Friday, April 30, 2010

Promising Stats

Just a short little update here, but I took a moment this morning to see how I've been doing since the great Hawaiian Gardens Debacle (tm) ended on March 6th. What I found was very encouraging:


16,037 Hands, 92 big bet win.

This may not sound like much, but after hand 3600 I was 180 bets underwater, so since then it's been quite a run. I've been playing mostly 2/4 and mostly 6-max, but have spent a fair bit of time playing 3/6 and full ring. Also on top of this the rakeback is a nice plus.


I've played 213 hours, almost entirely in the Commerce 20 (I have some hours at CAZ obviously, and a little bit of 8/16, 20 Stud, and that 200 NL I played with Quantum Hoops) and have won basically a main event entry fee. This is a good hourly number, but the problem is that I've had trouble getting in my play. This is mostly intentional, as I've made the decision to play less and focus on improvement with the goal of becoming a viable online player and eventually taking another stab at the 40.

So things are back on track. It's about damn time.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

To Cap or not to Cap; That is the Question

Whether tis nobler....oh, sorry....

There is a major strategic divide amongst limit holdem players, born out of the neccessity to keep their hand ranges wide (balanced) in an effort to give away too much information to skilled (or even semi-skilled) hand readers. Two situations come up frequently and are at the heart of the issue. You open raise preflop, get 3 bet, and the action folds around to you, or you are left alone against a preflop raiser to defend your big blind. In both cases the question is "with what range of hands do you put in another raise?" I'm going to focus on the big blind scenario, but most of what I'm about to say applies to the headsup 3 bet case as well.

The basic problem is that most of the players I deal with would only 3-bet their own big blind heads up with a truly monstrous holding (possibly just aces or kings), and this happens to not be terribly far from incorrect against their own raising ranges (not against my raising range, but against theres). If a tight old man raises up front and it folds to me in the big blind, what range of hands do I really have an equity advantage with here? The list is pretty darn small in a lot of cases, and if I raise with those hands even the dullest opponent is going to be able to read my hand pretty accurately. So what should I do? Well, one thing I could try is to open up my range and 3-bet more hands, adding in stuff that rates to be behind the opener's range. Obviously there's a huge drawback here. You're putting in a raise when you rate be at an equity disadvantage, and are out of position to boot! Now against some opponents who are truly opening a ton of hands (like if say WTK were on the button), this method works just fine because you can 3-bet all kinds of stuff and probably be OK equity-wise. But against weak tight old men, you just can't add enough hands to make your range wide enough to cause problems.

So what's the other solution? Don't 3-bet. Just call with 100% of the hands with which you wish to continue, keeping your range extremely wide. The basic idea here is that if 3-bet, most of the time your opponent is just going to call and then you're going to lead the flop. But what if you just called? Most of the time you'd check the flop and your opponent would bet, and with your good holdings you could check/raise. The situation is exactly the same bet wise in both cases (you put in the same number of bets with the 3-bet/lead line as the call c/r one), and not 3-betting gives you more options. For example, if you just call with JJ and the flop comes AQ7, you don't HAVE to check raise. You could just call (or even fold against some of the people I run into at Commerce).

So what's the right answer? I'm not exactly sure, but I have a theory that there exists a point where the raiser's range becomes wide enough that you should shift from "always call" to "3-bet light" mode. Where this line is probably also depends on how good a hand reader the opponent is, but in general once somebody's range is wide enough that you can 3-bet a reasonable wide range without taking the worst of it hot 'n cold equity wise, it's probably better to go ahead and error on the side of raising more. Against extremely tight players it's probably better to just call all the time, because you rate to be behind with all but your biggest hands and raising only them is going to set off (accurate) alarm bells in your opponent's head because you'll basically be doing exactly what he'd do in your shoes (albeit with a little more thought behind your actions). In practice live I seldom 3 bet my BB or cap heads up out of position. Online, it varies by how loose the player doing the other end of the raising is.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Dealer Trapped by Rake Box; Hilarity Ensues

In all my hours of live texas poker I had never until today seen anything, let alone the dealer's bracelet, get stuck in the drop box. But sure enough it's Commerce so anything is possible. Today I sat in the must move for about 10 minutes before the following happened:

"Floor, open seat here"

