Tuesday, January 31, 2006

The Joys of Puppyhood

First off, if you're not watching High Stakes Poker on the Game Show Network - start. Great, real high stakes cash game action from the Golden Nugget featuring Ted Forrest, Danny Negreanu, Sammy Farha, Doyle & Todd Brunson, Sheik, Jen Harman, Barry Greenstein and other top names. The action is interesting and the table talk is fun to watch.

In other news, Oscar is eating his own poo. Yeah - that little fucker is unstoppable. How can I stay mad at him though?

I just have to dodge his kisses now.


Monday, January 30, 2006

Horn Dog

Oscar, my 11 week old puppy, is maturing nicely: today he humped Mrs. Dynamite's arm! I'm so proud of him, and hope to have video of his hump-scapades by this weekend.


Another One Bites the Dust

Props to the boys over at WickedChops, who wrote about the latest NY poker bust out on Long Island:

Said the Police Commish in Suffolk County, "If anyone has any questions about
what is and what is not legal in regard to 'Texas Hold 'em' and other games of
chance we encourage them to call our public information office at 631-852-6308." So just for spite's sake (a distant relative of pete), we encourage everyone to call that number and ask hold'em "legality" questions like, "If the first hole card is accidentally exposed, is that a misdeal or is that just the first burn card?" and "If two people are eliminated during the same hand during final table play, how do you determine who receives more prize money?"

Great work as always Chops & crew.

In other news, you can learn a lot about the strange workings of the internet from Statcounter, which tells how people get to different sites. For example, here's how people get to Kid Dynamite's World, by searching for:

Peyton Manning's Wife
Peeing Bed Kid
and Sean Sheikan

Great Stuff.

until next time,

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Back on The Train

Oscar peed on the floor one too many times today, and after he crossed the line and peed on the bed, I made my decision: I'm going to play some poker! Vortex and I headed to a new club where we found a bunch of familiar faces. It was like the first day of school, where you see all of your buddies you haven't seen all summer: but nothing really changed - same familiar faces on all fronts: in the seats, in the box, behind the cage, running the floor.

We sat in a 1-2NL game, and Vortex chided me: "You're the oldest person at the table." I looked around - holy crap - he was right. I'm pretty sure this is the first time in my life this has ever happened to me! Man - almost thirty is old....

Vortex and I were clearly the two best players at the table, but I was unable to beat the game, and left after 3 1/2 hours stuck $274. It's good that this club scene is rocking again, although I feel bad 'cause I'm guessing the games from my old club will migrate here - I liked the old place: the dealers were good and friendly, and the place had the feel of the homegame. The new club, on the other hand, is bigger and more businesslike, but closer to my apartment and should feature games just as juicy.

Until next time,

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Special Guest Post

Since I've been busy with my new pooch, and figured you don't want to hear any more about how he's crapping all over the kitchen, I asked Dirty Dave to write up this phenomenal true "human poop" story, which happened last week in Vegas.


Let me start out by saying I was honored when Kid Dynamite asked to me to post this little tale from the Vegas Winter Assault 2006. As one of the assailants, I will try to bring you right into the fold, and hopefully leave you with a suggestion for your next trip. Away we go...

We pick up the action at 12 noon PDT on January 14th, a day better known as "Six Sigma Sunday". While KD was embarking on his fateful collision course with the deep-stacked Tunisian Playboys in the 2-5 NL game, Steve, Craig and I had planned to enjoy an afternoon of metro sexuality at Truefitt and Hill. For those not familiar with T&F, they are a purveyor of fine men's grooming services, literally fit for a Royal, as their early days can be traced back to Jolly Old England at the turn of the 19th century. It is an intimately designed barber shop, located in an inconspicuous corner of the Forum Shoppe’s at Caesars. From the moment you step inside, you are transported to 2 Cross Lane circa 1825, from the detailed mahogany molding in the foyer to the rich medicinal balms emanating from the barbers' stations just behind the waiting area. Just behind the vintage barber chairs sits a manicurists' station, which is the last section of T&F. In all, the entire facility is no more than 15 yards in length, making a low whisper the only possible form of communication should one desire any sort of discretion.

Seeming that Truefitt and Hill's typical clientele consists mainly of corporate chieftains, members of parliament and other various magistrates; you can imagine the look on the Maitre D's face when us three sleep-deprived scoundrels sauntered up to the counter for our noontime appointment. Nonetheless, this was Las Vegas where every Spike TV watching sweathog can purchase the aristocrat treatment, so he was more than courteous during the initial greeting. To be precise, he was an African American gentleman in his late 40's- he wore an immaculate Zegna suit, and sported a set of finely clipped and buffed fingernails that likely were the result of an hour spent with the 20 something manicurist in the rear of the store.

The Maitre D explained that they were running a touch behind schedule, and only Big Show would be able to get his hot lather shave immediately. Rather than let our annoyance fester, he placated Craig and I by offering complementary bottled water and a manicure to boot! Craig accepted the offer right away, leaving me alone in the foyer.

I had some time to kill, and seeming my stomach was losing it's battle with the Caribe Cafe's version of chicken fried steak (covered in gravy so thick, you could eat it with chopsticks), I had a golden opportunity to empty my system before my have.

I figured the place was too small to have a restroom, but once the Maitre D caught me looking around with that furled "Is there a bathroom around here" face, he motioned to a small door located right behind the manicurist's shoulder. I entered the tiny room, locked the balsa wood door and began going about my business. It felt awkward, engaging in such a private act only feet away from the young manicurist, Craig, and the rest of the shop. In fact, only the low hum of classical music prevented my entire movement from being audible to the entire T&F staff.
Somehow, my mind must have been on the Steelers game that I had deserted in the 3rd quarter, because I failed to realize just how much bathroom tissue I was going through. So when it came time to zip up and flush, I was stunned to see the level of the toilet water going not lower, but higher...much higher....and fast...towards the brim of the bowl!

The foul flood halted just before reaching overflow, but the situation was still critical with the water's meniscus nearing the edge of the bowl. My breathing shortened as I immediately began rummaging through their small bathroom cabinet looking for some kind of implement with which I could unclog the toilet. To little avail, all I found were excess men's beauty supplies. I figured my best course of action was to get the heck out of there, and alert the Maitre D who might know what to do.

I calmly opened the door, and casually looked over at Craig and the manicurist who were both staring back at me as if to say, "Where have you been for the past 25 minutes???" Without offering a word of explanation to them, I calmly walked right to the Maitre D's counter and subtly motioned for his attention.

"Something wrong sir?” he inquired.

By now there were other customers waiting right behind me in the foyer, raising the stress level of my situation to life-scarring levels. I was not about to speak of the toilet crisis out loud, so I leaned way over the counter and beckoned the Maitre D even closer with my right hand. He would move an inch towards me, I would motion him closer, he would move another inch and I'd repeat, as if to say,

"clooossser, cloooooossssser, come cloooooooooooooossssssssser..."

