Sunday, July 30, 2006


Vintage quote, perfectly applicable today:

"I'm a reasonable man, but this fucking heat is making me absolutely
" - Col. Nathan Jessup (Jack Nicholson) in a Few Good Men

I don't know what the weather is like where you are, but it's fucking hot here. Wicked hot.
Today's Quote of The Day:

"I don't like to play extra innings" - David "Big Papi" Ortiz on why he hit a game winning walk-off opposite field single against the infield shift deployed by the Angels

Ortiz was also reportedly late for a charity event, hence the need for him to abandon his normal power swing in favor of some more delicate location hitting.
For all of your WSOP Main Event coverage, check out WickedChops, where Chops, Snake and Addict have invaded Vegas and are reporting with their usual flair.
Dr. Pauly is there too, of course, covering the event with his often immitated yet never duplicated style.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Friday Night Homegame

Friday night I hosted another edition of the Kid Dynamite home game. E-dub, H0nus, TwinC, Ranxx and Mergie showed up for 7 hours of dealers choice mayhem. All games had to be, as stipulated by Ranxx, "dealt in a casino," and included, PL and NL Holdem, PL Omaha, PL Omaha high-low, PL Stud eight or better, PL and NL Pineapple, and, as per E-dub: 3-6 limit hold'em.

TwinC traded on his tight reputation early, by getting me to laydown a set of queens on a K-Q-T flop in PL Omaha high. He showed a set of tens. I extracted my revenge by sucking out on him in pineapple, when my AdKd flush draw cracked his top two pair.

In stud eight or better, Mergie and I played a monster pot, when I jammed my low draw all the way. I started with 8-3-2 of clubs (with the ace and 4 of clubs dead in other hands), and raised to $5. On fourth street, I caught an offsuit 6, to Mergie's A-5. He bet $10. I raised to $30, he called. Fifth street gave me a 5 for a made low, and he spiked a nine. Mergie checked, I bet $75, he called. Sixth street paired Mergie's 9, and he checked again, to my 7. I bet $125, and he called again! On 7th street, I caught a 4 to make me a straight 6, and Mergie checked to me once again. We each had about $400 left, and I bet $150, which he called, hoping to chop the pot with his two pair. My small straight scooped a big pot.

I gave Mergie his money back 20 minutes later in the Omaha round though: in a raised pot, I held T-9-7-6 with the T-9 suited and the 7-6 suited. On the flop of A-8-5 with two spades (NOT one of my suits), Ranxx and TwinC checked to E-dub, who bet the pot of $35. I smooth called, and Mergie made it $140 to go with a pot-sized raise. It was folded back to E-dub, who mucked his top two pair, and I went into the tank, trying to count all my outs with my uber-wrap draw. Even if I took out the flush card outs, I still had a plethora of outs, and Mergie and I were both deep stacked ($800+), so I decided to just call.

The turn brought an offsuit 8, and I checked, with Mergie checking behind me, but not before making a comment about how he didn't know what I had, but he thought that he was good for at least 1/2 the pot on the low side. What? What the fuck? I forgot we were playing Omaha8! My hand was playable in Omaha HIGH, but not in O8. Major fucking blunder.

The river was a 9, making me a straight and I again checked to Mergie, who drunkenly mumbled, "I've got so much shit going on here, if you can beat me on both, good luck to you," and fired out $250. I called, and he showed the same 6-7 straight for high, and the nut low.

Moral of the story: when you're playing dealer's choice rotation, make sure you know what the fuck game you're playing before you get involved in a big pot with a hand meant for the OTHER game! I ended up getting quartered on the hand, as we chopped the high, and Mergie scooped the low.

In the end, Mergie dug himself out of a 3-buy-in hole, and even made it back to Hoboken in time to take a run at some of the young talent at his local bar. I'll have to get a full report later on his success rate.

until next time,

Monday, July 24, 2006

Oppressionist Regime

So Foxwoods isn't the only poker room on Earth with Stalinist oppressionist rules: check out this shit from the Tropicana.

I notice on Friday morning as I'm playing 2-5NL, there's a pot in which I raise to $25, and I get called 3 times before it's reraised to $65. I see the dealer pulling out chips for the rake (10% up to $4). Now, the action is coming back to me, and this is my fucking pot, so I ask him, "You are pulling the rake already, even if there's no flop?"

"Yes, the money is committed to the pot," he tells me...

I shake my head and re-raise to $200... Anyway...

Later that night, different table, different dealer, I find AA and raise to $20. Everyone folds, and the dealer pushes me SIX dollars. I look at him, staring at the $6, like "What the fuck?"

"10% rake: $1 for rake." He knows exactly what I'm looking at.

"You do NOT rake the pot when someone steals the blinds," I'm in shock.

"Yes sir, that's the rule. Your $20 raise is really a call of $5 and then a raise of $15. When you have called the $5, there is $12 in the pot." Seriously - the Trop is really trying to TILT me, but I'm from the "nothing fazes Bill Gazes" school.

"You're kidding, right?" I can't believe it.

"No sir."

I later track down a floorman to confirm this, and the shift supervisor confirms that the dealer was correct.



Sunday, July 23, 2006

Atlantic City Part II

Thursday night's antics were written up in Part One, Here.

Friday morning I woke up around 10am and figured I'd head over to the Borgata after checking out the action down in the Tropicana's poker room. However, the Trop's 2-5NL game was pretty good, so I sat down and stayed.

Kirk Acevedo, of Oz fame, was sitting in the 7 seat, while a gregarious school teacher from the Bronx sat in the 8, and a Russian with a booming voice was in the 10 seat. He'd shout things like "OK, SHOW US THE FLOP!" and "FLOOR, WE NEED TO CHANGE THE DEALER" at completely random times, and made for an enjoyable table. I was in the 3 seat, and the other seats were filled with fish who basically watched the four of us tangle for 8 hours.

