LakAttack: does anyone know if the november bonus is avfailable?
iggy: bonus code IGGY
HDouble: its no longer november
HDouble: but you can use bonus code HDOUBLE
LakAttack: well when i logged on it said reload bonus
LakAttack: what does HDouble do?
DrPauly: or TAO4
LakAttack: what does TAO4 do
DrPauly: TAO4 gets you a fat bag of nugs
Tuesday, November 30, 2004
LakAttack: does anyone know if the november bonus is avfailable?
Quick moment of pimpage: the latest installment of Truckin' (Vol. 3, Issue 11), Pauly's literary e-zine, is up. This month, you'll find my ugly moniker gracing one of the stories that Pauly nudged me into submitting to him. Here's his take on this month's crop:
It's national novel writing month and this is the NaNoWriMo issue featuring two novel excerpts. I included a bit of Gumbo, my latest novel. Dave Simanoff is sharing some of his novel, Good Boy. This issue also includes a few short stories. Richard Bulkeley is back with a tale about his Canadian adventures. We have two newly added staff writers; Asphnxma wrote up a South American street brawl... one of my favorite topics, and then there's Acceptance, a play written by Grubby. Sit back, enjoy, and please spread the good word about this site. Be sweet, McG.
Give it a look-see, and spread the word.
I almost got to play some limit razz on Sunday.
The typical Sunday night game at AM2 got underway around 9:30. We started, as always, with .25-.50 NL holdem. Somewhere after 11pm, the idea of playing dealer's choice -- limited to casino games only -- was raised. Almost everyone was in favor, so we switched over, agreeing to let a new person pick the game every orbit. The problem was that I had to wait through five orbits before I would get my chance to choose, and I simply didn't have enough time. The orbits went:
PL Omaha Hi
It was so nice to have a change of games. Unfortunately, my hands were spectacular crap most of the time, except for the first O8 hand, when I started with A2s4Qs. I had the best hand on the turn with queens up, but a king on the river sank me when someone who was drawing for low made kings up.
By the middle of the Crazy Pineapple orbit, I still had an orbit and a half before I could even call razz, and since it was 12:30, I opted for home and bed (now that I'm a working lad). I've been reading the razz section of Sklansky on Poker just about every night on the subway home from work, and I'm itching to put some of the concepts into practice.
Maybe next week. Or maybe at the WPBT Holiday Classic!
Saturday, November 27, 2004
I am no fan of the USPS. We have had our issues. Back in May, my mail was stopped, then started up for two weeks, then stopped again for no good reason. In September, the mailbox key was stolen from the receptacle outside the front door, and despite the fact that the receptacle was soon replaced, the Post Office didn't deliver mail to the building for almost three weeks. Since the nearest Post Office is over a mile away, and I have no car, it was a real PITA. Now the latest --
A few weeks ago, I ordered two items from Amazon.com: Sklansky on Poker (hello razz!) and BT's Movement in Still Life. Because the CD was on backorder, Amazon told me the items would be sent separately. Fine.
On Thursday the 11th, I came home and discovered a package in the lobby from Amazon. My book had arrived. Awesome. Two days later, on Saturday the 13th, I checked the mailbox and found a "Sorry We Missed You" package slip from the USPS. The carrier had checked "Delivery Confirmation".
I'm not really sure what "Delivery Confirmation" means. It doesn't mean that a signature is required; there are two checkboxes for that ("Signature Confirmation" and "If checked, you must be present at time of delivery to sign for item") and neither were checked. It seemed very odd to me; couldn't the carrier confirm delivery by leaving the package in the lobby? I have ordered several things from Amazon before, and have never had this sort of problem.
Whatever. It was too late to go to the Post Office on Saturday, since as I mentioned it's over a mile away anyway. Instead, I signed the delivery slip where indicated so that the carrier would leave my CD in the lobby, and Monday morning I taped the slip to the front door of the building in a prominent location.
Monday night when I came home, the slip was still taped to the door.
Well, that was odd. I left it up a second day. Tuesday night it was still taped to the door too. This was getting frustrating. Fine, I took it down (since it seems clear that my carrier has washed his hands of this package) and figured that I could go pick the package up on Saturday.
Friday night another slip showed up in my mailbox, claiming it was a "FINAL NOTICE" and if I didn't pick up the package by Wednesday, it would be returned. Infuriating. Where had the carrier been earlier in the week?
Saturday morning I woke up and checked the hours of the Post Office. 7am - 4pm. Perfect. I figured I'd do some things at home in the morning, and then go pick the package up after lunch. I did just that, dutifully arriving at the Post Office (after a 25-minute walk) at 2:10pm.
The mail pick-up window was dark. Nobody was inside it. That's when I noticed the posted hours of the pick-up window, on the back side of the delivery slip: 7am-2pm. God forbid the window should have the same hours as the rest of the Post Office.
Back home again. A wasted hour. Monday I signed the latest slip and taped it to the door. I also called 1-800-ASK-USPS (as instructed on the slip) to arrange delivery for the package, just in case the carrier still refused to take the slip. I gave the tracking number to the customer service rep, and was assured that the package would be delivered in a few days. Fine. I had done all I could -- it simply wasn't practical for me to try to get to the Post Office on my way to work (too far out of the way) and I was unable to make it home in time to pick it up after work.
Go figure, the slip was still on the door when I came home Monday night. It did finally disappear on Wednesday, though, so I was sure that one way or another the package would be delivered.
Well, it still hasn't arrived. When I called the Post Office this morning to find out what the hold-up was, I was told that it was returned to Amazon yesterday. When I asked them not to do that, but to instead divert it to me, I was told that only the sender could make that request, even though I gave them both the tracking number for the package and the confirmation number for my earlier attempt to have it delivered. To add insult to injury, Amazon's stated policy on "undeliverable" packages is to simply issue a refund and allow the customer to re-order from the web site, which would be fine if the price of the CD hadn't increased 10% (from $20 to $22) in the interim. Yes, it's only $2, but it's the principle of the thing.
The USPS customer service rep I spoke to this morning was unapologetic and unfriendly - typical government employee. She refused to admit that anyone had made any error anywhere along their side of the ball, actually telling me (in response to me saying "so what you're telling me is the USPS screwed up"), "Well, *we* did what *we* were supposed to by transmitting the delivery request to the local station. You'll have to take it up with them." When I said "But aren't you all part of the same organization?" the rep just repeated herself and then hung up.
I fucking hate the USPS.