With his head cocked and his right ear within three inches of my mouth, I softly uttered the words,

"Do. you. have. a. plunger?"

He slowly recoiled, and while clasping both hands together he nodded once and grinned,

"Not a problem Sir, we've got you covered"

Then he shattered the silence in the parlor with two thunderous claps in quick succession,

"Ro-Bért!” he summoned.

Suddenly a young man in his 20's with a neatly trimmed beard and fine black on black suit emerged from a chair beside the barbers. Until now, I had no idea this man was even in the room with us, but now on center stage he had the attention of the entire facility.

The Maitre D whispered briefly to Robért, and within a three-count he was soldiering off to the Caesars janitorial closet, from which he returned with the magical plumbing tool. By the time he headed back to eliminate the blockage, I has long assimilated back into the foyer scene, totally distanced from the crisis in the rear.

Within 5 minutes, I was called to the barbers' chair where I spend the next hour getting my face turned into a steaming, supple and smooth piece of eucalyptus what with the various towel treatments, multiple gel lathers and two-coat straight edge razor job that the Barber administered with the dexterity of a brain surgeon. I swear I left that place with cheeks as soft as the ones I showed up with on Day One of junior high.

Please take the preceding anecdote as my strongest positive testimonial to the Truefitt and Hill experience. I would encourage any man heading to Las Vegas to call ahead and book an appointment on a Saturday afternoon as a perfect way to set the table before a night out on the town. The 90 minutes of pure grooming Nirvana is real throwback to a time before multitasking, a time when a barbershop visit was more than a nuisance on your To Do list- It was a trip to the doctor, the church and the therapist rolled into one. And fear not if your stomach betrays you at the moment of truth- the good people at Truefitt and Hill have got you covered.

Dirty Dave

Monday, January 23, 2006

Who's Your Daddy

This being a father thing is hard. Yeah - some of you might think I'm a freak for talking about my new puppy Oscar like he's a baby, but Mrs. D and I are like that - owning a puppy is a full time roller coaster lifestyle change.

Oscar had a great weekend - when we're with him, he's a piece of work: cute, affectionate, smart, charming. But when we leave him alone, he's like Jekyll & Hyde: he goes crazy! This is all pretty understandable of course, but I'm just hoping he doesn't develop these willful disobedience character traits.

This weekend he figured out how to escape from the gate which confines him in the kitchen. When Mrs. D and I returned home from 45 minutes out at dinner, Oscar tried to run back into the kitchen when he saw us - he knew he messed up! Unfortunately for him, he couldn't fit back in.

The next day, our friends brought over another gate which he cannot squeeze through. We fastened it to the first gate with plastic cable ties, said goodbye, and went to Brunch. When we returned two hours later, Oscar, the 5 lb dynamo, had pulled the two gates apart, and snuck though again! He was lounging calmly in the bedroom, waiting for us, and I swear I saw a smirk on his face.

Today was his first day home alone, and he didn't like it. He's sitting on my lap as I type right now, but he's pretty pissed at me: just looking at me with eyes that speak 1000 words. "How could you leave me here all alone - I can't believe you did that."

Oscar knows where he is supposed to go to the bathroom, and does a good job hitting the target when we're home with him. When we leave him alone, however, he totally regresses. I hope it's regression, and not his way of saying "Ok fine - you can leave me - but you're gonna have to clean up my crap when you get back, cause I don't give a fuck."

We also learned this weekend that Oscar does NOT like baths, and really really does NOT like the blowdryer.

In the end, I challenge you to not love this guy:

learning as we go...


Friday, January 20, 2006

Introducing: Oscar

Name: Oscar Dynamite
Type: Dog
Breed: Brussels Griffon
Sex: M
Age: 10 weeks
Likes: Following KD & Mrs. D around, peeing on the floor, howling when left alone, cuddling
Dislikes: Being left alone, peeing on newspaper, obeying commands, night time

We finally brought home Oscar. Last night was his first night with us, which, as expected was a tough one. It was his first night away from his 7 brothers and sisters, and he cried every hour for 5-10 minutes. Although the breeder says he's paper trained, he showed absolutely no evidence of this last night, but hopefully he'll improve as he settles down. He hit the target a few times today! I can't tell you how proud I was when my boy crapped in the right spot. It felt like laying down JJ to preflop re-raise and having my opponent show me Cowboys.
He's ridiculously cute, and when he matures and learns to listen, should be even more fun. It's so hard to leave the apartment - he cries every time we leave him alone.

Stay tuned for many more trials and tribulations of Oscar.


Wednesday, January 18, 2006


Dirty Dave's Makers Mark gambit is worthy of it's own highlight here. Here's what happened: late night @ Pure, the table next to us abandoned an almost full bottle of Makers, looking oh so pretty there with its red wax dripping down the neck. As the waitress went to take it away, I shook my head and muttered "what a fuckin' shame." Now, I should mention that I'd rather go home to bed than drink Makers Mark any day of the week - I just couldn't believe the value being missed here - yeah, I'm an EV guy.

So Dirty Dave snags the waitress and stalls her as he coerces her into pouring two cups full before she takes the bottle away. These cups sit on our table, untouched for the rest of the night. I find out later that Dirty Dave brought them out of the club when he and Craig left, bought a bottle of Dasani at the gift shop, which he drank, and then transferred the Makers Mark, logic problem style, into the Dasani bottle.

Little did I know that Dave actually brought the plastic Dasani bottle full of Makers home on the plane with him, drinking it on the way, and took it back to his apartment. Now that is hard core value play - you can tell he's a master grinder at the poker table.. I can only assume that it will shortly be transferred to a first class crystal decanter: happily resting after its cross country voyage.

nice work Dave, on the Value Bet of the Week.


Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Six Sigma Sunday

Sunday @ 10am, Dirty Dave woke me as he got up to go hit the Caribe Cafe. I could only utter one desperate word as I lay there feeling like my eyes were bleeding: "MEDIC!" I dragged myself out of bed, scrubbed up, and we threw down the Caribe Cafe brunch print. I went with the Buffalo chicken sandwich, while Dave chose the chicken fried steak.

As he left Pure the night before, Dirty Dave had pulled off the "what the fuck?" move of the weekend, by taking two full cups of Makers Mark out with him. He then bought a bottle of water, drank the water, and transferred the Makers into the plastic bottle with a cap. Of course, no one had any desire to drink this Makers Mark, but Dave couldn't bring himself to throw it away - he recognizes EV when he sees it!

Dave, Big Show and Craig headed over to Caesar's for a shave, but I had one thing on my mind: more poker. I threw my name on the 2-5NL list - for once there was an early game going, and I sat in the $5-$10 Omaha high-low full kill rock garden while I waited.

I lost 1/4 of my stack when I made an underfull, and was down to $60 from my $200 buy-in when my J-T-x-x flopped J-J-T with two hearts. I managed to triple up in this hand, which is incredible considering how rocky the game was: One opponent had TT, and the other had AA with the flush draw.