I continued the frivolity by dropping the hammer early, when I called a raise in position with 7-2 offsuit, and then bet the 4 way pot when it was checked to me. As my opponents folded, I tabled the Hammer, and the schoolteacher laughed in appreciation and respect.

Early in the session a rookie UTG raised to $25, and I was next with KK, and a $400 stack. I made it $65 to go, and everyone folded back to the noob, who called reluctantly.

After the T-8-3 two spade flop he checked to me. I bet $100, and he thought for a solid minute before saying "$170 more back to you," as he pushed all in for $270 total. This kid was so nervous his head was literally shaking, which I read as strength, but my problem was I couldn't be sure he had TT and not JJ or QQ... After significant thought, I called, and was shown a set of tens. Blammo.

I rebought for $500, and spent the next 5 hours playing tremendous poker - just grinding away - relentlessly attacking pots, and dodging bullets. At one point, when Acevedo left, two guys sat down and I just started laughing: one was a dead ringer for the Bizarro Barry Shulman (Actually, he was 85% Shulman and 15% John Madden), and the other was a perfect Bizarro Johnny Chan, complete with vintage 1988 Chan haircut, and sunglasses. I stared at them in disbelief, wondering if this was some kind of Imperial Palace Dealtertainers act, and looked at the other players at the table for someone to appreciate the beauty of this gem, but alas, the other schmucks were lost in their own fish-itude.

I built my stack back up to $1050, which put me up $150 for the session. The Russian was now 1/2 drunk, and seemed eager to battle me for table dominance. When 6 players limped, I raised to $40 from the BB with AcKc, and only he called.

The 6s4c6c flop was solid for my hand, and I bet out $65. The Russian thought for several seconds before calling.

The Qh came off on the turn, and I fired out $150. Again, he thought for a minute, and called.

The river was the ten of spades, and I tried $150 more. This bet probably wasn't the right amount, as I can't really get him to fold a better hand, but I thought he was on a flush draw, and I didn't want to have to check-call a big bet, so I made it as a kind of blocking bet.

He insta-called, and when I said "Ace high," he slammed his Q-9 offsuit on the table emphatically. Nice flop call fucko. I knew it would just be a matter of time before I got my money back from him.

I didn't have to wait long for the opportunity: while the Russian was arguing with the dealer, who had ruled that an opening raise to $17 was not allowed (ie, the dealer said opening raises had to be in $5 increments, which was contrary to what I was told the night before), I decided to fuck with Karma by jumping into the fray.

"That's not true, you can open for whatever you want," I told the dealer.

"No, you cannot," he said.

I looked down at The Vortex: 6-8 offsuit, and, as the Vortex himself would have wanted, announced, "Raise: $17 straight - call the floor if it's not a valid raise."

The Russian laughed, as I'd come to his defense, and called from the SB as everyone else folded.

"I check in the dark," he told me, before the 3s-5d-9d flop came down.

"OK, I bet. $30," I responded, and he called quickly.

"I check in the dark again," he calmly tapped the table before the turn came out... In slow motion, like a dream: the seven of clubs. My money card.

Now, I'd been tangling with the Russian for 7 hours at this point, and I figured I'd have to start a bigger dick contest with him - bait him into proving to me that he was the boss of this table.

I bet out $50 - just continuing with my preflop raise and flop continuation bet - you better raise me.

"Raise: $100" He min-raised me.

Attaboy, perfect. The bigger dick contest is on, but right now I'm Johnny Fuckin' Holmes - BITCH! The key here is to threaten his dominance: make a DYKWTFIA (Do You Know Who The Fuck I AM?) raise right back in his face.

"Raise. $300," I retort, sliding out two stacks of red.

It took him less than 8 seconds to announce "I'm all in," which really meant he was playing for my last $290, since he had me covered. Hook line and sinker - revenge will be so sweet.

I quickly slid my remaining chips into the pot, standing up, and things happened very quickly: I barely had time to turn my hand faceup and shout "BRICK IT!" before the dealer spiked the 4 of diamonds on the river, and the Russian, also standing, screamed out "YES!" as he slammed his Qd2d on the table.

"JEEZUS," I bellowed, as all eyes in the room turned to our table.

I stormed out of the room, on mega tilt, and steamed all the way through the Trop up to my room. I was going to play the $10k first place guaranteed tournament: $100 buy-in with $100 add-on, and I needed to make some phone calls to my poker pundits to fix my broken will.

I called E-dub, who sympathized with my bad beat story, and offered to send over some Double-Doubles to nourish me for the tourney. Dirty Dave was on his way to Vegas, pulling a miraculous last minute switch after his flight from Boston was cancelled: true addict that he is, Dave took the commuter rail south to Attleboro, MA, then hired a cab to drive him to Providence, where he was re-booked to Vegas! Cha-Ching!

I then called the Vortex, who was supposed to be in A.C., but he told me that he'd cancelled his trip because it was raining, and his wife would be left with nothing to do while he played poker. I told him how I'd got Vortex-ed, and he said "You didn't play it right!" "What? I raised preflop just like you wanted, and then I got $600 in on the turn with the nuts! I can't play it any better!" He laughed, and wished me luck in the tourney.

The tourney structure was very fast: 4k in starting chips, with 50-100 blinds, and 20 minute levels. Subsequent blinds were 75-150, 100-200, 150-300 with a 25 ante, 200-400 with a 50 ante, and then 300-600 with a 100 ante. You could do an add-on for 4k more in chips after the 3rd level, but could not rebuy if you were busted.