Floor calls 4 names....nobody responds except one guy who looks at the game that is currently 8 handed with 2 walkers and opts to simply walk away. Now there are 8 of us and two guys are already walking. By definition someone has to be first up to move, and someone else has to be second, and both those individuals decide to sit out because who would ever want to play in a short game when you could not play and just sit around and eventually move to the main game. So all of a sudden we're like 5 handed and I of course take both my blinds but accidentally bust the big blind as the small blind and so now there are like 2.8 of us looking at each other and the game grinds to a complete halt with the button in front of the guy on my left with a small blind on top of it. We sit there for 10 minutes and eventually cajole enough people to sit with us, at which point the dealer suggests we redraw for the button and make it a new game. Me and the guy on my left are like "no" and so eventually the game does get a hand off first 4 handed, then 5, then 6, etc with only 15 minutes having been lost.

So we carry on and eventually I am in the main game and not once, not twice, but thrice is my button mis-managed by the dealer within the course of 45 minutes. The first time I actually pay the small blind twice because I am unobservant and do say something but only after there has been action. I end up winning half the pot which is nice so I guess it's ok. This put me on high alert and I noticed the next two times it was messed up. All this shenaniganning was well and good, and I even played a silly hand in which my JT flopped two pair against the cutoff openers JT but through pure will power and determination I managed to runner runner a flush and drag the whole pot, but the main event was yet to transpire.

There are two limps and the button folds and the action is on me when it becomes clear that the dealer is distressed. Greatly distressed. Her bracelet, which is basically a chain with some gold charms on it, has become stuck in the drop box. Somehow one of the not so round charms has managed to get in there and now is below the table cavorting with our lost chips and refusing to come back into the light. The dealer tries to free herself, but can't really because she's not allowed to put down the deck which currently resides in her left hand. The customer in seat 9 attempts to help, but he's completely useless. The woman from seat 1 makes an attempt, but also fails epicly. All the while I'm just patiently waiting to toss in 2 chips with my 96o, laughing at the preposterousness of it all. IMR, her bracelet is stuck in the drop box. W. T. F.

Eventually we call over a floor man who manages to not only get the bracelet off her wrist, but also to wrest it out of the hole. There is much rejoicing, I call, and the flop comes down:


I bet because that is the way of things. The BB folds but UTG calls, and the other limper folds.


I bet. He raises. I 3 bet. He 4 bets. I 5 bet, he 6 bets, I 7 bet, he goes all in for 3 more chips, I call.

9 (!)

He shows T8o for a beautifully received asshole card on the turn. Good things come to those who wait.

Running Good is More Fun

As you all know I've tried out the whole "running bad" thing for a long time now, and I can say with great confidence that it is not the way to go. You get irritable, you start to play bad because you're running into skewed hand ranges, you lose your confidence, you don't want to put in your hours, all kinds of bad things happen to you. On top of all that, you don't have any money, which is never a good feeling. So what's the solution? Just run better. I know I've talked a lot on here about variance and how possible it is to run bad and for how long, but the flip side of that is that it's possible to win money hand over fist for a long time. without really doing anything special. When this happens you're happy, you play well because you have more patience, and getting in your hours is easy.

In my past 3 days at Commerce I have won 12 racks in the 20/40 game. My buddy Quantum Hoops has been present for a good portion of my shock and awe campaign, in which I have mercilessly bludgeoned everyone in my path. Twice on Wednesday I flopped the nut flush after opening a "not quite good enough" suited ace after a limper or three. Not only did I have the nut flush, in both cases I had the straight flush cock-blocker (on a flop of 986ddd I held A7 of diamonds). I 3-bet a guy with KT on a KT9-7 board. He had J8, didn't 4 bet the turn, and lost the hand when I filled up on the river. My aces held up like very single time. On Friday and Saturday alone I think I held AA or KK 7 times, and I can only remember losing once. I didn't play a hand for 45 minutes and picked up AA UTG. I get 5 callers and flop an ace obviously. Two of them make a flush, but it doesn't matter because I have a full house before the river even comes off the deck. 3 players limp and I raise JTs in the sb for multiway value/fun. I flop a gut shot and fire a bet why not. Two of them call. I turn a flush draw so I bet again. They both call again. River? Flush.....the guy is beside himself. A passive player has QQ and elects to just call the BB preflop and check/call a JT4 flop. I check the turn because I have pocket 8s and their are still 4 people in the pot, but the the two people behind me also check and the what comes off on the river? 8. All of this come on top of simply flopping a pair almost every single hand. AQo? There are days when it feels like you play that hand 10 times and never even flop a gut shot. This past week there is at least one queen coming out on the flop, sometimes more. To be honest I'm almost surprised I haven't hit a jackpot.

