I'm currently in the southern United States, but that won't stop me from posting a few thoughts that have been tumbling around in my head today.
1. I recently caught a short snippet of Dennis Miller's "new" show on CNBC. When did he get a lobotomy?
2. Why do people still choose paper tickets when travelling by plane? When I got to the airport this morning, the paper ticket check-in line was (predictably) quite long, but there were several e-ticket check-in kiosks that were not in use. It is like this every time I travel. I don't mind, of course. I just wonder why the paper ticket people don't mind, either.
3. Security - I understand that some people only rarely travel by plane, but after decades of typical airport security and three years of heightened airport security, you would think people would know to empty their pockets before walking through a metal detector.
4. Was it just me, or did the line between celebration of gay pride and commercialization of gay pride seem exceedingly blurred at this year's parade?
5. I'm sure there was a "5", but I forget what it was.
Wednesday, June 30, 2004
I'm currently in the southern United States, but that won't stop me from posting a few thoughts that have been tumbling around in my head today.
Sunday, June 20, 2004
Quick post -- I won't be updating much in the next two weeks or so. First, the California girlfriend will be here for a week starting tomorrow. Then, a day after she leaves, I'll be travelling to Podunk, GA for my brother's wedding celebration. He got married when he came home from Iraq for "mid-war leave" in January, but now that he's home for real they're having a more formal celebration.
Georgia in July. Ugh. At least the peaches should be good.
Wednesday, June 16, 2004
Under Nevada law, bigamy - or "Mormon Hold'em" - is perfectly legal.
--Judge Constance Harm, The Simpsons
I've been experimenting with other forms of poker recently, to the horror of several holdem purist friends of mine. It's part of an effort to be a more well-rounded player, especialy since my Sunday night game recently proposed a SHOE rotation -- stud, holdem, omaha, and stud-eight. Since the stud games are a different universe from holdem, starting with Omaha seemed like the best idea (notwithstanding the fact that I scooped two stud-eight pots at The Blue Parrot on Monday night).
I've never had a good handle on Omaha, and all of my reading and playing experiences suggest that it's a strange, strange game. In what other game would players debate the merits of folding the nuts on the flop? In Omaha, it is sometimes (arguably) correct to do so.
My last Omaha experiences were over a year ago, and I'm happy to say that there is much, much more reading material - and quality material at that - available on the internet now. It's strange to find myself back at the micro-limits that, on the texas holdem side of the equation, I abandoned long, long ago. I feel like such a newbie again, and it can be hard, when I make a particularly boneheaded play, not to take a bit of an ego blow from it. After all, I think I'm a reasonably decent texas holdem player, but here I am all the way back at the beginning again.
I wonder if I should start a separate Omaha bankroll.
Tuesday, June 15, 2004
Why is it that when I dream about poker, I always lose? Last night, my dream quad aces lost to someone else's dream quad aces. I protested that a) quad aces can't beat quad aces; b) we couldn't BOTH have quad aces; and c) upon closer inspection, the deck contained no less than nine aces and six kings. Alas, as Pauly would say, my protests went unheard.
I think I need to get together with the suits in charge of the programming for my dreams so that I can suggest a few improvements.
Sunday, June 13, 2004
If you can dodge a wrench, you can dodge a ball.
--Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story
Apparently, dodgeball is undergoing a bit of a resurgence recently. In fact, yesterday the New York City Dodgeball Championships were held at Martin Luther King Jr. High School, which is where I found myself at 1pm, listening to strategy tips given by the de facto captain of a team of dodgeballing (dodging?) improvisors. Since I had shown up late, he was doing his best to cram all of his strategy into about 30 seconds as I stood on the endline of a basketball court with my nine teammates, staring down a snarling band of Asian men who named themselves "The Crazy 88s". Thankfully, like in the movie, there were far less than 88 of them.
Dodgeball, you say? That's a children's game. Not anymore. The participants yesterday were all 20-something men and women, most of whom had apparently spent quite a bit of time strategizing about the game. Add to that mix the stereotypical male competitive need to win, win, WIN!, and the further stereotypical sore losers who feel the need to cheat, and any vestiges of childhood innocence that might have clung to it have been completely annihilated.