After washing my face in the room, regaining my composure, and putting on the Tournament Assassin gameface, I was ready to rumble. I sat down and took 4 of the first 5 pots, raising ruthlessly and continuously: on a mission.

On the 7th hand, when everyone was finally seated at our table, I limped in early middle position with 9dTd, and we saw a 5 way unraised flop: Ts9s3h

The small blind comes to life, betting out 2k! What? I quickly decided he wouldn't do that with a set, and decided to just call, as I might be able to induce a fold if the turn blanked off - I wasn't sure I wanted to reraise him all-in, which would give him the correct price to call if he had a flush draw.

The turn was an offsuit 5, and he bet out $700. I quickly put him all in, for $1300 more, and he called after 15 seconds, tabling KT offsuit, and I had doubled up early.

I didn't really play another hand until the break, when I did the add-on for 4k in chips, and had 12k, with blinds at 200-400. The problem was, between the fish at the table, and the incompetent dealer we had, who went out of his way to slow the game down after I gently encouraged him to keep it moving (he'd pause to scratch his nose in the middle of dealing the cards, he'd take his time chopping out side-pots, he'd look around at the other things in the room - and he knew it was bothering me), my 30BB stack quickly became a 10BB stack, in the span of 2 levels, which encompassed 15 hands! AIYAHH!

Our table broke, and I was playing my small stack lethally - waiting for the perfect moment to step in. I doubled up with A-Ts, then stole a round of blinds, antes and a limper, when I came over the top with KQ and everyone mucked. When my JJ cracked AA by spiking a jack on the flop, I was suddenly the chip leader, and when the button and SB tried to limp in my BB, I put them both all-in with As9c, liquidating the button, who called with K7offsuit. My KK was cracked by a small stack's 8-9 when it made a straight, but I had about $45k.

The problem was, with blinds at 1k-2k, and 4 tables remaining (top 9 paid, with first place over $10k, and a steep dropoff after that), I knew it was still a major crapshoot, which led me to make this somewhat unorthodox play:

UTG, who was the only player at the table I respected, raised to 10k (200 ante, 1k-2k blinds). It was folded around to me in the SB, where I found A-J. Now, in a normal tournament, this is a pretty easy laydown. However, here, as I looked at my opponent's chips, seeing that he had a stack that was very close to mine in size, he said "We're about the same in chips."

Hmmm.. Yes, I know this... and I know that YOU know this, and I know that YOU know that I'm the one person at this table you shouldn't fuck with. There are a bunch of fish here, and we could try to pick off their $15k stacks instead of tangling with each other. Also, the exponential blind structure meant AJ was a playable hand, even in the face of a UTG raise. I decided I'd call, and try to freeze my opponent on the flop.

The flop came 7-5-5, which should have been a clue for me to check-fold, as now there is now way I can get him to laydown a medium pair like 9's through J's. Still, he couldn't call a bet with AK AQ, and I counted out 15k.

He thought for a long time, and I was pleased with my brilliant plan - until he uttered "all-in."

I was getting a nice price, but it would cost 15k of my remaining 19k to call, and I released my hand, as he showed me QQ. In retrospect, this raggedy flop was a poor one for me to bet at, as he'd call with hands worse than QQ.

Three hands later, everyone folded to me in the cutoff, and I moved all-in for 19,400 with 3-2 offsuit. When the button called after 30 seconds, I let out a sarcastic "faaahhhhhhhhhkk," and he showed A-J, which held up, and I was out.

Now, sometimes I'd be furious with myself at the way I blew up in the span of 2 hands in this tournament, but the massive blind/stack ratio, large number of players remaining, and top heavy payout structure gave me the perfect set of circumstances to take a few shots: there's no way to win this thing without taking a bunch of risks, so I wasn't upset as I thought about my play.

I returned to the board, and asked for a 2-5NL seat. The floorman told me "go buy chips."

"Where is the seat?" I asked him, wanting to see the table composition before I bought chips.
"I have 4 tables," he explained.
"OK, do I get to choose?"
"No, you'll be right here," he showed me an open seat two to the left of my nemesis: the Russian!

I licked my lips, eyed the 8 person line at the cage, and sat down at the table with cash for a full buy in.

After only 30 minutes, I played an interesting pot when 4 people limped to me in the SB, where I completed with Ts3s, and the BB checked.

The flop came Jd-Th-3h, and I bet out $30. A calling station in middle position called, as did an Enigma in the cutoff-1, before the Russian in the cutoff raised to $100. He had about $300 left, to my $430, and the Enigma had us both covered.

I'm in an interesting spot here, as I may be up against JT, but I'm not folding, and although I can raise to price out a flush draw, I think I can get a bare jack to overcall if I just call, and I also think that the Russian or the Enigma will call me on the turn with a flush draw, getting a much poorer price to do so.

I finally smooth call, an the MP calling station folds, but the Enigma calls.

The turn is the beautiful ten of clubs, which means I'm committed, and will either get stacked by JT, or rake a nice pot. I bet out $150, and the Enigma calls quickly, but the Russian is fuming. He's cursing to himself, and now I think he just had a big jack. He finally mucks, to my dismay, after chiding the dealer "You can't find nothing but TENS in the deck?!?!?!"

The turn is a brick 6, and I slide my last $182 into the pot, counting it off.

Enigma goes into the tank, holding his cards up, staring at them, and he's about to fold them, when he has a second thought and pulls 4 red chips off of a stack, sliding the remaining tower forward along with a second stack, calling.

I slyly spread my beauty: TEN-THREE-SUITED, and rake a sizable pot.