On top of actually running well, when you have an image at the table of "cannot possibly lose a hand" people play very straight-forwardly against you AND you have the confidence to accurately assess that this is happening. In short, when you do somehow manage not to claim the chips in the middle, the damage is minimal. It's easy to fold the turn, you don't need to make ace high call downs. You haven't been caught bluffing because you've had the stone nuts like 15 times in the last two hours. They aren't messing with you when they check/raise you on the big street. Folding is even easier. So I'm headed back today hoping to extend the 3+rack winning streak to 4 days.

As an aside, I should feel extremely happy about all this, but actually my main emotion has been simply relief. Every time I think about the fact that I've won $6000 in three days right behind it is the thought that "yeah that takes care of this month but what about the other 9 you didn't win any money during". I'm going to need to eventually just forget about this horrible streak I went on and focus on the present and future. Hopefully I can continue to win for a while and get back on my feet confidence and bankroll wise; it sure would be nice for a change of pace.

Friday, April 23, 2010


This was really fun:

Full Tilt Poker $2/$4 Limit Hold'em - 6 players
The Official 2+2 Hand Converter Powered By

Pre Flop: (1.5 SB) Hero is BTN with 3 4
UTG calls, MP calls, CO calls, Hero calls, SB calls, BB checks

Flop: (6 SB) 9 A 2 (6 players)
SB checks, BB checks, UTG checks, MP bets, CO calls, Hero calls, SB folds, BB raises, UTG folds, MP calls, CO calls, Hero calls

Turn: (7 BB) 5 (4 players)
BB bets, MP calls, CO folds, Hero raises, BB calls, MP calls

River: (13 BB) 4 (3 players)
BB checks, MP checks, Hero bets, BB calls, MP calls

Final Pot: 16 BB
MP mucks A 6
Hero shows 3 4 (a straight, Five high)
BB mucks A 8
Hero wins 15.25 BB
(Rake: $3.00)

That is all. I just thought people would like a fun hand to read on Friday afternoon.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

F***ing Ben

First of all, allow me add my two cents towards disproving the theory that the production of graphs (at least ones that show yourself tending to win) incurs instantaneous wrath from the poker gods. I won 3 racks yesterday in the Commerce 20 and so far today absolutely, positively, without question, am incapable of losing a hand online. I've won 140 bets in about 1000 hands. Sadly I'm only playing 2/4, but whatever, it still feels awesome to make a flush or better every other orbit.

Now, on to the topic of the day. When I first started writing this blog I actually did a little bit of "research" into what makes various bloggers successful (I am such a tool). To be honest I don't remember much of what I learned except the tidbit that it's important to stay on topic only most of the time. Basically your blog needs a theme, but you need to deviate it from it fairly often because generally when you do you'll be writing about something you're fairly passionate about and it should be fun/good. I haven't deviated much lately, but as a Pittsburgh sports fan feel the need to weigh in on Ben. If you don't care, know, or are sick of hearing about Ben, by all means skip on to your next piece of reading. Else, here we go.

My friend Dan (not Reno Dan, or Dan Ben, or Yoda Dan or even Dan-O) sent me an email the other day basically asking for how I felt about the whole situation, asking three specific questions:

1. What do you think is a fair suspension, if any?

2. Will you cheer for them at the helm?

3. Do you want him to be traded?

I guess I'll start with these questions and see where we go from there. I felt that a 3-4 game suspension was fair. Originally I was thinking 2, but after the police report was released, well, some of the stuff in there was towards the bad end of you could you have possibly expected. He got 6, but it sounds like if he's on his best behavior it'll get knocked down to 4. I think this is pretty fair. He fucked up really badly, but 8 games would have completely torpedoed the Steelers' season. Keep in mind that a 4 game suspension costs Ben 1/4th of his salary, which will equate to something like 2 or 3 million dollars. That is not a slap on the wrist, even if you are inordinately wealthy.

I will still cheer for the Steelers at the helm, but I will be pissed off at him forever for leaving me with no choice but to do so. My allegiance to the team runs far deeper than who is currently playing quarterback. I'm not going to let his idiotic behavior ruin the enjoyment I get out of rooting for the Steelers.