Despite our best strategies, my team finished 2-5 in the round robin portion of the day and did not advance to the elimination stage. Along the way, I managed to take an elbow to the head from one of my own teammates and picked up a few floor burns. In short, it was just like being 12 again. Except for all the elements that made it nothing like being 12.
The day's experience was made further surreal by a middle-aged woman who got on the 1 train at 50th street and began expounding how CIA Agent So-and-So and FBI Agent Whozit, who were BOTH undercover as Jehovah's Witnesses, had instructed her to explain to everyone that rap and hip-hop music were not creations of the inner city, but actually creations of the U.S. government! Other government creations included AIDS, SARS, ebola, monkeypox, marijuana, ecstasy, and viagra. Apparently, CIA Agent So-and-So and FBI Agent Whozit even had enough forethought to instruct this woman that people would believe she was crazy (can you imagine?), but that she needed to get on the trains and spread the word anyway. After she had passed through the car, a high school kid sitting across from me turned to his friend and said, "I never trusted the government anyway."
Thursday, June 10, 2004
Talk sense to a fool and he calls you foolish.
One of my friends went to the Borgata last night and recounted the following story:
Sitting at the NL table, he had just had his aces cracked by 7-9o and was not in the greatest mood. A few hands later, he bluffed all-in for $150 with ace-high against one opponent when the fourth card to a straight fell on the river. The high card on board was a king.
His opponent pondered what to do, motioned to fold, then pulled his cards back and said, "I'm not folding yet. I'm going to show you what I have." He exposed one of his cards, a king, and stared down my friend. My friend turned to the dealer and asked incredulously, "He can do this?", to which the dealer responded, "Yes, because it's heads up." That sealed my friend's fate, because as soon as he turned to the dealer, his opponent put him on a bluff and called. The end.
As you can imagine, my friend was FURIOUS, and said that various four-letter words were fairly flying out of his mouth. To top it off, the other player told him, "I wouldn't have called if you hadn't reacted like that. Learn how to play poker."
Why on earth would such a move be considered legal? I'm told that it is also legal at the Tropicana, which leads me to believe it is some sort of universal rule, especially since I've had the same experience at the low-limit tables in California. Why is this sort of behavior tolerated and even condoned? What could the rationale possibly be for allowing the biggest angle play of them all?
Wednesday, June 09, 2004
Good luck is often with the man who doesn't include it in his plans.
As intended, I went to AC yesterday to play in the Borgata's Tuesday night $40 super satellite. The payout was as many seats as possible into the $1,500+80 NLHE WPT event on September 16, with any left-over money going to the bubble boy. It was a rebuy tournament, with a double add-on at the end of the rebuy period. 85 players plunked down $40 for a seat.
Levels 1 to 3 -- Rabbi, Ribeye, Rebuy: I drew Table 2, Seat 3, the same exact seat I had drawn in my only other Borgata tourney back in November, which had resulted in a final table appearance. I considered it a good omen. Play at my initial table was just god-awful. I had no trouble pushing my initial 1,000 stack to 3,475 by the first break. With the add-on, I started Level 4 at 5,475.
Levels 4 to 6 -- Dead Money Gets Dead: I got broken away from my initial table pretty quickly (a pity) but continued inching up until I caught a nice break in Level 6. In LP with KQo, I reraised all-in what I smelled as weakness from UTG, who had min-raised to 1200. The button and blinds got out of the way, and it was back to UTG. He thought about it, then said, "What the hell, I'm bored. I call." Well, crap -- I didn't really want a call here! He opened his hand to show Kc 4c. Ok! Not so bad at all. The flop came down no clubs, all raggedy, with... a four??! Oh. my. God. I suddenly found myself on the wrong end of a very short draw. The turn was a brick, and the expletives started flying out of my mouth, but the river saved me: queen of diamonds! I had him chipped, and just like that he was gone. I made it to the second break at 10,900.