I was called for the 2-5NL game, but I was playing out the remainder of the hands until my big blind in the O8 game. I noticed some commotion around the 2-5NL table, but couldn't fully comprehend the situation until I actually sat down.

Six-sigma is a term used to describe a situation that is six standard deviations away from the mean in a normal distribution. It happens, roughly, NEVER. It's basically the perfect storm. This game was at least Six Sigmas.

Here is the cast of characters:

Seat 2: Chester: The apparent leader of this posse, dressed in an immaculate $5k looking Armani suit, with slicked back black hair.
Seat 4: The Button Man: One of Chester's henchmen: looks just like WWE's John Cena, but he's a little taller and thinner - wearing a slick dark suit, with a short tuxedo tie. He's trashed and relatively quiet, until Chester gives him the order to assassinate someone.
Seat 7: Avi: Chester's half-brother. He's a jovial guy, dressed down, and, like the others, wasted. Avi is moving all-in blind almost every hand, and having a blast.
On the rail: Darren : Chester's muscle. This guy is a giant Samoan/Hawaiian sounding guy with a shaved head. He's just come back from fighting for the Country, and is very drunk and emotional.

We can't figure out what the deal with Chester and his posse is. Guesses range from actor/model, to Albanian arms dealers, to Persian Playboys, to internet millionaires.

I sit down in seat 8, right next to Avi, and within 3 minutes he's picked up on my Red Sox hat and Patriot's sweatshirt. He's laughing and joking with me about the tough loss, and he grabs a USC hat off of the head of a guy on the rail and throws it on my head. "Now you're the ULTIMATE loser!" he says, and I laugh with him. He's throwing chips around like they're confetti, and I want a piece.

There's a guy in the 3 seat with about $3k, and he gets up and leaves. Avi takes his seat, next to Chester. Chester has racks and racks of chips on the table. The game has a $500 max buy-in, but Chester had $4k on the table. He's drunk, but pretty subdued and calm, compared to his brother Avi. Chester will call Avi's all-in bets with any two cards, but will not make crazy blind moves himself.

A guy who looks like Freddy Deeb with hair sits down in the now vacant 7 seat, and immediately wakes up to KK. Avi pushes all-in, and Deeb calls. He gets stacked when Avi's 5-8 flops trip fives. Deeb takes it well and rebuys. He gets all-in against Avi again, with A-K vs Avi's 6-8. Avi flops two pair and stacks him. Deeb rebuys. Deeb gets all in again with A-Q vs Avi's Q-8. Avi hits another 3-outer, spiking an 8, and liquidating Deeb for a 3rd time.

Holy cow: talk about a tough series of beats. Deeb rebuys again, and manages to double through Avi when he finds A-J, which holds up for a change.

Every 5 hands or so, one of Chester's boys spills a glass of champagne on the table. They are drinking Dom, and Avi starts drinking it directly from the bottle. Darren, on the rail, is flipping out, telling Chester he doesn't care about the money - he wants to go home and see his babies. It's impossible to describe how ludicrous this scene was: the big muscle man crying on the rail - I'm not sure what kind of influence he was under, but I think he also had some kind of post-traumatic stress disorder from his service at war. He came over to me, and I offered a sympathetic ear, lest I provoke him to crush me with his bare hands (more like PAWS).

"I've seeeeen things. I've touchhhhhhed things.. I've smeelllllllled things... You can't even imagine. And now I come back here and it's all gone - I used to have money like him (points at Chester) - but I lost it all," I'm just standing there wide-eyed, nodding "I hear you Brother," and hoping he won't snap on me.

Darren puts his two index fingers on my chest and asks "Can you feel this power man? Can you feel the power?" "Fuck yeah man," I tell him. "That's from Japan. Korea. China." he tells me. I'm not sure if i'm dreaming or not.

He wanders back to the other side of the table, and Big Show walks into the poker room. I'm babbling like a kid about how this is the most ridiculous scene I've ever imagined, but Big Show can't comprehend until he sees it for himself.

I have to muck A-Q when Avi moves all-in and gets called before me - The caller was Deeb with A-K, which of course was cracked by A-6. I then mucked A-J suited when Avi moved all-in again, and a player called before me with QQ. Another guy woke up behind me with KK and tripled up!

I find KK UTG and raise to $25. It's folded around to Avi, and he smiles at me. "Let's do it, "I goad him, and he says "All-in." I call and double up.

Now, a dude in a striped shirt, who Chester is calling "Stripes" is sitting in the ten seat, and he's done something to get on Chester's bad side, but no one knows what. Chester tells him "Hey - Stripes - I just want you to know - I'm gonna knock you out - you're leaving here with us." He's not talking about a tournament knock-out: he's talking about a right hook knock out. "Darren - get that guy," he tells the big guy, and now things are getting really freaky. Darren is off on a tangent, so the Button Man comes over to Stripes: "Stand up - I'm gonna knock you out. Stand Up!"

The Mirage floor staff does a terrible job handling this situation, and pretty much ignores it. The Button Man starts asking everyone "are you with this guy?" while pointing to Stripes. We all deny it, fearing we'll get shanked in the liver or slapped in some sort of choke hold if we're with Stripes.

We deal another hand (we're playing less than 15 hands per hour) and I peer down at AhTh in the BB. There are 3 limpers, and I whisper to Big Show, pondering if I am committed to call if Avi moves in blind here. Avi instead raises to $80, and it's called once before it gets to me. I call, and two more players call behind me. Everyone wants to see a flop!

The flop comes T-7-5 rainbow, and I bet out $200. Two folds to Avi, who smooth calls. The SB folds.

The turn is another ten. I now bet out $300, and Avi looks at me. I give him the thumbs up, and he calls.

The river is a 4, and I have $380 left, which I miscount $370, and move all-in. Avi consults his cards again. He asks how much it is. I count it down again, to $375. He asks again, and I realize I have 5 $1 chips, which play, and I throw them in and say "Three Eighty." He has absolutely nothing unfortunately, and folds. I now have $1500.

I get one more big chance to crack Avi, when I limp with T-9 and he limps too. The flop comes J-Q-K with two clubs. There are 4 in the pot, and I am on the button. I bet out $80 into a $20 pot, and Avi calls. The cutoff thinks for a few before mucking. Holy cow - I'm feeling this - this is gonna be it: I'm gonna double up this now significant stack.

The turn is the single worst card in the deck for me: the ten of clubs. Avi now moves all-in, and I cannot call. He flips up 5-8 with the 5 of clubs, and we laugh about it.

Just when I thought this situation couldn't get any more sigmas from normal: with 50 people on the rail, blind all-ins every hand, two players physically threatening another while drinking Dom Perignon straight from the bottle, a completely ignorant Mirage staff, and me wondering if I'm dreaming - Jerome Bettis on the television compounds the impossibility of everything by fumbling on the goal line with Pittsburgh up by 3 and 1:40 left in the game @ Indy. More sigmas: Ben Roethlisberger makes an improbable game saving tackle, and Indy misses the game tying field goal attempt when Vanderjagt shanks it: his first missed postseason kick ever at home.