I would love to see him traded if there was any way the Steelers could get what I'd consider fair value for him, which at this point is absolutely impossible. As the draft looms closer (it kicks off in just under an hour....I'll likely post this after it's started) everyone continues to report "trade rumors" and all that jazz. My theory is that there are a few reasons for this. First of all, sports journalists needs shit to talk about, and why not this? It's a story that even non-sports fans have some interest in. Second of all, I believe the Steelers are probably fanning the flames a little bit, making sure to make it known that they are "entertaining offers" (even though Rooney stated specifically that they never, ever announce trades until they are completely done) to sort of appease everyone and say "look we're trying to trade him but nobody is gonna give us squadush for this asshole." What is fair value? I don't know, but the number 1 pick in the draft is not enough, and there is no way anybody is giving them more than that. Would you trade a guy with 2 rings for Sam Bradford? Would you support your team if it did? Seriously.

Something else that has come up is the thought that if the Steelers don't trade him they are compromising the high standards of conduct that they have held all members of their organization to for literally decades. The claim is that by not trading Ben they'll be just like every other team. That quite frankly is a bunch of bologna. First of all, "high standards" is not a binary thing. It's not like every team simply either has a good moral compass or not. There is a large swath of grey to be had in this discussion. By not trading Ben the Steelers are not dis-connecting their compass; they are merely showing the limits to which it will rule their personnel decisions when considering putting a good final product out on the field. They've always done this in the past when making draft choices. To this day I remember talking to my friend Kevin from high school after they drafted Plaxico. His comment was something like this:

"Sure, he's not their kind of player. He's a thug. But he was just too good not to take."

And eventually the Steelers had to let him go and everyone said "Why did you do that he's so awesome!?" and I personally had faith that they were making the right decision like they seem to always do when it comes parting ways with players for financial or other reasons (Alan Faneca non-withstanding why oh why didn't we pay that man his money). Well we all know where Plax ended up. There are lots of other guys like this, but Bam Morris is the first that comes to mind. I loved that guy....but they had to let him go, and I understood. And of course Mr. Holmes, Super Bowl MVP, traded for a 4th round pick who'll probably turn into a special teamer or perhaps our 7th line backer, is another. By not trading Ben the Steelers aren't sinking to a new low. They're just showing the limits of their policies. How many other teams would trade Ben in this situation? I don't think many.

So basically what I think it comes down to is that Ben is an asshole, but Steelers' ownership simply isn't going to risk blowing up the team for a decade (good quarterbacks are hard to come by). It's too much to ask. The fans are going to be very pissed off at Ben, mainly because they are going to have to deal with fans of every other team calling our quarterback a rapist, and they have a right to be. But most of them won't abandon the team. Ben will be on a short leash from now on and hopefully his family and friends will help keep him under control. Heck, maybe he'll even find Jesus. That'd be great, if he just came home one day and Jesus was sitting on his couch and looked at him and said "Dude...." If all else fails, at least maybe this sign will help remind him that big brother is watching.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

In Which I Produce Graphs

Everybody likes graphs. Well OK not everybody, but I like graphs and it's my blog so I'm going to make me some graphs that will make me feel better about my current situation. You see I've got a new plan (I think I've outlined it already), but basically I'm going to drive to Commerce only 4 days a week (and put in 30 hours) and spend 2 of the other 3 days watching videos and playing online. The goal is obviously to get better, and to get comfortable with online play. Today I logged about 1200 hands online, and would have gotten in a few hundred more if my internet connection hadn't crapped out on me around 6pm. Here you will see my lifetime graph of all hands played at 1/2 and 2/4 online (both 6-max and full ring).

That graph was pretty easy to make, and it's kind of promising to me. It also has some humorous attributes I'm sure everyone will appreciate. But seriously, it sorta trends upward except for that massive disaster in the middle, and overall it's something like .7 big bets per 100, which isn't terrible. Add in rake back and we have a promising beginning. For my next trick, I will attempt to build a lifetime commerce 20/40 graph. This could be challenging as the data is spread over 2 excel sheets, but after some work here we go:

Again, as you can see....interesting attributes, such as my recent tendency to lose 4 racks in a single day. There you have it.