Friday, November 26, 2004
For those of you who haven't seen checked out lasvegasvegas this week, I offer the following snippet:
We have received more great news for everyone that will be at the December 11th Blogger’s Holiday Tournament at Sam’s Town. The 2003 WPT Battle of Champions winner, Ron Rose will be there for the event. He will be at the complimentary breakfast prior to the 1:00 pm start of the tournament. Ron is a well known professional poker player with many championships to his credit including a WSOP gold bracelet. He is also the author of one of the best Professional Poker Player biography books, “Poker Aces, The Stars of Tournament Poker.” I am getting quite excited about our little tournament and wish to thank all of our pro poker friends that have agreed to take time from their busy schedules to stop in and meet the poker blogger community. Also, without the tireless efforts of our friend and manager of Sam’s Town poker operations, Dick Gatewood, and Dr. Pauly for suggesting the event, none of this would be happening. A final note: we are already in the planning stages for the second leg of the Blogger’s Tournament Tour so keep your bags packed and start looking for travel deals to California.
Now that I'm working again, I'm at a point where I can look at poker as a way to supplement my income, rather than as my sole source of income, the thin green line between me and Debtors Prison. The question is, what to make of this change?
Before, I had to be very careful about conserving my funds, never putting too many at risk, lest I risk losing everything and becoming doubly screwed. I had to draw down from my roll every month to make basic payments like rent.
Now, I have more flexibility. With a salary behind my roll, my options for what I want to do with poker have expanded. The best alternative it offers, in my mind, is the ability to get out from under some debt a bit quicker than otherwise possible.
I'm at a crossroads, though, as to how I want to accomplish that. There are three options:
1. Continue to grind away at low-limits. Without putting much effort into it, I was easily able to cover about $1k a month. I could continue to do that, and look at the results as tax-free income to be contributed to my educational loans every month. This would work similarly as to the time I was unemployed: start at a baseline of $1,000; play all month, and at the end of the month cash out anything over that base amount. This strategy would restrict me to: NL – $50 and under; Limit – 3/6 with the occasional foray into 5/10; SNG -- $30. Upside: minimal risk. Downside: somewhat mind-numbing, and will limit the amount I can win in any month.
2. Spend a few months building my roll so that I could try to play in the 10/20 and/or 15/30 games. As I have previously discussed, the 15/30 game is very soft, and I suspect the 10/20 game is as well. Upside: I'm sure I can handle the bigger games. Even if my BB/hour goes down slightly, I'll still be winning more dollars per hour. Downside: Will take a few months to build my roll up (without any drawdowns); not sure I can mentally handle the swings (e.g., dropping a full buy-in at 15/30).
3. Two-table low limits. This could be considered a bit of a hybrid of #1 and 2. I'd still be grinding away at low-limits, but hopefully at double the rate. It would require double the roll, of course (which would take a month to build), and I'd need to be able to handle double the swings I'm used to at 3/6 or 5/10.
Some might ask why not move up to 5/10, and the answer is that, on Party, 5/10 is this weird twilight zone after 3/6 where the game is tougher to beat than it is at 10/20 or 15/30. Or, maybe not tougher, but players are so much tighter that the pots (in terms of number of big bets) are smaller than 3/6 or 15/30.
I'm leaning toward option number three, but since I've never really multi-tabled before, I'm open to comments on the merits of any of the above options.
Tuesday, November 23, 2004
Every now and then, say 'What the fuck.' 'What the fuck' gives you freedom. Freedom brings opportunity. Opportunity makes your future.
Six months. Six months have passed since I returned to the Big Apple from the City of Angels.
(Well, to be entirely accurate, it's been six-and-a-half months, but the "six month anniversary" got lost in the shuffle earlier this month as I was busy spending too much money on suits and preparing to re-enter working society. Yay me. My new job, for those curious, is shaping up quite nicely. It helps that I get to leave the office at 6pm every day and that I work for an incredibly nice guy.)
The thing of it is, I'm fast approaching the mark -- nine months -- where I will have been back in New York longer than I was in Los Angeles, which I find to be a staggering thought. It doesn't seem possible that so much time has passed. Last year at this time, I had finally decided the weather and ocean had turned too cold to continue my occassional swims, but it hadn't turned cold enough to prevent me from having an outdoor Thanksgiving meal with my Los Angeles dysfunctional family (girlfriend, girlfriend's crazy pornographer sister, and sister's eternally depressed ex-husband who claimed he was in love with my girlfriend). I had only been there for three-and-a-half months, but I had already settled into LA like it was an old, beat up, beloved easychair, the kind in which you can spend a whole day curled up with a good book.
Someone recently asked me to describe my best memory from Los Angeles. Even now, after having given it a few days of thought, I can't answer the question. There was no one "peak" during my time there. It was all a plateau, a mesa elevated above the living and the lifestyle that I had left behind in New York. That's robust praise, considering I am someone who spent the better part of nine years living in New York before moving out west.
Now, I've settled back into New York. The city is comfortable, like a pair of shoes broken in by countless days pounding the streets, but the memory and promise of Los Angeles still nag at me, and the more I look at these shoes, with their scuff marks, chewed up laces and worn soles, the more I feel like I should have bought that new pair of Merrills I'd been eyeing. I try to remind myself that the right decision was to come back. There were housing issues; there were income issues; there were debt issues. All of those issues have been righted (or are on the path to being righted) by my return and would have been a Big Fucking Mess if I had chosen to remain in LA.
Sometimes, though, I wonder if I didn't miss out on the chance to make one of those once-in-a-lifetime, life-altering decisions, the kind where you take a deep breath and step across the event horizon of your life. I know I can go back whenever I want, but I'm scared that, somehow, I won't. Something will happen, something will change, and my life will veer away from any existence that includes a move to LA. Even if it doesn't, even if everything proceeds according to plan, by my reckoning it's still two years before I can even think about moving back.
Two years is a lifetime when you're ready to pack your bags today.
After yesterday's post, a reader asked for some examples and clarification of what "pot odds" really are. Rather than respond directly to him in the comments or in an email, I thought my response might be better served by posting some examples directly to the blog. For all examples, assume the limits are $0.50/$1.00.
You hold 8s7s on the button. The board is K-6-5-A, no flush possible. A total of $5 went into the pot before and after the flop. On the turn, there are three of you left in the hand. The action goes: bet $1, call $1 and you are the last to act. If you catch your straight, you will have the nuts. Should you call?
In order to answer this question, we need to look at your expected odds, your pot odds, and to a lesser extent your implied odds. Pot odds are the easiest to calculate, so lets start there. At the time of your decision, there is $5+1+1=$7 in the pot. You have to call $1. Thus, you can say the pot is laying you odds of 7:1 on your call. Your pot odds are 7:1. Simple enough, right?
Next, we need to consider the expected odds of making your straight. After the turn card comes [K-6-5]-Q, there are 46 cards in the deck that are "unknown" to you (you obviously know the two in your hand, and the four on the board). 8 of the 46 unknown cards will make your hand ("outs") -- 4 nines, 4 fours -- while 38 don't help you, or at least probably won't help you enough to win the pot. Thus, the expected odds of making your draw on the next card are 38:8, or 4.75:1. For sake of convenience, let's just say your expected odds are approximately 5:1.
