Magic Glasses" is that you hope to be able to win a huge number of small pots, which will more than compensate for the risks you will eventually have to take as the blinds grow relative to stack sizes. One other problem which it seemed most responders ignored was point c:

c) Even if you know your opponents' cards, you cannot predict with certainty how they will act. Case in point: Entonio Esfandiari vs Gus Hansen in the Poker Superstars Invitational. Antonio raised a pot with 7-7. Gus bluff-re-raised holding ten high. Antonio correctly read gus for being weak, and moved all-in. Gus called. Now, again, with the Magic Glasses, we would never move all-in here, unless blinds were huge relative to stack sizes, but nevertheless, opponents can act irrationally/unpredictably, in such a way to each into our edge of perfect card knowledge.
I believe, without doing any simulation of the problem (and i DO believe it could be simluated) that the true winning percentage of a pro with the Magic Glasses would probably be in the mid-90%'s.

It's important that our opponents do not know that we have magic glasses, or they could seriously cut into our edge by simply pushing all-in preflop a very high percentage of the time. This realization brings me to an intriguing dilmena/paradox: IF our opponents had perfect knowledge of OUR cards, our best strategy would be to push all-in a huge percentage of the time. Furthermore, I believe that the perfect poker player would play as if he had knowledge of everyone's cards. Therefore, is it reasonable to conclude that if we are up against the perfect opponent, our strategy should be one of recklessly pushing our stack in preflop?

I think the immortal David Sklansky figured this out a while ago, when he developed his "System" for novices playing against top pro's, to negate the advantage of the professional player.

And it all comes full circle...

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Brutus "The Barber" Beefcake

First off, I'm going to be in Vegas for a few days starting next Saturday, November 5h. If anyone else will be in town - let me know.

I was chatting more today with the Big Show, and Mel Judah's number one fan, Dirty Dave, and I realized that we need to settle this Mel Judah - Marco Traniello situation before it gets out of hand. There's only one solution: an old school, WWF, Brutus "The Barber" Beefcake style heads up NL freezeout - LOSER SHAVES THEIR HEAD! Obviously, the winner would totally fuck up the loser's hair before shaving it completely. I'm not sure if Mel has the moxie to apply The Sleeper to Marco, or vice versa, so it may have to be a more "willing" type of head shaving, like when Hellmuth made the mistake of chastising Robert Varkonyi "If that guy wins the Main Event, I'll shave my head." Hellmuth graciously submitted to the clippers after Varkonyi's wild run lasted a few more days. Sadly, that was before televised poker had hit it big, so we didn't have the honor of a former-hairdresser-turned-poker-pro to perform the shearing, or a big time production budget.

ESPN could totally work this angle, at least for a segment of "The Nuts" in one of their WSOP broadcasts. It would be legendary. Marco and Mel stare each other down... The Rocky training montage plays, as they each study their strategy... Heads up play begins... Chip counts move back and forth... Mel has Marco on the ropes... Marco fights back... Just when it looks like Mel will finally put Marco away, Jen Harman sneaks up from behind and clobbers him with a chair! Of course, she'd need entrance music, and Normand Chad would have to be screaming, Jim Ross style "OH MY GOD! NO! THIS CAN'T BE! NOOOOOO!" as Jen and Marco gave the comatose Mel Judah a sloppy mohawk, then went to Macaroni Grill to celebrate.

Come to think of it - we could have an entire Extreme Poker League! Think about it - it's perfect... The players would be divided into two camps: good guys, and bad guys. The Hulk Hogans of the world, and the Ric "The Nature Boy" Flairs. And I'm talking about Hulkster back when he was a good guy, before he went evil (Hollywood Hogan) and then came back - and the Nature Boy back when he was evil, before he became a baby-face.

Guys like Ivey, Greenstein, Ferguson, Scotty Nguyen, Gus Hansen, Vahedi and Scott Fishman are just dark enough to be able to walk the middle line, while Matusow, Hellmuth, Arieh and Esfandiari would clearly be the bad guys to Negreanu, Raymer, Men the Master, and Flack's good guys.

Ted Forrest, Chip Reese, Doyle, Seidel, TJ Cloutier and Johnny Chan would be the savvy veterans, while The Grinder, E-Dog, John Phan, J-Dags and Michael Gracz would be the young guns.

Howard Lederer, Hasan Habib, Paul Phillips, John Juanda, "Miami" John Cernuto and Dan Harrington would be managers, while Humberto Brenes and Carlos Mortenson would be high flying lucha-libre types. Jobbers like Todd Whitteles, Arnold Spee and Tuan Lee would get the crap kicked out of them whenever someone needed an ass-kicking.