Monday, April 19, 2010

It's Just Me Isildur

So this actually happened. I have a theory that listening to the isildur song conveys magical and fleeting run good. Today at commerce stuck just under 3 racks after such gems as me calling down with AJ ui on a QQ3ddc-2c-9h and getting shown A9ss, getting river 2 outted twice, and running KQ into JT on a JT3-K board (lol he check called the turn and river), I decided to give the song another shot. I'm in the BB and fire up the YouTube video. It spins cause it's fucking Commerce and AT&T doesn't know the place exists, and I get 96dd and a limped 4 way pot. I am firing up the song so rungood peeks his little head out:


I bet and two players call. My phone reports it is unable to connect to YouTube, or in other words "you're really fucked now man here comes the baby heart!" Anxiously I hit refresh


Grand. I bet and only get a call from the EP limper. Call only? Maybe top two is ok!


The song starts to play! I bet and my opponent string raises. Like it's not even close two forward motions one with each bet. I say-so-much and am allowed to show down my two napkins for no more money. A8hh.

So do you see what happened there? The mere act of attempting to play the song was enough to flop top two. But the leaden walls of commerce breaking the connection interrupted my protection for just one street, which was all my opponent needed to turn (and call only with) the lockdown nuts. The song came back on too late to change the river card, but in time to smite my opponent into a string bet. Undeterred I continue with blind optimism.

My small blind and the CO open raises. He's a borderline maniac preflop so I have an easy 3 bet with AJcc. Headsup we go and an ace flops. He folds instantly, and I drag my first pot in an hour. The isildur song is not versed in the art of te hustle. It merely destroys all in it's path.

My button and the HJ (same guy) opens. I behold the A8 of shovels and sling 12 chips into the pot. Dude has been way out of line AND seems to always raise the hand after he loses a pot and I mean I've got the isildur song and an ace what could possibly go wrong? Headsup again.


Attack! He calls only.


My 3 bet is in the pot before he's finished check/raising. He scratches his head and calls. He either has air/gutshot or an 8 he's not folding since he'd have done something with a Queen in the flop.


He checks and folds. It's just me isildur.....

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Now That's a Beat

Things went really well last week, right up until yesterday. I went to commerce for about a 7 hour session and at one point was down to about $250 on the table. My current model is to bring $2K to the casino and not post with less than $300, so I essentially got down to the felt. That very orbit however I won a massive pot with jacks, and managed to stick out the rest of the session and only lose about 3 racks. I know I know I should bring enough money not to worry about things but I've decided that once I'm that far under I no longer play well so I'd rather just force myself to make good quits. How did I get stuck so badly? This hand certainly didn't help.

As I've probably mentioned the worst beat you can take in texas hold 'em is a 989 : 1 shot, where in your opponent has no back door draws (neither flush nor straight) and needs to hit not one but two perfect running cards to beat you. As an example, if you held KK on a flop of K72r and your opponent held JJ, he would need to hit both remaining jacks to defeat you. I don't recall ever actually taking this beat (WTK once sort of put it on me, but he had also flopped a simple gut shot making it far less of a long shot), which if correct is actually pretty lucky on my part. I don't think I've played a million hands in my life, but to be honest it's probably close (counting all the hands I logged playing sit n goes and at the 2/4 tables at foxwoods and everything in between). Yesterday, however, I took what I think is the second worst beat in texas hold 'em.

I raised a limper with A9s from about the lowjack and got called by the button and the big blind. Four of us saw the flop of:


My cards were clubs, so not a back door draw in sight, but hey top two's not bad right? I bet and got two calls, from the limper and the big blind.


They both checked to me and I bet. The big blind raised, the limper cleared out, and I had a decision to make. Obviously folding is out of the question, but should I raise again? The only hands I realistically lose to are AJ, a slow played set of 9s or 6s, or somehow JJ. AJ doesn't make much sense from the action so far, and neither does JJ. 9s are pretty tough, since I can see 2 of them, leaving exactly 1 hand combo. 66 is a real possibility, as most players would take exactly this line with it, but that's poker. I also beat a slew of one pair plus flush draw hands (that he could play this way), naked flush draws he's trying to bluff with (unlikely but possible), and straight flush combo draws (T8hh for example) and almost all of the two pair hands, all of which are in play since my opponent called in the big blind in what figured to be a 4 way pot. J6 needs to be discounted, but even I'd have played it suited and this is a random commerce blind defender!