Back to the initial question. Should you call? Yes! In this instance, it is correct for you to call, because you're getting a good overlay on your draw (7:1 pot odds v. 5:1 expected odds). If you were to call six times, you would expect to miss on the river five times, thus costing you $1x5=$5. However, you expect to catch your card once, giving you the winning hand and a $7 pot. Thus, over the long-run, if you call every time in this situation, you can expect to net $2 every six hands.
Now that we understand that, it's time to make things more complex.
Similar situation. You hold 8s7s. This time, the flop comes Kh-6h-5d and the turn is the Ac. There is $5 in the pot after the flop. You are last to act and the turn betting goes bet $1, call $1. Your action. Should you call?
Start with pot odds again. 7:1. Nothing has changed.
Next, expected odds. Your expected odds to make a straight are also the same at approximately 5:1. This time, however, you won't always know you have the best hand if you make your straight. Do you see why? Suppose the river is [Kh-6h-5d-Ac]-9h. You have made your straight, but it's quite possible that someone else has a flush! Sklanksy would call this "negative implied odds" or outs that are not "clean"; cards that will make your hand, but also make a bigger hand for someone else (and thereby cost you several big bets).
How should you account for this situation? One way is to assume that the 9h and 4h are not "outs" for you when calculating your expected odds. Thus, you have only 6 cards (not 8) that make your draw, versus 40 (not 38) of the total 46 "unknown" cards that do not. 40:6 is 6.7:1, or approximately 7:1 expected odds. This is a *much* closer decision than Example 1.
Consider this though -- the hand doesn't end when the river card comes. There's still a round of betting. Any bets you expect to collect after you have made your hand are part of your implied odds. For example, assume that if the river is the 9d, one player will bet, the player on the heart flush draw will fold, you now raise and the first player will pay you off. On the river, then, you expect to collect an extra $2. Now your $1 call on the turn nets you a pot of $9 when you hit. Thus, on the turn when deciding to call, your pot odds are 7:1 and your implied odds are 9:1. Your implied odds have just turned a borderline call/fold into a definite call (9:1 implied odds v. 7:1 expected odds). Remember, though, that implied odds are just that: "implied". They're not guaranteed.
Now let's turn it around. Three players limp in to see a flop of Td-6c-2d, and you are second to act with AcTs. Assume that you know the player to act after you has Ad 9d. Do you see why you should raise the flop if the first player bets? It is not *only* because you probably have the best hand and are raising for value. It is also to charge the draws to stick around or, ideally, get them to fold.
There is $1.50 in the pot. If the first player bets and you simply call, you will be giving the third player 5:1 pot odds ($0.50 call to win $2.50) to catch his flush, which has expected odds of 4.2:1. On the other hand, if you raise, he will have to call $1 into a $3 pot for pot odds of 3:1. It is now incorrect for him to call, because the pot is not laying him the right price (3:1 pot odds v. 4.2:1 expected odds). If he does call and the first player folds, there will be $4 in the pot. If you bet the turn when it comes a blank, he will be making another mistake to call, especially since -- being the savvy player you are -- you will not pay him off if the flush hits on the river.
There are several upshots to all of this. Number one: the larger the pot, the more correct it is for the draws to stay in. This is what Sklansky calls the "schooling" phenomenon. Imagine a situation where 8 players limp into a pot for $0.50 each. There is $4 in the pot, and on the button you flop a draw to the nut flush. The betting goes: bet, fold, fold, raise, fold, fold, reraise. You're faced with a $1.50 bet, but there is $4+0.50+1+1.50=$7 in the pot. You can see that you are getting about 4.5:1 pot odds on a draw that is also about 4.2:1. Factor in implied odds, and you're set. Even if you miss on the turn, if both other players call the flop raises, there will be $10 in the pot on the turn. If the action is check, bet, raise, you are still getting 13:2 or 6.5:1 on the same 4.1:1 draw. It would be a mistake to fold, unless you are sure a check-raise or reraise is coming from one of the EP players.
Again, this assumes that all of your outs are "clean". In the situation as given, it is probable that one of the players is on a set, which would reduce your outs by two (the two spades that pair the non-spade cards on board). If that's the case, your expected odds are really 5.5:1. It's still a call -- especially since the set will pay you off on the river -- but you should understand that it's not as big of an overlay as it appears at first blush.
Upshot Number Two: any time you can manipulate the size of the pot, whether you are drawing or are the one in the lead, you should do so. For example, it is sometimes correct to keep the pot small on the flop, like when you have a big hand and your raise will probably not force many players out. By raising on the flop in this situation, all you are doing is making it more correct for players to call on the turn when they call your flop raise. However, if you wait until the turn to raise, you stand a better chance of inducing them into making an incorrect decision or, better yet, folding. It may reduce your profit for the hand, but it will save you a bet when they hit the turn (remember, they were going to call regardless) and will increase the certainty of winning the pot when they miss. Some might call this tight-weak, but at low limits I think it's sometimes the way to play. Ramming and jamming is not always the best policy.
Well, that's all for now. I could go on and on, making the examples progressively more complex by looking at calls/raises on the flop, but this is just supposed to be an introductory primer to pot odds. Feel free to ask questions in the comments.
Monday, November 22, 2004
Marge, it takes two to lie. One to lie and one to listen.
Last week I promised that this blog would tilt away from being quite as poker-centric as it has become, and would strive in the future for the balance of poker and "other" content that it had back around June. But here I am tonight, pursuing my refresher course in 3/6 limit holdem on Party Poker (up 20 big bets in 84 minutes!), and I had a few thoughts about low-limit holdem that I wanted to type up while I play. Let's call them asphnxma's Low-Limit Poker Axioms.
1. You can't bluff a calling station. This one is the inspiration for the Simpsons reference at the top of the page and should seem pretty self-evident. The thing is, we all fall victim to it from time to time when we lose emotional discipline. Down to the river with nothing and called all the way by the table calling station, there is no reason to bet the river. I'm not talking about a passive player that you think is on a draw; I'm talking about the guy who calls every bet. Chances are he caught bottom pair, and that's good enough for him. You're pissed that he's calling all the way with bototm pair, but guess what? You can't win the pot against this guy, so just hope for a free showdown. In a similar vein...
2. You beat bad players with good cards. How many times have you heard that, at low limits, it's all about the cards? This is doubly true when there are one or two really bad players at your table, the kind who play 83s for three bets cold preflop. The temptation is to loosen up your starting hand requirements because these players play such bad cards. That's incorrect strategy. You should either: loosen up your *raising* standards (slightly) if the bad player never raises preflop, or loosen up your *re-raising* standards (slightly) if the player is a bad loose-aggressive player. In both cases, the idea is to isolate these players if possible. Obviously, this works best at a passive table when the bad player is to your right.