The only other story worth mentioning was a six-sigma character who joined our table, talking 100 miles a minute, and raising with impunity, pulling out things like blow-pops, and Fun-dip from his bag, and throwing them on the table, sliding them toward other players or the dealer. He'd also pick up the house phone behind him when he was in a hand, having a mock conversation with himself: "Yeah, I raised, he called, and I have shit. What do I do know?" He later pulled out his cell phone and showed me naked photos of his girlfriend.

I finished the evening session up $347, and managed to get my room rate cut in half by persistently nagging the woman in charge of the poker rate, and snagging a reduced rate which another player had reserved but not shown up for.

In the morning, it was raining again, and the depression of Atlantic City was taking it's toll on me: that's what happens when you go solo! I packed my stuff and stopped in the poker room, planning to play if the game looked good. There was a list going already, at 10am, so I jetted over to Bally's where I picked up a bus home. In an odd coincidence, the last guy onto the bus decided to sit in one of the few last vacant seats, the one next to me, and I recognized him from Playstation. Halfway through the trip, he turned to me and said "Were you playing at the Taj?"

"No, I know you from Playstation." He grinned, and extended his hand, figuring it out.

"How'd you do last night?" I asked him, as he'd come down to play 15-30 Omaha hi-low.

"I'm on the bus," he smiled sheepishly.

"I hear you bro. I hear you."

Final tallys:

Thursday: 5 hours + $136
Friday Day: 7.5 hours, -$900
Friday Night: 3 hours, +$347

Total: 15.5 hours, -$417

until next time,

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Meet me Tonight In Atlantic City

"Put your makeup on, fix your hair up pretty, and meet me tonight in Atlantic City" - Bruce Springsteen

I haven't been to A.C. since 2000 I think, when I visited the Trop on a Friday night with some friends from work. I remember it vividly because I had tweaked my back so badly that I couldn't take my shoes off - pure, debilitating pain, only mildly eased by the seemingly endless string of pocket aces I encountered in my low limit hold'em session.

Now, all grown up, I was ready to trounce the fish in the 2-5 NL game, but first things first: bankroll. I IM'd Dirty Dave Thursday afternoon, telling him that, like a true pro, I'd already scouted out the Citibank branch locations in the area: NONE.

"Ahhhhh... The essence of the EV hound: Capitalization," Dave responded. Yes... Indeed - nothing worse than being lucky enough to find a six sigma game and not have the bankroll on you to withstand the variance. So I wanted to make sure I was rolling with ample ammunition. Later that afternoon, when I heard one of the locals complain to his buddy that the reason he was waiting for his marker to come through was because he didn't want to be walking around with $4k in his pocket, I decided to just keep my mouth shut. Please... $4k? That's lunch...

Nevertheless, there's still no real easy way to get to A.C., so I had to settle for the bus. Clearly not glamorous, and I took an endless amount of shit from my colleagues at work all day long about who I'd be sitting next to on the bus, but when I got to Port Authority, it was a piece of cake. There were probably 15 people on the whole bus, so I didn't have to crowd in next to some wacked out Asian slot jockey drinking onion juice from a mason jar.

Backing up, I had arrived at Port Authority 30 minutes earlier than the targeted 3:30 bus to the Tropicana. The ticket-takers at the 3pm Greyhound bus to Resorts explained to me, "No, you should wait for the Tropicana bus, so you can get the bonus there." You see, you get a voucher for $20 in free play or free food or some combination thereof, for whatever casino you go to.

"Umm, I think I'll just get on this bus, and then take a cab to the Tropicana from Resorts," after all, I'd get a Resorts bonus anyway on this bus, and I clearly figured to make more than $20 in 30 minutes at the poker table anyway!

The bus ride down was smooth, apart from a woman two rows behind me yapping loudly in Spanish, but the approach to Atlantic City is a real downer. Vegas it is not. While Vegas was engineered and then rebuilt with visual perfection in mind, all of Atlantic City seems to be like Caesar's Palace: a melange of shit thrown together and built upon, constantly added to, never done right. It just looks depressing. I elected to not wait the extra 30 seconds on the bus to receive my Resorts bonus, instead choosing to get my ass to the Tropicana ASAP. Passing up such a freeroll is a violation of all my gambling ethics, but I knew they were trying to pull the old "deal him a hand where he has to split 8's or something else to make him dig into his pocket for the extra bet" maneuver. You have to wake up pretty early in the morning to trap Kid Dynamite with that crap.

Exiting into the Resorts bus area was pure depression. I had been clinging to the hope that I'd appreciate Resorts, the original A.C. casino, and see some old school nostalgia, but all I saw were old school old folks, done pumping their $20 in nickels into the slots, lifelessly waiting for their buses back to The Home. I ran like a crazed rat in a maze trying to find a cab out of this dump, eventually hailing some off duty guy from a side street.

This cabbie was an old white guy, writing on a sign in his lap like the one a begger would hold. I craned my neck to read his masterpiece: "Wanted: washed up crack whore. Retarted children ok. Black girls welcome," was all I could see, as he covered up his work, but I liked this guy already. The cab ride was only about a mile, but fuckin'A the A.C. cabs are expensive: the meter starts at $2.90, and seems to tick $.20 every 5 seconds. I later noticed that the catch is that there is an $11 maximum, which basically means almost any ride will cost you $11.

I stroll up to the front desk at the newly (2 years ago) renovated Tropicana, and hand my i.d. and credit card to Magdelena, the desk clerk. "Vhat kind of vrooom vooold you like?" She asks me, in a Russian accent. "Non-smoking, king bed," duh.. Do you know who the fuck I am? I'm surprised that she apparently DOES know who I am, as, after punching the keyboard for 3 full minutes, she calls the manager over to help her find "something high," which, in Tropicana parlance, means a room in their new Havana Tower.