So I 3-bet and he called grudgingly. Sadly his lack of a raise doesn't even mean I'm good. A player here with 66 or AJ might not even 4-bet. I think by now we all know what's coming on the river:


He donks. I call, and he shows me the J9 of spades in all it's glory. Here you have it, I manage to lose what is eventually a $500+ dollar pot in which I at one point had 99.7% equity. 
pokenum  -h ac 9c  - js 9s  -- ad 9d 6h  Holdem Hi: 
990 enumerated boards containing Ad 9d 6h cards  
win   %win  lose  %lose  tie  %tie     EV 
Ac 9c  987  99.70     3   0.30    0  0.00  0.997 
Js 9s    3   0.30   987  99.70    0  0.00  0.003

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Old Fashioned One Day Report

Commerce was kind to me yesterday, letting me walk home with about 2 more racks than I started with. A few hands that I found enjoyable/humorous:

Hand 1

I open red queen in the cutoff and only the small blind defends. The flop falls:


I bet and he calls. His call here is a good sign, as most players would c/r a king. To the turn:

K96r-Qs, putting a flush draw on board

He check/raises me. I take pause for just a beat before 3-betting. He calls. Sure, he could have JT, but I have the 3rd possible nuts and KK is almost impossible.

5c, making 2 clubs, 2 spades, and a heart.

He check/calls. I table my hand and he triumphanly rolls...54 of spades. Does he have a flush? Two pair? I can't quite see....nope. One pair of fives. He doesn't appear confused either. Pear duh.

Hand 2

For this hand Frond is on sweat patrol. He's walked over to the table and is standing directly behind me, and has many times before mentioned that he is an expert sweater, even once suggesting he was going to start a business offering his services. His model would seem to be just like that of a crack dealer: "First one's free baby, just give it a taste!" Anyway...I have the mighty J8o in the big blind, one player limps, the small blind completes, and I check my option.


The small blind checks, I bet, the EP limper folds, and the SB calls.

J72-A putting another pesky spade draw.

SB donks. I don't know what to make of this and because I am bad at poker I call, intending to call down.


Well now that I'm here I obviously have to call, although in the last 5 seconds I've realized I was supposed to fold on the turn more than likely. So anyway I call and the SB quickly rolls J7o for a counterfeited 3 pair (he has aces and jacks with a 7 kicker). I roll my now winning hand (aces and jacks with an 8 kicker) and sheepishly drag the pot. Frond should probably draw up a business plan as far as I'm concerned.

Hand 3

Someone buys the button (I'll call him the SB) and I open black 8s in pretty early position, like probably UTG if there were 2 blinds. The woman on my immediate left 3 bets, and this ladies and gentlemen means she's not screwing around. I resolve to flop a set. The button buyer calls both bets, I call, and we see a flop of:


Victory! The small blind bets and I do something that I almost NEVER do; just call. This is probably still a small mistake, as I'd love to put two bet pressure on JJ or TT here, but even against those hands it's not all bad, as she might call two bets cold and then be priced into making a correct 1 bet call on the turn. And if she has AQ (unlikely), KK or AA she's going to raise anyway and I'll get to see what the SB does before deciding on my action (if he just calls I'll probably 3 bet and let the cat out of the bag, but if he 3-bets I'll probably just call and again raise safe turns). I also figure her AK hands are drawing stone dead and will not put in 2 bets, so just calling gets those bets. If I had it to do over again I'd raise, and not just because she folds behind me. So we're heads up.


That turn card is decidedly not safe. The SB bets confidently and I just call, now kind of afraid that I'm actually behind.


Check check. He shows 84s for his half of the pot. I am beside myself and immediately rack up my chips and leave.

Monday, April 12, 2010

How Games Start at Commerce

Wow I've fallen off the stick again. I mostly blame leo doc for the luxurious accommodations he provided for my three nights in Scottsdale. It's tough to get much done in the way of blogging when you're surrounded by sun, good food, fine wine, and a driver willing to take you to CAZ on 15 minutes notice at any semi-reasonable hour. I barely even played online. Because of all this I have tons of things I want to write about and just haven't found time to do it, which I promise I'll get back on top of soon.

Spending 4 days with leo, a southern gentleman of the highest order, has actually caused me a bit of trouble. I played Friday and Saturday at Commerce and found myself almost unable to deal with what was merely an average (by local standards) level of douchebaggery. These people are just terrible. Like OK they're not all bad, but at a table with 8 opponents there are usually at least 2 or 3 who seem to demand attention and berate the dealer constantly and are just horrible to play with. I'd started to grow a thick skin towards them, but such a skin needs constant monitoring and upkeep or else it degrades. I guess.