3. The passive player who raises the turn is rarely bluffing. This is another one that gets filed under "lack of emotional discipline". If you're raised on the turn by a passive player and all you have is top pair, you need some kind of draw to call the raise. The guy isn't bluffing. Tonight I watched one very loose-passive player get paid off on his turn raises and river bets an inordinate amount. Every time he raised, he had the goods, but he still got paid off. People paid him off because the draw seemed so improbable half of the time. He wasn't a bluffer though. I learned very quickly that a turn raise meant "he had it", no matter how wacky the draw was. Other people kept paying him off. Don't do it. Save yourself a big bet or two.
4. Pot odds should dictate your action (even if your opponents don't have a clue what pot odds are). Any time you can manipulate the size of the pot so that players are incorrect to call, you're doing well. Any time you are getting good odds, you should call, even if all you have is a gutshot. At loose tables with many large pots, borderline decisions should be a fold. At tighter tables, borderline decisions should be a call. Probably.
5. Knowing a players' tendencies can save you a ton. Ok, this isn't really an axiom, but it *is* another plug for PokerTracker. Here's a great example of why this program is so useful. In tonight's session, I was dealt KQo in the cutoff. A player in MP open-raised from $3 to $6 and it folded to me. What to do? Against some players, this is an automatic call, but I took a quick peek at the player's stats before acting. In 76 hands, he had *never* raised preflop. What do you think I did with my KQo?
PokerTracker is only $55, folks. If you're even a modest recreational player, it will pay for itself in no time. On that one hand, it saved me $6. (He had KK, by the way.)
Saturday, November 20, 2004
It's called a "penalty enforcement" statute. California litigators -- does California have a statute similar to the following?
2A:58-10. Recording of final administrative order on judgment docket
1. a. If an administrative agency of the State has assessed a fixed amount of money as a civil penalty or award after the person against whom the penalty or award was ordered was afforded an opportunity for a hearing pursuant to the "Administrative Procedure Act," P.L.1968, c.410 (C.52:14B-1 et seq.), at the request of the agency the Clerk of the Superior Court or the Clerk of the Superior Court, Law Division, Special Civil Part shall record the final order assessing the penalty or award on the judgment docket of the court.
b.The final order of the agency recorded on the judgment docket of the court thereafter shall have the same effect as a judgment of the court.
Thursday, November 18, 2004
Long-time readers of this space may remember that a few months back, I filed a complaint with the Santa Monica Rent Control Board regarding rent overcharges that I was charged by the slimy, cheap, loser of a primary tenant of the crappy little apartment I was subletting in Santa Monica. He's the type of guy who doesn't believe in self-accountability. He thinks that all of his problems are either caused by someone else or should be shared by someone else. Basically, he thinks the world owes him.
Anyway, after the RCB determined that I had stated a prima facie case, a settlement conference was scheduled. That proved pretty damn difficult to attend from New York, but a helpful employee suggested she could mediate the dispute via telephone. Excellent. I made an the first offer, identical to my offer in February: he would pay half of the overcharge back to me, payable over three months. After being jerked around by the primary tenant for three or four weeks, the mediator finally called with his counter-offer today, and now I need some advice.
When we spoke, the mediator told me that she got the sense that the primary tenant 1) thinks he doesn't have much money, and 2) thinks I have tons of money, and that he finds it horribly inequitable and unjust for me to even be trying to recover the money that he unjustly and illegally received from me. This is the same song and dance he gave back in February, when he claimed that it was "a little unfair" for me, "a New York lawyer with your thousands of dollars", to be coming after him, "a guy with lots of debt", for $2400. He also felt that the $70 monthly electric bill he paid on my behalf and the fact that the apartment was furnished with crappy IKEA furniture excused the monthly rent overcharges of 47%, never mind the fact that both points are, for purposes of the rent control laws at issue, completely irrelevant.
After laying all of this out there, I think to mentally prepare me for what was next, she finally gave me his counter-offer: that I agree to never contact him again (not that I've contacted him once since I left LA in May, but let's overlook that for the moment), that I accept $100 in full settlement of the claim, and that I execute a release in his favor. Wow. I haven't had a laugh like that in weeks! On a $2400 claim, after the mediator told him that the RCB believes that I will win in a hearing, and after my opening offer of $1200, his counter was: $100. *And* that I never contact him again! Hahahahahahahaha.
After I stopped laughing, I explained to the mediator that she could inform the primary tenant that I had no intention of negotiating against myself (which is essentially what his "offer" invited), that I did not consider his offer to be serious in the slightest bit, and that unless he was willing to make a serious offer, I intended to pursue my claim. It doesn't matter to me if I never collect a dime; he should either make a real offer, or prepare to have his credit fucked (or even more fucked than it already is).
This brings us to the solicitation of your advice. I have an election of remedies to consider: I can either continue in front of the RCB, or I can file a complaint in Small Claims court. I won't bore you with the advantages and disadvantages of each, as I've already determined to proceed in front of the RCB. The problem is that there's one small wrinkle to doing so.
The remedy that the RCB is authorized to give is an administrative decision finding the primary tenant liable for the amount of the overcharge and authorizing me to withhold rent until the overcharge is paid down. That's a problem, of course, since I don't live in the apartment anymore and haven't for six months. The statute speaks to this issue -- sort of. Here's what it says:
RCL 1809(b)(2) ... The tenant may deduct the penalty and award of damages from future rent payments in the manner provided by the board. ... If a tenant authorized [by an administrative decision of the RCB] to withhold rent under this Article vacates the property, the landlord shall pay to such a tenant a sum equal to the balance of the rent that the tenant could have withheld.
Well, that's sort of icky. It makes it seem like I need to be *in* the property at the time the administrative decision is issued to be entitled to be paid the balance of the award. The implementing regulations are more favorable:
RCR 8070(c) The Board decision imposing liability in a specific amount and authorizing the withholding of rent shall ... be given collateral estoppel effect in any judicial proceeding other than a proceeding under California CCP 1094.5 challenging the specific decision of the Board. After its effective date, the Board decision has the following legal effect:
(2) a complainant who is no longer a tenant of the subject unit and for whom the withholding remedy is consequently ineffective may seek judicial enforcement of the Board decision from a court of competent jurisdiction pursuant to RCL 1811.
RCL 1811 ... [T]enants ... may seek relief from the appropriate court within the jurisdiction within which the affected controlled rental unit is located to enforce any provision of this Article or its implementing regulations.
The regulation *seems* to imply that maybe I do have a remedy after all. It's a calculated risk, though, because the statute and the regulation don't really square up. If I can't obtain judicial enforcement of the decision, I'll be screwed, because I'll have elected my remedy and will be left with an award that doesn't do anything for me. I could use some input on this one from the lawyers in the crowd.
There's also the judicial enforcement mechanism to be considered. Do any California litigators know what the process is? I poked around the CCP some, but I couldn't find an action that would fit what I need. The closest thing I saw was an "Application for Enforcement of a Money Judgment of a Sister-State".
Any and all advice, legal or otherwise, would be appreciated.