Levels 7 to 9 -- Pushing for the Final Table: It was time for the short stacks to put up or shut up, and time for the big stacks to put them in their place. The bust-outs would start coming fast and furious now, and I was looking to pick some of those chips up.
Level 7 was where I made my first and only blunder of the night. A short stack in early position moved in for 3900. My small blind found me with AJ. I asked for a count while I considered my options. In retrospect, I should have realized that he wasn't quite at the desperation stage, with almost 4,000 left in his stack, but the thought just didn't occur to me for some reason. Rather, my thinking was "I'm a decent-sized stack with AJ, I should call here and take him out." So I called 2/5 of my stack with AJ against an EP raiser. (In black and white, that looks even stupider than I realized.)
Imagine my surprise when the big blind, a bigger stack than me, also started counting out 3900! Oh, fuxored big time. It was a mistake not to move in and protect my hand. Too late. We were three-handed for a pot of over 12,000. The flop was 6-8-T. Check, check. The turn put out a 4, which brought a 3,000 bet from the BB. Adios. They opened AK for EP, 44 for the big blind. EP was gone.
What a blunder. I sank deep into my seat as I looked at my suddenly-not-very-impressive stack of about 5,500. I told myself to focus, that I wasn't out of it by a long shot, and not to give up. I just had to find a few pots. I busted a very short stack in Level 8 to keep myself floating, and picked up two pots on steals in Level 9. On my button, I found Ad 5d. I must have had around 10,000 again, so the question was how much to raise. I settled on 4,000 (again, probably a mistake). The small blind agonized for a long time before folding. The big blind called. I got a flop I liked quite a bit: A-7-5. I decided to end it right there and moved in. He folded. The small blind told me he folded 7s. Talk about dodging a bullet! We raced off the 100-chips, and the third break found me at 13,500. Not all that impressive an increase, but I had survived my blunder in Level 7. We were down to 12 players, 6 at each table, so short-handed play was going to continue into Level 10 until we had 10 players. There were no short stacks at either table, so I got up to go get a snack and prepare myself for the grind.
After the third break, we were informed by the TD that there was exactly enough money for 6 seats. There would be no "booby prize" (leftover cash) for the player who busted out 7th. It was all or nothing.
Levels 10 and 11 -- The Final Table (Bad Beat City): Level 10 started at 1,500/3,000 (500). Add to that the fact that we were playing short-handed (two tables of 6 players), and you can imagine that I was in an uncomfortable position. With the final table close, play became very, very tight. We weren't seeing many flops. After fifteen minutes, two players busted out of the other table so we were finally able to collapse. Thank God! The blinds had been coming around way too fast.
I drew the 5-seat. The button started at the 10-seat. The make-up of the final table: old Italian guy (short stack) in 1; pocket 7s dude in 2 (short); can't remember in 3 (he was the first to bust); kid in 4; me in 5; can't remember in 6 (second to bust); big stacks in 7, 8, 9 and 10. I was in with the short stacks, no question. My work was cut out for me.
One orbit in Level 10 cost 9,500. My pitiful stack of about 15,000 wasn't going to last long, although there were others in more dire straits than me, particularly the 1-seat. I caught a break in my big blind when the table folded to me, giving me another orbit, but the 1-seat was sinking in a hurry. He finally moved in for his last 1,000. The kid to my right raised to 15,000, folding the blinds to get the 1-seat heads up. They opened 8h 9h for the 1-seat, Ah Jh for the 4-seat. The old guy started saying "black 8s and 9s, black 8s and 9s!" The flop came J-8-9 and a roar erupted from the table. The turn and river were bricks, and suddenly the 1-seat had the faintest signs of life -- about 8,500 worth of life. A few hands later, he moved in again and was called by the guy to my left. They opened 3-3 for the 1-seat, A-J for the 6-seat. A 3 on the flop sunk the 6-seat, crippling his stack and doubling up the old man again.