Randy "The Dreamcrusher" Jensen has to be involved some how, since he already has a great knickname, as does David "the Dragon" Pham.

Phil Gordon would do color commentary with Mike Caro, while Phil Laak would make random appearances whenever more havoc was needed.

Norman Chad / Vince McMahon - this is pure gold - call me!

-Kid Dynamite

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Dontcha Wish Your Girlfriend was Hot Like Me

A true visionary said it best:

"Watch out for my medallions, my diamonds are reckless - feels like I got a midget hangin' from my necklace" - Ludacris

Check out my virtual bling! That's the bronze trophy apparently, since my 16th place finish put me in the 3rd prize tier (XBOX 360).

A few random thoughts today, since I haven't gotten to this week's WSOP broadcast yet.

Did you realize that the Chicago White Sox are trying to tie Bobby Brown's record for most times beating Houston in one week? Baddum-bum CHING!

I previously described how ESPN had a featurette last week about Marcel Luske taking Brett Jungblutt to clean up his image - and they had Marco Traniello cut his hair. Do you think Mel Judah was pissed off? I mean Mel is the former greatest-former-hairdresser-turned-poker-pro. Apparently Marco is the current greatest-former-hairdresser-turned-poker-pro. Was Mel like, "Fuck Marco Traniello. I made my bones when you were goin' out with cheerleaders." In any case, Mel Judah must be on TILT right now. I strongly suggest that anyone who sits down with him rips him apart on being Marco's Number Two.

Finally, I want to give a blog plug to Bobby Bracelet. His rantings are funny, and remind me of myself, before I had to censor myself because Mrs. Dynamite will kill me otherwise. Yeah - Bobby Bracelet is kinda like a non-whipped Kid Dynamite - only he's not as good at poker, and his junk is bigger. You should also be reading Dr. Pauly's Tao of Poker on a daily basis. Pauly is in-imitable, and a legend in his own time.

until next time,

Monday, October 24, 2005

The Legendary Phil Hellmuth

If you're not watching ESPN's coverage of the 2005 WSOP Main Event, you better start soon. The early coverage has been tremendous, but soon all of the characters will be gone, and ESPN will have to resort to doing what it does NOT do best: effectively show actual poker being played. In the meantime, we can loook forward to more spectacular coverage, like this week's episode which featured the great Phil Hellmuth.

The episode begins with Phil explaining "The American public thinks I'm a jerk." I'd like to set the record straigh Phil - I do not think you're a jerk - I think you're a DOUCHEBAG!

After Phil is forced to lay down a hand early to the guy on his immediate left, Phil tries to get a read by showing his opponent his cards. Another player at the table quickly buts in "can I please see that hand?" Phil goes on a gentle rant about how it's bad etiquette to ask to see the hand, and the player quickly spurts "Show one, show all" right back at Phil. While it may be bad etiquette to ask to see a mucked hand at a showdown, I've never thought it improper to ask to see a hand which was shown to another player - and everyone in my game knows this: if you show your buddy, you'd better be prepared to show the whole table.

When a European player bets his QQ against Phil with an Ace on the board, and Phil pays him off, Phil complements him, telling him "That's strong poker." Another player interjects something about him being a tricky European, and Phil lets loose the gem: "I've busted a million Europeans." Great stuff. Almost John-Wayne-like.

ESPN has a little feature about William Rockwell - he has one useless arm, from a previous accident, and plays with his feet! He has a little pyramid he slides the cards onto to peek at them. Unfortunately, we never got to see him bet. The sad thing is that Rockwell was clearly just a tool for the ubiquitous advertising campaign of Golden Palace Casino - the same company that pays people to tatoo their company name on their forehead, or on the belly of a pregnant woman. I wonder if Rockwell had ever even played poker before, or if he was just an advertising pawn. Rumor is he was given a $10k bonus from Golden Palace for surviving day one.

For some reason, ESPN also decided to give ample airtime to Barry Paskin, whose only discernible skill was screaming loudly and repeatedly when he was all in - chanting for his cards. Completely retarded, completely annoying, and completely inappropriate. Barry Paskin may even beat Phil Hellmuth for the BIGGEST DOUECHEBAG OF THE EPISODE award. In fact, yes Barry - you get the award - now please shut the fuck up.

Norman Chad blatantly mocks one participant: "I don't think you can win at this level wearing a striped shirt." I hope Vince Van Patten is paying attention, because Norman Chad is growing on me.