Magdelena hooks me up with the Havana Tower upgrade, and I'm thinking "FREEEEEEEEEROLLLL" as I take the elevator up to the 54th floor to find a perfectly nice room with a fantastic view of the sprawl that is A.C., including all the casinos, the new Borgata, and the ocean.

I quickly change into my standard poker room gear: Red Sox hat, hooded World Series Champion Sweatshirt, card capper, bankroll: Let's roll. I hit the poker room, and find an open seat in 2-5NL, $500 max buy in. The game was pretty boring: there were about 6 locals who were rocky, and a few local young guns were later mixed in. The youngsters could mix it up, and had the potential to bluff you off a hand, but it usually wasn't hard to figure out where you stood in a hand against them: they tended to play too tight, especially coming from the game I'm used to in the city.

A super tight old lady local made a comment when I followed up a $20 preflop re-raise with and $80 pot sized flop bet, saying "You have nothing - that bet screams of weakness." I raised an eyebrow at her. "Really? Do all of my pot sized bets scream of weakness? Don't I always bet the pot?" "No, you sure don't," She told me, and I made a mental note to be sure to hammer any pot I was in with her, as she interpreted my larger bets as weaker hands. Unfortunately, I didn't get the opportunity to play a big pot against her, so I resorted to showing her my hammer - I mean, The Hammer.

I made it $15 with the 7d 2d and got called 4 times. The 5-6-8 two diamond flop hit me about as hard as it could, and I bet out $45. Everyone folded, and I shook my head and tossed my hand faceup, "Best hand I guess," I shrugged, as I could see the locals seethe. Next orbit I raised again out of position, this time with AdKd.

When the flop came with 3 rags, I bet the pot into my grinder local opponent, explaining "I don't have deuce-seven of diamonds," and he shook his head and mucked A-K faceup, complaining "I can never hit a flop." Now this would have been the perfect time to evaluate my implied tilt odds by tabling my own hand faceup, and explaining, "No, I just play it better than you do," but I decided it would be easier to win at this table if I used the license to steal pots, rather than inciting the locals to play back at me - in which case I would have to make real hands.

The one enigma at the table, a loose cannon Ghetto Basher who seemed to bet with impunity but was very difficult to read put a series of beats on me when he proved I wouldn't be able to push him out of pots. I decided I'd have to make a hand.

When he called a raise I made from the cutoff with AhJh, I was ready to take another crack at him on the JsTsTc flop. He bet out $25, and I smooth called.

The turn was the 9c, and he bet out again. $45. Hmmm... I smooth called again.

The river was a card that didn't really help me: the Ace of diamonds, giving me two pair, but I was either already way ahead or drawing to a jack. GhettoBasher bets $70 into me, and I shake my head, realizing that seemingly pretty ace didn't help me, before I call. He tables 3s4s sheepishly, and I rake the pot.

In the only other partly interesting hand from the night, GB raised to $25 UTG, and one of the YoungGuns called, before I re-popped it to $125 from the cutoff with AcKc. GB stared me down. I stared back at him. Bring it on, Muthafucka. He mucks. YoungGun seems anguished. "You have aces or kings?" he asks me. I ignore him. He's talking to himself out loud. I look him right in the eye, a look that conveys one message: ""

He mucks QQ faceup (I told you they were tight! smooth call then fold with QQ here?!?!) as I tell him "Excellent laydown."

I end the 5 hour session up only $136, and promptly give back a quarter of that at JakesDogHouse, the specialty dog store the have there for some reason (I guess for people like me who miss their pets!) buying things for Oscar: a sleek Patriots doggy hat, and a soft chewey bone that squeaks and rattled.

stay tuned for part II of the trip report to come...


Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Customer Service, and the Opposite...

First the customer service: (quoted from

On Sunday evening, held a $215 “second-chance” World Series of Poker multi-table satellite for those who may have taken an early exit from the huge qualifier held the same day, which attracted 7,377.

The second-chance tourney didn’t attract nearly that many people to the evening tournament, but still generated enough of a prize-pool to send another 21 players to the WSOP main event.

So imagine the players’ frustration when, with 25 people left,’s site went down for almost an hour, the first time that Lee Jones, the site’s poker room manager, can remember that happening in more than a year, he says.

But the wait would be worth it for all the players, especially the short stacks who were facing elimination before the outage. When the site came back online, the people at decided the right thing to do would be to award all 25 remaining players a $12,000 WSOP prize package.

And the other side of the coin: (also from CardPlayer.Com)

A group of seven poker pros (Howard Lederer, Annie Duke, Andy Bloch, Phil Gordon, and past World Series of Poker champions Chris Ferguson, Greg Raymer, and Joe Hachem) have filed an antitrust lawsuit against World Poker Tour Enterprises, claiming that WPTE violates antitrust laws with the release form they require all players to sign, which allows WPT to use any players likeness in any way they choose.

Now this isn't a case of a bunch of whiney pros bitching about how these companies are making money off of them - they have a very legitimate gripe (each of the players involved already has a contract with a different company guaranteeing that company the exclusive use of their names and images). Read the article.

This is about the control of your own name and likeness and in poker that’s all we have,” Lederer said. “You could find yourself endorsing products you don’t believe in. I should be able to make that decision. I don’t want the WPT deciding for me.”
Well, the WPT is a made for TV product, so Howard's point can't be taken to the extreme where each player has to agree to each camera shot used - but I certainly don't think WPT should be able to use Lederer's image to endorse products without his permission.

I’ve been trying very hard to get a fair release,” Ferguson said. “Sometimes this release conflicts with deals you already have.”


Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Where the Sand Turns to Gold

Worm: You know what always cheers me up?