On to Level 11 -- 2,000/4,000 (1,000) -- and I suddenly realized that, with 10,000 and the blinds approaching, I had only four hands left. The first hand at UTG+1 was garbage. Into the muck. The second hand, at UTG, was As 9d. Good enough for me! Just as I called all-in and started to push my chips forward, I heard the dealer declare, "Misdeal!" WHAT?! I looked up at the table to see a boxed card near the 10-seat. At the Borgata, a boxed card is an automatic misdeal; it does NOT become the burn card. Well, I was pretty livid. "Son of a bitch!" I yelled as I angrily threw my cards into the muck. I thought for sure that the boxed card was going to cost me the tournament.
The redeal brought Qd 9d, and with only 8,000 left after the ante, I felt I had no choice but to move in. The 6-seat called the 8,000, only to have the 8-seat raise all-in. Fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck. I turned to the dealer, who had been so nice to the 1-seat, and said "Joe, I hope you've got a nice flop in there for me." The 6-seat got out of the way and we opened our hands. The 8-seat had (you guessed it) As Ac. What a time to run into aces! I showed him my Q9d, and I started praying for diamonds. The flop was about as good as I could have hoped for: Qc 5d 6d. Top pair with a great draw! I think everybody at the table could sense what was coming on the turn: Kd. I jumped up out of my chair with a whoop as the table erupted. Diamond flush! The aces were drawing dead. The total pot was 32,000 and suddenly I was very much alive.
The 6-seat moved in for his last 10,000 soon after and was busted by the club-wielding 10-seat, pushing us down to 8. Play slowed down again until the 1-seat, still somewhat short, moved his whole stack in. He was called by the 4-seat, who had him chipped, but not by much. They opened JJ for the 1-seat, and AA for the 4-seat. Aces again! The table was happy; it looked like the old man was going to finally get his comeuppance. The flop came 9-J-6, and the table erupted for the third time. No ace on the turn or river, and aces were cracked for the second time. That beat crippled the 4-seat, who would go out shortly thereafter. We were down to 7 and on the bubble.
Level 12 -- Bubble Boy: As we moved into Level 12 (3,000/6,000/1,000), the table picture looked like this: big stacks in the 7, 8, 9 and 10 seats; the Italian guy in 1 with a medium stack, and the 2-seat and me both with about 30,000. Level 12 started at my big blind, so immediately I had one leg chopped out from under me.
I think it was pretty clear to most people at the table that it was either going to be me or the 2-seat who bubbled. The flip side is that the big stacks became very passive, rightly figuring that they could fold their way into the money. The 1-seat still had to be careful, but the rest of them were almost sure things.
Play slowed down and became tight again. The 2-seat and I kept our eyes on each other, but neither could gain much of a stack advantage. The blinds came around a few times, but we were still floating and level. Then he got a free pass in his big blind, so with 25,000 I came in the BB. Chop off 1,000 for the ante, 6,000 for the blind, and I had 18,000 behind.
7, 8, 9 and 10 all folded. The Italian guy moved all-in. He had both of us chipped. The SB folded, and I peeked at my cards: Kd 9d.
"Time," I called as I went as deep into the tank as I've ever been in my life. My hands started tingling as my adrenalin levels went into overdrive. Lots of thoughts going through my head. 1) "Is he stealing?" 2) "Can I really call with K9s here?" 3) "How much will I have left if I fold?" I counted it out several times, to make sure I've got an accurate count. 18,000 left. The SB would be 3,000+1,000. 14,000 after that. I would have one more orbit left if I folded, and the 2-seat would be in the driver seat.
There was quite a crowd around the table, and everyone became very, very quiet, peering at me and wondering what I was going to do. Someone called for a clock, but I took my time. 6 more hands, I would have. It occurred to me that with the big stacks as passive as they were, it might be more. In fact, the 7-seat had already been joking to a friend sweating him that he was not going to play any hand the rest of the way, as his stack was huge. I figured I could move in against him with anything. I took a long look at the old man. He had a kindly look to him, and a smile. He said, "You better have something big to call this." I looked at my stack again, weighed my options, and decided to take my chances against the 7-seat. Muck. The 1-seat turned up pocket 9s.