Laydown of the week:
Blinds are 250-500, and Phil Hellmuth raises to 1500 in EP with AK. The old guy next to Phil finds AA, and bumps it again to 3k, and it's back to Phil, who calls. The flop comes:

4-4-A and both players "trap" check
the turn is a Queen, and Phil checks again. Old Guy bets 10k into the pot of about 7k.

Now Phil, clearly assuming that his hand was good, goes into the tank. He starts talking to his opponent, who talks back, and gives away the strength of his hand. I doubt Phil ever put him on AA - it seemed he had him pegged for QQ, but ultimately, Phil concludes:

"Do you know who I am? What's my name?" and mucks his AceKing faceup as his opponent answers. Incredible laydown. I actually like the old guy's overbet - it's not a typical play from a monster hand in this spot, but he hung himself by talking at length to Phil during the hand. Phil Hellmuth is a good hold'em player not because he knows the math better than anyone, but because he can read a situation and a person as well as anyone - and he made a tremendous read here. Not only did he use the Mohammed Ali taunt "What's my name?" He also used the Kid Dynamite staple "Do you know who the FUCK I am?" (minus the f-bomb of course). Phil also talks the old guy into showing him his hand, and Phil is on cloud nine when he realizes he avoided elmination on this hand.

A short time later, Jim Pitman calls an opponent's all-in holding JT in the BB. The opponent has 9-9, and after a A-K-Q flop, Pitman is excited, until the turn and river come 9-Q, to give his opponent a full house. Pitman starts whining about a bad beat, and Hellmuth busts in "actually, that's not a bad beat," explaining that when the money went in, PREFLOP, it was a tossup. Pitman is clearly annoyed, and takes it out on Phil later, in the Hand of the Week:

I think the blinds are 250-500, and Pitman makes it 1200 with KJ of hearts - Pitman forcefully slams his chips into the pot. Phil is two to his left, and reraises to 3200 with A-K. The table mucks back to Pitman, who thinks for 5 seconds and moves all in, for about 16k. Phil, who must have picked up on the chip-slamming weak tell, calls INSTANTLY (which I think is unusual for him, as he usually tries to avoid possible race situations.)

Pitman spikes a Jack on the river, and Phil goes APESHIT. His rant begins: "This Frickin Donkey stuck fifteen thousand in with king jack... I mean... The guy can't even SPELL poker. I re-raised to let him know what I had..." Phil stands up. He looks like he might actually hit his opponent - he's so pissed off. Pitman eventually gets tired of it, and says "I've seen worse." Phil quickly responds, "Yeah, well not from ME. That's why I'm the nine time hold'em champion." Tremendous. Phil's stack is crippled, and he goes to cry in his wife's arms. Poor Mrs. Hellmuth is so embarrased, she's wearing sunglasses in the darkness of the spectator seats. It's amazing that she's a psychologist, and Phil is still so fucked in the head.

With Hellmuth out, ESPN has to find new coverage material, and they head to TJ Cloutier's table, where he's sitting next to a guy who is a dead ringer for Mean Gene Okerlund. And what's with the old white guy who follows Phil Ivey around with a t-shirt and a sign? That's a little creepy isn't it? Big Show is going to try to start the Isabelle Mercier fan club next year, and stand behind her at every major event wearing a banana hammock and a bandana. Dirty Dave is already the charter member of the Evy Ng fanclub.

We also see a great segment of Marcel Luske trying to clean up Brett Jungblutt so he looks presentable - they take him to get his hair cut by none other than Marco Traniello! Now THIS is high comedy - Marco Traniello cutting off Brett Jungblutt's dreadlocks!

Finally, Mike the Mouth Matusow, after a brief featurette regarding his prison sentence, gets into it with the dealer at his table. The dealer accuses Matusow of throwing cards at him. The floor is called over, and The Mouth is brewing - he's ripped, because he insists that he did NOT throw the cards at the dealer, and when the table members back up his story, he calms down and takes his seat again. He's whispering to the guy next to him, very quietly, and let's an f-bomb go as he's telling a story. The dealer IMMEDIATELY raises his hand and calls the floor to give Matusow a ten minute penalty! Matusow is incredulous, and begins to swear at the floorman.

"Fuck that!" - Mike
"Twenty minutes." -floorman
"That's Fucking ridiculous!" -Mike
"Thirty Minutes." -floorman
"Fuck you too" -Mike
"Forty Minutes." -floorman

and he earns a 40 minute penalty, as the rest of the table is left shocked and awed, and the prissy little dealer is quite satisfied.