So I'm there on Saturday which is rare for me because as I stated I'm trying to make up some hours and there are 2 games and 8-10 names on the list and the floorman starts telling those of us just sitting around the area that he's going to start a new game. So within like 2 minutes the 6 of us that actually want to play are already sitting at the table, half of us with our own chips that we brought from the cage because lord knows depending on the Commerce chip runners is not a risk you should take if you can avoid it (admittedly this isn't their fault; they are basically expected to perform floor person duties as well, since Commerce doesn't see fit to hire nearly enough floormen to deal with the level of douchebaggery of their customers). So at this point, after all 6 of us are already there, the floorman decides it might be a good idea to call for a dealer. He picks up the phone and talks to the magic dealer man, who decides whom to send and when to send him, and what feels like 5 minutes later we actually have a dealer. Maybe it was 3, I can't be sure, I was playing Plants vs. Zombies. So the floorman now informs us that "it's gonna be short" because that's just the way things go and the current main game has 3 open seats. Literally 3 I'm not even kidding. But we don't exist yet, which means the other game is still a must move, so in order to get people into the main game he has to move them from the most move, and as usual those people are being douche bags taking extra hands and not moving when they are told, which is just a sleazy way of taking extra free hands without paying the blinds. In the interim this young white kid, who was first up on the list (I was second) has actually moved from our not yet started game into the must move and within 14 seconds has gotten into a heated argument with the dealer, 3 other patrons, and the floorman. Basically he sat down UTG+1 and the dealer didn't tell him he had to post. It wasn't even clear that he did have to post (I could see how he made the mistake, he was seated at a game and told he had to move, but our game hadn't dealt a hand yet so he's not a must-move he's a new player he has to post), but he took a hand and mucked it before putting out the $20. Now everyone is telling him he had to post and he's all upset and one guy says "it's only $20" and the kid screams "it may only be $20 to you!" and there is just an incredible amount of bru-haha over something that doesn't have to suck. The dealer is an idiot; never give someone a hand if it's not clear that they know they have to post. Especially a 23 year old kid who is min-buying into the game and is currently UTG+1. The other players are idiots. The kid didn't know, AND he mucked the hand. I know he got an edge because the hand could have been aces, but it wasn't and no harm has actually happened. Deal him out UTG and let him take his natural blind. The kid is an idiot. He said "You don't have to post where I'm from", which it soon became clear was the 8/16 game. The floorman is an idiot. His ruling was "You owe $20". But the kid's cards are in the muck, irretrievable. He's not giving you $20. He has no hand, and the dealer didn't tell him he had to post. It's the dealer's fault. You really just have to let this one go. Commerce management is a bunch of idiots for their insistence on using the must move system for 20/40 games. That's what causes all this confusion, and you don't need them. Sure sometimes a game will get short and break and a few people will be upset, but for crying out loud it's a freaking disaster. During this whole debacle I proclaim to the table "Commerce should send every employee who works here to Bay 101 for a week just to observe how they handle 20/40 and 40/80 games. When they came back, everything would just sorta work." I can't believe I said that, but it's true. Sophornia, Cissy, Steve, Cousin, Janet....I miss you all so much it. Please consider coming to Commerce so I can actually play poker instead of sit around watching monkeys fling feces at each other.

And here's the best part....30 minutes later, once I get a seat in the still must move game, min-buy kid who caused all the problems goes all in blind with his last $80 in the small blind declaring "I gotta go, the tournament is starting". He raises preflop, bets the flop, and fires all in on the turn assuring the big blind he hasn't looked at his cards yet. Upon showdown he reveals 92o for no pair 9-high, and the other guy just shakes his head and drags the pot with like a pair of 4s. As he leaves I can't help myself and say "What the heck, it's only $80".

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Public Service Announcement

Babar has informed me that Deuces Cracked videos are "free all this week", which basically means they are doing a promotional trial period for everyone in the world. If you've ever been curious but too cheap to ante up, now's your chance. Go forth and crush.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Blaze of Glory IMO

Today we got off to a rather slow start, primarily because leo's boy managed to sleep until 1pm. This is even more impressive when you consider the time difference, which puts him at sleeping until 3pm Nashville time. I'll leave leo to discuss the matter at length, but suffice it to say at 2pm basically all we had done was eat some biscuits, lounge in the sun, and discuss the merits of inviting Captain R on next year's trip. For the record we came down on the pro side, but just barely.