On to the small blind. Chop off 3,000 and 1,000 and I was left with 14,000 behind. What did I have? Ad Kc! Big Slick! Hallelujah. First time today. In fact, after KK in Level 2, I was only dealt pocket 2s two times, and no aces bigger than AJ. Well, when the action folded to me, it was an easy decision. All-in. The big blind asked for a count. 17,000. I stared at the felt, trying to betray nothing. He thought for a long, long time, and I couldn't decide whether I wanted a call or not. The fact that he was thinking so long made me suspect that I did want a call, that he had an ace or a king. Finally, he said, "You know, I haven't made a mistake all night, I'm not going to make one now," and mucked. I showed him my AK and he nodded. "King-seven hearts."
Up to 30,000, back level with the 2-seat. Chop off 1,000 and my button found me with 29,000. Folded to the 2-seat, who said, "all-in". What did I see? Ad Qd. I didn't even have to think. THIS was the hand that would decide it. Fast as a shot, I said "I'm all-in". The 2-seat groaned as the blinds got out of our way. He opened: Tc Th Classic all-in battle. I think he thought my lightning fast call meant a Group 1 hand, so he had to be happy to see my AQs.
Until the flop came 7c Qh 8c.
I was pumped. I could taste victory! Just two cards to go... Ah on the turn. Yes! It didn't matter that I made two pair; all that mattered was that it wasn't a ten and he hadn't picked up a straight draw. One card left...
I have no idea what the last card was. It wasn't a ten, that's all I know. The table erupted in cheers and congratulations as the 2-seat stalked out of his seat in a fury. It was only then that someone asked "Who had more chips?" The dealer counted it out: 29,000 for me, 30,000 for him! Oh no! It wasn't over.
Everyone got back into their seats. The mood was jubilant all around, but there was one more hand that needed to be played. With antes of 1,000, the 2-seat was all-in with the ante. My thought was that the entire table should limp in and then check it down, to make sure we busted him, but the 7-seat decided he wanted to be the one to do the honors and declared "all-in". We all folded, and my worst fears were realized:
Ac Th (2-seat)
Ks Qs (7-seat)
Uh oh. Lo and behold, a queen flopped, bringing an exaspereated "fucking queens!" from the 2-seat. Everyone stood up and started chanting for "no aces! no aces!" Brick, brick. Tournament over. 2-seat gone. 6 left standing, that was it.
What a rush! I put my entire tournament on the line with AQ, the hand that I dread so much, and a race where I had the short end. How could I not, though? To ignore that hand could potentially have been just as disastrous as not hitting it. I was congratulated by several people at the table for making an impressive comeback, as was the 1-seat, who had been down to a single 1,000-chip! Chip and a chair and a prayer, indeed.
Great experience. My cards weren't terrible, but they weren't great either. It helped that I sucked out a few times (K4 v KQ and AA v Q9 come to mind). In the end, it doesn't matter. All that matters is that September 16, 2004, I'll be there with the big boys.
Monday, June 07, 2004
"It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt."
How much longer before we're in the "twilight" of all of the Ronald Reagan retrospectives and salutes? Anyway, been busy, busy, busy. The interview at Fatenyatz & Farkbar last Thursday went reasonably well. I think. We'll see. Today I have an interview at _______ LLP (yes, the very same place that Dawn recently escaped from) for a contract position. The benefit of an interview for this kind of position is that I don't have to lie to them about how awesome I think the firm is and how much I really want to work there because they seem so different than all the other New York firms. Since I'm generally Mr. No-Tact anyway, I'm sure the interview will be a slam dunk.
Friday found me in the North Bronx at 7:15am. For a point of reference, I live in Crooklyn. Yes, golfers truly are masochistic people.
Tomorrow will probably be a trip to the Borgata in AC to compete in the 7pm Super Satellite for the $1500 NL Borgata Open event, to be held mid-September. I'll also hit the NL cash table while I'm there.