Hopefully we'll have several more weeks of great footage before ESPN goes back to showing poker hands without stack sizes, blind sizes or bet sizes.

looking forward to it,

-Kid Dynamite

Taking Advantage of Opportunity

I have to give a shoutout to h0nus, who executed this aggressive/opportunistic angle this weekend:

After our beloved Red Sox were eliminated in their quest to repeat as World Champions, h0nus didn't give up - he entered himself in the World Series ticket lottery, and won the right to purchase four tickets to Chicago @ Houston, Game 5. One problem - tickets are held at will-call in Houston.

Undeterred, H0nus hops on a plane to Houston at 6:30 Saturday morning, pays for the tickets, meets a guy he has already sold (via EBAY) two of them to, unloads the first pair and goes back to the airport for a flight home to New York. Meanwhile, since he has to refund the money if game 5 doesn't happen, he's already thrown down a bet on Chicago - 130 moneyline, to hedge his risk of a sweep.

Then this morning, H0nus unloads the second pair, and books a nice profit on the trade. Well done.


Sunday, October 23, 2005

Best of the Bloggers

Well, I didn't WIN the Pokerstars Blogger Freeroll Tournament, but I did finish 16th out of 1473 entrants. I was shooting for the Ipod Nano, which was awarded to places 36th-17th, but I overachieved and earned and XBOX 360. I shamelessly pimped, so hopefully some lucky readers will have their lives enhanced by my ramblings.
The tournament was fun - with less bitching then normal after bad beats - I mean - it's hard to get pissed off about a freeroll. I did take some vicious beats, and I issued a few myself. The one inexplicable donk-a-licious move I saw on more than one occasion was when it was folded around to the small blind, who would then muck to the big blind, but THE BIG BLIND WAS SITTING OUT! That means the BB's hand gets auto-mucked! I guess people weren't paying attention to the "sitting out" labels.
I will be back tomorrow with a full recap of last week's ESPN WSOP broadcast - including the fantastic Phil Hellmuth blowup.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Larry Legend

I grew up in Boston in the heyday of the Larry Bird Celtics. I worshiped Larry Legend as much as anyone else - and thought all things "33" were magical - but this guy is taking it a BIT too far:

Associated Press
OKLAHOMA CITY -- A man got a prison term longer than prosecutors and defense attorneys had agreed to because of Larry Bird.

The lawyers reached a plea agreement Tuesday for a 30-year term for a man accused of shooting with an intent to kill and robbery. But Eric James Torpy wanted his prison term to match Bird's jersey number 33.

"He said if he was going to go down, he was going to go down in Larry Bird's jersey," Oklahoma County District Judge Ray Elliott said Wednesday. "We accommodated his request and he was just as happy as he could be.

"I've never seen anything like this in 26 years in the courthouse. But, I know the DA is happy about it."

only in America.

In other news, I'm pretty depressed because the NYPD is really going after the underground poker scene - another club got busted last night - the club where I met most of my current "poker friends," and there are rumors of more raids on the way. Fuck. I don't want to have to go to Atlantic City to find a live game.


Wednesday, October 19, 2005

You MUST Be Kidding Me

Check out This a company that just came public (NASDAQ: PTEK), and has a market cap of $100mm. As far as I can tell, their product is a computerized poker table that has a little touch screen in front of each player. Instead of having a dealer deal cards, and mess around with chips, you basically end up playing online poker while sitting at the same physical table as your opponents. Now, some of you might say, "Hey - Kid Dynamite - you said you hated online poker because you can't see your opponent - this solves that problem." Well, I respond: the Pokertek poker table is ridiculous. You have got to be fucking kidding me. Even though you can SEE your opponents, you're not interacting with them, and poker without chips and cards will never be real poker to me.

Pokertek even has an endorsement from the immortal Doyle Brunson:

"I've been playing poker for a long time. The PokerPro table is a great way to play the game. It eliminates all mistakes and deals more hands per hour which adds up to more net win for me."

Hey Doyle - come on man - you're kidding right? We all know you've never used a computer in your life. Are they using this table at the Bellagio Big Game these days? I'll hazard a guess that's a negative. Don't whore yourself out endorsing a dogshit product.

Meanwhile, this company is worth ONE HUNDRED MILLION DOLLARS!!! Who is buying these tables? More importantly, who is buying this stock? I will have to do some more digging, as they don't have any details on their website - but I'm left scratching my head, wondering "Why didn't I think of this?" And then the answer comes to me: BECAUSE IT'S A TERRIBLE FUCKING IDEA!

end of rant.


Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Surreal Indeed

So I'm flipping through the channels, and I leave the haven of the HD tier, and slum it down to VH1, to see what sorts of shenanigans are happening on The Surreal Life. If you don't know, this is a show that's basically a takeoff on MTV's The Real World - only it involves washed up celebrities (or perhaps I should say "FORMER" celebrities).

This episode featured former Trump apprentice-wannabee Omarosa antagonizing former supermodel Janice Dickinson. Omarosa has apparently insulted Janice, and Janice is seeking an apology, as the entire cast sits down to a nice dinner. Omarosa, of course, not only refuses to apologize, but also continues to antagonize Janice, saying something about her being a cokehead who's not fit to raise children. At this point, Janice flips out, and pulls a Jerry Maguire style walkout - trying to get the other cast members to show their disapproval and come with her.

But Balkie just sits there.... Pepa just sits there... Carey Hart just sits there... Jose Canseco just sits there... And then we get a side interview with Jose Canseco, featuring the following quote, which is the crux of this post in the first place:

"Every time I've tried to help a woman I've been incarcerated... I've learned my lesson: If I try to help a woman, I'm going to Jail."

-Jose Canseco

Boo yah... I'm telling you folks - you need to watch more TV.

On a completely random side note, I was very proud of myself for recognizing that Jonathan Togo, who plays Ryan Wolfe on CSI: Miami was hiding a thick Boston accent - which he let slip accidentally while interrogating a suspect in a recent episode. Check it out - he's from Rockland, MA baby. Even a bunch of years in NY can't kill the WICKED PISSA in me.

until next time,

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Buying in for More in NL Cash Games

Danny Negreanu wrote a nice post dispelling the common misconception that having a massive stack in a NL cash game is an advantage.
I played 3 1/2 hours of live 1-2NL Friday evening, coming out -$21 for my troubles. I made one brilliant play, one atrocious play, and one weak play - I decided they were so un-debateably uninteresting and obviously wrong that it made no sense to write the details, but it was good to get back in the flow after a month off - and to tune up for my trip to Vegas November 5th.
I think I finally decided what game I should challenge Negreanu to while I'm at the Wynn: Follow the Queen (yeah Bones, that joke was just for you.)
NYC's largest poker club was busted Friday night. 2+2 thread here. Daily News report here. In any case - this sucks for the future of live poker in NYC.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

The Main Event

ESPN's coverage of the Main Event of the 2005 WSOP began this week, and featured a multitude of noteworthy hands.

Jennifer Harmon was involved in a gutwrenching see-saw hand early on with blinds at 20-50. Jen raised to 200 from early position, and Cory Zeidman called behind her with 8d9d. The small blind also called with A-6 offsuit.

Jen liked the TsJdQh flop, but Cory's ass end of the straight made him even happier. The SB checked, Jen bet 500, and Cory raised to 2,000. Jen, sensing she might have a problem, called.

The turn brough the Ten of Diamonds, giving Jen the second nuts, but giving Cory additional outs if he feared he was up against A-K. As it turned out, since Jen held the Q of diamonds, Cory was drawing to a single out: the 7 of diamonds for a straight flush.

Jen checked the turn, and Cory fired out a HORRIBLE bet: 1,000. Jen check-raised to 3,000, and Cory started talking to himself, wondering how he could possible muck this hand. He eventually made the call, and was delighted with the miracle river: the seven of diamonds!

Jen put him all in, and he Hollywooded a little before calling, which sent Jen right to Tiltville.

ESPN then showed a hand involving Chris "Jesus" Ferguson and a player I've played with previously in NYC: Big Joe Stillman. Now, somehow, Ferguson ends up pushing all-in preflop, but it was still for a respectable sum: 4,400 or so. I believe Chris probably raised, Joe re-raised, and then Chris pushed all-in - but since ESPN doesn't worry about such trivialities, I'll have to guess on that. Joe, on the button with what looks like a decent stack, shakes his head, and shrugs "I don't even care - I'm in this tournament for $225" and makes the call holding only K-9. Ferguson flips over A-A, and Joe quickly spurts "Oh - I'm dead." Joe comes off looking like an "internet player" who's just happy to be there - but from my experience playing with him, that's not the case at all.

The flop of K-9-4 has Joe jumping out of his seat, but when the turn and river come Q and 4, Joe's two pair is counterfeited by Ferguson's aces up.