Now, Chester stands up, and tells the dealer to "get the fuck up," so he can sit next to his pal, Stripes. The dealer declines, but still doesn't get the floor involved! At this point, a young local sitting between me and Stripes calls the floor over and says that she should have security at the table if she's going to allow the game to go. The floorperson, who shall remain nameless even though she was completely incompetent and wrong, replies "It's one or the other: if I call security, they'll be kicked out."

Chester sits back down and is eyeing me. He turns to Avi and says "What's up with Boston?" Avi says "He's ok - he's with us." "You're ok," Chester tells me. I blurt out "Whoo! I'm not on the hit list?" And clap my hands loudly as I pump my fist. Chester eyes me suspiciously, and I give him the thumbs up... His attention wanes.

Now, it's 2:45 and I have to be out of my room by 3pm, but I don't want to leave the game. I eventually do a super-speed sortie to the room to jam my stuff into my suitcase, and return with my bag, fighting through the crowd 4 deep around the table to find that the Big Show is seated right next to me in the 7 seat now. I have my camera, and Avi is drinking Dom from the bottle. I ask him if I can take a picture, and he smiles and says "absolutely." Before I can even turn the camera on, Darren, on the rail, freaks out again, and screams/grunts "AVI - NO PICTURES!" The lady in the one seat is starting to get scared, and Chester tells her, "Don't worry, he's big, but he's just very emotional right now."

The Button Man comes back again, asking if we're with Stripes. He's been asking this non-stop every few minutes for the last hour. We continue to deny it. I only know "Stripes" from having seen him in the poker room over the course of the past 3 days. He sarcastically says "Thanks for the backup," and I tell him, "Hey man - no need for all of us to get killed. Just don't go to the bathroom by yourself."

Eventually, it all catches up with Chester's posse, and they decide to leave the game. Chester racks up $6k, most of which he's taken from Avi, and they disappear into the crowd. The game breaks almost instantly, but not before I find AA on the button 4 handed... 10 minutes too late.

It's really hard to do this game justice in words. I tried to get a picture, but figured I wouldn't be able to type it up with a broken arm if Darren got mad at me for taking it. If you imagine Quentin Tarantino filming a poker game in the style of the acid-induced scenes in Natural Born Killers, all compounded by a 3 day Vegas binge, you can try to build a picture in your mind.

Big Show and I went to rock the Mirage Pai Gow game for 1/2 hour before I had to head out to the airport for my flight home.

Trip Totals:

Thursday IP Double Deck BJ: -$264
Friday AM 1-2NL Mirage: -$200 1 hour
Friday AM 1-2NL/2-5NL Mirage: -$400 9 hours
Friday night Harrah's Texas Holdem Bonus Table Game: -$180
Friday night Harrah's Roulette: -$20 (Martingale attempt with remainder of Hold'em buy-in
Friday night Harrah's Pai Gow: +$40
Friday night IP Double Deck BJ: +$514
Saturday 2-5NL Mirage: +$385 6 hours
Saturday night IP Double Deck BJ: +$88
Sunday 2-5 NL Mirage: +$1065 4 hours
Sunday Mirage Pai Gow: $+45
Football Pnl: zero (SEA/CAR cancel out NE)

Hours of poker played: 20
Games played: 1-2NL, 2-5NL, 6-12 limit (back to the roots!), 5-10 O8 full kill
Times stacked with A-Q: 1
Times stacked with small suited connectors or one gappers: 2 (4-5s, 4-6s)
Quads flopped: 1
Straight Flushes rivered: 1
Net Poker PnL: +$850
Net overall PnL: +$1073

Playing in the most insane poker game I've ever been a part of on Sunday: priceless.


Monday, January 16, 2006

Vegas Winter Assault 2006 - part 1

Ahhh. Vegas. Where to begin... On any trip to The Desert, I'm writing in my head as I go, but this trip wrapped up with a scene at the Mirage 2-5 NL cash game that was so many sigmas away from normal it's almost impossible to describe - all that in due time.

Thursday, I logged on to to check in for my 8pm flight. Would I like to upgrade to first class? Fuck yeah! I fill out the form with my name, address, credit card info, etc, and hit "submit." "We're sorry, First Class is not available." What the fuck? Why the fuck did you offer it to me then? You couldn't run that little check BEFORE I filled out the form? Bad Beats: 1 Kid Dynamite: zero.

5 1/2 hours on an Airbus A319 wedged in the window seat next to a guy bigger than me was another bad beat, but a few hours of sleep had me re-upped and ready to rumble with a hard core cast of characters awaiting my arrival at the Mirage:

The Big Show & his girlfriend, Ms. H
Dirty Dave - master of analogies and all things gambling
Craig - mackdaddy extraordinaire

I did a Superman-esque quick change in the room, and met the crew back in the Mirage sportsbook. The Thursday night NLHE tourney was just wrapping up, and the guy who won was the same guy who beat me when I finished second a while back.

Big Show was killing time in a blackjack 6-deck shoe, and I tried to take a picture of him at the table, which almost got be barred. We convened to make a plan, with Craig and Dirty Dave yearning for a lounge scene. I was aching to absorb some negative EV at the tables, but we aimlessly wandered over to Treasure Island, and ended up at their lounge, Mist. If you click on that link for Mist, you'll see a page with lots of people having a great time dancing it up and partying. What we saw was the 5 of us sitting in a corner booth while some Chinese Gangsta types tried to impress the ladies with their sunglasses-at-night styles.

After a few slow rounds of drinks, and some unsuccessful female sorties by Craig, we left Mist, with me wondering which had a higher EV: playing $25 double deck blackjack with free drinks tableside, or paying $10/drink at Mist.

We rambled over to the Venetian and headed into Tao - their nightclub. I can't really figure out Tao: the space is oddly shaped and has a very poor flow. Perhaps the problem is that we never went upstairs - I'm not sure if the real club is the upstairs part - I hope so, for their sake.
The Big Show tries to circle me @ Tao

After a few more rounds at Tao, it was 3:30 am, and I'd still failed to get any table action. We settled on the old standby: the IP double deck game, and felt quite at home walking into the Champagne Pit.

The Imperial Palace is a Vegas icon. Built in the style of an ancient Asian "palace," it is vastly outdated, but retains an old school charm that cannot be denied:

-the incredible kitsch of the "Dealertainers," celebrity look-alikes who deal blackjack and get up on a little pedestal to lip-sync or sing performances twice an hour
- the irony of the "Champagne Pit," serving IP private label non-vintage bubbly
- cheesy plastic bead necklaces awarded for blackjacks
- most importantly, a double deck blackjack game dealt face down by easily tilt-able dealers

We played for a few un-eventful hours, where I rang up a $264 loss, and Big Show ducked out at Harrahs to get some sleep as I returned to the Mirage. I scoped out the scene in the poker room at 5am. There was one seat in the 1-2 NL game. I was not trashed, but certainly not at peak performance, so I hesitated, before politely declining the seat. I took two steps toward the rail, and then, like Mike McD in his "let's play some fuckin' cards," scene, turned and told the floorperson "I'll take it."