Mikey Mc D: No, what's that?

Worm: Rolled up aces over kings. Check-raising stupid tourists and taking huge pots off of them. Playing all-night high-limit Hold'em at the Taj, "where the sand turns to gold." Stacks and towers of checks I can't even see over.

Mikey Mc D: Fuck it, let's go.

Worm: Don't tease me.

Mikey Mc D: Let's play some cards.

I couldn't take it anymore, and for some reason couldn't put together a Vegas trip, but Atlantic City was the undeniable force. After a week of complaining about hotel room prices and lack of poker room rates for unrated players, I decided to take Friday off and book Thursday and Friday night at the Trop in A.C.

Of course, as soon as I told Eric I'd booked it, he told me he could no longer make it, which left me with two choices: a) play poker in the city, where the Friday game is usually weak and ends early, or b) go solo to A.C.

I hit up the Vortex and asked him his advice: "What would you do if you were in my shoes?"

"Go to A.C. and play poker for 48 straight hours, getting up only to go to the bathroom."

Excellent advice, and as an added bonus, Vortex himself will be there Friday night, and I'll try to crash his beach house on Saturday.

I haven't been to A.C. in 5+ years, so if anyone has any advice on where to play no limit hold'em (1-2NL or 2-5NL or something like that) - I'm looking for the best game that doesn't cap stack sizes at something too small (ie, 2-5NL $250 max buy-in is retarded).

And if anyone will be in A.C. Thursday or Friday, let me know.

until then,

Monday, July 17, 2006

Poker, Booze and Memories

PokerStars and FullTiltPoker each had a big WSOP Main Event satellite yesterday. Pokerstars' 150 seat guarantee ended up drawing a staggering 7377 players at $370 each, which resulted in an incredible 234 Main Event packages ($12k value). Fulltilt's 100 seat guarantee attracted 3050 players at $535 each, which was good for 127 Main Event packages ($12k value). Unfortunately, I didn't play in either of these satellites.

Last Friday night me and Dan drank heavily in preparation for the dual-billed Bob Weir & Rat Dog with String Cheese Incident show at Radio City Music hall. When we arrived, as Weir was already blazing into Casey Jones, we proceeded to abolish any trace of sobriety either of us had a whiff of. I've never been a big Dead-head, although I am a fan of many of the jam band era torch carriers: Phish, String Cheese Incident, Deep Banana Blackout, etc. Although I had definitely come to see String Cheese, I thoroughly enjoyed Weir's set. Radio City is without a doubt the best mid-capacity venue I've ever been to. The concourse area is unrivalled, and the interior is incredible: wide open and immaculate.

For some reason, although alcohol (I was drinking various machinations of vodka) is a short term memory eraser, I find it to be a long term memory enhancer. As Weir jammed into Sugaree, I had a flash memory of my mom dancing to the song and singing along. I drunk dialed Mom, who got the false impression that my life is much more glamorous than it seems, and that this concert is a much bigger deal than it actually is. Some random drunk dude walking by wanted to talk to her, so I handed him my cell phone in true jam band spirit and laughed as I imagined my mom on the other end of the line wondering what the fuck was going on.

I called my boy Leeroy, as I knew he'd rather be at the show than up in Boston with his girlfriend, but he didn't answer. When Weir ripped into my alltime favorite Dead song, Throwing Stones, I had a flashback to 1993, when I first heard the song in my best friend Greeny's Toyota 4-runner. "Remember that fucked up compass that showed the horizontal balance level of the car?" I called him and asked him, "That was completely useless, but that's what I think about when I hear this song - 1993 in the red Toyota 4-runner, cruising around Needham." Greeny appreciated the memory and laughed, as I jammy-danced around Radio City.

When Weir's set ended, and a group of 4 kids sat down behind us, looking like they couldn't have been a day over 16 at MOST, and took out their barrage of mind altering substances, I immediately thought of my boy Ara, and hit him up on the cell. Ara is my one friend who has a huge penchant for exaggeration, yet at the same time, any story he tells you is likely to be completely true. I remember a party at his apartment on Pratt Street when we were both in college in Boston. It was New Years Eve 1996, and every time I get the spins (you know - where the room starts spinning when you close your eyes?) from drinking too much I'm instantly transported back to the floor of Ara's bedroom, where I had passed out with a vicious, yet thoroughly enjoyable case of the spins. Back in 1996, the spins meant I was drunk - in 2006 the spins mean I better think carefully about how I'm going to avoid puking. So on NYE 1996, Ara comes into the bedroom at 4am, ranting about a brawl and a fight and blabbering like he was under the influence of a plethora of class D substances. Knowing he's one to stretch the truth, I stirred briefly from my alcohol coma, and told him "yeah, uh huh, sure... ok. see you in the morning."

When I woke up in the morning, Ara took me out into the snow covered street, and my jaw dropped as I saw crimson blood stains paving the way. "What the fuck happened?" I asked him. "I told you. Some kid tried to steal a handle of my gin. So we threw down." "What? Are you fucking crazy? The street is covered with blood!" Ara grinned, and laughed: "I told you my roommates and I are not to be messed with." Basically, it was the original "Do you know who the fuck I am?" moment, and every time I drink till the room spins it comes back to me like yesterday.

Anyway, all of this happened before String Cheese Incident even took the stage and whipped Radio City into a frenzy of awkwardly dancing young white kids on mind-altering drugs. I'd write more about SCI's set, but to be honest, it was all a blur, ending with a perfectly Floyd-esque "Shine on You Crazy Diamond," dedicated to Pink Floyd founder Syd Barrett. For just one night I felt like Dr. Pauly.

good times...


Wednesday, July 12, 2006

You Gotta Fight...For Your Right....