What would an ESPN broadcast be without the network making the defending World Champion, Greg "Fossilman" Raymer look like he's the luckiest man alive? We see Fossliman win a race with A-K vs Q-Q, and then find A-A against another sizable stack's K-K. Fossilman takes Kx suited and flops a flush, and then flops two pair (and turns a full house) with J-9 against pocket kings. Finally, Greg takes 2-2 against A-A and rivers a 4 card flush.

We got to see the tournament's oldest contestant: 90 year old Victor Goulding get a 10 minute penalty for swearing! Wow. Talk about adding insult to injury when Norman Chad adds "TEN MINUTES? That's like a life sentence for him!" Ouch.

Layne Flack appeared deathly ill at his table, and after doubling up, left his stack to get blinded off as he went upstairs to sleep. Lane later returned, apparently realizing his plan wasn't too sound, and looked like he was in real bad shape physically.

In the second hour of the broadcast, we saw the second half of the field competing on their own "day one" - the field was so big that it was split into two groups, to accommodate the massive number of entrants.

On the very first hand of the second day, we see Sammy Farha raise to 200 (25-50 blinds) UTG with A-T offsuit. Oliver Hudson, son of Goldie Hawn (and brother of Kate Hudson) reraises to 450 with T-T. Only Sammy calls, and they watch in awe as the flop comes:

A-A-T !

They both "trap" each other by checking.

On the turn - an offsuit queen: Sammy checks, Oliver bets 300, and Sammy check-raises to 1300. Oliver moves all in, and Sammy calls, eliminating Oliver brutally.

Sammy proved to be luckier than Fossilman could ever appear to be, as he repeatedly made odd plays and hammered flops. On one hand, with 25-50 blinds, some guy opens for 1,000, holding A-A. Negreanu even comments, "1,000? Are you serious?" But Sammy, confident with some chips to play with, calls from the SB with 3-3. I guess if Sammy knows he'll be able to stack his opponent should he spike a set, this play is acceptable.

The flop come 3-6-7, and Sammy coolly checks. His opponent bets 6,000! Aiyahhh! Lesson learned here kids: watch the overbets! Sammy liquidates another player.

ESPN give Phil Hellmuth ample footage as he rolls in, late of course, in a stretch limo. Phil is all decked out in a "Poker Brat" hat and t-shirt. I guess they were out of "Poker Douchebag" logo-wear. He even brings what looks like two different pairs of Oakleys. D-O-U-C-H-E-B-A-G!

We return to Sammy Farha's antics, and see him make this odd play:

Negreanu opens for 150 (25-50 blinds) in early position with 9-8 suited. The next player re-raises to 400. Sammy calls (a raise and re-raise!) on the button with 9-2 of spades! I just don't understand the play. Of course, the flop comes 5-6-7 with two spades, and when Sammy rivers a flush, Danny gets away from his flopped straight without going broke.

Negreanu continues to catch cards, get outflopped and outdrawn, and fail to see any of his own draws materialize. He's seen commiserating with model/actress Shannon Elizabeth, and Norman Chad is the highlight here, shouting in disbelief on the color commentary: "Get her number! How does he NOT get her number? MAN he's running bad!" I think Bones knows why Danny didn't try to get Shannon's number.

All in all, ESPN got lucky with some ridiculous hands and colorful personalities in this coverage of the Main Event, and I expect it will only get better in the weeks to come.

until next time,

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

What up Dog!

Have you seen Dog The Bounty Hunter? What a great show. I'd attempt to describe it, but it's really must see tv. Check your local listings.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Is the Party Over?

When Party Poker starts adding "enhancements" like these, I get nervous about the state of online poker. You now have the option to play blackjack @ Party, and make a retarded side bet as to the color of the flop (you bet all red or all black, before you see your cards, and get pair 8 FOR 1 - that's 7 TO 1 for the uninitiated). By quick math, you have about an 11.8% chance of winning that bet, but need 12.5% to break even. The fact that Party thinks they need to go this route is the most troubling.

Also, Party ended their relationships with their affiliates - formerly, if you logged into Empire, you played at the same tables as the PartyPoker players. Now, Empire is a completely separate set of tables. Interesting gambit by party, as they hope to get a bigger piece of a smaller pie: they will get all of the business of the customers they manage to convert, as opposed to only the affiliate fees, but they clearly will not convert all customers.

I spent the weekend in Savannah, Georgia, at MO's wedding. In a mutual drunken stupor, Big Show insulted the voracity of the World Champion New England Patriots, and offered me the option to take the Pats and the 3 points in Atlanta for no vig, when the true market was Pats +3 (-120). I couldn't resist the overlay, or the need to defend my city's honor in the wake of the Red Sox's downfall, and hammered him on it. Boo yah!