Here it is, Thursday morning, and I've been quite mum all week. I suspected this would be the case. My blogging time is now being taken up by work, which is really too bad since there are several things I would have loved to blog about if I could have found the time, time, time (see what's become of me?). They were the sort of "ephemeral blogging topics", things you need to get down on the page immediately while you're thinking about them or immediately after they happen.
A friend who recently learned about my blog also told me he liked the way it started out (click on the archives link to the right to see for yourself), that he liked my style and/or the topics I covered, and that once things turned to poker my blog started to read more like a C++ manual with all of the jargon, etc. I got to thinking about that a bit, and even re-read some of my old posts, and realized he's right. All poker, all the time, boring. I will try to return to a better balance of more diverse and hopefully more interesting posts.
In other news, Howard Stern is supposedly giving away a truckload of Sirius Satellite Radio receivers today at Union Square at noon. Or so my sources tell me.
Monday, November 15, 2004
Thus conscience does make cowards of us all.
--Hamlet, Act III, Scene I
First of all, today was the first day at a new job for me. (Yay.) While that's good for my bank account, it looks like it will be bad for my blogging. Unlike some people I know, I'm going to make a conscious effort not to blog from work. My new job appears to be not nearly as heavy on the hours as my last job (though, seeing how my last job ended over a year ago, it's a wonder I even remember it), and I'm going to reward that by staying focused at work. What that means is that my blogging will probably become more erratic than it is now. Unfortunate, but not much to be done about it.
Never let it be said that the content (esp. the poker content) will dry up altogether, however. I'm burning through Sklansky on Poker -- thoughts in a day or two -- and tonight I fired up Party Poker for the first time in a week. My game of choice? 3-6 limit holdem! Limit holdem? Yes, limit! I think I'm a little burned out on playing no-limit. A steady diet of the same game all the time makes asphnxma a dull poker player. In addition, Felicia has often commented that the best players are well-rounded and can play more than one game. Perhaps I'm taking that slightly to heart (as evidenced by my new-found interest in razz).
Long story short, I found some time for about 50 minutes of 3-6 limit holdem tonight. The first table I landed on was especially juicy, and 50 hands later I had added $53 to my bankroll without even breaking a sweat or getting all that tricky. I could have stayed for more, (and if I had called one or two more preflop raises could have easily taken down twice as much as I did) but my attention was captured by other things, so playing "by the book" worked just fine for me. It was an especially passive table; raising on the flop almost always got me the pot on the turn, whether I had anything or not. Yummy.
I'll probably stick around the 3/6 and 5/10 tables for a while until I either get bored and go back to the NL tables, or get more sucked into razz and other forms of stud poker. Wouldn't it be great if we could get Sam's Town to spread a low-limit razz table after the WPBT Holiday Classic? Then Pauly and I could have our "TJ-Bubs" moment:
Pauly: I think we have the same hand, asphnxma.
asphnxma: I know we do, Pauly!
Less than four weeks til the WPBT Holiday Classic. Be there, or miss out on me making Pauly cry. Again.
Saturday, November 13, 2004
Email received from a friend recently:
Subject: Methinks I found your blog
The odds of two "asphnxmas" living in LA then in New York with a poker blog seem as remote as, say, flopping a royal.
Totally busted. He's a poker player, though, so it's all good. This is just a cautionary tale for all you aspiring, anonymous bloggers out there -- anonymity is not always quite as anonymous as you might think.
I got my razz book in the mail yesterday. My first poker book! Very exciting. I'll let you know my thoughts on the book in a few days.
I start my new job on Monday, so I've been spending my last days of "freedom" with friends doing non-poker related activities, before the demands on my time become a little more extreme. That explains the lack of meaningful content recently (tho the JJ/KQs NLHE theory post is *still* in the queue -- it looks like a DMV-sized queue, though, so who knows when it'll actually make it out of the queue and onto the page). For an excellent write-up of what I got up to Thursday night, check out Clarified. And yes, my "Suddenly, Seymour" really does kick that much ass.
Thursday, November 11, 2004
The quick and the dirty first: please welcome My Little Poker Blog and Squirrel Girl to the blogroll. My Little Poker Blog is written by yet another New York poker blogger, while Squirrel Girl (also a New Yorker) falls into the "non-poker" section of my blogroll.
Ok, pimpage out of the way. Now let's get on to the goods. Yesterday was Wednesday. As regular readers know, Wednesday means Above Malibu. So how'd I do?
Well, for the third week in a row, I had a poor showing in the tournament. I was doing ok until I got broken from my table to balance the other table. Then, on two successive hands, I lost my entire stack.
Hand No. 1: JCatz, with a huge stack, opens UTG for 3xBB. I have AJs in the CO, and he has been raising lots of pots. This looks like a good spot for a reraise. I reraise him from 600 to 1600. Good move, I think, until the BB wakes up with a hand and pushes all-in for about 5000. He had pocket hellmuths.
Hand No. 2: A few hands later, 66 at UTG. I limp in. It folds around to JCatz on the SB, who completes. The BB then makes a weak raise to 500. I put him on weak overcards and push (to represent KK/AA) for a total of about 1600. He calls with TT. IGHN.
What a miserable performance. In two hands, I wasted the slow, steady, incremental build-up I had made to my stack. Oh well. On to the losers lounge ring game. Last week, we played limit O8. I tried to get the table to play razz this week, but they all looked at me like I was nucking futs. We stuck with the traditional .25-.50 NL holdem.
Bustout No. 1: AJs in LP, I raise to 1.50. JCatz is the only caller. The flop is 7-3-2. We both laugh because this is a scare board (hammer!). I "check my two pair". He bets $3.00, and I call. The turn is the Jd. I check again, and now JCatz puts me in for my last $10. I quickly call and flip up my AJ. He yells "Oh! You caught me! But I have outs." as he shows AdQd. There are two diamonds on board. The river is the Qh, and I'm reaching into my wallet for another $20.
Disaster averted: A short time later, I get the hammer in LP. JCatz is the only caller of my $2 raise. The flop was A-T-4. I led out for $5, he called. The turn was a deuce, giving me a pair. I pushed my last $10-12 (can't remember the exact amount) and he said "Ok, I'll give you some of your money back. I call with a crappy ace" and turned up A-3. "Your ace is good," I replied, as I showed my hammer. Feeling unusually charitable, JCatz told the dealer "Give the man a deuce or a seven" and the dealer put out the miracle river deuce. Stack up to $36. This would be the start of a bad run for JCatz, who had built his stack up very quickly. He would run into a series of wicked beats that would completely bankrupt him.