I bought in for the maximum, $200, and watched the chooch-fest in front of me. I could not find a hand, and a failed 3-bullet bluff ate up 1/2 my stack. The two goofballs next to me were young Persian looking dudes playing like rocks and thinking they were in the big time game. One of them turned to me and said "They call me Mack Nut, 'cause when I'm in a hand I have the Mack Nut." He did a little head jiggle as he said this. Now you have to understand, it's about 5:30 am, and I'd normally find this funny, but this dude was serious! I looked him dead in the eye and say "You're kidding right? Because you didn't really look like you were kidding when you said that." His buddy went nuts, and embraced me into their posse - an honor which I apparently didn't grasp the meaning of. I felted myself with 4-5 suited, and returned to the room to recharge.


I woke up early and hit the poker room by 10:30. There was still no 2-5NL game going, so I again sat in the 1-2NL game which I simply could not beat. I managed to get felted with A-Q, of course, when I ran into a flopped set of 5's. By 12:30 I was seriously tilted: how can the fucking Mirage not have a 2-5NL game going at noon on a Friday?!?! Finally, we got a game going around 1pm. We were 4 handed, and the game broke as quickly as it began, but reformed just as quickly with an all new cast of characters.

I picked up some early pots, and had built my $500 max-buy in up to about $850, when I played this monster:

UTG raised to $15, and was called by a woman two to his left. One more player called, and I called in the cutoff with 8-9 offsuit. The big blind came along, and we saw a flop of 4-6-7 rainbow. The BB bet out $25, the initial raiser folded, and the woman made it $50 to go. It was folded to me, and I elected to smooth call the $50. The BB called the $25 raise.

The turn was an offsuit ten, giving me the nuts. The BB bet out $100 and the woman raised all-in, $280 more. I announced "I'm all-in," and the BB actually thought for a few seconds before he called off all of his chips: I had them both covered. The BB had the same hand as me (what was he thinking about?), but the woman didn't turn her hand up until the river paired the ten on the board. Her set of 7's had filled up, and she scooped a $1300 pot.

I shook my head, and she immediately racked up her chips and left the game! Holy crap! That's the second time this has happened to me in two consecutive chips to Vegas: I get my money in with the nuts against a set, get drawn out on, and watch my opponent run for the doors! The thing with this woman was, when we were playing shorthanded, she won a few pots, and left the game for 5 minutes to essentially just take money off the table. She has every right to leave the game, but there was no fucking way I was about to let her take these chips to the cage and then get back in this game with a min-buy-in. Not to worry, there was a list, and she did not return.

I took a walk to see what was going on in the celebrity tournament they were having on the casino floor: Mirage has a new nightclub, Jet, and they sponsored a tournament for the Mirage high-rollers which featured Paris and Nicky Hilton, Shannon Elizabeth, Kevin Connelly (from Entourage), and Leonardo DiCaprio. I'd been talking to the poker room day shift manager, Danielle, angling for an invite, but to no avail. She did tell me that they'd delayed the tournament starting time by two hours for Leonardo, who wanted to play but couldn't make it at noon. She finally told me to go talk to "that balding guy over there," about playing in the tournament, as she pointed to another floorperson, Mark."

"Hey Mark - how do I get into the Jet tournament?" I asked
"You need an invitation," he replied
"Ok - can I have an invitation?" I smiled, no fear.
"If you don't have one by now, you're not getting one." he laughed.
"Danielle told me to ask you," one last attempt.
"Sorry. No Dice." And I was still shut out.
"Do you know who the fuck I am?" but Mark had turned away to resume his duties.

I wanted to try to pass Dirty Dave off as Hassan Habib - he's a spitting image if he puts on the frosted glasses, but Dave wasn't up to the deception, although he did oblige me with a great rendition of Habib's pocket fan which he'd deployed during crunch time at the WPT Championship to cool himself off.

When the tourney started, Leonardo DiCaprio proved to be a complete douchebag - wearing a hat down low over his face and HEADPHONES! How do you wear headphones when YOU are the celebrity in the high-roller invite only tournament? These people are here to talk to YOU!

I returned to the NL Cash game, and hunkered down.

The game was weak - alternating between tight passive and loose passive, but almost always passive. There would be cycles where I could run it over for a while, but then a huge fish showed up two to my left and altered my rhythm. This guy was a calling station in every sense of the word, and I was aching to play a big pot with him. He had amassed a pile of chips which drifted up and down like a wave, and we each had about $650 in front of us when we played this pot:

After 3 limpers, I limped on the button with 4-6 of hearts. Fishcakes in the BB checked his option.

The flop came 4-6-T with two diamonds and one heart: I had bottom two pair with a backdoor flush draw.

Fishcakes bet out $20, and a solid player in MP raised to $55. I bumped it to $175, and Fishcakes cold called. The MP raiser went into the tank and stared at me. His A-T was clearly trailing, but he took about 3 minutes to fold it.

I put Fishcakes on a diamond draw, and when the turn was an offsuit jack, he checked to me. Now, in this spot, I can check behind him, and win the pot if he fails to improve on the river. Alternatively, I assume he'll call me if I move all-in here, and he'll be getting a bad price to do so. I want his stack, so I quickly move all-in - $320 more for him. He calls just as quickly, and the river is an offsuit king.

I table my hand and he turns over.... Ten Six... Aiyahh! Holy cow - I wanted to play a big pot with this guy and I did - but I ran into a better hand.

Dirty Dave later made it to my table, the main game, from his must move table, and we had some fun with a local guy named Rock, who was at the table with his girlfriend. The girlfriend, an angry looking Persian, was wearing a lowcut shirt that read "I'm bored, you're ugly, have a nice day," or something like that. When she had sat down an hour before with attitude, I told Dirty Dave I was going to stack her within the hour. She proved to be a calling station: she seemed to be some sort of player, but I think it was really just that she liked stacking off her chips into the pot.

I flopped a set of nines on her, bet the flop and turn, and put her all in for her last $45 before the river card hit the table. She called, and I stacked her chips as I smiled at Dave.

So, Rock comes to the table a little later - this guy is a Vegas local, and a real character. He has hair that looks a little like Chip Jett's, and like to talk in a variety of fake accents: Nordic, Asian, Armenian, etc. He played like a Rock, and said things like "I'm going to come into ze middle, and you vill know that I vill have some-ting" with a singsong fake Swedish accent.

The game tightened up, and when I raised with pocket aces I was happy to get called by Rock's girl. The flop came A-A-5, and I had to take a moment to process the scene: how are there two aces on the board if I have two in my hand? I actually flopped quad aces? Are you fucking kidding me?