Savannah is a nice town - right on the Intercoastal Waterway (Gators and all!) - very old architecture (cobblestones galore, big old trees), and a great tourist strip called River Street. The direct Delta flight from LaGuardia wasn't bad either. If you play golf, it's definitely worth a trip.

Hopefully, I'll be able to log some hours at the poker table this Friday - as I'm in town for the first time in a month. String Cheese Incident is on tap for Saturday night in New Jersey.


Thursday, October 06, 2005

The Things You Find

Some random links:

Pauly wrote a piece which I cannot even attempt to describe. He is a true genius. The greatest prop bet of all time (scroll to the Oct 5th 2005 entry).

A 2+2 thread regarding homegames being robbed at gunpoint in Boston... Yikes...

Another 2+2 thread about Shaniac stealing a cab from Phil Hellmuth in Aruba.

Bobby Bracelet is consistently funny - if you have a sick sense of humor like I do.

And I'd be remiss if I didn't mention this week's ESPN WSOP broadcast: Annie Duke gets the Tilt-o-riffic treatment from the eventual winner of the limit hold'em event, when he gets her all-in preflop, and spurts something like "What are the odds?" "Three to Two" she replies, UBER-annoyed - as if to say "YOU DON'T EVEN KNOW THE ODDS YOU FUCKING DONKEY! DO YOU KNOW THE FUCK I AM? I'M ANNIE DUKE! I KNOW THE FUCKING ODDS!" He quickly adds: "I knew you'd know." Great Stuff.

The shorthanded NL Hold'em event featured the murderer's row of Scotty Nguyen, Layne Flack, Minh Ly and Doyle Brunson. Doyle puts a series of vicious beats on my main man Layne Flack, who takes it all with a smile. Doyle then dispatches of Minh to win his 10th bracelet. Highlight of the event is when Minh mutters something COMPLETELY unintelligible after getting all-in on the last hand, and Norman Chad cooly quips: "That's an EXCELLENT point."

until next time,

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

F'n Amtrak

So I am trying to leave Boston to get home to NYC on Tuesday night. There is an Amtrak train leaving at 7pm - perfect. I get to the station and have this encounter:

Kid Dynamite (KD): "I'd like a ticket for the 7 o'clock to New York please."
Counter Douchebag (CD): "Do you have a reservation?"
KD: "No."
CD: "They've blocked it out in the system - if you don't have a reservation, I can't give you a ticket."
KD: "Huh? It's sold out?"
CD: "No, it's not sold out, but there was a problem with the tracks outside of New Haven, so all the trains are stopping there."
KD : "OK, I'll go to New Haven, and then take Metro North."
CD: "They blocked it out in the system though - you can't buy a ticket if you don't already have a reservation."
KD: "WHO blocked it out in the system - I don't understand. " (DO YOU KNOW WHO THE FUCK I AM?)

At this point, Counter Douchebag shows me the screen to attempt to explain the bullshit he is propagating. I confirm with him: "But the train is NOT sold out."
"No." he confirms
"And I still can't buy a ticket."
"What happens if I just get on the train?" I KNOW this angle won't work...
"They'll kick you off at the next station."

Hmmm... So, now I consider the gambit: I try to freeroll on the train, and hope to charm the conductor, else risk getting kicked off in Providence... Uggh.. I don't like those odds.

Amtrak, FUCKWADS that they are, are probably thinking like this: We are a business. We don't want unhappy customers. Thus, if we don't let anyone else board this tran, we won't have to deal with any more unhappy customers.

Come on now, that's retarded, because now my travel plans are all fucked up, and I KNOW I'm going to have problems when I come back tomorrow to try this trip again - I'm ALREADY a pissed off, unsatisfied customer... Anyway,temporarily defeated, Kid Dynamite slinks home to watch TV and get some sleep, planning a new attack in the morning.

The Next Morning:
I return to the station, after scouting out the situation on the internet, further tilting from the technological insufficiency of my Mom's original IMac, which a p.c. user like myself simply cannot adjust to: All of the Acela Express trains are cancelled due to damage to the overhead electrical track wires caused by a fire from a gas tanker truck that exploded on the highway near the tracks. Amtrak says the problem is just past New Haven, and that delays will range from 30-40 minutes. Now, being the savvy northeast traveler thatI am, I know that this means I'm basically fucked, but I figure I don't have a better option, as I'm not about to get on the bus.