Before that, though, he would double me up again. I had AKo in the SB. The button raised to $2. I called, as did JCatz, who had limped in. The flop: A-8-4, two clubs. I led out for $5. JCatz called and the button folded. The turn was another 8. Ugh. Here's the problem with playing against JCatz -- at any given moment, he can be on any two cards (within reason). I did not put him on 4s or 8s, as he probably would have raised preflop with those hands, and 8-4 from EP was not a playable hand for him. But he could very well have been on a hand like J8s. He knew that I had an ace, of course. I don't think there was much doubt about that. I hesitated, trying to figure out what to do. JCatz said "asphnxma's not sure if he likes that card or not. Neither am I." I checked. He bet $9. Ugh. What to do! This smelled like raise-or-fold country, so I hiked up my skirt and raised all-in for $29. He didn't like that, but ultimately called with AJ. No help on the river, and I doubled up again.
JCatz's luck went all downhill from there. Every time he was in with the best hand and lost to some miracle card. It was a series of beats like the final hand of the night, when he was in with K7, board K-9-8, one player was all-in with 84s and of course the four came on the river. Meanwhile, I caught aces twice inside of twenty minutes and took down decent pots both times. I also flopped a straight on the button with QT, and overall just hit some nice cards.
The hand of the night, though, was hammer vs. hammer. Both players limped (booooo! raise those hammers!) into a 5-way flop of 9-T-9, two spades. One player bet the pot, the other called, everyone else folded. The turn was the 7s. The initial bettor led out again, and his opponent folded. He turned over his cards with a fluorish and said "Hammer!", bringing a "Nooooooo!" from his opponent who reached into the muck and turned over a hammer of his own. Brilliant. Outbluffing a hammer bluff with the hammer.
When we broke after just less than two hours of play, I was at $96, initial investment $40. Not bad for a $.25-$.50 game. A much better performance than my tournament performance. Maybe the dead streak I've been on lately is coming to an end. Maybe.
Tuesday, November 09, 2004
Above Malibu readers have had their shot at this one, now I'm opening it up to everybody else. I posted the following hand to our private message board because I intuitively wasn't sure I was happy with how I played it.
Here's the setup: With about $55 in my stack, I was dealt As Ad in the SB of a $50 NLHE cash table on Party. Three MP players limped in. I made a pot-sized raise to $6 and watched in horror as first the BB and then all of the limpers called my raise. $30 in the pot pre-flop.
The flop came 5h 8c 4h, which was a pretty ugly flop for my aces (not as bad as 5-7-4, I suppose, but still not great). It put a made straight out there, a four-flush, and the spectre of a set, as 88, 55 and 44 were all reasonable limp-calling hands with the way the action developed pre-flop.
I had about $50 in my stack. A pot-sized bet would commit me to the hand, so I might as well push if I was going to bet. But a push, to me, would simply be a guess that nobody caught more than a pair/gutshot or an overpair on that board. On the other hand, if I checked for information and everyone checked behind me, I would have given a free card on a board on which too many cards could hurt me (especially 5-handed).
Thus the dilemma. How would you play the hand from here? My own play follows below:
** Dealing Flop ** [ 5h 8c 4h ]
BB bets [$3].
MP1 calls [$3].
asphnxma raises [$15].
BB calls [$12].
** Dealing Turn ** [ Ah ]
asphnxma is all-In.
asphnxma does not show cards.
asphnxma wins $93.6
Monday, November 08, 2004
The turnout at AM2 was pretty weak last night; I was the fourth one there at 11pm. After playing a $5 online SnG by committee and strenuously laying down the law that I was not willing to play a 4-handed NLHE ring game, we opted for a $5 PLO tournament. That ended pretty quickly, and since it was still somewhat early, we followed it up with a $5 limit razz tournament. Razz, you ask? People still play that game?
Well, not really. Felicia is one of the few people I know that likes razz and actively tries to play it. As far as "dying games" go, razz is near the top of the list. This year's $1500 limit Razz tournament at the WSOP got 195 entrants, which seems like quite a few until you realize that the $1500 limit O8 tournament had 374 entrants -- and who the hell *likes* O8?
This tournament of ours was doomed from the start. Nobody had played much razz, so we didn't know what we were doing. At first, the other players wanted to play with a low card bring-in. Well I knew *that* wasn't right. I intuitively felt the high card should bring it in (which is indeed the case), but rather than consult the internet, we opted to play with no bring-in at all. That slowed the pace of things down considerably, especially since blinds were only going to double when someone was eliminated.
One of the first hands I played taught me the frustration of razz. On fourth street, I was four to a wheel with 2-5/4-3. Nobody else was showing much of anything, and the cards I needed to finish my hand were, for the most part, live. I led the betting the whole way to the river and went face-pair-face to finish with a jack-high. Someone else who stuck around took the pot with a nine-high. Ugh.
A couple of second-best hands ground me down to T400 from a starting stack of T1500. If we had been playing stud high, I would have been great. I was catching big wired pairs, big split pairs, aces up on fourth street, even rolled up tens at one point! Then it all turned around, and my stack started increasing. JCatz chased a few too many times, bricked up a couple of times and was finally the first one eliminated. Mullansky went out a few "orbits" later, and the Frogman quickly agreed to the even chop I offered, even though I had him outchipped 3500 to 2500 at the time. So ended the razz experiment.
It's an interesting (but very frustrating) game, one I'd love to learn to play better. In an old column in Card Player magazine, Lou Krieger suggests that anyone can learn to play razz well due to its simplicity. "You generally know where you stand relative to your opponent, because it's easy to put him on a hand and be fairly certain of your assessment," he writes, which makes knowing when to bet, raise or fold much clearer than in a game like holdem. Lou closes by claiming "If you can't learn to exercise discipline playing razz, you're unlikely to ever learn it." That may be true, but since very few casinos spread razz, it's difficult to gain any experience playing it.
Saturday, November 06, 2004
I always like encouraging new poker players/bloggers, especially females. For my money, there are never enough women at the poker table when I play. Now, maybe that's because I'm a lecherous ass who drives them all away as soon as they sit down, but in case that's not the case, I'd like to pimp a new blog: Diary of a Poker Slut. With a name like that, I'm sure Amandalishus will have plenty of readers in no time. Don't trust her poker skills, though; she claimed that she learned most of what she knows about poker by reading Pauly, AlCantFold, and yours truly.
Thursday, November 04, 2004
Well, no Foxwoods for me today. I had basically two bus options: 4:45am, arriving at 9:20, or 8:15am arriving at 11:30. The next bus after that didn't arrive at Foxwoods until after 3pm, long after the 10am start of the Stud tourney. I was at Above Malibu until *very* late last night, and in the end sleep won out. If I had had my bankroll with me, I might have just gone straight to the bus station and taken the 4:45 bus, but alas, I didn't.
As long as I'm at home on a rainy Thursday, however, I thought I'd type up some thoughts on rebuy tournaments. I'm probably not covering any "new" ground with these thoughts, but maybe one of my readers hasn't come across them before. For the purpose of this discussion, we'll assume a typical set-up: you can rebuy any time you are below the starting stack amount; rebuys are unlimited in the first hour; and there is an add-on at the end of the rebuy hour. There are two main areas to consider: budget strategy, and play strategy.