I checked, and she checked behind me. On the turn, I threw out a $55 bet, and she called, but I couldn't snag a call of my $105 river bet. Although we were having fun with Rock at the table, we were running out of time, as we had a dinner reservation at SW Steakhouse @ Wynn.

After nine hours, I finally racked up and cashed out: down $400 for the day, $300 of which came from my 1-2NL session.

Dinner @ Wynn

Dirty Dave set the stakes high when the waiter came to take our drink orders at Wynn: "Belvedere martini with blue cheese olives," holy cow - great call Dave - how do you bring the aggression that is Blue Cheese Olives? That is a natural talent, one that cannot be learned.

I was quite disappointed when the waiter brought over Dave's martini without the fucking olives! Are you fucking kidding me? We made a big deal about it when Dave ordered, and then they fucked it up? Dave quickly remedied the problem, and was brought a skewer of BCO's. Overall, SW Steakhouse didn't meet the service standards I'd expect from such a pricey and hyped restaurant, although the boneless shortribs I had were excellent.

When the waiter returned for our dessert order, he joked about the $650 glass of 60 year old McCallan's they offered. He told us that one guy once bought a bottle, which they sold to him at cost: $3000. "Three grand is cost? Are you kidding me?" I asked him. "Yep - $650 an ounce."
I hammered him back with "$650 an ounce: sounds like my sperm."

Now, the waiter was standing behind me, so I couldn't see his reaction to my line, but the awkward silence and the stunned look on the Big Show's face told me it had hit the mark. I didn't get the Big Show to shoot water out of his nose from laughing, but I'm hoping that's only because he wasn't drinking when I said it.

We left the Wynn, and headed back to Harrah's to check out the dueling piano show and assault their table games. I couldn't help but laugh and think of Bobby Bracelet's post, as one of the performers began beat-boxing a rhythm track for his partner on the second song we heard. The two dude pianists left the stage for the Pinnegar twins: identical twins who look like weathered versions of Tara Reid. Wow - that sounded even harsher than I meant - I mean, Tara Reid already looks weathered. We hung around for a few roaring renditions, including Journey's "Don't Stop Believing," Bohemian rhapsody, and Scenes from An Italian Restaurant, before I begged Big Show to let me use the crapper upstairs in his room.

He finally relented, but as we made our way up to the room, the perfect storm in my stomach required me to use the public facilities in Harrah's - as I was worried I wouldn't make it to Big Show's room, especially since I was in line for crapper use behind him. Ok, maybe this is a case of Too Much Information, but anyway, I've said it. I took a dump at Harrahs. That makes my list of casino's I've taken a dump at: Mirage, TI, Bellagio, Harrah's.

I dropped $200 in the Texas Hold'em No Limit Bonus Poker table game at Harrah's, and then grinded back a $40 win in their Pai Gow game, before we tired and returned to our stomping grounds.

Back to the IP

We hit the IP double deck BJ game, and were tearing it up. A few hours into our session, my favorite Vegas pit boss, who shall remain nameless, gave us this high comedy moment: A girl walks by, in typical Vegas attire, with her rack practically falling out of her shirt. A voice booms out over the music, "Look at those fuckin' tits," and I practically fall off my chair when I see that it's the pit boss who is leering at her. You know the IP isn't long for this world when the pit bosses are catcalling the patrons like this, but it's still nice to see some people still being real in Vegas.

Dirty Dave had another memorable line when we were deep into a double deck shoe, with a count that was clearly in the double digits. Dave dutifully hit his 13 against a dealer 9, and drew a deuce. He took another card, knowing that he was walking through a mine-laden deck here, and spiked an ace for 16. At this point, we're all pretty sure there probably isn't another baby card left in the whole deck, so Dave asks "Can I draw from THAT pile?" as he points to the discard pile in the rack. Big Show responds, "How's the back room in this place," as we all laughed till our stomachs hurt.

We are anticipating a big Saturday night, as we have a table at Jet, so we pack it in early. I book a $514 win at the IP, and we're all excited about how crazy Jet will be on our blowout Saturday night, as there should be a lot of celebrity spillover from the poker tournament.


Saturday, I played 6 hours of 2-5 NL hold'em at the Mirage. Early in the session, I hit a streak of about 5 hands in a row where I'm forced to lay down a hand on the turn to an opponent's raise. I then play this hand, where I choose not to lay down:

I limp in EP with 3-4 of spades. A solid local limps behind me, and then it's raised to $15. 3 call the $15, as do I and the local calls behind me.

The flop is As5s7h : I have a flush draw with a double gutshot straight draw. I bet out $60, and am called by the local and the preflop raiser.

The turn is an offsuit 8, and I now bet out $100 with my 4 high.

The local quickly moves all-in. The preflop raiser folds. It's my last $225 back to me, and I'm getting better than 2-1. I have at least 6 straight outs, plus the 2 of spades, and as many as 15 outs if my flush draw is live too. I know this player is smart enough to observe that I've been making laydowns, so that plays a small factor too. I call.

The river is the deuce of spades, and I barely have time to register that I've made the Steel Wheel - a straight flush.

The local announces "Flush," and spikes his 7s8s on the table. I silently turn up my hand, and he goes into some bullshit about me having hit my only out. I explain to him that I had slightly more than one out, as I rack his chips, and again forget to shout "Pass the Sugar," in this perfect time to apply that line.

I am not into the game, instead focusing on the Seattle - Washington NFL game on the TV, so I rack up near the end of the football game to go pull off another coup: scoring a prime table for the Denver-NE game in the Mirage Sportsbook. Big Show is geared up in his Shannon Sharpe Denver jersey, and Ms. H is wearing the Rod Smith jersey. I counter with the Steve Grogan Patriots jersey.

My Patriots give the game away with 3 fumbles, and I TILT up to the room to change into some more presentable clothes, as we take off for an early event at Pure, the Caesar's nightclub, which is being sponsored by Big Show and Dirty Dave's company.

After a few rounds, we return to the Mirage for some last minute clean up before the big appearance at Jet. As we head down to Jet early, around 10:30, the scene is out of control. There is a red carpet set up, and throngs of people in their finest party slut-wear.

Big Show has a very good Vegas club hookup, but I immediately wonder if we may have a problem with the table. I find Big Show outside, and he confirms our fears: they don't have us on the list. Turns out, we're looking at the wrong list, but when we find the right list, the story is the same. Big Show manages to get our contact on the phone, who confirms that he couldn't get it done for this night - we basically picked the worst night of the year to try to get into Jet if you're not a celebrity. I know what you're thinking: "Do you know who the fuck I am?" Correct, but even KD couldn't swing it, so we returned to Pure, and angled a table there.