In the meantime, I've pulled the manuscript back out of the digital desk drawer, dusted it off, and am tackling it again. I'm also preparing to file a complaint with the Rent Control Board againt my former over-tenant in Santa Monica, who decided that the over in his title meant he could grossly over-charge me in violation of the rent control regulations. I was going to let it go, but he made it so difficult for me to get my security deposit back that I decided I want to nail him to the wall. Don't mess with the bull -- you'll get the horns. Or something.
Thursday, June 03, 2004
For anyone who doesn't know, Jamba Juice is a chain, started in California, that makes fruit smoothies. The smoothies are very, very tasty and a huge addiction of most Californians that I met. Jamba Juice recently opened an outpost in the Whole Foods store in the Time Warner building on Columbus Circle, where I found myself for lunch today at the highly recommended Bar Masa. After a delightful meal of sushi and kobe beef, I scurried downstairs to the Whole Foods store to top it off with a fruit smoothie, my first since returning to NYC from LA.
As I forked over my $4.29 (! -- certainly wasn't that expensive in LA) for a small Strawberry Tsunami with an Energy Boost, I felt like something wasn't quite right. I moved to the side counter, waiting for my smoothie to be made while I tried to figure out what it was. Something... something... The smell! That was it. An integral part of the "Jamba Experience" for me is the smell of the store as you walk in. It's a fresh, fruity smell, mostly orange but with some other fruits mixed in. In Santa Monica, I told the counterperson one time that the Jamba Juice corporation should figure out a way to bottle the smell and then sell it as an air freshener. It's that good.
The problem with the Jamba Juice in the Whole Foods store is that it's not in an enclosed space, but rather just part of the massive, sprawling store that my roommate likens to a Singaporean fish market. As a result, the smell gets lost in the ether. The smoothies are just as tasty (I finished mine off in Central Park, sitting on the grass in the sun and doing my best to pretend that I was still in LA), but the whole experience is lacking without that aroma of fruity freshness greeting you when you walk in.
I think a stern letter to the Jamba Juice corporation might be in order.
***** Hand History for Game 647438936 *****
3/6 TexasHTGameTable (Limit) - Thu Jun 03 17:39:08 EDT 2004
Table Gallopin gooseberry (Real Money) -- Seat 1 is the button
Total number of players : 10
Seat 1: timmytommy15 ( $509.50)
Seat 2: jaynga ( $94.50)
Seat 3: Dognacious ( $165)
Seat 4: jokerqueen ( $413)
Seat 5: davejohndro ( $109.50)
Seat 6: new_order ( $135)
Seat 7: lostsounds ( $133)
Seat 8: asphnxma ( $100)
Seat 9: mr_stefan ( $51.50)
Seat 10: Baron_ ( $122)
jaynga posts small blind (1)
Dognacious posts big blind (3)
** Dealing down cards **
Dealt to asphnxma [ 2c, 7d ]
asphnxma raises (6) to 6
timmytommy15 calls (6)
Dognacious calls (3)
** Dealing Flop ** : [ 3d, Js, Ah ]
Dognacious bets (3)
asphnxma raises (6) to 6
Dognacious calls (3)
** Dealing Turn ** : [ Td ]
asphnxma bets (6)
Dognacious raises (12) to 12
asphnxma raises (12) to 18
Dognacious raises (12) to 24
He claims he had KQ. I don't doubt it. Oh well. So close...
Wednesday, June 02, 2004
Decided the old look was boring, and I don't think anybody will disagree. I'm also going to (finally!) add a blogroll over the next few days and am considering starting a second site so I can siphon off the poker content from the non-poker content. My guess is that few people are interested in reading both.
Fatenyatz & Farkbar LLP would like to have me in for an interview. Despite the fact that Dawn recently bemoaned her fate working for the man, I am upbeat. It's not that I'm so eager to return to that world, or that I'm so bored with my current existence. I just need something to float me until my poker career takes off.
Or not. Still, I consider it a good sign. Now I just have to try not to fuck it up.