First and foremost, understand that you need to budget an appropriate amount of money to play the tournament effectively. If the buy-in is $40, rebuys are $30 and the add-on is $30, you should budget at least $100 to play. This allows you to buy in, take the add-on, and rebuy once in case you take a bad beat or make a boneheaded call. You can't view the tournament as a $40 tournament; it's a $100 tournament. If you spend less than $100, great. Generally, however, you will spend at least $70, because it is VERY difficult to win without taking the add-on, since almost all of your opponents will take it.
What happens if you *do* wind up taking a bad beat or making a boneheaded call, but it doesn't bust you? Rebuy anyway. You are better off rebuying at that point and playing with a moderate stack than you are trying to nurse your small stack (or calling off the rest of it in spectacularly stupid fashion). Besides, if you DO catch a big hand, you'll be glad you have more chips in your stack to double up.
Finally, if you are below the starting stack amount as the rebuy stage is drawing to a close, don't be afraid to throw all of your chips into the pot with a marginal hand. You want to be as close to StartingStack+AddOn as possible when the freezeout rounds start. If you have less than the starting stack, you'll need to rebuy before taking the add-on anyway, so you may as well try to double up and save yourself that one rebuy. For example, if the starting stack was 1,000, and there's a double add-on, at the start of the freezeout rounds you wnat to have at least 3,000. If you only have 600 at the end of the rebuy stage, you'll need to rebuy and add-on to start with 3,600. You may as well push that last 600 in an attempt to double up to 1,200 so you can save yourself a rebuy. Yes, you'll only start with 3,200 after the add-on, but you'll have saved yourself $30 at a cost of only 400 chips.
Generally, you should bluff less during the rebuy stage of the tournament. In fact, if you haven't hit your hand by the river, you should try not to bluff the river at all. Why? Your opponents will be playing much looser than they otherwise would. Most of the time, you will get called down by any crappy hand, on the theory that your opponent can rebuy if he's wrong and his hand is no good. I don't advocate playing that way myself, however. I'll fold a marginal hand in that situation, because I try to rebuy as little as possible and I don't want to be wrong. But you have to be cognizant of the fact that many of your opponents will have that mindset.
With that in mind, you should play your strongest hands fast and hard. Hands like AA and KK should be played for big raises, and if someone else has already raised, consider pushing with them right away. You're going to get looser calls both before and after the flop, so you may as well get your money in while you have the best of it. Remember that. There is no such thing as a pre-flop folding equity raise in a rebuy tournament. It's a value raise only. And after the flop, don't think you can slowplay after the flop unless you want to get burned, because people WILL be calling with all sorts of wacky, improbable draws.
On the other hand, moderate hands need to be played tighter, because their edges aren't as high and (again) you're going to get called. Hands like A-Q, A-J, K-Q, 99, 88, and the like aren't as powerful as they would be in a freezeout because of the likelihood of callers. Be prepared to pay the piper if you raise out of position with these hands in a rebuy tournament.
And here's the final, logical conclusion that might not be readily apparent out of all of this: in NLHE, draws are death. This is even *more* true in a rebuy tournament. Many people seem to think the opposite is true, that because they can rebuy, they can draw more. Why? If the odds aren't there, they're not there, and all you are likely to do is dig into your pocket for more money. Are there situations that come up when you can call a bet you normally might not call in a regular tourney? Of course - if the pot odds, implied odds, and folding equity are all there. If you have trouble figuring out when that's the case, dump your drawing hands preflop.
Rebuy tournaments can be frustrating for tight players, as they watch the loosey-gooseys make all sorts of horrific calls and catch. The trick is to be patient, and understand that for as many times as any one player catches, many more players like him at other tables are rebuying and pumping up the prize pool. Don't be afraid to be super-aggressive when you've got the goods, but don't fall into the loosey-goosey trap and start making bad calls yourself. Patience is rewarded in the rebuy stage of a NLHE tournament just as much as it is in the freezeout stage.
(Thanks and a tip of the hat to the Above Malibu Co., particuarly JCatz, for their input on this topic.)
Tuesday, November 02, 2004
Last week, I was "Riding the F Train" (ha!) on my way to the weekly Above Malibu tournament. As has become my custom, my $90 Borgata Poker cap(FN 1) was firmly affixed atop my head. A guy seated across from me noticed the hat and, deducing he had found a brother, struck up a conversation(FN 2).
Him: "You play poker?"
Him: "At the Borgata?"
Him: "Limit or no-limit?"
Me: "A bit of both."
Him: "You on your way to play poker now?"
Him: "Me too. I think we're headed to the same place."
I quickly guessed that he was heading to the LES room that was the subject of last night's review and informed him that I was quite sure that we weren't headed the same way, as I was on my way to a home tournament. That was the wrong word to use, because he immediately perked up.
"Um, yeah. A 3-table home game tournament."
He immediately got out of his seat and came over to sit next to me.
"How much is the buy-in?"
"Well, it's not my game."
"Sure, sure, but if I were to get invited, how much is it?"
Tell the truth that it was a $10 tournament, or lie and claim it was $500? I opted for the truth on the hopes that it would be below his radar.
"$10. Small stakes."
"So how do I get invited?"
"Look, it's not my game. It's for the members of a particular theater."
"I'm a musician. Here, I'll give you my website..."
Thankfully, at this point, the train reached Delancey Street and he had to get off. Before leaving, he pointed me in the direction of the LES room and, in an effort to impress me (I suppose), told me to tell them that I was his friend. I didn't have the heart to tell him that I know someone who deals there.
An odd, random encounter to say the least.
FN 1 -- I didn't actually pay $90 for the cap. It was a prize I got from the Borgata super-sat I won to gain entry into the $1500 Borgata Open NLHE event. Since the super-sat was $40+10 and I took a $40 add-on, and since I didn't place in the $1500 event, I call it my "$90 cap".
FN 2 -- The only other class of individuals with this habit are golfers. Walk onto a New York subway carrying a bag of golf clubs, and I guarantee *someone* (a golfer, of course) will start talking to you about golf.
I've been notoriously absent the last few days. I haven't been playing much poker, and when I have been I seem to consistently be ringing up red sessions (except for last night's take at a card club on the Lower East Side -- see the next post down for a review). With lots of other things going on, I've scaled back poker a bit. In the absence of anything noteworthy being written by me, I'm directing my readers to Double As blog. Having had the privilege of playing with the man at the Taj, I can assure you that he is an excellent player. He's also an excellent writer. The past few weeks he has written a series of posts about playign NL cash games online that should be required reading for everyone.
As for me, I'll attend the Above Malibu game tomorrow night, of course, but no online poker for me this week. That said, I am 90% likely to be heading to Foxwoods on Thursday morning to watch WCP Felicia Lee play in a $1,000 Stud tournament and to hang with everyone's favorite doctor, who is on a poker hiatus of his own. Anyone within 250 miles should get out to Foxwoods so you can watch Pauly cry when I crack his Hilton Sisters by rivering a gutshot straight with J8s. The wonder of it all, indeed.