We're at the point in our lives where 4 people have trouble killing 2 liters of vodka, especially on our third night in Vegas, but we stayed for a long time, doing a number on the liquor stock.
This is what $1000 looks like at Pure:
We left Pure and went with the old reliable IP Double deck game.

This time, we tilted the crap out of Bob, a flaming gay dealer, who likes to be confrontational. He was messing up payoffs, paying off pushes, and overpaying bets, and Big Show slow-rolled a blackjack on him, which led to Bob threatening to call the floor if we did it again. "What exactly will you tell the floor when you call them, Bob?" I asked him, but he was too steamed to even answer.

Bob tried to tilt Big Show by claiming that "The Book" says to stay on a 12 against a 13, which led to a friendly table-mate failing to hit his 12, and everyone at the table losing when Bob spiked a 4 card 21. Big Show was slightly steamed, but, pro that he is, re-focused.

I eventually cashed out +$88, and was in bed in the Mirage at 7am.
I took this picture of the Mirage on my way home: that's a full moon in the upper left.

Sunday's NL cash game at the Mirage was so incomprehensibly bizarre, I'm trying to figure out how to put it into words. It was so amazing, I need to really do it justice.

Until then,

Thursday, January 12, 2006

To Keep You Busy

So I'm off to Vegas for a few days to generate some blogworthy adventures. Hopefully I'll meet the WickedChops crew while I'm out there. Again - look for me Saturday @ the Mirage in the Steve Grogan Patriots Throwback jersey, in case anyone else is in town.

While I'm away, here are a few interesting links to keep you busy:

Ask A Ninja: I haven't had time to fully explore this site, but it looks like the videos are pretty funny.

MillionDollarHomePage: Fantastic concept: check out the FAQ for the behind the scenes story.

North Andover Wiffle Ball League: Still the greatest collection of suburban Boston wiffle ball highlights set to hard metal music in sweet videos ANYWHERE on the web. They're redoing the site, and there's only 1 video right now, but it's worth it.

see you Monday,

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Bragging Rights

As reported by WickedChops, the 2006 WSOP will feature a $50k buy-in H.O.R.S.E event! For those of you who don't know, H.O.R.S.E is a rotation game consisting of Hold'em, Omaha, Razz, Stud, and Stud Eight or Better. I'm guessing this will become the bracelet that determines bragging rights amongst the pros, similar to the current 2-7 triple draw lowball event.

WickedChops also had a link to this interesting blog by Vaughn Sandman. In it, Vaughn talks about the 18 year old finalist at the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure: "Ozzie" Sheikh. Vaughn lauds this kid as having the potential to be the best poker player in the history of the world. In fact, he goes a step further than that, and I quote: "I got to meet the kid who will be the greatest poker player of all time, probably by the time he can legally enter an American casino." A bold statement indeed, and Vaughn seems like an intelligent guy - worth keeping an eye on.

Finally, I'd like to give a big S.T.F.U. to Phil Hellmuth. I finally finished watching the ESPN TOC, and I can come to only one conclusion: Phil Hellmuth is the 2005 Douchebag of the Year: now SHUT THE FUCK UP PHIL! Phil constantly goes over the line with his whiney bitchy weak-tight play, and chastising of opponents. A player of his caliber should understand by now that there is a luck factor in poker, and that if everyone played predictable poker learned from the same book, it wouldn't be much of a game.


Odds and Ends

I have written previously about incredible douchebag tourists, so it's only fair I give props to the top notch tourists I ran into early Saturday morning. For some insane reason, I was up at 7:15am, going in search of food. My neighborhood is largely deserted at 7:15am on Saturday, so I had little fear of running into trouble at Dunkin' Donuts, but lo and behold: there's some kind of freakin' tourbus full of high-schoolers who have been dropped off and are dominating the D&D.

I walk (stagger) into the door, looking like death, wearing slippers, warmup pants and a hooded sweatshirt: eyes full of sleep, and hair featuring tremendous bed-head. I audibly sigh "What the FUCK?," as I survey the scene. The Mom/chaperone/leader of the group, perhaps fearing I'm about to go bezerk, quickly says "You can go in front of the kids sir," and then shouts "Kids - let this gentleman through."

Thank you again ma'am, for not making me wait for 25 minutes behind your throng of young'ins.

In other news, Pokerstars still hasn't delivered on the XBOX 360 I won in the bloggers tourney. They offered the cash value of the prize in my account, but I declined, as I have a friend who wants the thing. I angled for an Ipod Nano while I'm waiting, but they instead sent a box of gifts from their frequent player store. For two weeks I eagerly anticipated the arrival of this box-o-treats, but I must say, I was a bit disappointed with the contents:

1 foam PokerStars squeezy ball
1 tan PokerStars hat
1 PokerStars travel mug
1 PokerStars bag
1 copy of "One of a Kind" autographed by Nolan Dalla

Not even a crappy PokerStars shirt I could wear to the gym to impress the neighborhood groupies.

48 hours 'til Vegas.


Friday, January 06, 2006

More Double Reverse Psychology

H0nus reads my blog. We play a pretty good amount of poker together. I am the sensei, he is the grasshopper. Today, I had to re-enforce that fact, as he's been getting a little feisty with me at the table lately. Let me explain:

This afternoon, H0nus IM's me : "Going to the club? I'm gonna take the last seat." This is a debate we have every Friday, as the game is usually crowded. "I will hurt you," I threaten him, and then declare WAR on him, Hellmuth style.

I beat him to the game, secure the last seat, and have a huge hand in the first orbit: Mike X, who's a big time action player straddles, and I'm now UTG: JJ. I have $400. 1-2 blinds, $5 straddle. I limp, intending to evaluate my options, which I assume will include a limp-re-raise. Three limp behind me before the cutoff raises to $35. Perfect. Now Chris, on the button, re-raises to $65, and it's folded back to me. The initially raiser has about $145 total, and Chris has me covered. Wow - what a fantastic opportunity for a solid play right away! The only thing is, this game plays so wild sometimes, there is a very good chance I'm best. I decide that I haven't been at the table long enough to know if Chris is out of line, and I muck. The initial raiser gets all-in with his TT, and Chris turns over pocket Kings. Nice laydown KD.

The action players leave soon after, and we're suddenly 6-handed when H0nus arrives, and buys in for $300. In his first orbit, he limps in EP, there's one more limper, and I'm on the button with 5-5. I limp, and the blinds come along. 5 of us see the flop of:

3-5-6 with two clubs. Great - now I've flopped a set on a coordinated board in a $10 pot.

Joe, a tight player, bets out $10. H0nus raises to $30. I make it $75, and Joe folds. H0nus looks at me.

I'm downright hostile: "I'm going to take all of your chips." Without flinching.
"Easy call," Is his reply, as he stacks off $45 more.

The turn is the King of spades, and H0nus double clutches, before saying "I'll let you put me all in." "I put you all-in," is my instant reply. H0nus leans back and I don't think he can possibly call.