As one of my online poker pro friends put it, "read this, and then go here."

So today, thanks to a BusinessWeek.Com article quoting none other than "Mr. Dynamite," I generated a record number of hits. Alas, it's somewhat unfortunate that I was unprepared for this deluge, which swamped even the referrals from WickedChops after the stellar Blogfiles interview. I would have loved to have had a quality post up, like Wesson Girl, or Six Sigma Sunday.

In fact, the issue at hand is immensely important. The US House has passed the bill prohibiting internet gambling. Of course there are the perfectly hypocritical carveouts for horse racing, where the politicians have political and financial interests. If these doucheballs had any fucking clue how much money they could make by taxing online poker ($4.3 BILLION annually, according to the PokerPlayersAlliance), there'd be no excuse for them to pass such a contradictory bill - there's no excuse as it is! From what I hear, the bill will have significant problems being signed into law by the Senate, whose constituents tend to actually think about what the fuck they are doing when they debate such bills.

I am clearly in favor of legalizing online poker, but I am against online casino gambling: online slots, online blackjack, online roulette, etc. These games of chance are pure negative EV, and a guarantee that all participants will lose in the long run. So am I against casinos? Of course not - the difference is that with online gambling the "access = addiction" argument comes into play. I do not believe we should facilitate a way for users to be able to be guaranteed to lose their money online, and for problem gamblers to feed their addiction.

On the other hand, how can I be in favor of online poker? It's a game of skill - but does the "access = addiction" argument still apply? I don't think I'm being hypocritical when I say "no." When I read a 10 page New York Times online article about a college kid who blows his tuition on online poker, and then ends up robbing a bank to pay back his debts, I don't think it's the same as if the kid were playing blackjack. Poker is a game of skill. The fish can take the time to learn and study the game. That's a fact. It's not easy, and there won't always be a point in time where anyone can become a winning player, but the fact is, if you're blowing through all the money you can get your hands on playing poker online, YOU have some responsibility that goes BEYOND addiction. You can't just say, "Hey, they gave me access - they fed my addiction." With online poker, I don't buy that excuse. I guess the most important point is that you can be addicted to online poker and still be a winning player in the long run - that's not true in blackjack and the other casino games. The problem in poker isn't the addiction - the problem is improper play, or maybe false illusions of poker playing ability.

Look, I know firsthand how easy it is to donk off all of your chips online. There's a disconnect with reality - you're not pushing money, you're not even pushing chips - you're pushing buttons. Clicking a mouse. Watching digital animations float across the screen. It's like a video game, and It's very easy to lose track of the reality of "I just called a pot sized river bet with ace high, and I know I'm losing" Perhaps the most important skill in online poker is the ability to keep your composure and not go on TILT. My friends who make their living online say this, and I'd guess that top pro (and noted online addict) Mike "The Mouth" Matusow would say the same thing. Mouth is a great example - he's acknowledged publicly that he's addicted to online poker, and has a problem with it. That doesn't mean it should be banned - it means he needs to work on his problem and address it - which he's doing. Mike Matusow does not play his best poker game online, and that's why he loses. When he's playing his best poker game, be it online or in a card room, he's a winner. Online poker is not the problem.

So, fight for your right to play poker online, or I won't be able to maintain the high standard of living to which Oscar has become accustomed...

Until next time,

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Blah Blah Blah

Zinedane Zidane blah blah blah. Materazzi blah blah. We all know about the headbut, but what a lot of people don't realize is that Zidane has this kind of mean streak - he's not quite Rooney-esque, but he'll mix it up. In any case, there's no excuse for his behavior, even if Materazzi called his mother a terrorist, which Materazzi denies. My favorite quote is from Zidane, as told by Materazzi:

"I held his shirt for a few seconds only, then he turned round and spoke to me, sneering," the Italian defender told the newspaper. "He looked me up and down, arrogantly and said: 'If you really want my shirt, I'll give it to you afterwards.'"

So watching the World Cup Final was kind of a lose-lose situation; I am really not a fan of Italian soccer, on account of their dramatized dives and defensive oriented play. On the other hand, although I like Thierry Henry (despite his own ridiculous dives) and Zidane, I really can't think of a situation where I would ever cheer for France. I mean come on - for Fuck's sake - it's fuckin' France.

I found myself on my street corner, where there is a French Bistro and an Italian restaurant directly across the street from one another. There was a plethora of people pouring out into the street outside of each place, with open air, perfect weather, and multiple TV's. I started out at the Italian place, I Tre Merli, enjoying their plasma screen tuned to the Spanish broadcast.

I later joined my friend Rony across the street at Les Deux Gamins, where I quickly came to the conclusion: "I guess I'm cheering for a power outage in Germany. Is it possible for no one to win?"

Still, the atmosphere was tremendous - with groans of anticipation and relief trading back and forth between the two places as shots were fired and attacks denied. Deciding the world's most important sporting event by something as arbitrary as penalty kicks is a complete travesty - as overtimes progress, they should remove players from each team, first 9v9, then 7v7 after 15 minutes, until someone scored. Anything but the arbitrary pk's.

As Italy clinched the Cup, I Tre Merli erupted, as the French sulked across the street. Good sports that they were, several of the French fans came over and doused the Italians with their celebratory Champagne which was now for naught, as the Italians sipped Prosecca (that's Italian for "Champagne" - I think).

Overall, I'd give this World Cup a solid C+/B-. The games pretty much sucked, but at least they were on at relatively normal hours, as long as you had access to a TV at work. FIFA has a lot of work to do cleaning up the dives that seem to have taken over the game.

until next time,


Friday, July 07, 2006

Futbol Quick Hits

A few quick bits of soccer humor for you:

This satire of the Italian National Team's training session is well done.