Eventually, however, the inevitable march of progress could no longer be halted. Sam dropped me off at CAZ around 3pm, with the boys in tow on their way to the skate park. Leo stayed behind, citing a need to restock our supplies, a claim with which I could not argue as both the Ketel One and lemonade reserves had been greatly depleted. I walked straight to the cage to buy a couple racks of red, and as I stood in line the must move game disintegrated before my eyes. An hour later, after dropping a rack and a half in the 8/16 game, I finally had a seat in a game that I can only describe as a remarkable specimen. 8 rack heater guy from the night before was in attendance, in addition to a few other monkeys playing virtually every pot. A blind monkey could have won in this game. I bumbled my way to even, just in time for leo's arrival around 6pm.

Just as I had, leo waited patiently for a seat, sweating me through several glorious victories (QJo on a Q76dd-K-K board? 3 bets 3 ways on the flop, two calls on the turn, and a lookup on the river thank you very much for the rack). By 7pm we were both in the game, with $2500 between us. It was all over by 8:30. Leo did not win a single pot in the first 75 minutes, being subjected to all manner of disorderly conduct. Flopped trips? Not even close. Queen high flush on an un-paired board? No good. But being the upstanding gentleman that he is leo endured the slings and arrows of fate without so much as a single complaint. The final nail (the aforementioned queen high flush) was driven and reduced leo's stack to mere bric-a-brac. He declared "well, I've never been felted" and continued to play out the orbit. UTG+1 he open raised and...I folded....some others folded. The small blind folded....and the big blind...folded! Pot A! Leo scooped up the $30 of blinds and declared "I'm done" to the dealer. At this point I had no choice but to point out two simple facts:

1. He had one more free hand.
2. I'd just ordered us another round.

Faced with this unassailable fact Leo first declared "OK, one more hand" and took his UTG hand, which he promptly folded. Upon reflection of point 2 he decided that it was silly to just wait around the next 15 minutes for Sam to come pick us up, and decided to play out one last orbit. Justice was swift.

Having changed to seat 3 a few orbits ago, I opened this hand from UTG with the K Q. Flo, a blind old man who had to be read all board cards of interest, cold called the two bets in the 5 seat, and the action folded around to Leo (actually this might not be true...I think there was a 4th player in the pot who folded on the flop. such vagaries have grown more and more common with me it seems) and his short stack in the 2 hole. He called, and a slight smirk slid slowly across his tanned countenance. I was not to be the one who felted him. Not this man. The flop appeared:

T 9 4

Leo checked and I dutifully bet. The old man instantly raised, and the aforementioned fourth man at some point folded. Leo called the two bets cold, which I didn't even give a second thought since I had a gut shot at the nuts and was calling basically not matter what. In retrospect, his call with only 7 should have set off all kinds of alarm bells, as he's obviously trying to make sure I toss 4 more chips out there knowing full well all his money is going in. At this point, let us pause for a hole cam shot of leo's hand:

T 9

Well done sir! You've done it, your last orbit is about to be an epic rush getting you back to even and creating great material for the trip report. Half truths, these things. Nothing but half truths.

So we've reached the turn with 7 big bets, and find the board reading:

T 9 4 - 9

Leo checks, I check and the old man bets. Leo calls his last 7 chips with the second nuts and I toss my hand into the muck, wondering what the sly fox on my right is about to show down. He shows great restraint in neither tipping the dealer his last $1 chip or tabling his substantial good, and the dealer burns and turns the river:

T 9 4 - 9 - K

Leo rolls his hand triumphantly. The old man is confused and turns over his red kings. The table, having grown fond of leo and tired of the old man constantly asking what cards are on board (from the 5 seat no less) is beside itself. There is a murmur of displeasure as leo tips the dealer his last $1 chip anyway and declares "time for a smoke" as he walks away from the table. A regular says to me specifically "One more hand. It's free" and I just shake my head. After all, it's not my fault he can't make his boats float.

Following Along

I won't be posting much on here, but two threads on two plus two have a good bit of chatter regarding our exploits here in the sunniest place on Earth.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

The Great CAZ Adventure 2010

For anybody who hasn't heard, I'm going to be in Scottsdale this week, hanging out with leo doc and playing at Casino Arizona. If you're in the area, stop by the 20/40 game and look for the out of towner stuck 3 racks. That'll be leo. The handsome guy busting his chops stuck 5 racks will be me.