Now stop reading my drivel and get out there and vote!
Monday, November 01, 2004
[Ed. note: This is the fifth in an ongoing series of reviews of the major New York City Poker Rooms. Due to the quasi-legality of these games, no room will be mentioned by name or specific address. While I realize these restrictions limit the usefulness of the reviews, I also respect that most of these rooms are trying to operate without drawing much attention to themselves. Anyone interested in learning more specifics about any club should contact me directly.]
[UPDATE: May-2-2005. The LES club is CLOSED. Whether this is because someone had a heart attack and died there recently, or just because they lacked enough business, I'm not sure. I'll try to find out if they're reopening elsewhere.]
Well, I did *not* make it to a new room on Saturday night like I planned. I forgot that it was Halloween weekend and that I had agreed to attend a party in
Hobo-land Hoboken. It was a fun party, but since Sunday night is reserved for the Above Malibu II ring game, I didn't get a chance to visit my latest room, located in the Lower East Side, until tonight. My companion for the evening's cardplay was supposed to be Above Malibu's Deke, but he failed to materialize. Never one to turn down an opportunity to play some poker, I pressed on solo.
The LES room has been open since April. In fact, I blogged about it once before, immediately upon my return to the Big Apple. How sad is it that it took me over five months to make a visit?
The club is very inconspicuous, located in an unmarked apartment building within a five-minute walk of the Delancey Street F station. The only way to know you're even at the right place is from the building number. A buzzer (with security camera) outside the building is unmarked. After smiling for the camera, I was buzzed into the building. Two flights of stairs led to a door through which I could hear the soothing clicking of poker chips.
Mullansky (of Above Malibu) had given me an idea what to expect when I walked in, but I was still somewhat surprised. I was in a floor-through apartment. No walls -- presumably, they had been taken down -- but the remnants of the kitchen were still there, almost opposite the door through which I entered. The bathroom was to the left, near a large window obscured by vertical blinds, and the bulk of the club was to the right.
The bulk of the club consisted of four, blue felt poker tables and four television screens, one in each corner of the main portion of the room. Two were tuned to Monday Night Football, so I had the pleasure of watching my beloved, sad sack Jets demolish the Miami Dolphins while I played. Fantastic. A counter arrayed with various snacks separated the kitchen area from the "main room", and a waitress busily moved between the two, serving coffee, tea and soft drinks.
A guy named Tony was seated at a desk and small table by the front door, and introduced himself when I arrived. He explained that there was one 4/8 table going, one 10/20 table going, and an interest list for "baby no-limit" that had five or six names. He said he was positive the no-limit game would get going within a half hour and invited me to sit and watch the Jets game while I waited. When I asked what the blinds would be, he said it was up to the players at the table when we started -- either 1/2 with a $250 max, or 2/5 (presumably with a $500 max). I was a bit skeptical about that, but Tony told me he felt that it would be a 1/2 night, and he was right.
Before my table started up, I plopped down at an empty table to watch the Jets game and take some mental notes on the club. What I found most interesting was that, unlike some of the other clubs I've visited, this one seemed to have a viable playerbase for limit games -- and not just low limits, either. The 10/20 table had a waiting list several names deep, and dry erase boards around the club trumpeted a 30/60 game on Tuesday nights and 20/40 on other nights of the week. Mention was also made of one-table NLHE tournaments, for $150 and $50, on Thursdays, and of course there were the obligatory NLHE multi-table tournaments, for $100 and $40 (rebuy). The structure sounded pretty decent -- 2000 in starting chips -- but there was no mention of what the blinds were, other than that they increased every twenty minutes. When I bought in, the room manager, an amiable guy named Tony, mentioned a freeroll tournament scheduled for Saturday, but alas I already have way too many commitments on Saturday as it is.
Within twenty minutes of my arrival, a 7-handed 1/2 NLHE game got underway with time charges of $4 per half hour. Since the game started at twelve past the hour, we were charged only $2 for the first eighteen minutes of play. Like the Brooklyn room I reviewed, the club used only one deck per table. Slow, slow, slow. Thankfully, there was a decent amount of action. Not insane action, mind you, but enough that big hands got paid.
With a max buy-in of $250, I elected to start with $200 and told myself that under no circumstances was I going to reload. If I played poorly and pissed it all away, or suffered some massive suckout, so be it. Turns out I never dipped below $170. I played much, much tighter than I have been playing recently, helped out by a run of solidly average cards. I did not raise a single hand for an hour and a half. I limped a few -- QJ a few times, a couple of suited aces and some other medium connectors -- but not a single raise. I think I dragged two small pots, one when my T9o on the button flopped trips, and the other when I played blind from the CO in a 6-way pot and took it down uncontested with a $15 flop bet on a board of A-J-x. I peeked at my cards afterwards: T5o.
The one thing I'll say about folding lots of hands is that it gives you plenty of time to study your opponents. The table filled out to 10-handed pretty quickly. The 1-seat and 2-seat were Asian players who knew each other. They were solid and not particularly tricky. The 1-seat was acting the role of professor, Mr. I-Have-Got-My-Shit-Together. Shrug. Like I said, he was solid, but not particularly tricky.
I was in 3. A short buy-in in 4 was terrible. He raised from the BB to $15, got two callers, and then all three of them checked the whole way to the river. He showed QTs; they each had Kx. Nobody paired up. The 5-seat was a tight Indian player. A $20 raise from him meant a Group 1 hand; a $5 raise was a pot-building raise.
6 and 9 were both weak players that at least had some common sense. The same couldn't be said for 7, 8 and 10. They were definitely the soft spots at the table. The number of river bets they called when they were obviously beat was staggering. By himself, the 7-seat reloaded at least three times. And there I was, unable to connect with a flop! The two small pots kept me level, despite the time charges, as I waited and waited until I finally took down a couple of decent pots on back-to-back hands with TT and 88.
When I left at midnight, I was up $100. Even though two other players stood up from the table at the same time, players were still streaming in and out of the front door, leading me to believe that our vacant seats would be filled quickly.
After all was said and done, here's what the survey said --
Location: Not bad, as the Delancey-Essex F/J/M station is within five minutes. However, that's it. If you don't have convenient access to those subway lines, you're stuck with cabbing it, as there's nothing else even remotely close.
Hours: M-F, 7 til late; Sat 5 til late; closed Sunday
Club Atmosphere: Comfortable. Because it was formerly an apartment, the room feels like an oversized home game.
Extras: Soft drinks and snacks.
Quality of Play: Average, some decent players
Tournament Structure: Unknown, but looked decent
Cash Games: 4/8, 10/20, NL every day; higher limits (20/40, 30/60, $1500max NL) once or twice a week. Three full tables at midnight on a Monday night.
Worth Your Time?: Yes