And I absolutely love this "Rooney gets revenge" clip. The cutout faces, Christiano Ronaldo's text message to Rooney, Ronaldo's stepovers, and Rooney's vocals ("take that Ronaldo, you cheating twat!")... Great stuff.


Thursday, July 06, 2006

Vegas Baby?

I lay awake this morning at 2am dreaming about poker... Raising from the cutoff with 4d5d. Bluffing the river in the Wynn peach chip game, simply OWNING the game. Young made-for-tv superstars coming over the top of my AA preflop. Rope-a-doping the local wannabe pros in the Mirage 2-5NL game with a dizzying mixture of passive-aggressive play. Six Sigmas at the Mirage. Hitting the IP late night for some ridiculously drunk double deck blackjack where we STILL had a remnance of an edge on the count. Getting thrown out of the Frontier for working a 1-15 bet spread in their super deep penetration double deck game.

I emailed Eric this morning, telling him I was ready to book the trip, just give me the go ahead. I'd scouted planefares and hotel rates already, and I was confident that there were stacks and towers of checks worth of dead money awaiting us all over the strip. Alas, it wasn't meant to be, as E-dub couldn't make it next weekend. Instead, I'll hit up String Cheese Incident at Radio City on Friday night, and perhaps A.C. the weekend after. Vegas is imminent in August. An unavoidable collision course.


Monday, July 03, 2006


Props to goalkeepers Jens Lehmann of Germany, and Ricardo of Portugal for coming up with multiple huge saves in each of their respective penalty shootouts to send their teams on to the semi-finals. Lehmann's final save led to the call of the weak from the Spanish announcer crew: "JENS JENS JENS JENS JENS JENS JENS JENS JENS JENS JENS JENS LEHHHHHHHHHHHMMMANNNNNNNN."

While England failed to show up for the entire tournament, and was justly eliminated by Portugal (side question: why the fuck is Beckham wearing long sleeves if he was complaining about the heat?), France finally played up to their caliber, and absolutely dominated Brazil. Even Ronaldo's utterly embarrassing dive near the top of the penalty box as time wound down (which was actually called by the ref, and earned France a yellow card) wasn't enough to save Samba-land. Those of you who don't know France's striker, Thierry Henry, should take the time to look up some of his highlights. He's a perennial goal producer for Arsenal in the English Premier League, and is one of the top few strikers in the world.

On Saturday night, we visited NYC icon, Katz's Deli. Katz's is in a league of its own - not only for their completely unparalleled pastrami, which I can best describe as "RIDICULOUS," but also for their old school nostalgia. Everyone entering the big, cafeteria-like deli takes a little ticket, almost like you get when you go into a parking garage. When you go up to the counter to order, you give the carver your ticket, and he writes the price on it (about $14 for a pastrami on rye). He also gives you a little taste of pastrami while he makes your sandwich, hand carving the freshly steamed pastrami. If you respond by throwing a few bucks into his tip cup, you get a nicely stuffed treasure which quite literally dissolves in your mouth. (wow, that sounded kinda obscene - I was talking about the pastrami.

In poker news, Danny Negreanu finally got under Mike "the Mouth" Matusow's skin on High Stakes Poker, when Danny mocked The Mouth for having to borrow money to play in the game. After Mouth paid off a river value bet from amateur Fred Chamanara, Negreanu needled further, mockingly reading a glossary definition from a book Phil Laak slid across the table to him: "Payoff Wizard: Someone who calls bets on the river when they are losing. P.O.W." Laak chimed in, "Page 158 Mikey." Great stuff.

Oh - and there was a hand where Mouth and Sammy Farha got all in, in a situation where neither of them really wanted to be all-in (Mouth came over the top of Sammy with middle pair, and Sammy insta-called with his flush draw.) Before the players saw each other's cards, they not only agreed to run it twice, but also "saved" most of the final re-raise: meaning they decided to just play for what was already in the middle. This is a total fucking joke, and both players should be embarrassed... There is no crying in baseball, and there are no takebacks in poker... Ridiculous.

In MORE IMPORTANT POKER NEWS, my boy Eric "E-dub" Lindauer was featured in TheSportsman.Com's Online Kings writeup. Of course, I was furious when I read the article "When a friend gave him a copy of David Sklansky's classic text..." You see, that "friend" was none other than Kid Dynamite! Eric and his wife and baby boy showed up unannounced at my apartment Sunday morning, and I immediately challenged him to a series of heads up freezeouts to punish him for failing to give me credit for teaching him everything he knows. I planned to thrash him in the style of sensei-student / master-pupil, even though he's like a friggin' learning computer, and probably one of the best in the world (yes, I mean that) when it comes to poker math and theory.

I dispatched Eric in our pot-limit hold'em freezeout, and quickly throttled him in pot-limit omaha. I then took pity on him and let him choose limit hold'em for the next freezeout. Now, Eric is a limit hold'em master, and well, I am a no-limit assassin now, so I figured to be a huge dog here. After E-dub cold-decked me early when he turned a gutshot straight draw vs. my top two pair, I fought back valiantly, from a 3-1 chip deficit to a 3-1 chip lead. Even though our starting stacks were only 25 big bets, we played for a solid 90 minutes, before finally agreeing to a draw. I took it as the highest compliment when Eric told me, "I don't feel like I have a very big edge against you."

If you're interesting in improving your poker skills, Eric offers poker coaching. Contact him at e_lindauer at Yahoo to discuss the plans he offers - you cannot help but become a better player when you deal with him. You can also visit his website. If you tell him Kid Dynamite sent you he'll give you 10% off.

A big time BBQ is imminent, happy Independence Day to everyone.