Back at the station, I ask the counter clerk how long the delays are. He tells me it shouldn't be much of a problem, that the first two trains of the morning made it through with minor delays.

I board the train, and we are hauling along - smooth sailing - until there is a brief announcement as we pass through Mystic that the train will stop for about 20 minutes at New Haven to attach a diesel engine, which will remedy the problem caused by last night's explosion. However, we only stop for about 3 minutes at New Haven, and cruise right to Stamford. Things are looking up - I figure we've made it through the delay - piece of cake.

Of course, in Fine Fuckwad Fashion, we leave Stamford, pass through New Rochelle and branch off to the Amtrak line toward Penn Station, and come to a stop. FOR 70 FUCKING MINUTES! All the while, the conductor is explaining how there was a fire last night, and that we have to get towed through the damaged area. Are you kidding me? Why didn't you tell me this 15 minutes ago - I would have exited at Stamford and taken Metro North home for the final 45 minutes. Instead, I get to sweat in an Amtrak car with no electrical power, my internal degree of TILT slowly simmering to a medium boil... We eventually make it to Penn Station, about an hour late.

Anyway, I think they need to privatize Amtrak. It is a sinkhole for government funding as it is, but there's no reason why it shouldn't succeed. Let the free market see if it's a viable business model - and stop wasting tax dollars on a product that could be better off without them.

getting down off my soapbox,

Home Again

Mrs. Dynamite and I went to Boston for the weekend, and I stuck around for a few extra days, spending the holidays with my family. A brief recap:

We listened to Friday's Sox-Yanks game in the car as we drove up to Boston. Even on the radio it was intense. Good thing too, as the big weekend showdown lost some meaning when Cleveland laid down for Chicago, so both the Red Sox and Yankees made the playoffs. I could babble about how the MLB rules for determining division champions and such is completely ridiculous, and, in fact, I think I will: Yankee fans should be just as upset - Had Cleveland managed to win a few games, the Yankees would NOT have won the AL East. Huh? Why? Cleveland is not in the AL East. Therefore, their results should have nothing to do with who the AL East Champ is. However, MLB rules are as follows: if there are two teams (ie, Sox, Yanks) who are tied for the best record in the division, the head-to-head tiebreaker procedure will only be implemented IF all of the playoff teams have already been definitively determined.

For the girls out there, this means that since the Sox and Yanks both had better records than Cleveland, they are both in the playoffs, and the Yankees get the division title because they bested Boston 9-8 in the season series. Fine - perfectly reasonable. However, if Cleveland had also been tied, then the Yankees do NOT win the East - they have to play a one game playoff with the Sox, and the loser has to play Cleveland for the Wildcard. Anyway, it's a stupid rule, and a moot point.

On Saturday, Big Poppa Dynamite and Stepmom Dynamite accompanied us to the Topsfield Fair - America's longest continually running fair. We got to see a 1400 lb. pumpkin and a donkey with a big hammer. We also caught a great demonstration from the Essex County K-9 unit. Their dogs all speak foreign languages (Russian, Slovakian, German), depending on what country they came from, and I eventually figured out that it was because the dogs would never be able to understand the Cops' thick Boston accents - and I'm FROM Boston. "These dawgs ahh trained to search evahray compahhtment of yoaaahhh caaaahhh for nahhhcahhhhtics." I was unable to beat the midway games, but did put a whopping on the Bloomin' Onion booth. Mmmm.. Fried......

Sunday we ventured to Honeypot Hills. No - it's not a Cathouse in the mountainous Vegas suburbs - it's an apple orchard in suburban Boston. The place was absolutely mobbed with eager Johnny Appleseeds clamoring to pay $18 to harvest a bag of fresh New England apples. We landed a nice crop of Empires, which I will have to peel for Mrs. Dynamite's signature Apple Pie, Apple Crisp, and Apple Turnovers (which she so generously served at my homegame last year).

I then taught Big Poppa Dynamite the fine art of improvisational cooking, whipping up a batch of chili which simmered while we watched the Patriots game on TV. We had considered trying to go to this game in person, but as the Pats crumbled in the second half, I turned to my dad and admitted, "Man - it really would have sucked if we'd shelled out $1000 for tickets to this game and had to watch this debacle." He nodded appreciatively. Uggh. I did manage to go a perfect 3-0 with my NFL wagers this weekend, good for positive 6 units, and putting me ahead for the season.
I"ll be back later with a rant about FUCKING AMTRAK, which, in typical fuckwad style, put a wrench in my return trip.