"You know you're not calling," I tell him, "Hurry up and muck."
"No, I have a hand," he says, and I know I'm best, and I probably have him in much worse shape than he even thinks.

I make a display out of my patented fish-finder: dropping two chips from 14 inches onto my cards as a pre-tip, as I slide them like I'm gonna pass them to Kenny the dealer.

H0nus stares at me, mystified. These are clearly the moves of a player who WANTS a call, but he knows I'm smarter than that.

"You can give 'em to me now, or you can give 'em to me later," I taunt, and stare at him with no expression. I don't think I've ever been this confrontational during a hand.

He stares at me some more. I smile. Finally, H0nus calls.

The river is a 6 of clubs, which is a great card for me, filling me up even though it completes the flush. My 5's full are good, as he had pocket 7's.

H0nus, a good sport about it, was left to marvel at the barrage of double-reverse-bluffs that I hammered him with in this hand. He was in a tough spot, as he knows that I know that he knows that blah blah blah blah blah...

until next time,

Thursday, January 05, 2006

I WISH I could make this up...

Dancing With The Stars... Huh? This is a new show on ABC. Actually, as Mrs. Dynamite informs me, it's not a "new" show - this is the second season! Holy cow - the American Idol spin-off wagon has GOT to stop. I think I can best sum up the unintentional comedy of this show by looking at the host's claim that we will see "Ten of the biggest stars in America," dancing on this show. Here they are:

Lisa Rinna
George Hamilton
Giselle Fernandez
Master P
Tia Carrere
Kenny Mayne
Tatum O'Neal
Jerry Rice
Stacy Keibler
Drew Lachey

Holy fuck! TEN OF THE BIGGEST STARS IN AMERICA? An ESPN broadcaster, an aging daytime soap star, a retired football hall-of-famer, a WWE Diva, the little brother of a pop idol who's claim to fame was banging Jessica Simpson, a rapper, and I don't even know the others...

ABC's definition of "star" is clearly not in sync with mine. I mean seriously: they couldn't even get NICK Lachey? We have to settle for Drew? Huh?

Of course, anything ABC can do, FOX can do worse, and they retaliate with "Skating with Celebrities." The cast of "celebrities:"

Dave Coulier
Bruce Jenner
Deborah Gibson
Todd Bridges
Jillian Barberie
Kristy Swanson

And I thought ABC was being liberal with definitions of stardom. Holy cow. Dave Fuckin' Coulier. If I'm caught watching this - please - call for help.

1 week until Vegas,

Wednesday, January 04, 2006


8 days until I hit Vegas again. It's been almost 8 weeks since my last trip, and Big Show, Dirty Dave, Craig and Kid Dynamite are eager to hit the desert again in a re-hash of last January's Trip. Oh - and yeah, I did just link to myself. It's a trick I learned from the immortal Bobby Bracelet.

If any of you will be in Vegas, drop me a line and we can try to hook up, otherwise you can find me at my likely places (in random order):

1) slowrolling the double deck BJ game in the IP Champagne Pit
2) towering over a massive tower of peach chips in the Wynn 1-3NL game
3) getting stacked with A-Q in the Wynn 2-5NL game
4) chilling with the who's who of poker in the Bellagio high limit area
5) crushing the Mirage 2-5NL game: I'll be the guy with $1700 in chips in the $500 max buy-in game.
6) Panda Express
7) diverting pit attention from Big Show's count of the green chip double deck BJ game at the Frontier.
8) Mini-craps at O'Shea's
9) In a cab where the cabbie is trying to sell us on the merits of the Spearmint Rhino
10) Mirage sportsbook: it's Divisional Weekend after all. I'll be wearing the Steve Grogan throwback jersey (Red, Patriots, #14)

In any case, I'm sure there'll be ample fodder for my most loyal reader, Bones, to devour.


Monday, January 02, 2006

Not How I Wanted to Start the New Year

I played 5 hours today, and was up $450+ through careful, solid play before this hand, which is already haunting me.

As you read this, try to answer what you'd do on each street before reading ahead.

I'm on the button with 4-4. 1-2NL, deep stacks ($800)

UTG makes it $15 to go - fairly standard. 4 callers to me. I call. SB re-raises to $41 total: he's a somewhat tight, relatively unimaginative player. UTG calls, 1 fold, and 2 calls back to me. I call.

FLOP: 3-4-6 all clubs. I have middle set.

Preflop raiser (SB) bets out $75 into a 5 way field. Folded to me.

WHAT'S YOUR ACTION? SB has about $100 less than I do ($800)


I think for a while. I put SB on AA with the ace of clubs. Alternatively, KK or QQ with a club, or AK of clubs, or A-K offsuit with a club. How can he bet into this field without a big pair or a big club?

I finally decide to smooth call. Now, those of you who know me know that I'll probably smooth call here about 5% of the time: I'm gonna raise this almost all the time. So, why smooth call?
I think I'll get called or re-raised if I put a raise in here.. Is there anything wrong with that? well, basically, I was trying to make my opponent make a BIG mistake on the turn, by betting with his big pair or big pair + club when no club came. Alternatively, if I raise, and he comes over the top all-in, which is a sensible play with AA + Ace of clubs, I'm calling HOPING I'm a 2-1 favorite against a flush draw, and praying I'm not a 2-1 dog against a flopped flush: I'm giving him additional fold equity, even if the chances of me folding are slim. In position, I thought I'd garner more information based on the turn card and his subsequent action.

Does this make any sense? Can anyone justify just calling the flop given my read?

So, the turn is an offsuit nine, and now my opponent says "all-in.." $615... Holy Cow: wait a second - HE THINKS I HAVE THE BIG CLUB! I took a long time before calling the flop, and he thinks I have the draw. He's trying to protect something.. but what? Maybe an overpair without a club? Maybe an overpair less than aces with a club?

oy vey... I can't make sense of this bet - I think I'm best.



I give it a lot of thought. "Scott - do you have a big hand?" he shrugs.. "It's looking pretty good," he tells me. (Scott, not Scotty, for those of you who know Black Scotty - this is his friend - a different player) Could he have nines? Why would he make it $41 preflop out of position with nines? Finally I call: there's only about $350 in the pot before his bet, so I don't have much in terms of pot odds.

River: King of Clubs. uh oh...

He doesn't react, so I turn my set faceup.

he tables.... ?????

pocket nines.

Holy fuck. What did I just do?

It's not my turn call that bothers me: even though THAT is where I got all my money in drawing to one out. It's my flop call that's haunting me. Can anyone make sense of my flop call?

How about my turn call: given my read, my logic, and what I thought that my OPPONENT thought that I had? Which play is worse? Are they both completely inexcusable?

On the one hand, I'm furious about my flop play, because I could have raised and taken the pot down. On the other hand, ASSUMING I COULD SEE MY OPPONENT'S CARDS, my flop play is not the problem: I had him dead to rights.

Richie pours salt in the wound by saying "I mucked 9-7: he hit the case nine."

11 days 'til Vegas.